Lemon Dill Avocado Chicken Salad

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Spring is less than a month away, as hard as it may be to believe some days. With its approach in mind, I got to thinking about springy flavors – things like lemon, dill, peas and so on. Contemplating what to make, it suddenly hit me…a spring chicken salad recipe. It’s not very often I share lunch recipes anyway, so it seemed like another good reason to run with it. Plus, I love chicken salad, despite the fact that I rarely make it. I become a creature of habit when it comes to lunch foods and generally stick to the same things, so this is a refreshing change.

I’m sure this would be just as tasty without the addition of the mayo, but I love homemade mayo or a high-quality one like this brand. It adds a little extra creaminess and tang too, which I enjoy. But, if you don’t have any on hand or just don’t like it, you can leave it out. Personally, I never liked mayo until I made it myself. It is way different than what you may know as mayo. Really, it might as well be frosting because it’s that good. I do have another chicken salad recipe that’s tropical-inspired and more mayo-based if you want to check that one out HERE.

Also, stay tuned because next month, on March 20 (also the first day of spring!), I’ll be featuring this recipe LIVE on KATU Afternoon Live. I’ll share the segment when that time comes. UPDATE: watch the replay of my segment HERE.

Cheers and enjoy!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded (roughly 1 lb or so of meat)
  • 1 large avocado, sliced into quarters and pitted
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1.5 tsp dried dill
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas, rinsed under warm water to thaw
  • 1 small carrot, grated
  • 2 Tbsp homemade avocado oil mayo or use a high-quality brand like this one 

Directions:

  1. Place shredded chicken in a large bowl. Set aside.
  2. Remove avocado peels and place avocado in a large bowl. Mash well with a fork and then add the lemon juice, sea salt, black pepper, dried dill, mayo, carrot, green onion and peas. Stir well with a spatula until mixed well. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired.
  3. Pour avocado mixture into the bowl with the shredded chicken and stir well. Store in refrigerator.
  4. Serve in a lettuce wrap, over greens or with veggie slices and/or plantain chips.

Grain-Free Snickerdoodles

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I can’t believe it’s the holiday season! This year has been such a whirlwind and full of change, but it’s hard to believe that it’s already almost over. Regardless, I love the holiday season and am happily embracing it. I’m even going home to Michigan for Christmas this year…the first time in five years!

Anyway, since it is the time of year for goodies, I thought I’d try my hand at grain-free snickerdoodles. These did not disappoint and could not be any easier to make. The texture is soft and pillowy with a light crust on the edges. The flavor is slightly sweet, tangy and of course, cinnamon-y. The cream of tartar is actually what gives the cookie its signature tang and reacts with the baking soda to create the crackled appearance. The cream of tartar also accounts for the perfect chewiness.

When first researching snickerdoodle recipes, I was actually kinda thrown off by the cream of tartar. I had to do a little more digging, but soon understood that from a snickerdoodle purist standpoint, it’s a must. Traditionally, it was always used to make snickerdoodles and without it, it’d just be a crunchy cinnamon sugar cookie (it keeps sugar from crystalizing!). It truly is the age-old snickerdoodle secret and enough for me to want to include it in the recipe.

Another thing about a classic snickerdoodle recipe — there is no vanilla extract. This is actually quite rare for a cookie recipe, but from what I learned, vanilla mellows out the tangy flavor from the cream of tartar. Who knew? So, in an effort to keep the cookie more classic, I also opted for no vanilla. And, truthfully, I didn’t miss it.

On another note, I went back on KATU Afternoon Live in November and made my herbed turkey potato stew. Watch the segment HERE. Stay tuned because I’ll also be going back on December 16 to make my no-bake rum balls!

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Ingredients:

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour (I used this brand)
  • 1 tsp non-irradiated cream of tartar (I used this brand)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted softened butter, preferably grass-fed
  • 3 Tbsp coconut sugar, plus another 3 Tbsp for rolling
  • 1 large egg, preferably pasture-raised
  • 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or use a non-slip baking mat like this one. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and sea salt. Set aside.
  3. In another large bowl, cream together the softened butter and 3 Tbsp of coconut sugar. Once light and fluffy, beat in the egg. Then, slowly add the dry mixture until combined.
  4. In a shallow dish, mix together the cinnamon and remaining 3 Tbsp of coconut sugar.
  5. Scoop out 1 Tbsp of dough and roll between hands to form a ball. Then, roll the ball in coconut sugar and cinnamon to coat. Place on prepared baking sheet. Gently flatten dough with palm of your hand.
  6. Bake in the prepared oven for 8-9 minutes or just until edges are barely brown.
  7. Cool on baking sheet for several minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Yields: 20 small cookies

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.

Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup

Italian Beef and Vegetable Soup

Isn’t it hard to believe that it’s almost Autumn already? We’ve already had several days that feel and smell like fall, but they’ve been interspersed with hot days. I do enjoy fall, but am not quite ready for summer to be over yet, even though it’s been a scorching one. Summer is definitely my favorite and I love the warm weather. But, I have a lot of exciting things on my plate this fall, so the anticipation of the changing season is sweet.

Next month, Jesse and I are headed down to the LA area to complete a week-long training with Jill Miller of Yoga Tune Up. We both have a lot of respect for Jill’s work and are grateful for the opportunity to train with her. Then, in November, I’m headed to NYC with a very dear friend of mine. We’re going to a conference called, “I Can Do It!” and are spending some extra time there for fun (it’ll be my first visit to NYC!). I’ll get to visit my second cousin who lives in Brooklyn as well. In December, Jesse and I are headed to Honolulu for a week of pure vacation. The ticket prices were a super good deal, so we decided to bite. We won’t actually be spending Christmas there, but will be there a little bit before.

Tonight, we’re headed to an Empire of the Sun concert at Edgefield, and I’m really excited! Jesse surprised me with tickets a couple months ago, and it definitely was a pleasant surprise. I get the evening off from work to go too, which is a nice change of pace for a Friday.

Meanwhile, enjoy the soup recipe and if it’s still warm wherever you are, tuck this one away for a chilly fall or winter day.

Cheers!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1/2 large red onion, chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 large carrots, sliced
  • 1.5 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 lb Italian pork sausage
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 5.5 cups beef and/or chicken bone broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 box (~18 oz) unsweetened tomato sauce (I used this brand)
  • 2.5 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 3 medium zucchini, “noodled” with a spiralizer or julienne peeler
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped, plus extra for topping, if desired
  • Raw Parmesan cheese for topping, optional and if tolerated

Directions:

  1. Melt butter in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic, celery and carrots. Sauté a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, add the ground beef and pork sausage, breaking up the meat with a spatula. Add the sea salt, black pepper, oregano, thyme and cayenne to the mixture, and stir.
  2. Once the meat is browned, add the broth, tomato sauce, tomato paste and bay leaf. Stir well and then add the zucchini noodles and fresh basil. Simmer for about 25 minutes. Taste soup after simmering and adjust seasoning as necessary. Remove bay leaf when ready to serve.
  3. Garnish with extra chopped basil and/or raw Parmesan cheese for serving, if desired.

Simple Supper Friday: Lemon Dill Salmon with Buttered ‘Zoodles’

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I’ll be honest…I feel kinda silly posting this recipe. It almost seems too simple. But then, I thought about it more and realized that it’s the point behind my Simple Supper Friday meals — simple and uncomplicated. Not only that, but as basic as this recipe and ingredient combination is, it’s really delicious and makes for a nice summer meal. I think that’s reason enough to share.

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As for my weekend, I work a couple hours out at Clackamas Physical Conditioning with Jason tomorrow morning and then will come back to town and run the usual errands with Jesse later in the day — mainly just grocery shopping. The rest of Saturday is open to whatever I want — yeah! I work at Recreate Sunday morning and then later, Jesse and I are going to a friend’s house out in Scapposse to have dinner and drinks, and also pick some veggies from their garden. I also have to go pick up my jar of Fatworks pastured pork lard on Sunday! I now have their duck fat, beef tallow and lard. I love that this stuff is made locally, and I can just order it and pick it up from the guy’s house. It can be shipped though and is not limited to Portland residents, so keep that in mind if you’re interested!

Any fun plans for the weekend?

For the salmon:

  • 2 fresh wild Coho salmon fillets (or 1 large fillet, cut in half)
  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter, melted
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill, plus more if desired
  • 1-2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 thinly sliced lemon rounds
  • Extra lemon wedges for serving, optional
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9×9 pan with foil or parchment paper.
  2. Place fish fillets skin side down in the pan. Brush on the melted butter and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Then, sprinkle the dried dill atop of the fillets.
  3. Pour fresh lemon juice over each fillet and then place one of the rounds atop of each, in the center.
  4. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until fish is cooked through.
  5. Serve atop of buttered ‘zoodles’ (directions below) and squeeze on extra lemon juice, if desired.

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For the buttered ‘zoodles’:

  • 2 medium zucchini (I used one green and one yellow)
  • Generous amount of sea salt
  • 1-2 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  1. Peel zucchini with a julienne peeler or use a spiralizer if you have one. Sprinkle the zoodles generously with sea salt and then place in a fine mesh strainer to “sweat.” Allow the water to drain from the zoodles for 15-20 minutes.
  2. After 15-20 minutes, squeeze out any excess water from the zoodles with your hands. Then, place in a microwave safe bowl and heat for 45-60 seconds. Once warm, add the butter and toss. Of course, you can briefly heat the noodles in a skillet on the stove and toss with butter.

Yields: 2 servings

Simple Supper Friday: No-Noodle Sausage Goulash

 

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Wow, it has been such a fun and productive morning, and it’s not even 11 a.m. here in Portland yet. I got up at 6 a.m. with Jesse and headed to Recreate with him. He had to teach class this morning and I decided to take the 6:30 class since I was meeting a client at 7:30 anyway (my internship project client — gets to work with me on form/mechanics/mobility free-of-charge!). It was a great workout and a deadlift day, which I was excited about. Afterward, I had a short 30-minute session with my client in which we did some mobility, foam rolling and myofascial release with a lacrosse ball. When I was done, Jesse asked if I wanted to hang out for the next class to finish and go out to breakfast with him. Um, yes! There was no hesitation on my end. I love, LOVE going out for breakfast and we went to our favorite place too since it’s right nearby – Besaw’s. So, I did my own foam rolling and soft tissue work with the lacrosse ball while I waited.

Then, there was breakfast. Over easy eggs, seasonal vegetables, bacon and avocado.

My favorite breakfast at Besaw's. (Taken on iPhone).

I dropped Jesse back off at the gym to teach the 10 a.m. class and then drove to Whole Foods to get some food for our day tomorrow and for dinner tonight (fresh wild Coho salmon is on sale for $9.99/pound today! Guess what we’re having?). Tomorrow, we’re headed up to the Seattle area (Redmond) for an all day Gold Medal Bodies seminar. It’ll be a quick trip and full day because we’re not spending the night, so need to leave by 6:30 a.m. to get there just before 10 a.m. The seminar goes until 5 p.m. or so and afterward, we plan to head back home and grab a bite to eat somewhere along the way. We’ll probably just eat somewhere in Seattle because there will be more options. Plus, we haven’t been to Seattle in well over a year, so it’ll be fun to hang out, even if it’s only for dinner.

The workshop should be fun and useful, but also a bit tiring. We’ll be doing parallette work, gymnastics skills (rings, tumbling, handstands, etc.), hand balancing and more. Good stuff and I’m looking forward to the opportunity. It’s really cool to do this kind of stuff with Jesse too.

Anyway, now I’m home drinking some cold-brew with coconut milk and relaxing. I have some other work to do at home before going back to the gym to teach the 5:30 p.m. class.

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Meanwhile, go make this no-noodle sausage goulash — it is super. I actually feel kinda funny sharing an Italian-style recipe because of Sarah Fragoso’s new Italian cookbook, but the recipe is too good not to share. Speaking of Sarah’s new cookbook, if you haven’t purchased it yet, I HIGHLY recommend it. I still have yet to make anything from it because of my schedule and maybe a little poor planning, but the recipes look phenomenal and the pictures will seriously make you salivate. There’s tons of other useful information in the book too, such as tips for traveling to Italy (where to stay, visit, etc.) and there’s also a background story with each recipe, which is enjoyable to read. This book is SO beautiful altogether and not only that, but Sarah is just such a downright cool and inspiring woman.

 

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Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp grass-fed tallow or other fat of choice
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced in thin half moons
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 fresh Italian pork sausages, sliced OR removed from casing (buy these from Food Front if you live in PDX…so good!)
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 pint sliced tomatoes (I used my mom’s fresh canned, but a 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes works too)
  • 3-4 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp + 1 tsp dried oregano, rubbed between hands
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Heat tallow in a large skillet over medium heat. Once melted, add the onion and garlic. Stir and saute for a couple minutes. Then, add the pork sausage and ground beef. Break up the ground beef with a spatula (and the pork sausage if you choose to remove it from the casing) and continue to cook for several minutes, until meat is browned.
  2. Once the meat is nearly cooked through, add the tomatoes, coconut milk, oregano, sea salt and pepper, and cayenne. Stir well and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Continue to simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Once mixture has thickened up a bit, remove from heat and stir in the fresh parsley and basil.
  4. Serve atop vegetable of choice. I recommend roasted green beans, steamed kale or zucchini noodles.

Yields: 4-5 servings

Grain-Free Blueberry Cobbler

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Blueberry season and fresh-picked berries call for cobblers and crisps, and my friend recently reminded me of this. I can’t tell you the last time I even made something of the sorts. Overall, I don’t do that much baking, but it is fun to take on a baking project every now and again. Not only that, but baked goods make the house smell so comfy and cozy. Sometimes, I feel like the smells are the best part!

Overall, the cobbler turned out well, but is best eaten day of and shortly after it comes out of the oven. Yes, it still tastes great the next day, but the dough part gets a little soggy from all berry juice. I actually didn’t mind it at all, especially because the flavor is still there and the dough is a little gritty versus totally mushy (since it’s almond flour/meal). You can be the judge though, but know that you’ve been forewarned, especially all you texture peeps out there.

Meanwhile, feel free to add your own flair to the cobbler — different berries and spices, shredded unsweetened coconut, nuts, etc. There’s a lot of room for variety with something like this, so have fun with it!

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For the berries:

  • 2.5 cups fresh blueberries
  • 1/2 Tbsp coconut flour

Pour berries into a 9×9 baking dish. Mix with the coconut flour. Set aside.

For the dough:

  • 1 cup almond flour or meal (I used fresh ground from sprouted almonds)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 6 Tbsp cold unsalted grass-fed butter, cut into cubes
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk, plus extra for drizzling, if desired

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine almond flour/meal, coconut flour, sea salt, nutmeg, baking soda, lemon zest, lemon juice vanilla and honey.
  3. Add the butter and blend with your hands or with two knives until course crumbs form. Add the coconut milk and mix until a wet, shaggy dough forms.
  4. Drop mounds of the dough on top of the berries. It doesn’t have to be neat — we’re not going for perfection here. It’s not supposed to be perfect, in fact!
  5. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until dough is brown and berries are bubbly. Let cool about 10 minutes before serving, then serve immediately.
  6. Serve with coconut milk drizzled on top, if desired. Coconut milk whipped cream would also be delicious.

Yields: 4-5 servings