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

Pizza Burgers

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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

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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Simple Beef and Veggies Sauté

 

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It’s time for my trip home to Michigan! In fact, I left on a red-eye last night, and am currently sitting in the Detroit airport finishing this post. I have one more leg to get to my hometown of Alpena, but still have two hours to wait to catch the tiny plane there. I’m definitely tired and will probably need a nap later today. But, for now, I’m awake and drinking an Americano. Jesse has already been there for a week (he wanted to go for two weeks, but I decided to only go for one), so it was just the kitties and me last week, which is when I created this recipe.

Anyway, onto the food! It’s as simple as it gets, but the flavor is abundant. The coconut vinegar is what brings it all together, so don’t omit it. Whenever I feel like there’s a flavor missing, I usually just add coconut vinegar and it takes care of what was lacking. Truth be told, I’ve kinda had a crush on coconut vinegar for a little while now. The stuff is incredible. Also, the Maldon salt flakes at the end really make this dish wonderful too, but don’t let it be a deal breaker if you don’t have any. If you have avocado on hand, I recommend adding some slices on top as well because avocado is great with pretty much anything.

Cheers and enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp coconut oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 6-7 kale leaves, removed from stems and torn into pieces
  • 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • Several splashes of coconut vinegar 
  • Maldon salt flakes for garnish, optional

beef and veggie saute

Directions:

  1. Melt coconut oil to a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and stir with a wooden spoon. Let cook for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Next, add the ground beef and break up the meat with the spoon. Season to taste with a little sea salt and black pepper. Continue to cook meat for about 5-7 minutes or until all the meat is nearly brown.
  3. Then, add the sliced zucchini and stir. Allow zucchini to cook a couple minutes and then reduce the heat to medium-low and add the kale and tomatoes.
  4. Stir well and add the coconut vinegar and cayenne, and season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Cook a minute or two more or until kale has softened a little bit.
  5. Serve and garnish with Maldon salt flakes on top. I also recommend avocado slices if you have some on hand.

Yields: 3 servings

Paleo Wraps Giveaway!

Paleo Wraps

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!

Remember my recent review of Paleo Wraps? If you recall, I raved about the wraps and gave them two thumbs up. Many of you expressed interest in trying the wraps, but stated that you couldn’t find them in your area or didn’t want to order them online and pay for shipping. Well, guess what? One of you will get to try the wraps…for free! The folks over at Paleo Wraps kindly agreed to do a giveaway on my blog for a single pack! Thanks, Paleo Wraps!

So, what do you need to do to enter? Well, I’m keeping things simple, so all you need to do is leave a comment on this post and tell me this:

What is the first thing you will make with your Paleo Wraps if you are the selected winner?

If it were me, I’d be making my curried banana wraps again in a flash. Not to toot my own horn, but these puppies are amazing!

Please know, you have until Sunday, September 1st at 11:59 p.m. PST to enter. Any entries after that time will be disregarded. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Monday, September 2nd. Also, this giveaway is limited to U.S. residents only. Thanks and good luck!

Simple Supper Friday: Chorizo Sauce with Mashed Cauliflower

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Happy Friday, everyone! For whatever reason, I feel a bit lost for words today, so won’t be saying too much. It’s just one of those days. I am definitely glad it’s the weekend though and am looking forward to having brunch with my dear friend, Laura, after work tomorrow. We’re going to Besaw’s — no surprise there. It’s only my favorite breakfast place that I’ve mentioned over and over again, right?

Meanwhile, if you like chorizo and spicy seasonings, this recipe will be right up your alley. It’s got a nice smoky kick that tastes divine with the buttery mashed cauliflower. It’s pretty much a match made in heaven.

Cheers!

For the spicy chorizo sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed tallow
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 fresh pork chorizo sausages, sliced
  • 1.5 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle powder (add more or less depending on spice preference)
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 tsp apple cider vinegar (add more if sauce tastes too spicy for you)
  • 2 heirloom tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chicken broth, preferably homemade
  • 1 cup green beans, cut into 2-inch pieces

Directions:

  1. Melt tallow in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and stir.
  2. After a minute or so, add the ground beef and chorizo. Break up the beef with a spatula and continue to cook.
  3. Once the meat is nearly done browning, add the chili and chipotle powder, smoked paprika, and sea salt and pepper. Cook for another minute and then add the apple cider vinegar, broth, tomatoes and green beans.
  4. Continue to cook for another 3-5 minutes or until green beans are tender. Serve atop of mashed buttered cauliflower (recipe below).

Yields: 4 servings

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For the mashed cauliflower:

  • 1 medium head cauliflower, chopped into florets
  • 3 Tbsp grass-fed butter (don’t skimp!)
  • Sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Place cauliflower in a pot with a steamer basket and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the cauliflower for about 10-11 minutes or until soft.
  2. Place the cooked cauliflower in the food processor with the butter and sea salt. Process for 20-30 seconds and then scrape down the sides with a spatula. Add more salt or butter if desired. Then, process again until smooth.