Saturday, December 14, 2013

Mexican Chicken, Rice and Beans

(Fair warning: this recipe is not paleo (it contains rice and beans), but it is gluten-free).  
This dish is inspired by my mom, who is an awesome cook and a master at throwing together crockpot recipes that always taste amazing.  Most of her crockpot recipes are not written down, and they're rarely the same each time she makes them, but she has made a dish like this one several times, and both Rem and I loved it every time!  

This one-pot meal is super delicious, EASY, and very filling.  It's great for when you're craving Mexican but don't want to take the time to prepare every component separately.  If you don't tolerate or like beans, you could easily add more veggies (peppers,  in their place or just leave them out.  I would imagine you could also replace the rice with riced cauliflower.  You could also change it up to make this an Indian dish rather than Mexican by swapping the spices below for turmeric, cumin, coriander, garlic, ginger, and curry powder, and swapping the beans for chickpeas.  Let me know if you try out any variations on this recipe!    

Mexican Chicken, Rice and Beans

2 1/2 lb uncooked chicken breasts or thighs, fresh (or frozen then thawed)
32 oz. can diced tomatoes, with juice
1/2 c salsa (I used Mrs. Renfro's habenero salsa- a super hot salsa!)
1 onion, diced
Sprinkle liberally over the top: 
garlic powder

Cook the above ingredients on HIGH in the crockpot for 4 hours (anywhere between 3 and 6 hours would work).

Then add:
2 cans drained and rinsed black beans
1 c uncooked basmati rice (I used Trader Joe's brand; you could use ANY type of rice for this)

Continue to cook on HIGH for 2 hours.  


Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sauteed Radishes and Onions

This recipe may sound odd, but it's my new obsession.  In our CSA box the past few weeks we've been getting watermelon radishes.  They look like this:

I'm not a huge fan of raw radishes, but I did some exploring online and found out that radishes can be sauteed and are very delicious this way.  I came up with this recipe to use those interesting new vegetables and I think I could eat it every day....

Sauteed Radishes and Onion

1 sweet onion
2-3 large watermelon radishes
2 T grass fed butter

Dice onion.  Cut radish into bite-sized pieces.  Add butter to a large skillet and heat on medium high.  Once the butter is melted, add the onion and saute until it starts to brown a bit.  Then add the radishes, as well as some salt and pepper, and continue to cook until the radishes being to soften.  Taste the radishes to see if you like them this way or continue cooking until they are even softer.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Creamy Tomato and Shrimp Soup

Last weekend my sister came to visit me for a cooking and baking extravaganza!  We both love to bake, cook, and eat delicious food, so we had an amazing time going through our "to make" recipe files and choosing some new dishes to cook.  We cooked turnips with bacon, onion, and turnip greens.  We roasted spaghetti squash.  We baked banana cardamom bread, pear cobbler muffins, and brownie bites.  And we made the most delicious dinner: homemade sushi and this creamy tomato and shrimp soup!  It's sweet, spicy, and full of tender vegetables and shrimp.  The soup was perfect on the cool fall day when we made it, and as most soups are, it was great the next day as leftovers.  

Creamy Tomato and Shrimp Soup

Adapted from Food and Wine

1 T coconut oil
2 onions, chopped
2 green bell peppers, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
32 oz. can diced tomatoes
5 oz. can tomato paste
2 cups chicken stock
15 oz. can coconut milk (full fat)
2 lb. raw shrimp, thawed (we used medium, frozen, wild caught shrimp from Meijer)
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper (we didn't measure- just put in a bunch)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat the coconut oil over medium heat.  Add onion, bell pepper, and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables start to soften and are fragrant, about 10-15 minutes.  Add the red pepper flakes, tomatoes, tomato paste, and chicken stock.  Let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Pour in the coconut milk, continuing to simmer for about 5 minutes.  Then add shrimp and cook for about 3-5 minutes more, or until shrimp are cooked through.  Just before serving, stir in the pepper, lemon juice, and cilantro.  Serve hot!  We ate it by itself but this would be delicious over rice or cauliflower rice.  

Monday, September 30, 2013


I've been making homemade mayonnaise pretty regularly for quite a while now.  It is the perfect condiment to use as a salad dressing, on top of eggs, as a sauce for meat, as a dip for raw veggies, or as a dressing for chicken salad.

It wasn't HARD to make, but required a bit of patience to let the oil drip slowly into the egg as you mixed with the immersion blender.  I recently discovered a new recipe for homemade mayonnaise on The Healthy Foodie that has revolutionized my mayonnaise making!  You don't have to wait for an egg to come to room temperature.  You don't have to slowly drip the oil in.  Update your recipe file now to include this SUPER easy mayonnaise recipe!  The recipe calls for lemon/lime juice and light tasting olive oil, but I have subbed in equal amounts of apple cider vinegar (for the lemon/lime juice) and avocado oil (for the light olive oil) with equally delicious results.  If you haven't tried making your own mayonnaise, I encourage you to go for it!  You won't be disappointed!
Below are some mayonnaise flavors we regularly make and enjoy:

Roasted Red Pepper mayonnaise: after making the mayonnaise, add 4 jarred roasted red peppers, 2 cloves garlic and 1/2 tsp garlic powder.  Blend until peppers are completely blended into the mayonnaise.

Chipotle mayonnaise: after making the mayonnaise, add 4-5 adobo peppers (I use canned ones and rinse them before adding them to the mayonnaise).  Blend until peppers are completely blended into mayonnaise

Garlic and rosemary mayonnaise: after making the mayonnaise, add 1 T chopped fresh rosemary, 3 cloves fresh garlic, and 1/4 tsp coarse salt.  Blend until garlic is completely blended into mayonnaise.

Cilantro mayonnaise: Cilantro Mayonnaise

Curry mayonnaise: after making mayonnaise add (I use the curry mayonnaise in my Curry Chicken Salad) 3 T curry powder, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp garlic poweder, and 1/4 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Blend until all spices are mixed in.

Paleo Fruit Pizza

My mom has always made THE BEST fruit pizza- you know, the kind with a chewy sugar cookie crust (my mom made hers with lot of butter and a secret ingredient-cream of tartar-which made it even better than using store bought cookie dough).  Needless to say, when I cut gluten and refined sugar out of my diet, traditional fruit pizza was out.  For a long time now I've thought about trying to make a paleo version of fruit pizza and with Rem's encouragement I finally got around to it!  The crust is a rich, crumbly short bread, spread with a thin layer of coconut frosting, then topped with cooked autumn fruit.  In the spirit of fall flavors, I added some cinnamon and cardamom to each component as well.  The remnants in this picture?  Yeh, that's all that was left after the day I made it.  Needless to say, this satisfied my craving for fruit pizza.  I have to say, my mom's is still the best, but this one comes in a close second!  Now Rem and I are playing a game of chicken, slowly stealing small bites since neither of us wants to be the one to eat the last piece.  I have a feeling it will disappear tonight...

Paleo Fruit Pizza

½ c melted coconut oil
5 T maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch salt
½ c coconut flour
¼ c arrowroot starch/powder
1 tsp each cinnamon and cardamom

Mix all ingredients with a fork.  Let sit 5 minutes or until slightly thickened.  Press into pie pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.  When it's done, the crust should be JUST beginning to brown around the edges.  Let crust cool, then frost and pour fruit on top. 

¼ c canned coconut milk
¼ c melted coconut butter (warm, but not hot)
1 T raw honey
1 tsp each cinnamon and cardamom

Beat with electric mixer until smooth.  Spread onto crust once it is cool.

Fruit Topping:
2 pears
4 plums
1 apple
1 T raw honey
1 tsp each cinnamon and cardamom

Chop fruit into small pieces and saute over medium heat in 1 T butter.  Add 1 T raw honey and cinnamon and cardamom while sauteing.  Cook until fruit is soft.  Let cool before pouring on crust.  

Monday, September 2, 2013

Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash

I spent a long time trying to come up with a creative name for this recipe, but in the end I decided to just call it what it is.  Sometimes simple is better, right?  I combined some of the amazing produce from our CSA share this week to make this yummy dish that is refreshing yet filling.  

Tomato Basil Spaghetti Squash

1 large spaghetti squash, cooked and cooled (I recommend just making it a day ahead of time)
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c fresh basil, chopped 
2 cloves garlic, minced
freshly ground pepper (about 8 grinds)

In a large bowl, combine cooked and cooled spaghetti squash, tomatoes, basil, garlic, and pepper.  Before serving, add a sprinkle of sea salt.  Keeps in the refrigerator 1-2 days.  Serves 8 (large servings!)

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Beef and Sauerkraut

Although sauerkraut is mostly known for it's role in the classic New Year's Day "Pork and Sauerkraut," it's too delicious not to include in other dishes at other times of the year. This easy meal is perfect for a weeknight when you don't have a lot of time to cook, or on the weekend when you want to cook up a BIG batch of food for the week.  In the latter case, just double the recipe and you'll be good to go!

Beef and Sauerkraut

2 lb. grass fed ground beef
1 onion, diced
freshly ground pepper
1 lb. sauerkraut (from a jar, with cabbage and salt as the only ingredients)

Brown beef and onion in skillet until beef is cooked through.  Add sauerkraut and cook on medium high for about 10 minutes more, or until sauerkraut is hot.  Enjoy!  Yes, it's that easy!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Food in Seattle and Portland!

This summer, Rem and I traveled out west to visit Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon!  We did lots of sightseeing, walking, hiking, and ate wonderful food!  I could go on and on about all of the amazing things we did, and even have about 1,200 pictures to share (I can't wait to start scrapbooking this trip!), but in keeping with the theme of this blog, I'm going to focus on the food.  Being so close to the water, we made sure to eat lots of fresh, local seafood.  With all of the options available to us, I was even able to seek out many paleo/gluten-free friendly restaurants.  In Seattle, we rented an apartment with a full kitchen so we were able to do our own grocery shopping and prepare a lot of our own meals in the apartment.  It was so important to us to be able to do this, because I don't think either of our bodies could have handled eating out EVERY meal.  That being said, we also splurged a little at some well-known local joints that we could just not pass up!  

We stayed about a block from the famous Pike Place Market, Seattle's original farmer's market that was founded in 1907.  We walked around the market every day we were in Seattle.  It's just incredibly how much fresh, local food the market has.  There are also many artists who sell their work, and tons of beautiful, fresh flowers.  On a tour of the market, we learned about the history of the market and the fact a portion of the vendor fees goes towards supporting 4 different market foundations: a preschool, a clinic, a senior center, and a food bank.  How cool is that!  I would love to be able to shop there every day...  

A view of one small portion of the market.

Fresh fish at Pike Place Market!

We bought a whole, 5 lb. salmon at Pike Place!  We cooked this on our second night in Seattle.  Made a foil pouch for it, rubbed the salmon with a bit of coconut oil, salt, pepper, thyme, and placed some thinly sliced lemons on top.  Enclosed the salmon in the foil pouch and baked at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  

On the side: Fresh green beans and mushrooms from Pike Place, with coconut oil, salt, pepper, and thyme.  Baked at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.  

Our salmon, fresh from the oven.  This was the best fish I've ever eaten!  It literally melted in your mouth and was so fresh and flavorful.  
Mussels in a tomato and white wine broth at the Ballard Seafood Festival.  Rem also had alligator on a stick, but we forgot to take a picture!  
I had seen this restaurant recommended on the blog Nom Nom Paleo and had wanted to try it out, so when a local CrossFitter recommended it as one of her favorite restaurants in the area, that sealed the deal!  All of the food served here comes from within a 360 mile radius of the restaurant.  I was impressed by their commitment to sustainability and local food, as well as indications of the menu of which items are gluten-free!  The food here was absolutely incredible.  I would definitely go back for the food.  I wouldn't recommend going there if you're in a rush, however, because the service was very slow.  Oh well, we had nowhere else to be so we just dealt with it and enjoyed the food!

Super creamy deviled eggs!

Rootbeer glazed pork belly with baked beans.  All I can say is... wow!  Neither Rem or I had ever tried pork belly, and this one blew us away.  The top layer of fat was crispy and caramelized, followed by the melt in your mouth, smoky and sweet pork underneath.  I need to try to replicate this at home...

Rem got the Lamb with a Panzanella (bread) and stone fruit (peaches and cherries) salad.  I don't usually like lamb, but this one was to die for.  Tender and not too gamey.  Perfectly cooked.  

Rem wasn't a huge fan of this side dish but I was obsessed... Roasted whole head of cauliflower with flora cheese, hazelnuts, and arugula.  I don't normally eat cheese but I just couldn't pass this up.  The combination of sweet roasted cauliflower, creamy, melted, salty cheese and crunchy hazelnuts was just perfect!  

Sauteed greens with garlic.  Not the star of the show, but very good.  

Mussels with bay leaf, white wine, and fennel pollen.  Look at his portion size.  Holy mussels!

For dessert: "Turtle" caramel apple.  We passed by the window of the Rocky Mountain Candy Factory about 10 times earlier in the day, and the caramel apple were just calling our names.  We couldn't resist getting one after dinner!  Caramel, pecans, and dark chocolate... so good.  

Rem's leftover (supplemented by groceries from Whole Foods) breakfast: Salmon, eggs, sweet potato hash with green beans, zucchini and peppers.  

My leftover breakfast: Salmon, cauliflower with flora cheese and hazelnuts, greens with garlic. 

A journal in our apartment was filled with recommendations and musings from other tenants who stayed there.  Every single person recommended a Pike Place Market bakery called Piroshky Piroshky, saying it had the best pastries they had ever tried and it was a MUST do in Seattle.  Well, after much debate about how wrecked I would be after eating a gluten-filled treat, actually standing outside the bakery and taking in the aroma of those pastries made my decision easy.  Sometimes you just decide that "it's worth it."  Although the decision of what to try was tough, our decision to share the Cinnamon Cardamom Braid turned out to be an excellent one!  The whole pastry- the WHOLE THING- had the texture of the inside of a cinnamon roll.. gooey, melty, warm, cinnamony...     

If you want to try a variety of restaurants and variety of dishes in a new city, check out the Happy Hours!  Appetizers are usually discounted, so you can get more bang for your buck!  On our 4th day is Seattle, out first stop was Elliott's Oyster house, which had 75 cent oysters!  Rem LOVES oysters, and I had never tried them, so we headed down to the water front to see what Elliott's was all about.  

We sat at the bar and got to watch the chefs shuck oysters!  Rem got to enjoy his fill of oysters because, well, let's just say I tried my first- and last- oyster that day!  It tasted like straight ocean water.  Apparently this is not a taste I enjoy.  

Our next happy hour stop was Japonessa, a sushi restaurant recommended by our Pike Place Market tour guide.  Conveniently, it was located 1 block from our apartment.  

Rem got the sushi!

I tried the ceviche: raw scallops, shrimp, and octopus with red onion, tomatoes, and lemon juice, served over crispy taro root chips.  Loved this dish!  

After leaving Seattle, we set off to hike in Central Washington and the Columbia River Gorge.  This time of year you can find fresh berry stands ALL OVER Washington and Oregon.  We stopped at one that had the biggest blueberries I've ever seen!  They were amazing!

After hiking for a few days, our next stop was Portland, Oregon.  As I researched prior to our trip, I had discovered a Paleo Food Cart in Portland called "Cultured Caveman," so we made a point to find it while we were there.  The food was delicious, and it felt good knowing we were eating something without an added preservatives or foods that would negatively effect our bodies.  

Mini Meatballs with Heart and Liver, served with Broccoli and Brussels Sprout Mash.  Very satisfying!  

Brazilian Pulled Chicken with Sweet Potato Mash.  Rem enjoyed this one a lot!

Gingered Carrot Kale Salad.  Fresh and light.  Great summer side dish!

Enjoying our paleo eats on a park bench.  
Yes, right after eating our paleo lunch we headed to the most non-paleo place you could imagine: Voodoo Doughnut.  One more place that we simply could not pass up.  It seemed to us like a "must do" while in Portland.

I guess that's what everyone else thought too... we waited in line for 40 minutes!  

No, this was not a healthy choice.  Yes, it was worth it!

"Triple chocolate penetration doughnut: chocolate cake doughnut with chocolate frosting and coco-puffs!"  Rem's choice.  The verdict: very tasty, but the coco-puffs were overkill.  

"McMinnville Cream doughnut: raised yeast doughnut filled with Bavarian cream with maple frosting on top and two eyeballs and a mustache."  My choice.  The verdict: I cannot put into words how good this was.  In a past life, maple glazed doughnuts were my favorite and anything with cream filling was a no-brainer.  I channeled my inner "fat kid" as I savored this...  Turns out when you don't eat sugar or gluten (or at least in my case), treats with sugar and gluten are very overwhelming to the taste buds.  So luckily, a few bites was enough to satisfy!
Another restaurant I had researched before coming to Portland was "Dick's Kitchen."  I was attracted by the grass-fed beef, but literally everything we tried was wonderful.  I cannot recommend this place enough!

Venison lentil chili.  

Naked grass-fed burger served with coleslaw.

A variety of house made dipping sauces: ketchup, bbq sauce, chipotle mayonnaise, roasted garlic mayonnaise, thai vinaigrette.

Baked sweet potato fries.  Amazing, especially dipped in our sauces!

Yummy veggie salad with grilled chicken.  

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Peach Cobbler (no gluten, no sugar)

I'm slightly obsessed with small bowls and spoons.  I love eating out of them and with them, and I especially love baking in these "cocottes"!  They're tiny crocks that hold about 1 1/2 cups.  I haven't made anything in them for a while now, but last night I seized the opportunity to make some mini desserts!  Our produce share from our CSA this week included fresh, ripe, organic peaches!  So yummy!  Well it's hard to eat that many fresh peaches before they go bad, so I asked Rem what kind of "baked good" sounded good with peaches.  Peach cobbler was his answer!  Fast forward to 1 1/2 hours later, and the house was filled with the wonderful smell of fresh peaches baking.  

I made this recipe in 4 small crocks, but you could also use ramekins.  Or, you could double the recipe and bake it in a 8x8 baking dish or a pie dish.  You could also use another type of fruit, such as apples, pears, or berries.  This recipe is already gluten and sugar-free, but you could also make it dairy-free by using coconut oil and coconut milk instead of grass fed butter and milk.  I hope you enjoy this comforting cobbler as much as we did!

Peach Cobbler

Adapted from Paleo Comfort Foods

6 ripe, organic peaches, peeled and cut into small pieces
1/4 c coconut flour
90 g pecans, finely chopped (if you don't have a food scale, measure out about 1 cup of whole pecans, then finely chop them)
1 tsp baking powder
1 T cinnamon
1/4 c melted, grass fed butter (you could also use coconut oil- I actually used about 1/8 cup butter and 1/8 c coconut oil because I didn't have enough butter)
1/4 c whole, grass fed milk OR 1/4 c coconut milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. First, melt your butter or coconut oil.  Use a bit of it to grease 4 mini crocks or ramekins (dishes that hold about 1 1/2 cups).  Let it cool a bit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.  
2. Peel and dice your peaches, then divide them evenly into the crocks.  
3. Chop pecans.
4. Combine pecans, coconut flour, baking powder, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  
5. Pour melted butter into dry mixture, then add the milk and vanilla.  Stir the entire mixture together.  It seems thin at first but thickens up quickly!  You will end up with a thick mixture that you can scoop onto the peaches.
6.  Divide the topping evenly among the crocks, spreading it smooth on top of the peaches.
7.  Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour. 
8.  Eat warm!  Save any leftovers, covered, in the refrigerator.