Pizza Burgers

pizza-burgers

Holy cow, I’ve been meaning to share this recipe all summer…oops! Summer somehow slipped by me, though we’ve technically got a couple more weeks. As much as I like fall, I enjoy summer more and I’m not ready to move into the next season yet. We kinda had a weird summer here anyway, so it doesn’t feel like it should be over yet. Since we’re down to our last couple weeks of official summer though, it’s not too late to share a burger recipe, right? Really, I’ll eat a burger any time of year, so I think it’s okay.

Anyway, as you may recall, this year has been a huge transition for me, and it continues to be. That’s definitely been the priority, so my poor little blog has been on the back-burner, but it still lives on and so do I!

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 lb grass-fed ground beef (I used 15%)
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 15 oz can no-sugar added pizza sauce (I used this one)
  • 2 slices sharp cheddar cheese, preferably grass-fed
  • 4 slices Applegate pepperoni (large size)
  • Sprinkle of fresh-grated high-quality Parmesan cheese, if desired
  • Mixed greens and veggies of choice, for serving

Directions:

  1. Preheat grill for burgers. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, mix together ground beef, Italian seasoning, sea salt and pepper. Form into two even sized patties.
  2. Once grill is hot, throw on the burgers. Cook to your preference. We usually do about 3.5 minutes each side for medium-rare. Once done, remove from grill.
  3. Warm up a little bit of the pizza sauce on the stove or in the microwave and spread a layer of sauce on top of each patty. Add the cheese and pepperoni to each. Dollop a little more sauce on top and garnish with Parmesan cheese, if using.
  4. Place burgers on top of a bed of mixed greens or veggies of choice for serving.

Yields: 2 servings

 

Ark Elements Review

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I was recently contacted by Ark Elements to try out their meal service and am excited to share my experience with all of you. Please know, the thoughts expressed in this post are my own and even though I received a week of complimentary meals, I was not compensated in any way to write this review.

What is Ark Elements?

Ark Elements is a Portland-based company that creates locally-sourced, well-crafted paleo foods in small batches. Their foods make evolutionary sense and are minimally processed for maximum progress.

They seek true health and sustainability, and created the Ark Elements as a guide. They believe these Elements are the foundation for optimal health:

  • we feel better when we move, so we practice functional fitness.
  • we feel better when we eat well, so we nourish ourselves through whole eating.
  • we feel better when we’re outside, so we play in our world.
  • we feel better when we’re with people, so we build a like-minded community.

To read more about Ark Elements, visit HERE.

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How does Ark Elements work?

Each week, a new menu is posted on the Ark Elements website and you can go in and place an order between Sunday and Friday. You do not need a subscription to order and there are no strings attached. The only requirement is that you order a minimum of $55 worth of food, which is easy to do on your own, but you could also split it with a friend, roommate, family member, etc. After your initial order, you do not need to place reoccurring orders. You can truly order as little or often as you want.

During the checkout process, you select a pick-up location where you’ll retrieve your food the following Tuesday. But, guess what? Starting sometime this month, Ark Elements will do home deliveries, so the process will be even more convenient!

My Experience

I tried the grilled chicken Waldorf kale salad, grass-fed beef meatballs with figs and bacon over yam and zucchini noodles, yam hash with sage apple sausage and a baked egg, red curry chicken over almond and green onion cauliflower rice, and fennel and herb crusted pork tenderloin with roasted seasonal vegetables. I also ordered a batch of almond flour biscuits and grain-free pumpkin seed granola. The online ordering and checkout process was so easy and took me a matter of minutes. Also, all the ingredients were listed online for each menu item and macros too.

Ark Elements hash

When I got my order, all my meals were clearly labeled and in their own individual containers. As I started tackling away at them each day, I was surprised how much food each container actually contained. It looked like a decent amount in the container, but it always amounted to much more when I emptied it into a dish to reheat. It was actually a real serving size and enough food! Often, it seems like these sorts of things can skimp on serving sizes, but Ark Elements does it right. Each meal was satisfying and I didn’t feel like I needed to eat more with it, other than maybe an almond flour biscuit to use as a vehicle to scoop up bites with (those biscuits pair well with everything too).

Ark Elements pork tenderloin

Also, all the food (that needed reheating) reheated very well with no weird taste or texture afterward. I enjoyed all the meals a lot and felt very spoiled with this service! If I had to pick a favorite out of everything I tried though, it’d be the meatballs (pictured below). Those were unbelievable. The pork tenderloin (see photo above) was a close second, but like I said, I liked it all. In case you’re wondering, the granola was nice as a treat and not something I ate as a meal. That stuff is dangerously delicious and pretty darn dense too. I liked sprinkling a couple tablespoons into a small dish of plain whole milk yogurt as a little post-dinner treat.

Ark Elements meatballs

All in all, I would definitely use this service again because the food was incredible. And, really, you can’t beat the convenience. With that said, if you live in Portland, I highly recommend giving Ark Elements a try sometime. You can even buy some of their items directly at New Seasons — the grain-free granola (cereal aisle) and a selection of meals too (in the grab n’ go refrigerated section). So, if you don’t want to commit to placing an order just yet, head to New Seasons and check out the selection.

Ark Elements Curry

The Times They Are A-Changin’

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Photo credit: cityfarmhouse.com

It’s been a year of big change, and it’s only April. As I said the last time I posted, things have been crazy. Finally, there’s a bit of relief and the waters are calming down, but I continue to move forward and open the door to new opportunities. Lots of good is flooding in and more lies ahead.

So, what exactly is new with me? Here are the biggies:

  • Recreate Fitness, the gym I’ve worked at for nearly the last 4 years, closed its doors on March 31. It was emotional, stressful and hard. I am grateful for all the time I had there and the relationships, community and opportunities presented to me.

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  • Since closing, I started renting space as an independent contractor at a private training studio not far from where Recreate was located. I am grateful that all my existing clients came with me. This is an opportunity for me to really build my business, which is scary and exciting at the same time.
  • Through a client of mine, I got acquainted with the strength & conditioning coach of the Portland Thorns FC (our professional women’s soccer team) and started helping him with a local gym he’s taking over in Lake Oswego. So, I’m going out there 3x/week and coaching semi-privates, and have been doing so since the end of January. No, I’m not training the soccer players. There is room to grow out here too, if I choose.
  • I’m going to NYC at the end of this month for the Yoga Tune Up® Breath & Bliss immersion. I loved NYC when I was there in the fall and need to keep moving forward with my Yoga Tune Up® studies, so it seemed like a win-win. I need continuing ed credits now that I’m a licensed teacher and wanted to do it regardless. After all the chaos that’s ensued since January, I am greatly looking forward to this getaway + learning experience!

Anyway, that’s what’s been going on in my life. One door closed and another one opened, but in-between, it was quite hectic. Extra work, networking, planning, looking for a space to go, emotions, etc. As hard as it was, I’m relieved to have the gym stuff behind me. Change is hard, but also good and I am not worried. Everything will be great.

Meanwhile, if any of you live in the Portland area (specifically NW Portland since that’s where I train clients) and are looking for a personal trainer, feel free to give me a shoutout. Now that I’m not teaching 11 strength & conditioning classes/week at Recreate, I have more room in my schedule and am taking new clients. Visit my contact page to get in touch with me.

Cheers and happy weekend!

Cottage Pie

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Wow, it’s been over a month since I posted, though it feels like it’s been even longer than that. Life has been a bit crazy for me so far this year — changes, growth, opportunity and lots of things to think about. Seriously, the month of January alone felt like it was a year long. In reality, it’s all good — it’s just been a bit exhausting and slightly chaotic. Anyway, onward and upward!

Meanwhile, I never really knew what the difference was between cottage and shepherd’s pie, but apparently, cottage pie is typically made with beef and shepherd’s pie made with lamb (not sure why the whole shepherd and lamb thing never occurred to me). So, I guess I’m naming this one appropriately. I do have other variations of shepherd’s pie/cottage pie/whatever you want to call it in the archives as well. Check those out HERE and HERE. One is made with ground turkey and has a winter squash topping, and the other is made with leftover Thanksgiving turkey and has a cauliflower mash topping. All three versions are a little different, but all delicious!

Topping Ingredients:

  • 1 medium head of cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • 1 medium russet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 small sweet potato, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Place sweet potato and russet potato pieces in a steam basket and bring to a simmer on the stove. After 5 minutes, add the cauliflower florets and steam for another 10-12 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.
  2. Add the cooked vegetables, butter, sea salt and black pepper to a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping sides down as needed. Set aside.

Filling Ingredients:

  • 2 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1.25 cups chicken bone broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tube tomato paste (~5 oz)
  • 2 Tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 12 oz bag frozen green peas
  • Paprika for topping, optional

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 385 degrees F.
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat. If you’re using leaner ground beef, add a little bit of fat to the pan (i.e. butter, coconut oil, etc.). If you’re using fattier meat (like 85/15 or 80/20), you won’t need any additional fat in the pan, but may want to drain off a little bit of the fat after browning the meat, otherwise the filling can be too runny/greasy. Brown the ground beef with the onion and garlic for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the chunks of meat.
  3. Next, add the carrots, dried thyme, cayenne, sea salt and black pepper. Stir well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then, add the broth, vinegar and tomato paste, and stir well again. Once mixed together, add the arrowroot starch and stir until dissolved. Finally, add the green peas and let cook for another minute.
  4. Pour filling evenly into a 9×13 pan. Top evenly with the cauliflower-potato mixture and sprinkle with paprika, if using. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
  5. After baking, cool for about 10 minutes before slicing and then serve.

Yields: 6 servings

Sun Basket: Healthy Cooking Made Easy

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I was recently contacted by Sun Basket to try out their meal delivery service and am excited to share my experience with all of you. Please know, the thoughts expressed in this post are my own and even though I received a complimentary Sun Basket box to test out, I was not compensated in any way to write this review.

What is Sun Basket?

Sun Basket is a new healthy meal kit service that delivers organic ingredients and delicious, easy-to-make recipes for cooking at home. Sun Basket makes it easy to cook healthy, with Paleo, Gluten-free and Vegetarian options, plus healthy breakfasts. Get 3 recipes per week for 2, 4 or 6 people, delivered to your door in recyclable packaging that can be shipped back – free- for reuse. Recipes are created by Executive Chef Justine Kelly, formerly head chef at James Beard award-winning restaurant The Slanted Door in San Francisco.

My kitty, Frankie, was curious about the Sun Basket box.
My kitty, Frankie, was curious about the Sun Basket box.

 

Sun Basket food:

  • Organic non-GMO produce from the best West Coast farms
  • Sustainably sourced, hormone-free meats and seafood
  • Easy, healthy 30-minute recipes designed for minimal cleanup
  • Recipes developed by an award-winning San Francisco chef
  • All recipes are approved by our in-house nutritionist

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Sun Basket meal plans:

  • Healthy meal plans including: Paleo-friendly, Gluten-free and Vegetarian options, plus breakfast
  • 3 recipes per week, with meal plans for 2, 4 or 6 people
  • Choose any meals you like each week. You can even double or triple up on a recipe. Currently shipping to CA, OR, WA, CO, UT, AZ, NV and ID

Sun Basket packaging:

  • Carefully packaged to stay fresh in the box for 8 hours after delivery
  • 100% recyclable packaging
  • Free delivery and free return shipping so we can recycle and reuse the materials

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My Sun Basket Meal Review:

Naturally, I opted for the paleo meal options, which included kale, butternut squash and Italian sausage soup, braised chicken arrabbiata with celery root mash, and steak with purple sweet potato and roasted red pepper sauce. This is the first time I’ve ever experienced a meal delivery service and I must say, it was awesome. Everything was delivered in one organized box and it was all fresh! Ingredients were already measured out for recipes and in individual bags (meat was separate though), so it was easy to keep track of everything.

Kale, butternut squash and Italian sausage soup

All the recipes were delicious, especially the soup and chicken arrabbiata. We were actually surprised how incredible they tasted — even better than we imagined. I’ve actually made the soup again on my own since then. The sweet potato and steak meal was alright, but we both had a lot of grizzle on our sirloin steaks, especially Jesse. I think it would have been better with a different cut of beef. The roasted sweet potatoes and mushrooms were great though.

I can totally see myself using this service again. I enjoy cooking and creating on my own, but this is so handy and a nice break from having to think about what I’m making for dinner. It’s also great for getting new and easy recipe ideas. For those of you with extra busy schedules, lack of direction or motivation in the kitchen, not knowing what to eat, poor cooking skills, etc., I highly recommend trying this out. Sun Basket makes it so easy. And, it’s good! The meals actually look like the pictures too!

Interested in trying Sun Basket for yourself? Visit HERE to learn more and sign up now to receive $30 off your first box!

For more information, please visit https://sunbasket.com/home or Facebook, InstagramPinterest or Twitter.

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Sausage, Squash and Spinach Egg Casserole

egg casserole

Jesse and I ate this egg casserole Christmas morning and both thought it was spectacular. I threw it together that morning and while it baked, we enjoyed coffee and opened some gifts from our family. It was just us on Christmas and it turned out to be a quiet, but enjoyable day. We were both okay with quiet and hanging out at home since we were recently traveling in Hawaii (which was our Christmas gift to each other).

Meanwhile, when I made this recipe, I was fortunate to have half of a roasted delicata squash leftover in my fridge, but if you don’t have any leftover, here’s what to do: cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds and place in a baking pan cut-side down. Fill the pan with about 1/4″ of water and bake in a 350 degree oven for 45-60 minutes.

Anyway, I hope you all had a lovely Christmas that was filled with joy. I wish you all a happy New Year!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 1 lb ground turkey breakfast sausage (pork sausage is fine too)
  • About 6 cups raw spinach
  • 1/2 tsp garlic granules
  • 1/2 tsp onion granules
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • 1 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste if needed
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 12 eggs, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk or heavy cream, if tolerated & preferably from a pasture-raised source
  • 1/4 cup chicken bone broth, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 large roasted delicata squash, cut into 1-inch pieces (leave skin on)
  • 1/2 cup grated raw grass-fed cheddar cheese, if tolerated

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Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the ground breakfast sausage and break up with a spatula. Continue to cook for about 5-7 minutes or until meat is browned, stirring occasionally.
  2. Place the spinach in the bottom of a 9×13 pan (note: you may need to grease your pan with a little butter before adding the spinach. I used a stoneware baking dish that doesn’t stick, but if you’re using glass or stainless steel, I’d recommend greasing it). Stir the sausage into the spinach and make sure it’s evenly distributed.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk or heavy cream, bone broth, sea salt, pepper, garlic granules, onion granules and nutmeg. Pour egg mixture on top of the sausage and spinach. Then, evenly distribute the squash pieces on top and sprinkle on the cheddar cheese, if using.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until eggs are cooked through.

 

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

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There’s been a cold front coming through Portland, and it has definitely been chilly. Thankfully, the sun has been in tow a good chunk of the days, but nonetheless, it’s still cold. This soup has been the perfect remedy to ward off some of the nip in the air, and it’s definitely a hearty one. I’ve found that I can tolerate white potatoes just fine, which is exciting, especially after avoiding them for so long. I had to nix them completely when I was treating my SIBO, but after all that was over, I felt scared to try reintroducing them. Anyway, it’s good to have them back in my life, but they’re definitely not an everyday kinda thing.

This soup gets thicker as it sits because of the starch in the potatoes, so it ends up becoming a little more like a stew. It sort of reminds me of a hybrid of chicken soup and chicken pot pie. It’s definitely comforting, savory, satisfying and filling. It would also work great with leftover turkey from Thanksgiving. You’d have to already have some stock on hand though, use store bought or make a fresh batch from the turkey carcass.

Meanwhile, I hope all of you have a joy-filled Thanksgiving tomorrow. Enjoy it and remember what you’re grateful for (more importantly, do this everyday!). Jesse and I will be headed to a friend’s house for Thanksgiving up in Vancouver, Washington. We often do our own thing, so we’re excited to be with lots of friends this year, many of which are from our hometown in Michigan. I will be taking my crustless butternut squash pie to share, along with some special bacon almonds.

Cheers!

chicken and vegetable soup 2

 

Ingredients:

  • 3-4 lb whole chicken
  • Filtered water (enough to completely cover chicken in large soup pot)
  • 2 Tbsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 1/2 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 3 stalks celery, sliced
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 medium-large white potatoes, peeled & cut into pieces (alternatively, you could use butternut squash or sweet potato)
  • 12 oz bag frozen green peas
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric (I like this brand)
  • Black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Bunch of fresh cilantro or parsley leaves, chopped, plus stems for making stock

Directions:

  1. Place chicken in a large soup pot and cover completely with filtered water. I usually leave fill it a couple inches from the top. Add the 2 Tbsp sea salt, bay leaves, 1 chopped celery stalk, cilantro or parsley stems and the halved garlic cloves. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to simmer for about 3 hours.
  2. After 3 hours, remove the chicken from the pot and strain the stock through a fine mesh colander. Allow the chicken to cool.
  3. Meanwhile, place the same pot back on the stove over medium heat. Add the butter and once melted, add the 2 stalks chopped celery, carrots and yellow onion. Sauté a couple minutes and then add the potato pieces. Stir well and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper.
  4. Pour the stock back into the pot and stir in the turmeric and cayenne pepper. Bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Allow mixture to simmer about 10-12 minutes or until potato pieces are tender. Then, add the frozen peas.
  5. Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from the bones and stir into the pot. I recommend saving the bones and skin for making bone broth. You can even store the bones in the freezer until you’re ready to make broth.
  6. Remove from heat and add a generous handful of chopped cilantro or parsley. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Serve into bowls and garnish with extra cilantro or parsley, if desired.