Honey Almond Ginger Halibut

halibut

Halibut is my absolute favorite fish. I seriously love it a lot, but seldom buy it since it’s a bit pricy. Lucky for me, it’s been on sale at New Seasons Market lately, and I’ve been taking full advantage of it. I plan to indulge in it at least a couple times more before the sale ends as well.

This recipe is inspired by one of my dearest and most special friends, Heather. A couple years ago, she had us over for dinner and made steelhead with big slices of ginger, dabs of coconut oil, good sea salt, and raw honey. It was cooked on foil over the grill and was so incredible. We all raved about it! I haven’t had that recipe since, but have definitely not forgotten.

I figured something similar would be great with halibut, but decided to do it a little differently, and added a couple touches of my own. The fish is perfectly flaky with a punch of ginger flavor, bit of sweetness, and a delicate crunch of almonds. It’s SO delicious! We ate ours with roasted white sweet potatoes and green beans.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 fresh wild-caught halibut fillets (about 6 oz each)
  • 1 Tbsp melted coconut oil
  • About 1/2 – 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1.5-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2-3 Tbsp sliced blanched almonds, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a small pan or baking sheet with foil or parchment paper, and place halibut fillets on top (skin side down). Sprinkle with a little sea salt and black pepper.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the melted coconut oil, raw honey, cayenne and grated ginger. Brush or spoon all of the mixture evenly over each fillet. Add a bit more sea salt and/or black pepper, if desired. Then, sprinkle the almonds on top.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 10-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork. If desired, spoon extra glaze mixture (from the pan) over fish before serving.

Yields: 2 servings

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Spicy Scotch Eggs with Creamy Bacon Sauce

Spicy scotch eggs with creamy bacon sauce.
Spicy scotch eggs with creamy bacon sauce.

Rather than studying for my exercise science final exam yesterday, I made these instead. I’ve actually been wanting to try scotch eggs for some time, and it seemed like a great distraction from reality to do so yesterday. I also did a million other things and then finally started studying legitimately around 8 p.m. Not the best plan, I know, but I have so much on my mind. And what’s great, is that I took the exam this morning and am DONE! I did the best that I could and I know I passed, so it is what it is. Now, onto my wedding weekend and celebration! Wahoo! My family arrives late tonight and I can’t wait. There will be lots of glass raising and clinking this weekend!

Meanwhile, go make scotch eggs and dip them in this delicious, fatty sauce.

For the scotch eggs:

  • 5 hard-boiled eggs, peeled
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp smoky spice blend, from Practical Paleo (recipe below)
  • 1 Tbsp chorizo spice blend, from Practical Paleo (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Meanwhile, mix meat, spices and vinegar together in a large bowl. Then, form into 5 equal patties. Wrap each patty around a hard-boiled egg and make sure to cover it completely. Place on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with creamy bacon sauce.

Smoky Spice Blend:

  • 1 Tbsp chipotle powder
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1/2 Tbsp black pepper

Mix together and store in a jar or spice container.

Yields: 5 Tbsp

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Chorizo Spice Blend:

  • 2 Tbsp chipotle powder
  • 1 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 Tbsp onion powder
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 Tbsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper

Same directions as above.

Yields: ~6 Tbsp

For the sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp melted bacon grease (mine is from sugar-free grass-fed beef bacon)
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 Tbsp full-fat coconut milk
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh oregano leaves
  • 1/2 – 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/4 tsp raw honey

In a small blender or food processor (I used my Ninja), combine all the ingredients except for the bacon grease. Once smooth, slowly pour in the bacon grease and blend. Adjust seasonings and creaminess as needed. Also, if the bacon flavor isn’t strong enough, feel free to add a bit more melted bacon grease.

Broccoli Bacon Salad

Broccoli Bacon Salad

It’s the point in the term where everything comes crashing down, and I’ll be busting my buns right up until the last day of the term. There’s A LOT to do, so much so that I feel like I’m suffocating a little bit, especially because I have my wedding ceremony to think about too (including writing vows, which I have yet to start). I wrap everything up for this term two days before my wedding and the day my family arrives, which is June 6. I know it will all come together, and even though it’s going to be a bit stressful and chaotic, it will be fine. Somehow, things always end up working out. I keep reminding myself to take things in stride, BREATHE, and take one day at a time. I also need to take advantage of my time and prioritize appropriately, which is sometimes easier said than done. Anyway, that’s that! I’ll be a-okay, but just needed to put it out there because it makes me feel better! Also, I am by no means complaining, so please don’t misinterpret my rant. I am very grateful and happy, but just a wee bit overwhelmed!

*******

Does anyone remember eating the broccoli salad that had bacon, raisins, sunflower seeds and a creamy, slightly sweet mayo dressing? It often made an appearance at our family gatherings when I was growing up and more often than not, I enjoyed it. I think nearly every mom in my hometown had the recipe too. I don’t know if it was shared at PTA meetings or in elementary school cookbooks, but so many women made it at social gatherings. I kid you not!

Anyway, I got to thinking about the salad recently because I had a bunch of broccoli in my refrigerator that needed to be used up, pronto. I didn’t have any mayo made and really wasn’t feeling a mayo-based dressing anyway, so revamped it as a slightly creamy vinaigrette. It turned out very well and I was surprised how much it tasted like the original salad. Honestly, I think it’s the bacon, sunflower seeds and raisins (or in my recipe, currants) that really make the salad taste the way it does. For those of you that remember the salad I’m referring to, see for yourself. For everyone else, enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped (peel & chop stems too)
  • 1/8 cup sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 4 slices good quality bacon, cooked & chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened dried currants (this brand is good)
  • 3-4 Tbsp raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2-3 tsp full-fat coconut milk (I like this brand or this brand)
  • 1/4 tsp raw honey
  • 1/8 tsp mustard powder
  • Himalayan sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the broccoli, onion, bacon, currants and sunflower seeds.
  2. In a separate small bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, olive oil, coconut milk, raw honey, mustard powder, sea salt and pepper.
  3. Pour dressing over mixture and stir well. Refrigerate at least 6-8 hours or overnight. Pull out of the fridge about 10 minutes before serving, to allow dressing to soften (it firms up in the fridge since it’s an olive oil based dressing).
  4. Enjoy with burgers, grilled chicken, steak, fish, etc. Anything really!

Broccoli Bacon Salad

Cobb Salad with Vinaigrette Dressing

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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

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Easter Eats 2013

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!

Look at all those daffodils in our back yard!
Look at all those daffodils in our back yard! Sun and green grass too! Hooray for spring!

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
  1. 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.
  2. Snip one of the corners from the baggie and pipe yolk mixture back into the egg cavity.
  3. Before serving, garnish with paprika, if using.
Small-batch deviled eggs.
Small-batch deviled eggs.

For the ham and glaze:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place ham in a foil-lined roasting pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  2. 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
  1. 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.
  2. Remove cinnamon stick and serve warm atop of ham.
Glazed ham with chutney, spinach salad and caramelized asparagus.
Glazed ham with chutney, spinach salad and browned asparagus.

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.

Easter dinner.
Easter dinner.

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!

28th Birthday Recap & Butter Pecan Ice Cream Recipe

Happy birthday to me!
Happy birthday to me!

As you probably know, my birthday was this past Saturday, and boy, was it a good one! First of all, I had a wonderful night’s rest, which included sleeping with my bedroom window open, and woke up to the sound of birds chirping outside. It was a refreshing start to my day and made me smile. Then, I got ready for yoga and headed over to my studio. There’s nothing like a sweaty, challenging power vinyasa class to get the day going.

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Root Whole Body. (Taken on iPhone).

After yoga, I came home and made myself a wonderful breakfast. You may have seen it on Facebook, but if not, here’s what I ate:

Birthday breakfast.
Birthday breakfast: US Wellness Meats sugar-free grass-fed beef bacon, pasture-raised eggs cooked in garlic n’ herb pasture butter, avocado, and red chard and tomato cooked in the bacon grease. Not pictured, Numi Organics chocolate puerh tea.

Then, I got a surprise phone call from my 87-year old grandma and 90-year old grandpa back in Michigan. It was so touching and wonderful to hear their voices. Apparently, my dad was on the phone with them earlier in the day and asked if they wanted to call me on my cell and wish me a happy birthday. I’m so glad he offered up the idea! I love my grandparents dearly and they’ve always been a big part of my life.

Next on my agenda, a pedicure! I treated myself to a little TLC at a salon/spa down the road from us — literally just a 5-minute walk away. Lucky for me, I had a $20 off any service coupon that they sent me for Valentine’s Day, so my 50-minute pedicure only cost $20 (plus tip). Such a steal, and my toes look tons better. It was much needed.

A sneaky picture, in the midst of my pedicure.
In the midst of my pedicure. (Taken on iPhone).
After: pretty coral toes, and smooth, moist feet and lower legs. Don't mind the flip-flop marks on my feet. (Taken on iPhone).
After: pretty coral toes and smooth, moist feet and lower legs. Don’t mind the flip-flop marks on my feet. (Taken on iPhone).

The day continued with a drive up to Cultured Caveman for some chicken tenders. I LOVE their chicken tenders. They are crave-worthy. They’re dipped in a thin layer of coconut flour, egg white and spices, and then fried in grass-fed beef tallow. Garnished with course salt and dipped in homemade ketchup and/or aioli, they are divine. If you live in Portland and have not tried their chicken tenders and other delicious food, do it! And try some of my date/nut treats while you’re there…hehe.

Mmm...hot tenders!
Mmm…hot tenders! (Taken on iPhone).
A chicken tender smile. (Taken on iPhone).
A chicken tender smile. (Taken on iPhone).

Next, grocery shopping at Whole Foods.

Afterward, I hung out a home and did a itty bitty amount of homework. Then, I decided I wasn’t having any more of that on my birthday and put it away.

For my birthday dinner, we went to Cafe Nell, one of our favorite restaurants in Portland. We drank the loveliest chardonnay I have ever tasted and shared egg on horseback, minus the cheese. This is asparagus with a sunny side up egg and sage brown butter. For dinner, I had NY strip with roasted brussel sprouts. My phone pictures were really bad in here, especially the one I tried to take of my entree, so I don’t have a picture of that.

Dim lighting, a cozy fire and European-esque windows. The atmosphere here is one of my favorite things about this place.
Dim lighting, a cozy fire and lots of windows. The European feel of this place is one of my favorite things about it. (Taken on iPhone).

After dinner, we came home and ate some homemade butter pecan ice cream that I made earlier in the day, and watched the final episode of season 1 Downton Abbey. I had been wondering what all the hype was about this show and kept hearing people talk about it. Jesse and I finally checked it out on Netflix a couple weeks ago and loved it! I’m bummed that we have to wait for season 2 to come out on DVD before we can watch it, but oh well. That’s the nature of most everything we watch. You know what’s really funny? Up until watching this show for the first time, I thought it was called, “Downtown Abbey.” Am I the only one?

I had such a lovely birthday and feel so blessed. I’m just sad that it went by so fast. Now, it’s just a memory, but a good memory indeed.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

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Birthday butter pecan ice cream, equipped with a candle.

Ingredients:

  • 1 14.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk (I used this brand)
  • 2 pasture-raised egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey (or more if you want it sweeter)
  • 1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • Dash of Himalayan sea salt
  • 1 cup coconut cream (I used this brand)
  • 3 Tbsp grass-fed butter
  • 1/2 cup raw pecan pieces

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the pecans and let toast, stirring occasionally for 3-5 minutes. Set aside to cool. The pecans will continue to absorb some of the butter while cooling.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk egg yolks, coconut milk, honey and sea salt together in a small saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut cream, vanilla and pecans. Place in the fridge to cool for a couple hours.
  3. Once chilled, add to ice cream maker and let churn for 17-20 minutes. Serve right away or empty into a container and store in the freezer.

Spicy Red Velvet Brownies

red velvet brownies

I’m not a big Valentine’s person and don’t care much about the pseudo holiday, but I still always end up doing a little something for Jesse. I think it’s because I was raised celebrating Valentine’s Day, both in school and at home, and a part of me still enjoys doing something cheesy or cute. What can I say? I don’t go all out though and always keep it low key. We usually have dinner at home with a special dessert, and I like to surprise Jesse with a few special dark chocolates from a local chocolatier. Jesse sometimes buys me flowers, but not always. He says he always wants to, but our Siamese cat, Mila, loves to eat them. And then get sick. We end up having to hide the flowers in the laundry closet when we’re not home because of her. We have a very small place too and aren’t able to make any part of our home off limits, except for closets. We can’t even have plants in our house, besides bamboo, because she’ll go to town on it.

This recipe was inspired by Elana’s Pantry Purple Velvet Torte. It was my first time making a dessert with beets, and I will say, it worked out very well. There’s still a little bit of beet flavor, but the honey tones it down and the cocoa makes for a nice complement. Additionally, these are incredibly moist. That would actually be how I’d describe the brownies if I could only pick one word. Maybe red (or reddish) too, if I could pick two words.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups red beets, chopped
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup grass-fed butter, melted
  • 4 pasture raised eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/3 cup homemade chocolate chips
Biggest beet ever. I only needed this big beet for the recipe because it yielded plenty on its own.
Biggest beet ever. I only needed this big beet for the recipe because it yielded so much.

Directions:

  1. Place beets inside a steamer basket in a pot, and cook for 15-20 minutes or until fork tender.
  2. Once done, add the beets to a high-speed blender with the vanilla and honey. Blend a couple minutes, or until smooth and well combined.
  3. Add the cinnamon, cayenne, sea salt, cocoa powder and homemade chocolate chips. Blend on high for a minute or so. Then, add the melted butter and blend again.
  4. If the beet mixture is still warm, which it most likely will be, temper the beaten eggs by mixing a little of the beet mixture into the eggs. Once mixed, pour the eggs into the blender. This will ensure you don’t end up with scrambled eggs in your brownies! Blend for another minute, or until mixed through.
  5. Grease an 8×8 pan and pour batter evenly into pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean (it’ll still be beet red though!). Let cool for at least 25 minutes before cutting, as it takes some time for the brownies to set up. If you cut into them too early, they will fall apart.
  6. Once cool, cut into squares or use cookie cutters to make shapes. I made heart shapes for Valentine’s Day.

red velvet brownies 2