Bean-Free Zucchini Hummus

The idea of zucchini hummus is nothing new to me, yet this is my first go at it. I’ve had cauliflower hummus before, which I remember liking, but I definitely like the zucchini-based version better. Zucchini has a neutral flavor and doesn’t need to be steamed beforehand, so it works extremely well and simplifies things. And, if you’re wondering about the no beans thing, keep in mind that it isn’t the beans (garbanzo beans, usually) that make hummus, hummus — it’s the tahini. This version has all the flavor of traditional hummus, minus the bloat. It’s less starchy too.

I have to laugh and reflect a little on the mention of the bloat thing because in my days as a vegetarian, there were numerous summers when my sister and I ate loads of homemade hummus. She was the skilled, creative hummus-maker and I always enjoyed the fruits of her labor. But, I consistently was left with a stomach ache afterward, yet I would continue to eat it day-in and day-out. Live and learn, right?

Meanwhile, I enjoyed this hummus with fresh veggies, sautéed greens, plantain chips, and even dolloped on top of eggs. There’s lots of ways to eat it!

Keep in mind, this hummus is a bit thinner than bean-based hummus because of the lack of starch. It will thicken a little after being in the refrigerator, but if you want your hummus to be thicker, feel free to experiment with ingredient ratios. But, know that even then, the texture will still be different.

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On a completely different note, please imagine rain drenching down on the massive Eagle Creek fire engulfing our beloved Columbia River Gorge here in Oregon (started by firecrackers during a no burn season). The fire has now covered 32,000 acres and is zero percent contained. It’s so smoky here in Portland and the city has been blanketed by ash “snow.” Really, there is just so much chaos going on in our country right now. Send the love and positive vibes, please!

Ingredients:

  • 3.5-4 cups zucchini, diced (peel if you like, but I left mine unpeeled)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • Black pepper, to taste

*Note: you can peel and add the garlic whole, but watch out for any pieces that miss the blade in the food processor. I had this happen before and ate a huge chunk of garlic!

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender, and blend until smooth. Scrape down the sides, if needed, and blend again. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired. If you like, garnish with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkling of smoked paprika before serving.

Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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Simple Beef and Veggies Sauté

 

beef and veggie saute 2

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

Simple Supper Friday: Italian Sausage “Fettuccine”

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Snow is coming down in Portland, or at least it was at the time I wrote this post on Thursday. I actually haven’t seen this much snow in the city since my first winter here, back in 2008. It’s beautiful, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn’t impact my early morning flight to Kentucky today. I have some buffer room to get there, as my seminar doesn’t start until Saturday morning, but the less hiccups, the better. Really though, I kinda wish the snow would have held off until next week, but it is what it is. The same can be said about this head cold that I got too. Quite the combo to get right before a weekend of travel, but I guess it makes it that much more of an adventure (well, minus the being sick part).

Meanwhile, enjoy this simple, satisfying meal, which was inspired by the cauliflower recipe I shared last week. Cheers and happy weekend!

Ingredients:

  • ~1 lb bulk Italian chicken sausage
  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter, separated
  • 1 large or 2 small/medium zucchini, noodled with a spiralizer (straight blade attachment)
  • 3 Tbsp blanched almond flour
  • 1.5 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dessicated garlic
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • Extra virgin olive oil for drizzling, optional

Directions:

  1. Melt 1/2 tbsp of grass-fed butter in a large pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the chicken sausage. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up large chunks with a spatula.
  2. Once sausage is browned, after 5-7 minutes or so, transfer to a large serving bowl and set aside.
  3. To the same pan, add the noodled zucchini and heat briefly over medium-low heat. After a couple minutes, transfer to the bowl with the sausage.
  4. Combine the almond flour, oregano, dessicated garlic, sea salt and pepper in a small bowl. Melt the remaining butter in the same pan over medium-low heat and then add the almond flour mixture.
  5. Stir mixture, allowing it to soak up the butter and continue to cook a few minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Sprinkle on top of the sausage and zucchini. Serve warm and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, if desired. Add more sea salt and pepper to taste, if needed. If you tolerate some dairy, you could also sprinkle on a bit of raw Parmesan cheese.

Yields: 2-3 servings

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: Meaty Ragu Sauce

 

meaty-ragu-sauce

I finally have a Simple Supper Friday meal for you all! It’s been a couple Fridays since I last posted one, so it’s about time I jump back on the wagon. This is a nice, hearty and meaty Ragu sauce, which comes together in a timely manner, allowing you to have dinner on the table in no time. We ate ours atop of zucchini noodles, since zucchini is in season right now, but it would be wonderful over spaghetti squash in the fall and winter as well. The sauce is even delicious on its own — like a thick stew.

On another note, Jesse and I leave for our little San Francisco trip this Sunday! I’m more than excited and ready to leave Portland for a few days. It’s my first time to San Francisco and California for that matter (with the exception of the San Fran airport). I’ve been wanting to go since I was a little girl and am thrilled that it’s finally happening. I’ll definitely be recapping about it and will probably even share some photos while I’m there. Also, as I mentioned in Wednesday’s post, I’ll be sharing photos and details from my recent wedding sometime soon too, so stay tuned!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Tbsp grass-fed beef tallow or other fat of choice
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 2 fresh spicy Italian chicken sausages, sliced
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 1 18 oz jar tomato puree (I used Middle Earth Organics)
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Dash of cayenne
  • 1/3 cup fresh oregano

Directions:

  1. Melt tallow in a large pan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute a couple minutes. Then, add the ground beef and sliced sausage. Break up ground beef with a spatula. Continue to cook for a few minutes. Then, add the mushrooms. Season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
  2. Once mushrooms have softened and beef is cooked through, add the tomato puree, tomato paste, basil, smoked paprika, cinnamon and cayenne. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and bring to a simmer.
  3. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once done, stir in fresh oregano.
  5. Serve atop of zucchini noodles.

Yields: 4-5 servings

Creamy Chicken Dijon

creamy chicken dijon updated

I am relieved to say that my exercise science midterm is over! It is such a relief to have that thing off my mind or at least not to have to study for it anymore. I admit that it is still on my mind a little bit. I can’t help but wonder how I did and have gone over some of the questions in my head (and even checked an answer in my book…don’t let me do that anymore. It made me upset!). I realized I made a couple dumb mistakes, but in the moment, I took a chance because I was unsure. Whatever. I know I passed and I studied my buns off, so hopefully it paid off and at least scored me a B. I’m pretty confident that I got at least that, but who knows, maybe I did even better!

Studying for that blasted exam is what the majority of my weekend consisted of. The weather was so nice and sunny, which made it challenging, but I took advantage of studying outside on the patio. Really, I just wanted to hang out outdoors, bum around on my bike and drink wine. I got the outdoors, did ride some on my bike (commuting), but didn’t drink wine. I needed clarity, so I stuck with kombucha and memory boost tea. As you probably know by now, I very rarely drink, but there’s something about warm weather that makes me want to, particularly when the weather first starts turning summery.

Jason’s event at Whole Foods on Saturday was a lot of fun and a nice break from studying. There ended up being a smaller group than expected because a couple people cancelled last minute and some didn’t show up, which I attribute to the warm weather, but it was a success among those there and nice to have a small group. Naturally, it ran over because there was a lot of questions and much to talk about in only one hour’s time. Everyone was very engaged and Jason was entertaining and brilliant, as always. Honestly, that guy cracks me up, but man he knows his stuff! It’s always a pleasure to listen to him speak. To all my readers and followers who have not bought his book, The Paleo Coach, I strongly encourage you to do so. His message and information is too valuable not to share.

Here are a couple pictures from the event. Ashley, Whole Foods Pearl District’s Healthy Eating Specialist and blogger at Craving4more, also put together a neat picture from the talk on her Instagram, which you can check out here.

The spread of paleo dishes that Ashley, the Healthy Foods Specialist made for the event. She also blogs over at Craving4more.
The spread of paleo food that Ashley, the Healthy Foods Specialist made for the event (with the exception of the date and honey-sweetened Stirs the Soul raw chocolate — my favorite!). She also blogs over at Craving4more.
Jason, doing what he does.
Jason, doing what he does.

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Meanwhile, I’m still really loving mustard, particularly Dijon. It makes a difference in so many recipes and is often the missing flavor I’m looking for. It tantalized my taste buds once again, in this recipe. Hope you enjoy it!

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Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp grass-fed beef tallow or fat of choice
  • 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts and/or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1.5 cups chopped broccoli
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tbsp Dijon mustard 
  • 3 Tbsp chicken bone broth
  • 1/2 cup full-fat coconut milk

Directions:

  1. Melt tallow in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic, and saute for a minute. Then, add the chicken and season with a bit of sea salt and pepper.
  2. Continue to cook for about 5-6 minutes, and then add the spices, carrots, broccoli and a bit more sea salt and pepper. Stir well and continue to saute.
  3. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, broth and Dijon. Add mixture to the chicken and vegetables; stir.
  4. Continue to cook for 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and vegetables are tender. The sauce will thicken up a bit as well.
  5. Serve as is or with steamed leafy greens, cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles.

Yields: 3 servings

Simple Supper Friday: Italian Beef Hash with Mashed Cauliflower

Italian cauliflower hash


This is definitely a meal that I threw together, but carefully and with purpose. I had an idea of what I wanted to create and freestyled my way through. These are often some of the best meals though, aren’t they? The hash almost gets sort of creamy once the tomato sauce is added and the flavor the seasonings create is wonderful. Served on top of cauliflower mash, this meal is an easy way to please. Feel free to add any other vegetables you like and adjust the seasonings to your taste.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1/2 Tbsp grass-fed ghee
  • 1 cup crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 medium zucchini or 2 small, sliced
  • 3 heirloom tomatoes, diced
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp ground fennel
  • 1/2 tsp ground sage
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup no-sugar added tomato sauce (I prefer this brand)
  • Few splashes of bone broth
  • Olives of choice for garnish, optional (I recommend Castelvetrano)

Beautiful and vibrant heirloom tomatoes

Directions:

  1. Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add meat to the pan and break up with a spatula. After browning for a few minutes, mix in the mushrooms. Continue to cook a few more minutes, or until mushrooms are softened and meat is cooked through.
  2. Add in the spices and remaining ingredients, except for the olives. Mix together well and let cook over medium-low heat.
  3. Once the zucchini has cooked and softened to your liking, and the sauce mixture has cooked down a little bit, remove the pan from the heat.
  4. Serve hash on top of mashed cauliflower and garnish with olives, if using.

For the cauliflower mash:

  • 1 head cauliflower, chopped into medium-sized florets (I used orange cauliflower)
  • 1-2 Tbsp grass-fed butter or ghee
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste
  1. Steam cauliflower florets until fork tender, about 10-12 minutes.
  2. Add cauliflower to the food processor with the butter or ghee, sea salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.

Italian Cauliflower hash 2