Monday, April 28, 2014

Fresh Vanilla Chia See Pudding

Well, the CrossFit open came and went this year. A handful of the women at our gym participated. We didn't have any expectations or goals of making it to regionals. We simply wanted to be in the sandbox and play with the big kids. It was awesome. Many of our members found they were stronger than they thought and had skills they didn't know existed. It was also amazing to see the women at our box support each other! So often our worst critiques come from other women, but not at our gym. So at the end of the 5 weeks, my friend and I hosted a brunch to celebrate. One of the ladies brought this recipe and it just about changed my life. So stinkn' easy and so versatile! Not to mention bowl licking good! I have been having fun changing up the ingredients and toppings, and I am sure you will do the same. 

Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding
1 1/4 cups coconut milk
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup chia seeds
1. Add ingredients to a bowl or a Tupperware dish.
2. Mix together. 

3. Refrigerate minimum 3 hours or overnight.
*Lemon option: Add 1/8 tsp zest and 1 tsp lemon juice 
Enjoy the pudding alone, or with fruit on top. Canned pineapple makes for an easy addition. Pictured here, I used some fresh strawberries. You really can't go wrong!

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)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. 

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.

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

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

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!

Friday, February 28, 2014

Brussels Sprouts Tips

Brussels sprouts are notorious for wrinkling many noses as people say, "oh I don't like them". I was in that camp for quite awhile, until I learned how to cook them properly. . . with bacon. I mean really, anything cooked with bacon is good right? Since then I have graduated to other forms of preparations that don't include bacon. I found this little trick to help when sautéing and it works like a charm. 

Rinse brussels sprouts and remove any unwanted leaves. 

Cut each in half. Using the tip of your knife cut into the stem of each sprout. This will allow an even heating and cooking of your little veggie nuggets. 

Heat oil of choice in pan (I used coconut oil). Start process with cut side facing down, cooking on medium-high heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. I also added lemon pepper and a bit of lemon juice as I sauteed. After a few minutes flip each to their back side (as pictured) and continue to cook for 3-5 min more. Your sprouts will be done when they have softened a bit and are slightly browned. Remove from heat and enjoy!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fresh Amazing Shrimp

I love to be outdoors. When I was a newlywed one of our first "disagreements" was about who was going to take care of the outside of the house and who was going to take care of the inside. You see, I grew up with a Dad who had a green thumb, and then some. One year he created a contraption so that he could sift all the rocks out of his garden. Some of you may be thinking- why?? I of course thought- genius!!! The soil in that little spot of the earth is so amazing, I could roll in it, and maaaybe I have, but that is another story. I also love to be in the kitchen cooking. So when I came across this recipe that combined two of my loves - being outdoors (grilling) and cooking I was sold. I feel like food cooked outside tastes better. Maybe it is the fresh air or the simplicity of the cooking method. Either way, it is a good thing. 

Then I made this shrimp. . . and I was on another level. Seriously the best shrimp I have ever made. I don't want to be one of those people who ruin a movie when they say "this is the funniest movie ever- I was crying laughing!". You then proceed to enter the theater expecting to be LOLing the whole time, only to be disappointed because you were just chuckling. (Thanks ticket taker man- I have still not forgotten you) But just take my word for it- this shrimp is amazing. I have made it many times, for various people and their reaction is the same: oh yum, mmmm, wow. If you are ready for a similar reaction, get your shrimp and skewers ready. You are in for a treat!

Fresh Amazing Shrimp
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp hot pepper sauce
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
2 pounds large shrimp, peeled and deveined with tails attached

In a mixing bowl combine oil, parsley, lemon juice, hot sauce, garlic, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper. Stir until combined. Reserve a small amount of this mixture for basting later. In a Ziploc bag combine the rest of the mixture and shrimp. Marinate in the refrigerator for 2 hours. 

Soak skewers in water for at least 15 minutes before using them so they don't burn up on the grill. 

Preheat grill on a medium-low heat. 

Thread shrimp onto skewers. Pierce the end near the tail and the other end near the head. (As shown on picture below) Discard marinade and Ziploc bag. 

BBQ shrimp for 3-5 minutes per side, until opaque. Be sure to frequently baste as you are grilling with the reserved marinade. 

Serve and enjoy!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Fresh Meatloaf

This is a recipe that I frequently make. It is one of those, "I need to go to the grocery store and only have a few ingredients in the fridge" type of meals. It isn't necessarily the prettiest dish, but what it lacks in beauty it holds in taste. One of the best things about having your own blog is that all your recipes are online. This means you can pull them up on your phone in a snap. The other day I tried to pull up my meatloaf and couldn't find it. Wellll, apparently I have been holding back this little treasure from you all. The suspense is over, I will share with you in 3. . 2. . 1. . . 

Fresh Meatloaf
1 lb ground beef
1 egg
4 tbsp almond flour
1 onion finely cut
1 tbsp oregano
1 tbsp parsley
1 cup coconut milk
1 red pepper chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add ingredients together and place into a loaf pan. Cook for 1 hour. Remove and let stand for 10 min before serving.

My mom used to make meatloaf and top it with ketchup. I always loved the way it would caramelize in the oven as it cooked. I didn't have any of my Paleo ketchup on hand, but I often will add this before I bake it. It is pretty yummy! Enjoy!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Fresh Lime Cilantro Steak Salad

These days I have been more preoccupied making baby food and getting myself PR's at the gym than I have trying out new recipes. But the old faithful recipes are getting used up and I am finding myself once again looking for some new fresh ideas. 

One of my FAVORITE things to do is go to Nordstrom, have lunch in the cafe, and then shop. If it is an extra special day this will include buying some shoes and lipgloss. The best thing to order at the cafe is a lime cilantro chicken salad. I stumbled across this salad dressing recipe and I was instantly inspired. I added steak to mine, but you could add whatever meat you have in your fridge. I guarantee you will love this fresh, full flavor salad. When I eat this, I almost feel like I am at Nordstrom, minus the shoes and lipgloss of course. ;) 

Fresh Lime Cilantro Steak Salad
1/2 of a large avocado
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp ginger
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3-4 tbsp water (enough to thin out the dressing)

Add all ingredients, minus the water, into a food processor. I used my magic bullet, and it was perfect. Blend until smooth. Add water one tablespoon at a time until you get desired consistency. 

Salad Ingredients:
Sunflower Seeds
Red Peppers
Fresh Chopped Cilantro
Grilled Flank Steak (We just BBQed our flank steak with salt and pepper)

Toss dressing with lettuce and plate with other ingredients on top. Enjoy!