Monday, April 21, 2014

Fresh Bacon Clam Chowder

My husband is a big clam chowder fan. Being from the Seattle area enjoying chowder is a rite of passage. Truth is, I have never been a big fan. That is until this recipe happened. My friend posted a seafood chowder and I modified to to a clam version, and of course I added bacon, because . . . bacon. . .obviously. The result brought me to the chowder enjoying side of life, and now I can claim my Seattleite status with pride.
* Compared to some of my other recipes this takes a bit more prep time, but you won't be sorry. It is worth it!

Fresh Bacon Clam Chowder
3 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion diced
3 cloves garlic minced
3 large carrots sliced
1 package of bacon
4 cups chicken or seafood stock
1 can full fat coconut milk
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 51oz can clams
2-3 tbsp arrowroot powder
salt and pepper to taste
cauliflower mash made from 2 heads of cauliflower (click here for directions)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

Bacon:
1. Line a baking sheet, with a lip on it, with foil. 
2. Lay out strips of bacon on the foil. 
3. Bake for 20 min. 
4. When bacon is done, remove strips from sheet and set the sheet aside so that the grease can cool. This will allow you to wod up the foil and the grease at the same time creating a super ease clean up. 
5. Chop bacon into bits.


Chowder:
1. As bacon is cooking, heat oil over med-high heat. 
2. Add onion and cook for 3-5 min. 
3. Add garlic and carrots and cook a few min more until the carrots just start to soften. 
4. Add stock and coconut milk, whisk until combined. 
5. Add salt and pepper to taste and bring to a simmer for 5 min.
6. Ladle out about 1/2 cup of the juice and add the arrowroot powder. This will allow you to mix the powder completely so there are not any chunks. 
7. Return this mixture back to the pot. 
8. Add parsley, clams and bacon. Bring to a simmer for 2-3 minutes. 
9. Pour chowder into a 9x13 baking pan. 
10. Gently spoon cauliflower mash over the top of your chowder. Some will feel like it is sinking, but some will remain on the top. Smooth out the top as best you can. 
11. Bake for 10 min. 
12. Turn broiler on and broil for 3-5 min. 
13. Let stand for a few min before serving. 
14. ENJOY!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Fresh Cauliflower Mash

This recipe is so easy I decided to include it in my Friday tips, not as a recipe. It is simple and can be used as a foundation for another meal or as a delicious side. 
*Stay tuned for an upcoming Bacon Clam Chowder that will knock your socks off. 

Fresh Cauliflower Mash
2 heads cauliflower
1/2 cup full fat canned coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste
optional: 2 tbsp butter or ghee

Directions:
1. Wash and chop cauliflower into large pieces 1-2 inches should do the trick. 
2. In a large pot bring steam cauliflower until tender- about 10 minutes. 
3. Drain cauliflower
4. If you have an immersion blender, put cauliflower back into pot with coconut milk, salt, pepper and butter (if using). Blend until cauliflower is smooth. You may need to add more milk if necessary. (You can also use a hand masher)
5. If you are using a food processor follow simply add all ingredients to the food processor and blend until smooth. 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Fresh Baked Grapefruit

Oh. My. Word . . . my new obsession- baked grapefruit. Dude. Amaz-tastic. Yup I made up a new word for it. It is that yummy. 

When I was little I would have a grapefruit for breakfast, sprinkled with sugar on top of it. (No wonder I was hungry an hour later) Since switching to paleo, and not even having sugar in the house, I have missed out on grapefruit. But our weekly Bountiful Basket delivery brought me some beautiful grapefruit,  so I looked up some recipes. I combined a little of this one and a little of that, and landed on this concotion. A bonus to the flavor is how lovely it looks when it is served! 

Fresh Baked Grapefruit

Grapefruit
Cinnamon
Nuts of Choice

Cut grapefruit in half and using a serrated knife loosen the grapefruit from the membranes. Place grapefruit on a baking sheet or a shallow baking pan. Sprinkle each 1/2 with cinnamon. Roughly chop nuts and place on top. I have tried a few type of nuts and my favorite is pecans, although pictured below is walnuts. Place under broiler for 4-6 min or until the tops start to brown. Stay close and watch to avoid burning. Remove from oven and enjoy!



Looking for another recipe for grapefruit- check out this side from a previous post. Unique and tasty!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Good/Bad Egg?

A few years ago my Dad thought it would be fun to buy some cute chicks for the grandchildren for Easter. The chicks are now full chickens, and they are still pecking away at his yard and garden. The grandkids are less interested in playing with them, but we sure do LOVE getting fresh eggs from their nests. The tricky part at times is to figure out how long you can keep the eggs since they don't come in a nice labeled package. Check out this blog post for an easy trick to figure out if you have a good or a bad egg on your hands. I especially love the smiley faces on the eggs. Cute. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Food for Complaining Thoughts

This blog is hot off the press, and it hit home for me. I am a happy person overall, but as I read this article I found myself thinking: Ahhh! That is totally me, I need to do this. I am starting in small steps with one day of no complaining. I am thinking about my secret thoughts too. What a great challenge. Check out the post here. Maybe you will be inspired to drop the complaints too! 

Monday, March 24, 2014

Fresh Key Lime Coconut Bites

Pinterest is pretty awesome. For creative minds, it allows us to dream big while we are waiting for a doctor appointment, riding in a car, or at an awkward dinner party. The reality is most of the things I pin are items that will remain on my board never to see the light of day. And of course there are many Pinterest "fails" that I could discuss, but that is just depressing. Every once in a while when the stars align, I find a gem. This is one of those recipes. I changed up the ingredients to my taste, but was inspired by my pinning. They are easy, delicious, and perfect to take to a party!

Fresh Key Lime Coconut Bites

1 Cup nuts of choice (I choose a variety of macadamia nuts, pecans, and almonds)
1 1/2 cup pitted dates
Zest and Juice from 3 key limes
1/2 Cup unsweetened coconut

Using a food processor, chop nuts.  You are looking for little bits, but not a paste. Add the dates, lime juice and zest. Pulse until the dates are chopped and mixtures begins to clump. Shape into 1/2 inch balls. Roll each ball in coconut. Enjoy!

*I actually ended up chopping everything by hand and mixed it together. My food processor gummed up when I added the dates. I need to get a new one, but if you don't have one, this recipe works great with some extra chopping on your part. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Spaghetti Squash Tips


Previously, I posted directions on how to make your spaghetti squash in the microwave. If you are in a pinch for time, this is definitely the way to go. But if you have the time to use your oven, you will be happy with the added flavor.

Preheat oven to 375. 

Cut your squash in half. Check out this post for a tip on how to do this safely. Remove the seeds. 

Slather olive oil over the flesh of the squash. Season with salt and pepper. 

Place halves in an oven safe dish.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until a fork inserts easily into the flesh. 

(The color of this "before" picture is more orange than the actual flesh. When baking it yourself there will not be much of a color difference in the before and after)


Remove from oven. Using a fork scrape squash to obtain the "noodles". Add to your recipe or serve with a little butter and salt. Enjoy!