Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Super rich, chocolately paleo pudding

I was talking to Hillary, my CrossFit coach this morning and she told me about the pudding she recently made with avocados in it.

I know what you're thinking.  Avocados?  In pudding?

However, I've seen several variations of recipes floating around the web for this, and since I had 1.5 avocados (the other half was put in a smoothie this morning) that were destined for the trash the next day because they were so ripe, I set out in search of a solution.

Here is the link to the original recipe, my variation is below.

  • 1-2 ripe avocados.  Like, super ripe, skin is black and a little mushy and you are contemplating throwing them out because you didn't use them in time.
  • 2-3T dark chocolate cocoa powder
  • 2-3T honey (depending on your level of sweetness)
  • Dash of vanilla extract
  • 1/4-1/2C of coconut milk
In a food processor, combine the avocados, cocoa powder, honey and vanilla and blend until smooth.  Gradually add in coconut milk until your level of desired consistency is met.  I probably added a little over 1/4 cup, and it came out nice and thick and creamy.

This is a very rich pudding, so a little will go along way if you are craving something chocolate :)  Also, it is so thick that it makes a great dip for fruit!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Goat cheese stuffed mushroom

OMG, LOVE!  2 of my favorite things (mushrooms and goat cheese) together as one.

  • 1 large portabello mushroom cap, stem and gills removed
  • Goat cheese
  • In the cap of the mushroom, spread some goat cheese and stick under the broiler until the top is browned.  Remove from broiler and put in a skillet over medium heat and cover for 5 or so minutes (until the mushroom is tender)

Salmon Hash

So I'm not the biggest fan of salmon, so what did I do?  Bought a piece of salmon.  Yeah, I know, I don't make much sense.

Last night I seasoned it with some lemon pepper seasoning, cooked the salmon up in my cast iron pan, and took a bite and realized "nope, I don't like this".  But I wasn't about to waste it and thought about giving it to Charlie this morning so he'd have a super treat with his dog food, but this morning came up with a better idea.  Originally it was going to be an egg/salmon/turnip scramble, but I had other ideas.

In a small skillet, melt some bacon grease (or your fat of choice) and add a couple of handfuls of grated turnips (you know, out of the bowl of grated turnips you've had sitting in the fridge for a few days that you haven't gotten around to eating yet....or if you are using fresh, make sure you squeeze the excess liquid out of it).  Saute those for several minutes until they start to brown, then add in some salmon and a drizzle of EVOO and stir until it's heated.  Season with salt and pepper.

The result?  Pretty damn tasty!  And since I have salmon and a bunch of turnips left, I think I'll be eating this for a couple of days.  You could also make a bigger batch and just reheat as needed (which I will probably be doing for some quick post workout meals).

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Chicken with sundried tomatoes, olives and mushrooms

The other night I was supposed to have a Skpe dinner date with my primal eating buddy, Sarah, but work interfered and our dinner was postponed.  So this afternoon, after realizing I didn't have anything for lunch, I thought this was a perfect opportunity to make it.  The original recipe can be found here, my adaptation is below.

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 1/4-1/2 cup of sundried tomatoes, sliced thinly (I have a giant jar of marinated tomatoes from Costco, I just counted out 20 and used the liquid that came off of it as well)
  • 1/4 cup of sliced mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup of olives, sliced in half (I used pitted kalamata olives)
  • 6 cloves of garlic, sliced thin
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1T dried basil
  • 1T dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 375.

In a large baking dish (my big rectangular Pyrex dish fit the chicken perfectly) arrange the chicken.  Season with EVOO, salt, pepper, basil and parsley on both sides.  Top with the garlic slices and spread an even layer of the tomatoes, mushrooms and olives.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

Serves 4-6

UPDATE:  Okay, so I just enjoyed a piece, and while it was pretty tasty, I feel like it was lacking a little flavor.  If you've got some artichoke hearts on hand, definitely toss those in the mix too. 

Friday, September 30, 2011

Roasted acorn squash

 Last week I bought an acorn squash without really knowing what I'd do with it....today, I did something.

  •  1 acorn squash, peeled, seeded and cubed (this was definitely a pain to peel, I tried the veggie peeler but that didn't work so well, but I did the best I could)
  • 1TB coconut oil
  • 1TB honey (or more, depending on how sweet you want it)
  • 2t cinnamon (I just sprinkled a bunch of cinnamon on, again, use as much or as little as you want)
  • A few dashes of sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In an 8x8 baking dish, toss the acorn squash with the coconut oil, honey, cinnamon and salt.  Bake for 35-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until squash is tender.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Primal Pumpkin Pie

So.  When I was like 8 I had a slice of pumpkin pie, and ended up throwing up later that night, which led me to an aversion of pumpkin pie for about 20 years.

A few years back, it was Thanksgiving at Nana's house and my Aunt Karen made a pumpkin pie from scratch (meaning with pumpkins she grew in her garden, yeah, she's hardcore like that).  OMG.  AMAZING.  Sadly, because there were more people there, I couldn't eat the whole pie.  But I was introduced to what I had been missing out on for the past 20 years.

Earlier this year I got a case of canned pumpkin on Amazon and I've only used 3 cans and I've been wondering what to do with them.  Pair that with the book club I have to go to tonight and I set out to the internet to find an answer to my dilemma.

Enter my take on pumpkin pie, at least the filling.  Or you could easily call it pudding, or maybe even a custard.  Whatever you want to call it is up to you.

  • 1 15 ounce can of pumpkin puree (use the pumpkin, not the pumpkin pie filling, it's loaded with sugar!)
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (I used the Trader Joes brand-did you know they are carrying quarts of coconut milk alongside the almond, rice and soy milk?!  Well they are, and I had about a cup left to use, but I'm sure you could use canned coconut milk all the same)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
In a large mixing bowl combine all ingredients and beat with a mixer on low under blended and smooth.

Pour into your baking vessel of choice (I used a 2 quart souffle dish) and place that in a roasting pan filled halfway with water and bake in a preheated to 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes and check to see if the center is set, if not, keep checking every 10-15 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.  I had to bake mine for nearly an hour, but if you use a dish that's not as deep, you'll obviously bake it less.

This was a big hit at book club, came home with two small slices :)  See, just because it's primal, it's still delicious!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Savory cauliflower rice

Oh cauliflower.  You aren't the first thing that comes to mind when people think of rice, unless you are a primal eater, then, it's the first thing you think of as a substitution!  And it's so versatile, you can do it up so many different ways, and today I found another variation, savory cauliflower rice.  This dish is great as a side, or to serve alongside the pork carnitas that I made, or if you want to do a chicken/broccoli/"rice" casserole.  Really, it's endless.

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, shredded into "rice"
  • 2T butter
  • 1T olive oil or coconut oil (or both like I did)
  • 1/4 sliced red onion
  • 1t minced garlic
  • 4T coconut milk
  • Parsley (fresh or dried, your preference)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sliced green onion
In a large skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter and saute the onions and garlic for a couple of minutes.  Add the cauliflower and stir for another minute or two.  Add the coconut oil and olive oil, coconut milk, parsley, salt, pepper and green onion.  Let simmer for a couple of minutes until liquid is absorbed, stirring occasionally.  Adjust seasonings as necessary.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


So this was the first time I've made gazpacho, I don't know why, given that there are a bazillion recipes out there, and it always seemed like I was out of one or two things, but today, faced with a bevy of veggies and not enough time/appetite to eat them all, gazpacho came to mind.

My ingredients:

  • Fresh from the garden tomatoes (yes, it's almost September and I FINALLY have ripe tomatoes)
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Carrot (only one carrot, that's all that was in the fridge)
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Lemon Juice
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Horseradish
  • Minced garlic
  • EVOO
  • Salt & pepper to taste
Roughly chop all veggies and place them in a food processor and pulse for a moment until everything is blended.

I added the following:
  • 2T lemon juice
  • 1T Worcestershire
  • 1T Hot sauce
  • 1/2T horseradish
  • 1/2T garlic
  • Drizzle of EVOO
  • Salt & Pepper
Blend again until everything is combined.

The result?  Pretty good!  It's got just a little bit of heat to it, but I want to see how it tastes tomorrow before I decide to add anymore.   (And the jury is in, it's got the perfect amount of heat for me.  You may want to cut back if you don't want a lot)  What a super simple way to use up veggies, have a super delicious meal and feed a crowd!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Zucchini pasta

No grains?  No problem!  Vegetarian?  This is the meal for you!

This is one of those creations where I am kicking myself a little for not properly measuring things out, but I guess that's when some of the best stuff happens.  And I didn't want to wait to post it until I made it again, so here you go. Obviously you can use whatever you have on hand and play around with the seasonings, this is what I had.

  • Zucchini (I got an awesome julienne peeler and I love it!  I sliced 3 zucchini the other day and used a little more then half of it for this dish)
  • Mushrooms, rinsed and diced
  • Red onion, thinly sliced (I used about 1/4 of one)
  • Kale (there was some kale ready to be picked in the garden, so this was a great dish for it)
  • Sundried tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • Capers (a couple of forkfuls) 
  • Lemon juice (I used about 3 capfuls)
  • Lime juice (another 3 capfuls, so maybe a teaspoon each?)
  • EVOO
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt, pepper and lemon pepper seasoning
In a large skillet, add a couple tablespoons of coconut oil and add the zucchini, mushrooms, onions, kale and tomatoes.  Saute for a few minutes until everything is tender.  Add the capers, lemon juice, lime juice, a drizzle of EVOO and season to taste.

Makes 2 servings.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

No sugar needed!

First off, I apologize for the crappy picture quality, I didn't feel like lugging out the good camera...

Anyway, sweet tooth strikes again, and this whole no sugar thing throws a damper on that, but I came up with an amazing solution.  I say no sugar needed, because this is plenty sweet on its own.

Preheat your oven (or toaster oven if you have one, no sense in heating up the whole oven just for this) to 350.

In a bowl, combine a handful of cherries (pitted), blueberries and 1 banana, sliced.  Drizzle with some extra virgin coconut oil (I seriously cannot get enough of this stuff!!  Just ordered 2 jars from Amazon for a great price).  Sprinkle with some unsweetened shredded coconut and a few shakes of cinnamon and nutmeg.  Stir to get the coconut oil over everything.

Next, get a piece of aluminum foil big enough to hold everything and put the fruit in and loosely wrap it (make sure the sides are closed!) and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the bananas are tender (they will probably take the longest to bake, they were still pretty firm after 10 minutes).

The result?  Warm, sweet, rich dessert with no sugar, no chocolate and virtually guilt free!  I'm trying to watch my fruit intake this month but I figure with the heavy lifting I did earlier some extra carbs aren't a bad thing ;)

Serves 1

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Got berries?

So it's July here in Michigan and that means blueberries are abundant.  Everywhere I'm at lately I see blueberries on sale, 2 pints for $3 or 2/$4 so last week when they were $1/pint I bought 3.  I've never been a big fan of blueberries, I didn't mind them in a fruit salad or something but since switching my diet, I love things I never really cared for (like blueberries).  Unfortunately, one can only eat so many berries before they go bad and when I bought 2 more pints when I still had another in the fridge ready to go bad, I started wondering what to do...

Blueberry compote came to mind.

Unfortunately, most recipes for compote have you adding half a cup of sugar (or more!!) and during the 30 day challenge I'm doing, no sugar.  Fear not, if you get some super ripe berries like I did, you won't even miss the sugar.

  • 1 pint blueberries
  • 1/4 cup of water (or less, I used about 1/4 cup and it was a bit too much, made it a little too thin for my taste)
  • Several dashes of cinnamon (maybe 1/2 tablespoon?)
  • Few dashes of nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat, gradually bringing to a low boil, and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until thickened to your liking.  You can mash some of the berries (I used an avocado masher that worked well) but after the berries heat up, you can easily mash them up with a rubber spatula.

Now, what to serve it with?  I think this would work really well in some homemade ice cream, or mixed in some yogurt, or just to dip some apples in, but I used it on the almond berry pancakes I made (the exact recipe is in the cookbook but you can find a very similar one here).  Perfect when you want something sweet.

Makes about 1.5 cups

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Anything goes slaw

Just like the title says, anything goes for this dish.  I picked up a head of cabbage from the store and when my original recipe didn't quite work out, I played the "let's scavenge in the fridge" to come up with a dish.

First, assemble your ingredients.  I used:
  • 1/2 head purple cabbage (about 3-4 cups)
  • 1 large cooked, diced chicken breast (about 1-2 cups)
  • 1 diced mango
  • 1 diced granny smith apple
  • Chopped sundried tomatoes (about 1/4 cup)
  • Blueberries

Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix.  For the dressing, I just used equal parts of extra virgin olive oil and blueberry pomegranate vinegar.  I thought about adding a little bit of honey but the mangoes and blueberries added just the right amount of sweet, and the cabbage and apples gave just the right amount of crunch.

This will make about 5-6 servings as a side (I'm guessing, really didn't measure it out, as usual!)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Paleo stir fry

Okay, technically I guess this is more paleo-ish because of the oyster sauce I used, but it's what I had and I don't know of a paleo alternative.  Anyway.....this little creation came out pretty tasty!  Super easy to throw together, and you can really use whatever veggies/seasonings you have on hand to come up with your own creation.  This re-heats really well and will make 3-5 servings (depending on what your idea of a serving is :)

  • 3T extra virgin coconut oil
  • 2t garlic powder
  • 1/2t paprika
  • 1t crushed red pepper (more or less depending on your level of heat you like)
  • 1/2t chili powder
  • 1/4t sea salt
  • 1/4t black pepper
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 8 ounce package of baby portabello mushrooms, rinsed and sliced
  • 2 cups frozen chopped broccoli (or fresh if you've got it)
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, shredded into "rice" (use the shredding blade of your food processor)
  • 1 cup bean sprouts
  • 2T oyster sauce
In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (if it's not already melted) and combine the ground beef and spices.  Cook thoroughly and drain beef and set aside.

Add another tablespoon of coconut oil and saute the mushrooms and broccoli until the broccoli is tender.  Add the beef back in and the pan along with the cauliflower rice (it's fine raw, since it's chopped so small it will cook pretty quickly).  Add the 2 tablespoons of oyster sauce and cook for about 5 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender, and then add the bean sprouts.

This had the perfect amount of heat (for my liking), plus tons of veggies and a great dose of protein and healthy fats!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hot Dog Salad

The original recipe came courtesy of Rachael Ray, but thanks to me not having some of the items (granulated sugar, cabbage, yellow mustard) I decided to improvise it and make it more paleo-friendly (although the original recipe is pretty close!).

My version came out pretty good, the dressing was tangy, but not too tangy, and the addition of the sauerkraut really helped add some flavor.  I didn't even realize that the original one called for salt and pepper, but I don't think you need it.  As far as the hot dogs, I used Coleman Natural Beef Hot Dogs, no added chemicals :)  Although you might want to rinse them off first, they were kind of goopy, gross.  My recipe is below:

Hot Dog Salad (Serves two)

  • 2 tablespoons deli style mustard (I just had the brownish, tangy stuff on hand, but you can use yellow mustard too)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
In a small bowl, whisk the above ingredients together until blended.  Set aside.

  • Romaine lettuce (I just used up the little I had left, maybe 2 loose cups, shredded)
  • 1/4 red onion, sliced thin
  • Banana peppers (just toss in what you think you want)
  • 1 cup sauerkraut, drained
  • 1 tomato, sliced
  • 4 hot dogs, sliced
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients but the hot dogs.  In a skillet over medium heat, arrange the hot dogs in a single layer (you can cook these in two batches as well) and cook until browned on both sides.  Drain on a paper towel and add to bowl and toss with salad.  Top with dressing and enjoy!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


Call it what you want, fancy meatloaf, bunless burger, but like many others, I call it meatza.  Very simple, get yourself some meat, some veggies and anything else you want and assemble.  Below is my recipe.

  • 1 pound ground beef (I used an organic 80/20 that I got from Costco)
  • Your choice of seasoning (I did garlic powder, crushed red pepper, Montreal steak seasoning, a little bit of salt, and a few sprinkles of shaved parmesan cheese)
  • Mix seasoning in with beef and spread out into an 8x8 baking dish (I didn't have one that was clean so I used a rectangular dish)
  • Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for about 10 minutes, then stick under the broiler (on hi) for a few minutes until it is cooked to your desired doneness and set aside while you work on your toppings.

    You could really use anything you wanted, but I did the following:
    • 8 ounce package of white mushrooms, stems removed, sliced
    • 1/4 red onion sliced thin
    • Handful of spinach, shredded
    • Minced garlic
    • Double cream gouda cheese
    • Shaved parmesan cheese
    In a pan melt some butter and coconut oil (I probably used a tablespoon total) and saute the garlic, mushrooms and red onion until the onions start to caramelize and the mushrooms are tender.   Top the beef with the mushroom, garlic and onions and saute the spinach until wilted then add to the rest.  Top with cheese and bake at 450 for 5-10 minutes (or until the cheese is melted)

    The combination of coconut oil and red onion made it just sweet enough to give it a really pleasant flavor, plus, you can't go wrong with mushrooms, beef and cheese!

    Serves 4 (or two if you're really hungry)

    Friday, April 15, 2011

    Stuffed Cabbage

    Growing up, my Polish grandma always called them "gumpkie" (pronounced like "goo-ump-key") but recent searching has revealed that it's actually called "golabki" but, as I searched Wiki for the correct spelling, looks like it is pronounced how I pronounced it.

    Anyway....I used this recipe as a base, and made a few alterations, such as figuring out what temp to bake it at since I didn't see it in the recipe, and I got like 15 rolls out of this recipe and used less meat and need to make more sauce because even using a full can of diced tomatoes, wasn't enough.  So, below is my recipe, and I should have added some more salt/seasonings, but it was definitely a success for a first try.

    • 1 head of green cabbage (or you could use 2 heads just so you make sure you get enough of the larger outer leaves because as I was trying to roll the last 3-4 rolls, I had some smaller leaves)
    • 1.5 pounds of meat mixture (I used 3/4# of ground pork, 1/4# ground veal and 1/2# of spicy sausage mix)
    • 1/2 head of a large cauliflower, either shredded in the food processor or finely chopped
    • 3 garlic cloves, minced (I just used a spoonful of the jarred minced garlic which is one of the best creations ever!)
    • 1/2 a medium onion, chopped finely
    • 1 egg
    • 1/2 cup ground pork rinds (I used this in place of almond flour because while I don't care for pork rinds as a snack like a lot of PB people do, they do make a great substitute for bread crumbs!  I just tossed some in the food processor)
    • 1 TB Italian seasoning (use whatever herbs you have on hand)
    • 1/2 TB garlic powder
    • 1 can crushed tomatoes (it was fun to use a jar of tomatoes I canned back in the summer with tomatoes from my garden)
    • 1 can diced tomatoes
    • 1/2 TB minced garlic
    • Dash of garlic powder
    • Dash of crushed red pepper
    • Salt & pepper
    • (Again, you may want to add a can of tomato sauce or something, depending on how many rolls you get from this recipe)
    The easiest way to separate the cabbage leaves is to cut the stem off and steam the head for about 15 minutes, and while you're doing that, you can get everything else done (like feed the cauliflower through the food processor, btw, I used raw cauliflower, but I've read some recipes that steam it first) and mix the meat and everything....

    • In a frying pan, combine the onion, garlic and Italian seasoning with a tablespoon or so of EVOO and saute over medium heat for a few minutes.  Remove from heat when finished.
    • In a mixing bowl, combine the meat, pork rinds (or whatever binding agent you use, such as almond flour), the egg and garlic powder and mix thoroughly.  Add the cauliflower and onion/garlic mix.
    • Separate the cabbage leaves and line the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish with a few of the outer leaves as this will prevent the rolls from burning on the bottom.
    • Lay a cabbage leaf down flat and place a few tablespoons of the meat mixture in the center (I used my cookie scoop and got 3 scoops in each leaf) and tuck in both sides and start rolling from the seam to the top.  Place seam side down in baking dish.
    • Pour the tomato sauce over the rolls and loosely cover with foil and bake at 350 for about an hour, or until the cabbage leaves are tender and the meat mixture registers around 165-170.

      Sunday, April 3, 2011

      Primal cookies!

      If you know me, you know I have a sweet tooth.  Cookies, chocolate, jelly beans, Costco cake (seriously, those things are like 5 pounds of nothing at all good for you but oh so delicious, except last time I had some, oh it was too sweet) and thankfully, making the switch to PB doesn't mean giving up treats!  Enter the readers of Mark's Daily Apple and their awesome reader-created (free!) cookbooks

      I was very excited to download the coconut cookbook, as I have recently purchased a bag of coconut flour and been wondering just what to do with it, and when we had a pot luck today at the box, these cookies were a big hit.  And while I can't provide a link because it's a PDF file, I'd like to thank whoever this Julie Miller is that submitted this delicious recipe.

      Soft Coconut Flour Pumpkin Cookies

      Dry ingredients:
      • 1/2 C coconut flour (it's a good idea to sift the flour as coconut flour can be kind of lumpy, and, if you have coconut flour and you won't be using it for a little while, store it in the freezer so it doesn't turn rancid)
      • 1/4 t sea salt
      • 1/4 t baking soda
      • 1 1/2 t pumpkin pie spice
      Wet ingredients:
      • 1/4 C butter or coconut oil, softened (I used 1TB of butter and the rest coconut oil and melted it enough so it wasn't all liquid, but soft, and while I love coconut oil, I hate how as soon as it hit the cold of the eggs, it solidified, so it just means some extra whisking but it's still good)
      • 1/2 C canned pumpkin puree (finally, the case of organic pumpkin I bought on Amazon is finally coming in handy!)
      • 3 eggs
      • 1/4 C honey (I was going to use this awesome orange blossom honey I got at the farmers market last year, but that stuff wasn't cheap, so regular old honey it was, I'll save the good stuff for just topping things)
      • 1/2 t vanilla
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper as sometimes the coconut flour products will stick to the pan (and for the record, the cookies came right off with the parchment paper).

      Whisk together the dry ingredients in a small bowl and the wet in a larger bowl.  Remember, if you use coconut oil, chances are you are going to have some solid clumps when everything is mixed together, so break those chunks down.  Then, stir in the dry into the wet and mix.  You want the dough to be wet, but not so wet that it drips all over the place.  When you scoop the cookies out, you shouldn't expect them to move around too much (and if it's too thick, add some more coconut oil, or pumpkin, or a splash of water will work just fine, and if it's too thin, toss some more coconut flour in there). 

      Drop the cookies by spoonfuls onto the parchment paper lined baking sheet.  (I used a cookie scoop, I think it's a tablespoon?) and I got 16 cookies out of it.  If you want more, just make them smaller.  Spread about an inch apart, they won't spread too much when they bake (and I pushed the tops down a little with a spoon to flatten them out a bit).  Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  (I baked them for 15 minutes then turned the oven off and let them sit for another 2-3 minutes in the oven).  Remove from baking sheet and place on a cooling rack.

      The result?  Not overly sweet, SUPER moist between the pumpkin and coconut oil, and when I made them last night and wrapped them after they had cooled, they looked a little wetter this morning (if that makes sense), so you may want to refrigerate them if you are making them the night before something.  But they still tasted great today.

      Will definitely make these again, and this is a recipe that can easily be doubled or even tripled if you're baking for a crowd, and if you're a Grokette like me, you won't feel guilty about indulging in these!

      A Two-fer! Steak and cauliflower

      I must give credit where credit is due, and because I'm too lazy to copy/paste/type out recipes, links you shall receive!

      First, when I switched to the primal lifestyle, I was worried "what will happen to all of the food magazines I subscribe to and all of my cookbooks?!" but the more I transition it into my daily life, I realize that, for the most part, it's very simple!  Granted, the recipe for pretzels I pulled out just because they looked so good fall NOWHERE in my new way of eating, but rules were meant to be broken, right?  ;)  Besides, if I make (and subsequently) eat homemade pretzels even once a year, eh, it's not going to kill me.  And flipping through months of unread magazines the past few days has given me some new ideas, two of which I used to cook a fantastic, and primal-approved, meal.

      First up, Rachael Ray's pinwheel steaks.  I followed the recipe except instead of using jarred peppers (because I'm not going to spend money on a jar of peppers when I only need 1 pepper and I don't like roasted peppers, so I made my own (super simple, btw, just slice a pepper in half and place the cut side down on a baking sheet brushed with olive oil and place under the broiler for about 15 minutes or until the outside is charred, then place the peppers in a bowl and wrap with plastic wrap and let it steam until the skins easily peel off), and I added goat cheese.  Why, you ask?  Umm, because it's goat cheese, duh!!  The steak was fantastic, and while I don't really like arugula, the pesto came out nice except it was super thick, despite adding more EVOO, but still good.  Will definitely make this again.

      Next up is roasted cauliflower with dates and pine nuts.  Yes, I'm that strange girl who doesn't have ketchup in her fridge (eww, HFCS!) but has dates and pine nuts.  Originally I was going to use the cauliflower to make cauliflower pizza again, but saw this recipe and was intrigued.  I could have cut the cauliflower a bit smaller, and maybe brushed it with some EVOO before roasting for extra flavor, but it was good, and while the pine nuts got a little bit more toasty then I would have liked, thankfully they didn't burn (those things are expensive!!) and the dates?  Gave it a wonderful flavor. 

      Very happy with both of these dishes and will definitely make again!

      Wednesday, March 30, 2011

      Zucchini chips

      **Please excuse the crappy iPhone camera quality here.

      Okay, so I was inspired by this post for zucchini chips, but obviously, my chips didn't come out nearly as large as the ones the reader made.  Perhaps they used the oven instead of the food dehydrator?  Anyway, these are still delicious, and I had about a pound of small zucchini, so maybe large won't shrink up as much?  But now I have another great use if I get a boatload of zucchini this summer!  My recipe is below.

      • 1 pound zucchini, sliced into 1/2" slices
      • EVOO (about a tablespoon?  I don't measure)
      • Cayenne pepper (a few dashes)
      • Sea salt (a few grinds of the shaker)
      • Butter flavor popcorn seasoning
      • White cheddar flavor popcorn seasoning  (obviously you don't have to use these but this is what I had on hand so I tossed some in)
      In a large storage bag, combine all ingredients and shake well so everything combines.  Place in a food dehydrator and run until the chips are crunchy and crisp.  I had mine going for about 12 hours and it seemed to come out fine.

      I didn't make the salsa to accompany this, and kind of glad I didn't based on the tiny size of these things!  But, the EVOO gave it a smooth flavor, the cayenne added a little bit of heat and the other seasonings came out great.  Will definitely be making these again, and a larger batch as I could easily eat this entire bag in one sitting (but a pound of dehydrated zucchini doesn't amount to much ;)

      Monday, March 28, 2011

      Veggie lasagna

      First, make the creamed spinach (if you buy an 8 ounce container of the Boursin or whatever you use, just use half, I'll tell you what to do with the other half in a few...)

      Then, get about a pound of zucchini, peel it and slice it lengthwise, not super thin but not super thick either and when you're done, drizzle it with some EVOO, and season with whatever (I used salt, italian seasoning and a few shakes of crushed red pepper for a little heat).

      Then, get an 8x8 baking/casserole dish and put a layer of the zucchini in (I greased mine with a little bit of bacon grease ;) then top it with some of the creamed spinach, not a super thick layer, then add another layer of zucchini, then spinach, you get the idea.  (I got 3 full layers with mine).  Top with spinach, then drop small spoonfuls of the leftover Boursin (if you've got it) over the top.

      Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven, I did 20 minutes loosely covered with foil and 20 minutes without (or until the zucchini is tender).

      SO GOOD!!

      Kale chips

      I apologize for the above picture, taken with the crappy camera phone.  It was on a whim and while not the prettiest, it's certainly a tasty treat when you are craving a crunchy/salty chip substitute.

      • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
      • Tear the leaves from the stems from a bunch of kale (I used one bunch for this and just kept going back for a handful every time I walked by the stove-not sure how well these would store for future consumption so I just did what I would eat)
      • Rinse (duh) and pat excess water off (or use your salad spinner!)
      • Place kale leaves in a large bowl and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt
      • Arrange on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes or until leaves are getting brown and crispy (mine cooked for a total of approximately 15 minutes).  Toss around and continue to bake until leaves are evenly browned (but not burnt) and crunchy.
      • EAT
      These were a lot better then I thought they would be, and although I added just a little too much salt, the EVOO gave it a really nice, smooth, almost rich flavor.  I'll definitely make it again as these are virtually guilt free and delicious :)

      Monday, February 28, 2011

      Creamed spinach

      Several months ago I came across this recipe and it sounded (and looked) amazing and thought "I must try this!"
      Fast forward to several months later and fat free is not in my vocabulary with the whole primal lifestyle I am leading, so I tweaked it a little to make it more primal-friendly.  This definitely isn't something you want to eat every day, but it was sooo delicious and was a great addition to meals throughout the week.  Would definitely make it again, but perhaps try the shallots (I only had red onion on hand so that's what I used).  My recipe is below.

      Also, this does not make 6.5 cups as the original recipe states, and it doesn't serve 8 like the original recipe states.  I think my calculations ended up being 5 cups or so.

      "Fattened up" creamed spinach:
      •  1T butter
      • 1/2 cup red onion, diced
      • 1t minced garlic
      • 1T flour
      • 1.5C heavy cream
      • 2T parmesan cheese
      • 1/4t ground nutmeg
      • 1/4t black pepper
      • Salt, to taste
      • 4 oz. Boursin herbed cheese (I used the garlic & herb flavor)
      • 16 oz frozen, chopped spinach, thawed and drained
      In a large saute pan, melt butter. Add onionsand garlic and cook on medium about 5 minutes. Add flour to onions, mix well and cook one more minute. Reduce heat to low and slowly add cream, whisking well. Add parmesan cheese, nutmeg, salt and pepper and mix well. Add Boursin and mix with until smooth. Add spinach and combine well with sauce, cook one minute, until heated through. Adjust salt and pepper if necessary.

      Wednesday, February 2, 2011

      Pork chop sandwich

      I know, I know.  I have an absence to explain, photos to upload, recipes to post.  I've been lazy!  But, when something comes along that warrants posting, you will find it here.

      Today's creation?  The pork chop sandwich.

      Preheat your oven (or if you have it, your toaster oven) to 350 degrees.

      Take 2 thin (1/4"-1/2" or so) boneless pork chops and season them on each side with a little salt, extra virgin olive oil, and whatever seasonings you'd like (I used a Greek seasoning).  Then, take some spinach (sauteed in some EVOO so it's wilted a bit), a few marinated artichoke hearts (chopped/sliced) and a wedge of Laughing Cow cheese and place on one of the chops.  Put the other chop on top and then gently put in a pan (preheated to medium with a drizzle of EVOO in it) and brown for a couple of minutes on each side.  (I used a large spatula and some tongs to turn it, for fear that it would fall apart when I flipped, which thankfully it did not).

      After it's browned, place in a small baking dish, drizzle the top with a little more olive oil (loosely tent with foil) and put it in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for another 10-15 minutes uncovered (or until the chop is cooked thoroughly).

      This one came out great.  Not overcooked at all (which is a common mishap of mine when doing pork chops), and while I would have LOVED to put goat cheese in here, well the Laughing Cow was all I had on hand.  The artichoke hearts I used were jarred, and marinated, so got a little extra flavor there too.