Coconut Chicken + Vegetable Curry (Paleo, AIP, GF, DF)

This is a nice big pot of soup.  We are a household of two so half of it is going to the freezer for later.  I'm going to be so happy later.  "Later" is usually a week night after work when I come home and have a tiny princess food fit because:

  1. I just don't want to eat the same thing I had twice already this week
  2. It's grocery day tomorrow and we're out of acceptable dinner options
  3. There are no leftovers and I'm too lazy to cook  

To be successful on AIP, I have to prepare almost all of my own food.  Restaurants love to sneak nightshades and butter into so many innocent seeming dishes and processed foods too often have soy or corn.  Or, for example, curry powders are full of things I can't have on AIP like seeds and nightshades.

So while I'm already in the kitchen, I might as well make extra and freeze for later.  This way, I'll always have something healthy and safe that I can warm up on days when I can't cook.  

Coconut Chicken + Vegetable Curry

1 tablespoon turmeric

1 teaspoon fenugreek

1/2 teaspoon ground clove

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground szechwan pepper

2 tablespoon coconut oil

8 scallions, white and light green parts, minced

6 cloves garlic, minced

1.5 inch ginger, peeled, minced

1 small head cauliflower, in florets

6 carrots, peeled, coarsely chopped

1 14oz tin coconut milk

2 quarts chicken stock or bone broth

2 cups chopped green beans

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, sliced thin

2 cups chopped kale

salt, to taste

lime juice, to taste

In a small bowl, combine turmeric, fenugreek, clove, cardamon, cinnamon, white pepper and szechwan pepper.  Set aside. 

In a large stock pot, saute scallion, garlic and ginger in coconut oil, over medium low heat. Cook until fragrant, soft and glossy - about 3 minutes.  Add cauliflower, carrots, coconut milk, stock and spices.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.  Add green beans and chicken.  Cook 5 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.  Stir in chopped kale.  Season with salt and lime juice. 

Tools Every AIP Kitchen Needs

If you're on the Auto Immune Protocol, you do spend a lot of time in the kitchen.  It's just not a diet that works if you don't cook you're own food.  I've complied a small list of kitchen gadgets that help.  These are all items I use every week and make batch cooking so much quicker.  

1. High Quality Chef's Knife.  Get a good knife.  Out of all the kitchen tools, this one you use the most.  Hand wash and dry it, keep it sharp (either send it out for professional sharpening or buy a stone and do it yourself - every 6 months) and use a honing steel every time you use it.  Dull knives are dangerous, they don't work properly, slip off food and cut your fingers.  It's very important to take good care of your knife.  Between the two of us, we have a nice collection of knives: Global, Misono, Wustoff and Shun. My favorite is the Misono UX10 8" Chefs Knife.  This is also great 1st knife.    If you live in NYC, stop over to Korin.  

2. Salad Spinner.  I eat a very big salad for lunch everyday.  It's the easiest, most straight forward lunch option on the AIP diet.  So, I use this thing every week.  On my cooking day, I prep toppings and head of lettuce or two.  This works for drying and storing.  Salad spinners are pretty much all the same but I'd recommend getting a large one.  It's the best way to store lettuce.  Keeps greens staying fresh and crisp for a while.  Also, it's fun to use. We've had this OXO one for years.  Big points because I can take it apart and wash it in the dishwasher.

3. Storage Containers.  All that food we're cooking has to live in something, doesn't it?  I'm not thrilled with plastic but these are so convenient.  They come in three sizes, don't leak and stack.  Mason jars are also great.  They're glass and you can buy them in tons of sizes, buy them cheaply by the case, and use them for 100 things like canning, storage, eating and drinking out of.  And they are dishwasher and microwave safe. 

4. Cast Iron Griddle.  All that batch cooking you're doing is crazy but there's no way around it.  I use the cast iron pan for grilling large quantities of chicken breast and turkey burgers.  There's so much surface area and the pan gets nice and hot for a beautiful sear.  I like that there's a flat top on one side and grill on the other.  Who doesn't love options.  Here's a nice one.

5. Spiralizer.  So much fun.  Maybe not necessary but certainly a fun little gadget.  I picked up a super cheapie one of TJ Max on a whim and really like it.  I'll spiralize carrots and beets for salads, zucchini for zoodles and pretty much anytime I want long ribbons of anything.  This is the model people seem to be the most nuts for.

6. Mandoline Slicer.  If you have one of these, then you really don't need a spiralizer.  Mandolines, like this one, come with inserts that will slice food into matchsticks, spaghetti or fettuccine sized ribbons.  Or use it without the inserts of thin slices of anything. They are very sharp and are secretly hungry for fingertips so use the guard or a folded up kitchen towel to hold the food.  I use mine for veggie prep, making fresh cucumber chips, root vegetable chips, paper thin slices of garlic or shallots, fruit slices.  Lots of things.   

7. Food Processor.  I have two.  This little guy and a powerful 9 cup one by Kitchen Aid that they don't seem to make anymore.  I love them both for different reasons.  Lots of AIP recipes call for mixing doughs out of plantains or starchy root vegetables, pureeing, making rice out of vegetables.  They're a lot that you can do with the food processor that's just not possible by hand.   I use mine of batch cooking:  finely chopping the onions I'll need for all the recipes I'm cooking in one go, mincing garlic or making ginger paste.  It easily does all the little tasks I'm not crazy about. (onions = many, many tears)

So, did I miss anything?  

Pumpkin Spice Coconut Popsicles (Vegan, AIP, GF, DF)

Is it too early for pumpkin spice?  We're in that difficult time of year: ready for Fall but it's still warm out.  So, I made myself a bunch of popsicles that taste like Fall.  

On a slightly different note, I have a really bad coconut ice cream addiction.  It used to be a frozen yogurt kind of problem but then I switched to a dairy free life.  Then, it was almond milk ice cream but then I went nut free....do you see where I'm going with this?  I really have a thing for frozen treats and, no matter what, I find a way to get them.  

In attempt to ween myself off my daily dose of ice cream and it's added sugars, I made these. Still sweet, creamy and frozen but slightly better for me. 

Anyone have any tips for storing popsicles in the freezer?  I've been putting them individually in zip top snack bags once frozen. 

Makes 10.

Pumpkin Spice Popsicles

1 14oz tin coconut milk

1 14oz tin pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

4 tablespoons maple syrup

Whisk together all ingredients and pour into popsicle molds.  Arrange sticks and freeze, about 4 hours.  

Anti Inflammatory Chicken

How aren't I going to eat this chicken?  I'm thinking over salad or cauliflower rice.  In lettuce wraps or even normal wraps if I wasn't in my first phase of Auto Immune Protocol.  Celery, parsley and turmeric are all great for lowering inflammation.  This chicken made the past week really easy.  It was great having a batch of flavorful, versatile shredded chicken around.  AIP is no joke. You gotta be prepared with a well stocked fridge at all times unless you're ok with serious HANGER.  I am not. Thus, this chicken:

Anti Inflammatory Slow Cooker Chicken

3 chicken boneless, skinless chicken breasts

s + p

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

juice of half a lemon

juice of 1 small orange

1 teaspoon turmeric

2 cloves garlic, grated

1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Toss chicken with salt, pepper, vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, turmeric and garlic.  Arrange in slow cooker.  Cook on low for 8 hours.  Shred chicken with fork.

AIP Banana Bread (GF, DF, Paleo)

This is new territory for me.  I tried making an aip zucchini bread last week with cassava flour that was a crispy crust on the outside but pudding on the inside.  Ew.  It really put me off baking for a few days.  

Today I couldn't take it anymore.  I had to have banana bread.  The flavor and smell is 100% classic banana bread but you will notice the texture is very tender and cake-y.  It's still delicious, easy to make and AIP friendly.  

AIP Banana Bread

3/4 cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground clove

2 super ripe bananas

1/2 ripe avocado

3 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoon gelatin powder

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon room temperature

2 tablespoon warm water

1/4 cup coconut oil

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.  Oil and set aside.

In a bowl, whisk together coconut flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and clove.  Set aside.

In another bowl, Mash banana and avocado until smooth.  Stir in maple syrup.

Make the gelatin egg: Whisk gelatin, vinegar and room temperature water.  Let gelatin absorb water.  Whisk in boiling water.  Give it 2 minutes to set up.  

Whisk coconut oil with gelatin egg.  Stir into wet ingredients.  Combine wet and dry ingredients until coconut flour is hydrated.  Pour into prepared pan.  Smooth surface and bake 1 hour.  Remove from oven and let cool in pan 15 minutes.  

Cauliflower Mac + Cheese (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

Everything about Mac + Cheese in the post title is a lie.  

First, the 'mac' has been substituted with healthier, more AIP friendly cauliflower florets.  Yum. Second, the 'cheese', is a dairy free sauce that tastes like cheese but is made with sweet potatoes. The sauce is based on this genius recipe from meatified.com 

As soon as I made it I started making a mental list of what I could put this one.  I suggest making a double batch and freezing half for another time.  (Hello, plantain chip nachos or tex mex queso dip with a nightshade free salsa and ground meat, or hello again, fondue night... I could keep going but I'm pretty sure I don't have to.)

Serves 2.

AIP Cauliflower Almost Mac + Cheese

1 head cauliflower, cut into bite size florets

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 yellow onion, minced

1 teaspoon olive oil

for the sauce

1 cup cooked sweet potato (about 1 potato)

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup bone broth

1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  

Bring a pot of water to a boil.  Add cauliflower and blanche 5 minutes.  Drain and set aside.

Saute garlic and onion in olive oil over medium heat until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. 

In a blender, puree sweet potato, coconut milk, broth, nutritional yeast and salt until smooth.  

Toss cooked cauliflower, garlic onion mixture and sauce together.  Pour into pan (loaf or 8x8 are good).  Bake until hot, 20 minutes.

 

 

Turmeric Vegetable Chicken Soup (AIP, Gluten free, Dairy free)

There's just something about chicken soup that makes me feel cared for and loved.  What chocolate does for most; chicken soup does for me.  I've been making this soup pretty much every other week - I just can't get enough of it.  

It's full of anti inflammatory ingredients like turmeric.  At my last doctors appointment, My rheumatologist strongly advised I not only take turmeric supplements (curcumin) and cook with it.  She said that scientific studies show Turmeric lowers inflammation - something those of us with auto immune issues are very concerned with.  Not only does turmeric add a beautiful color and flavor to this soup but can also be used many ways in the kitchen. 

Garlic is another powerful ingredient that can lower toxicity, cholesterol and high blood pressure.  Celery is another one - great for lowering inflammation while being low in calories and high in fiber.  All great things.  I sneak turmeric, celery and garlic into a lot of things I cook. 

The second time I added a thinly sliced yellow squash in with the kale.  It was great.  This soup is pretty open to suggestions so take a look around and throw in some extra veggies.

Turmeric + Vegetable Chicken Soup

1/2 chicken, skin removed

2.5 quarts water

Splash of oil

2 small yellow onions, finely chopped

4 garlic cloves, minced

4 carrots. peeled, diced

4 celery stalks, diced

2 handfuls kale, stems removed, chopped

1.5 teaspoon ground turmeric

s + p

1 tablespoon appel cider vinegar

Bring chicken and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer.  Skim any foam from surface. Simmer until chicken is cooked thru, about 30 minutes.  Remove chicken from liquid.  When cool, shred or chop meat and set aside.  Reserve cooking liquid (it's your new yummy stock.)

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Sauté onion and garlic until soft, about 8 minutes. Add carrots, celery, reserved stock and turmeric.  Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Cook until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes.  Stir in kale, cider vinegar and shredded chicken. Season with salt and pepper.

Shibori Tie Dye

Remember when I talked about Summer Sundays?  Well, last weekend we decided to have a Shibori Tie Dye Party.  It was great.  We rounded up a bucket, all the rubber bands we could find, cold drinks, a clothes line, sparklers (because why not?), white cotton everything and hot hotdogs for the grill.  It was a fun sunday.  

Shibori is a Japanese tie dye technique involving fabric that is tied, clipped, twisted, folded or wrapped to create patterns when dipped into indigo dye.  All the twisting and tying result in parts of the fabric that will resist the dye and retain the fabrics original color, contrasting with the dyed fabric areas.  Here I'll go thru a few classic styles of Shibori and how to dye.  Folds are demonstrated with square cotton napkins but techniques will work on all shapes.  

Start with clean, dry natural fiber fabrics like cotton, silk or linen. Other fabrics do not take dye well.  I would advise that you wash and dry anything before you start, even new items.  

For wrapping and tying you will need:

  • Indigo dye kit
  • fabric
  • 1 five gallon bucket, with lid or cover
  • another bucket for wetting fabric
  • gloves
  • scissors
  • drop cloth
  • stir stick
  • pvc pipe, string, rubber bands, clothes pins, wood squares...

Itajame:

Itajime: Fold fabric like an accordion vertically, then horizontally.  You will have a square or rectangle.  Place a small square of wood on each side of fabric.  Use string, clips or rubber bands to secure the wood fabric sandwich.  Clean tin can lids, rubber, oval carpet stoppers, acrylic panes - whatever can be used in place of the wood squares.  Smaller items need less ties and larger items will need more.  

Triangle:  Fold in half, fold outsides back to center, making a quarter width length.  Fold into accordion triangles, use a rubber band to attach chopsticks across the triangle.  

Arashi:

Arashi:  Wrap fabric around a pipe on the diagonal.  Tie it a few times, then squish it down, tie a few more times to secure it.  

Kumo:

Kumo:  Accordion fold fabric vertically.  Rubber band or tie sections down one side.  Other the opposite side, rubber band or tie in sections alternating the previous side.  Stay with single bands like in the close up photo or keep going until your heart's content like the piece I'm holding above..  

To make simple ring shapes: gather a little pluck of the fabric and rubber band it.  You can get the idea from what I did at the bottom of this tank top.

To make one big burst/ring shape: Pluck fabric from any point and secure intermittently with bands.

The Dying Process

The dye kit you purchased will have instructions what I suggest you follow.  READ THE DIRECTIONS COMPLETELY BEFORE YOU BEGIN.  There are steps you might find unexpected otherwise.  This is what we did for ours:

Prepare the Dye:

  1. Fill a 5 gallon bucket with 4 gallons (16 Quarts) or warm tap water
  2. Add the dye, soda ash and reduction agent into the water
  3. Stir very gently - a couple times in one direction, a couple times in the other
  4. Cover your dye vat - oxygen is bad of the dye
  5. Let it cure for 1 hour - in the mean time you can fold and bind your fabric

Dying the Fabric:

  1. Dip your prepare cloth pieces in water to get them saturated - if you skip this step your pieces will be all blue with no contrast of dye color to original fabric
  2. Squeeze extra water from cloth
  3. Uncover cured dye vat
  4. Remove the 'flower'.  You can't miss it.  It's a large mass floating on the surface of the dye.  Gently scoop it out and set it aside. You don't want it in the way when dipping but don't throw it out if you're going to save the dye afterward.
  5. While squeezing cloth, submerge in the dye vat
  6. Let it sit for 5 minutes
  7. When removing, gently squeeze it below the surface, slowly remove, try not to splash
  8. Cover vat
  9. Leave piece wrapped.  Leave it to oxidize for 15 minutes.
  10. Dye again. And maybe again. (We did two 5 minute dips.)  The more dips the darker it will be
  11. After it's last dip in the dye, until your piece 
  12. Wash it with warm water and 1 cup of salt.  Color is now set and your pieces are ready for use

Chocolate Fudge Pops (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

Fudgsicles!  Low sugar and the perfect individual serving size.  We're having a heat wave here in Brooklyn but staying cool with these popsicles.  Because they are free of chemicals, they are a bit hard right out for the freezer.  I place mine in a glass and let it soften for 5 minutes before eating.

The avocado is optional - it adds a subtle flavor and creaminess.  I didn't try it but add in like finely chopped fruit, dark chocolate chips or ginger would be great.  

Chocolate Fudge Popsicles

1 14oz tin coconut milk

1/3 cup cocoa powder

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted

pinch salt

dash cinnamon

Puree all ingredients on a blender until smooth.  Pour into molds, insert sticks. Freeze until set, about 4 hours.  Run molds under warm water to release pops.  

 

Pork Zoodle Stir Fry (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

Noodle time!  Oh, sorry - I mean "noodle" time.  As someone who does not own a spiralizer, I've been slow to jump on this cutting vegetables into strands and pretending they're noodles but oh, how AIP changes your views on certain foods. Like when you're dying for pasta and trawling Pinterest for grain free alternatives and only what often referred to as 'zoodles'.  

I actually really like these zoodles.  I still don't own a spiralizer but have carefully used my mandoline slicer with coarse toothed attachment to slice zucchini and carrots.  So far we've tried them with beet sauce and meatballs, and in this stir fry. So convincing as noodles!  I was impressed by how I was not missing real wheat noodles or pasta while eating these.  Yay!

Use a spiralizer or mandoline to slice carrots and zucchinis.  If using a spiralizer, cut into more manageable lengths with scissors.  For the pork, we used leftover pork shoulder that was done in the slow cooker the day before. 

No cooked meat on hand?  That's ok.  I've made this with boneless, skinless chicken breast, too.  Just cook it first: thinly slice the meat, season with salt and pepper, heat wok with a splash of oil, saute slices until done.  Set aside.  Wipe out pan, if needed.  Continue with recipe.  

Serves 2.

Pork Zoodle Stir Fry

2 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons coconut aminos (or tamari soy sauce if you're ok with that)

1/4 teaspoon arrow root powder

several grinds szechuan peppercorns

1 inch ginger, peeled, grated

2-3 cloves garlic, grated

cooking oil, as needed - I used 1 tablespoon coconut oil

2 zucchini, cut into thin strips (see above)

2 carrots, cut into thin strips (see above)

2 cups cooked, shredded pork

salt, to taste

In a small bowl, whisk vinegar, coconut aminos, arrowroot powder and szechuan pepper.  Set aside.

Heat ginger, garlic and oil in a wok over medium high heat.  Start stirring when garlic starts to sizzle., cook 1 minute.  Add zucchini and carrots.  Cook, stirring frequently until vegetables are al dente, about 3 minutes.  Add pork and prepared sauce.  Stir to coat.  Once thickened and hot, season with salt and serve. 

 

San Francisco Bakery Crawl

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Cameron and I are making our way back to Brooklyn after a week in lovely California.  We had a great time seeing his family near Grass Valley, camping in the Sierra Mountains, driving around all of Lake Tahoe and spending our anniversary (5 years!) in San Francisco.     

We had the perfect amount of time left before our flight this afternoon for a mini bakery crawl through SF.  

Stop #1:  Start at the Ferry Building.  Located on the bay at the foot of Market St. 

STAY STRONG here, people.  It's the first stop and you have three more incredible bakeries to visit after this.  PACE YOURSELF.  There's a lot to see and eat.

If you or someone you know has a nut, gluten or dairy allergy check out Mariposa Baking Company.  They have packaged treats like cinnamon toast biscotti, triple chocolate brownies or made to order breakfast and lunch items. Everything is gluten free. 

Walk down to the other end to Blue Bottle Coffee for a yummy coffee.  Then across the way to the adorable Miette.  Miette means 'little crumb' and is an impossibly cute lime green stall selling assorted candy, chocolate bars and their own house made cupcakes, buns and shortbreads. 

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Walk down Market St to Stop #2:  Mazarine Coffee located at 720 Market St. between 3rd + 4th St

Coffee and toast heaven.  Toasts are huge, 1 inch thick mega toasts with artfully arranged toppings like avocado and radish; ham and egg; or simple jam.  My advice is to get one and share it.  Though there are drip and espresso offerings, pour over is the thing to get.  Pick a variety from the menu of 4 and watch their baristas expertly prepare your cup. There's lots of comfortable seating, a few tables outside if you're dressed warm enough.  This is a great place to pick up coffee beans.  Offerings from local favorites Ritual, Linea Caffe and Supersonic.  

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Walk to Stop #3:  Mr Holmes Bakehouse located at 1042 Larkin St between Post + Sutter St. 

This one is probably the most instagrammed bakery in SF right now.  Expect a caramelized sugar scented line with a bit of a wait.  (Take turns popping up into the tiny shop to decide what you might want because you really don't see the goods until it's your turn to order.) Their famous Cruffns sell out about as soon as the doors open but there are many other tasty items available.  Get a box, fill it with an assortment of 6.  If you're stumped or just can't decide innt he face of all this deliciousness, ask one of the sassy, energetic servers what they like best.  Ours picked the savory California Croissant and the Ube Puff for us.  Bless him.  Don't forget to take a selfie in front of their pink neon sign stating "I got baked in San Francisco" and pick up a canvas tote with the same saying and hand peace sign logo. 

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Take a taxi or drive to Stop #4:  Tartine Bakery located at 600 Guerrero St at 18th St.

If you live in SF or are just visiting or read any kind of food blogs or news, you have probably heard of Tartine Bakery.  Opened by bread baker Chad Robertson and pastry chef Elisabeth Prueitt in 2002, this place is the reason people are crazy for bread.  Beautiful, crusty San Francisco sourdough to be exact.  There's way more than bread here - think everything you would want in a bakery.  Sandwiches, tarts, cookies, croissants, slices of cake, daily quiches, coffee and wine.  What to get:  the morning bun, a croque Monsieur with mushrooms or ham, a pressed hot sandwich, giant chocolate chip cookie.

There's going to be a line when you get there.  Probably down the block but once you get inside grab a menu and then start ogling the pastry cases as you make your way to the register.  It's still going to be shorter than what you'd wait for a good brunch.  Just remember that very good baked goods come to those who wait.  So be patient and if you get bored start chatting up the people in line near you.

It's a busy bakery so my advice is place your order to go and head to Dolores Park two blocks away on Dolores + 18th St.  Walk up the hill, pick a bench or throw down a blanket and enjoy a bit of people watching while you dig into your treats.

Bonus Round:  If you still have any room left in that overwhelmed stomach of yours, head back down the way you came and stop at Bi-Rite Ice Cream for a treat.  Hits are the Salted Caramel and Balsamic Strawberry.  They're known for their creative flavors and have been line-out-the- door favorite for 10 years. 

In case you're wondering, my final stop is my home kitchen and AIP lifestyle.  Those of you who read this blog know I am currently on the Auto Immune Protocol.  This was definitely a cheat day, one major beautiful cheat storm, actually.  I still feel good and don't feel like my progress was deterred by what I ate on this crawl but will be going back to my AIP tomorrow.  So, while I REALLY enjoyed the sugar, flour, butter splurge - I realize it's not a sustainable way to eat and will be returning to my more responsible food ways. 

That said, I hope you enjoyed the guide and sugar rush!  xo Mea

Sweet Potato Chips (Not fried! AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

Sweet potato chips - I would be a hangy person without you.  Chips, popcorn and crackers are probably the hardest thing for me to give up on the AIP.  So, these crisp little things have been being made every few days.  I really have a chip addiction.  Luckily, they are pretty healthy and made in a food dehydrator in my own home.  You can make them in your own home too. What else can I turn into a chip?  Beets?  Kale?  Taro?  I'm open to ideas.  

Sweet Potato Chips

1 large sweet potato

1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted

salt

Carefully, use a mandolin to thinly slice sweet potato.  Toss slices in coconut oil.  Arrange on shelves of food dehydrator.  Sprinkle with salt.  Dehydrate at 160 degrees until crispy, about 4 hours, depending on thickness.  (Mine were super paper thin.)

Store in airtight container. 

Anytime Turkey Patties (Gluten free, Dairy Free, AIP)

What do I mean by anytime?  I mean these are perfect for any time of the day.  I usually have one for breakfast with fermented veggies and avocado or Cam will have one on a sandwich for lunch or i'll dip one in mustard as a late night snack.  They're good on their own, as part of a meal, day or night. The celery and parsley are good for inflammation, too.  

Feel free to cut recipe in half or freeze some cooked patties for future use.  (Yay for batch cooking!)

Makes 12.

Anytime Turkey Patties

1/2 cooking oil (coconut, animal, avocado...)

1 small onion, minced

2 celery stalks, minced

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

2 lbs ground turkey

s + p

Saute onion and celery in oil over medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to bowl to cool.  Stir in parsley.  Season turkey with salt and pepper; and combine evenly with onion mixture.  Form into 12 patties.  (I like to make thin ones - they cook very fast.)  

Grill or pan cook over medium high heat, about 4 minutes on each side, depending on thickness. 

Oil Pulling

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Have you tried oil pulling?  I've been doing it almost everyday for a month and really like it.  It's now part of my daily routine.  I swish about a tablespoon of coconut oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes first thing every morning before flossing/brushing.  

Oil pulling is rooted in Ayurveda, a centuries old holistic practice which promotes natural self-healing. Oil is used a often in Ayurveda for calming, healing and detoxifying.  The oil pulling we're talking about here is derived from traditional Ayurvedic oral care with sesame oil gently swished from one side of the mouth to the other for 3 minutes, spit it out and massage any residual oil into gums with index fingers.  

Famous herbalist and healer, KP Khalsa recommends extended daily oil pulling to reduce potential inflammation in the system.  Author and Doctor, Bruce Fife has a great book on oil pulling with documented scientific studies that show positive results in overall health from good oral care.  He connects daily oil pulling will decrease bad breath, gingivitis, gum recession, cavity risk and inflammation.  

In the last month, I've noticed slightly whiter teeth and a much cleaner feeling mouth.  My teeth feel smoother - like when I leave a teeth cleaning.  You'll notice this especially after the first time you do it.  That's what got me opening the jar of oil again on the second day.  It's an amazing feeling. 

I'm still unsure if this is related to the pulling but I've experienced a huge increase in energy, both physically and mentally.  Serious mental clarity over here. 

Sounds good, doesn't it?  Here's how to:

  1. Choose oil.  It's up to you but I suggest coconut oil.  You can start with it solid or warm it up to a liquid state,  depending on textural preference.  Sesame oil is more traditional. 
  2. Get oil in mouth and gently swish for no more than 20 minutes.
  3. Don't swallow it.  It's full of toxins and icky stuff.  Spit it out into a garbage bin - not the sink.  It's bad for drains, pipes and plumbing.  
  4. Floss and brush.

Here are a few tips for getting started:

  • Find an oil you like the taste of. I really like coconut oil so that's what I use. I also like the texture change from solid to liquid during the pull.  
  • Getting started is all about building up.  You don't have to start with a full tablespoon for 20 minutes on your first try.  Start with a teaspoon of oil.  Start with 5 minutes.  The next day, add 5 more and so on, until you're at 20.  Or maybe 12 minute daily pulls are your thing.  It's up to you. 
  • I prefer to this in the morning before tea or tooth brushing.  I do it first thing after getting out of bed.  Actually, I do my oil pull while I walk my dog, Chibi.  Yes, I walk around Brooklyn in my yoga pants, cheeks puffed, swishing oil every morning.  My point is, you can be efficient about this or you can let this be a little quiet time for you.  Consider taking these 20 minutes every morning to read the news, check out pinterest, knit, meditate, choose your clothing for the day, write a friendly email to someone, prepare breakfast... whatever.  It's your silent time. Enjoy it.

Anyone tried it?  Leave a comment - I'd love to hear how it went!

Easy Asian Cucumber Salad (paleo, dairy free, gluten free)

One of my coworkers brought me a simple sesame cucumber salad from a nearby thai place one night and I've been meaning to make one since.  It's so good and perfect cool, crunchy treat for summer.  I'm bringing this one to a sunny afternoon cookout.  

Leftovers are great on a green salad with carrot ginger dressing and grilled chicken.

*If you're avoiding soy and trying to keep things paleo friendly,  skip the tamari soy sauce and substitute coconut aminos.  Coconut aminos is a bit sweeter than tamari soy sauce so you might not need the honey either. 

Serves 6-8.

Sesame Cucumber Salad

2 greenhouse cucumbers, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1 1/2 tablespoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon tamari soy sauce* or coconut aminos

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1/4 teaspoon honey*

toasted sesame seeds

Toss cucumbers in salt, place in colander and let sit 30 minutes, rinse and dry.

Meanwhile, whisk together rice vinegar, sesame oil, tamari, fish sauce and honey.  Toss with cucumbers.  Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Chill and serve. 

 

Sea Salt Spray for Beachy Hair

How great is beach hair?  I love it.  Big, wavy and so much texture.  Sadly, we can't spend everyday at the beach, soaking up all the sun and salty air we can so here's an easy DIY product you can mist into your hair for those beach waves and texture we love.  

I always avoided this because of my bangs but hey - I think it works!  

Sea Salt Hair Spritz

2 oz warm water

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon conditioner

4 drops lavender essential oil, optional

Whisk everything together until salt and conditioner have dissolved.  Let cool.  Pour into small spray bottle.  

To use:  Spritz into damp hair, twist hair into 4 sections, turning away from your face, let air dry or hit with a hair dryer.  Loosen with fingers as needed.   Or spritz into damp hair and let air dry, scrunching with hands occasionally.  

Strawberry + Cream Popsicles (dairy free + AIP/Paleo)

This year, Cam, a couple friends and I decided to start Summer Sundays.  It's pretty much a sunday funday type of thing where we make sure to do something fun and summery like going on a kayaking adventure, visiting stone barns or the coney island boardwalk, or hosting an outdoor tie dye cookout party. (As one does...)  

For our first Summer Sunday, we went strawberry picking!  It was great. I love wandering around a sunny field, breathing the fresh air, surrounded by rows and rows of crops, picking and eating perfectly ripe fruit right off the plant.  We went to Terhune Orchards in Princeton, New Jersey.  It's a beautiful farm with upick crops including strawberries, blueberries, flowers, asparagus and blackberries.  There is also a winery with daily tastings, a farm store, animals, covered picnic tables and a play area for kids.  

We picked a bunch of strawberries.  I don't think I'll be able to go back to grocery store strawberries after all these sweet little things.  They're so aromatic and flavorful - I just can't get over it.  These are what all strawberries should taste like!  I saved half for eating and set aside the other half for recipes.  

These strawberry popsicles are the perfect summer treat and fit right into my current AIP / Paleo diet. Yay!  I love treats.  I'm a better person when I have treats.  Give these a try if you're looking for something dairy free, gluten free, paleo and vegan.  These are the popsicle molds I use.

Strawberry + Cream Popsicles

1 lb fresh ripe strawberries, stems removed

1 14oz tin coconut milk (full fat is best)

3 tablespoons maple syrup or agave (optional - it you want them sweet)

Blend strawberries, coconut milk and sweetener until smooth.  Pour into popsicle molds, insert sticks and freeze, about four hours.  

Picnic Recipe Round Up

It's July Fourth weekend and I know we're all ready for a cookout.  This is my favorite weekend for the year.  (This one is extra special as my lovely cousin, Tessa, is getting married!)  Every year, I go up to Ithaca, New York to see my family and we spend time driving around the finger lakes looking for wineries and farms, checking out the farmers market and wandering through beautiful state parks and of course - grilling, cooking and eating outside as much as possible. Here are some summery recipes you can try this weekend:

Watermelon Salad with Goat Cheese, Nuts + Herbs (gluten free)

Watermelon Salad with Goat Cheese, Nuts + Herbs (gluten free)

Cam's Freekeh + Bean Salad (vegan, dairy free)

Cam's Freekeh + Bean Salad (vegan, dairy free)

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Classic Chocolate Chip Cookies

Cam's Corn Succotash (vegan, dairy free, gluten free)

Cam's Corn Succotash (vegan, dairy free, gluten free)

Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Spicy Buttermilk Fried Chicken

Ginger Peach Pies + Coconut Crust (vegan, dairy free)

Ginger Peach Pies + Coconut Crust (vegan, dairy free)

Have a fun weekend! xo Mea

News + Updates!

Hello everyone!

 I have so many new things to report!  May/June just flew by, didn't they?  

First, you might have noticed Meats and Sweets is looking a little different.  I had been toying with new logos, fonts and colors for a while and finally decided to try it out.  I hope you like it!  

Second, you're going to start seeing more variety in posts, things beyond food and recipes. (Still lots of recipes - Don't worry!)  You can expect posts on travel, DIYs, life hacks, fashion, beauty and travel.  

In other news, I was recently diagnosed with a rare auto immune condition called Still's Disease.  It's an auto immune disorder with symptoms of fever, muscle aches, joint pain/swelling, sore throat and rash.  You can read about it here.  As an active, healthy person it was a big surprise.  I'm currently working with a doctor and researching on my own ways to manage this new condition.  If you have Stills - I'd love to hear your story.  (Please feel free to comment or message me!) 

One way I'm trying is to manage my symptoms is through an anti inflammatory diet. There are a few different versions but all prohibit gluten, dairy and nightshades.  I'm also looking into the Auto Immune Protocol Diet (AIP).  From what I've read, it's based on the paleo diet and excludes all possible food allergens that can inflame and trigger the immune system.  This means no eggs, dairy, gluten, nightshades, grains, nuts, legumes, sugar, caffeine, alcohol... It's really just vegetables, fruit and meat.  After 8 weeks on the diet, new foods are slowly introduced back in and effects evaluated.  It seems like a good way to find out if certain foods are inflammation triggers or not.  Anyone tried it?  Thoughts?  

So, get ready for some healthy gluten, dairy and nightshade free recipes coming your way!  I've already started working on some good ones and I'm open to requests! 

Thanks so much for reading!  xo Mea

Chipotle Chicken Soup

I know I'm crazy for eating/making soup while summer's starting up but I just really like this one.  It's a nice spicy soup.  Full of veggies, chicken and chipotle peppers.  I can eat bowls and bowls of this stuff.  

Chipotle Chicken Soup

2 quarts chicken stock

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 teaspoon olive oil

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 carrots, peeled, halved lengthwise, thinly sliced

1/2 tin chipotle peppers in adobo ~about 4 peppers, chopped + sauce

1 zucchini, halved, sliced

1 tin chickpeas, drained, rinsed

kernels of 2 ears of corn

s + p

juice of 1 lime

sliced avocado, for garnish

chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish

In a large pot, bring chicken stock and chicken to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Cook until chicken is fully cooked, about 25 minutes. Remove chicken, shred when cool.  Set chicken aside.  

In a large pot, over medium low heat, sweat onion until very soft.  Add stock, carrots and chipotle peppers. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.  Cook until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes.  Stir in zucchini, chickpeas and corn; simmer 2 minutes more.  Season with salt, pepper and lime juice.  Serve with sliced avocado and fresh cilantro leaves.