Chicken + Dumplings (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I love comfort food. I especially love chicken and dumplings. Chicken, vegetables and dumplings simmered in a thickened stock. I tested several combinations to get the dumplings just right. The first batch were made with cassava flour and while the flavor was great, the texture was that of gummy mochi. Not good. 

It was really important to me to keep this recipe AIP friendly since there are so many comfort foods we miss out on on the AIP. I'm happy to say this is a great AIP version of the classic dish that I would feed anyone whether on the protocol or not. There is an extra step of baking the biscuits first and adding them to the finished stew but it's worth the effort.

Makes about 6 servings. 

AIP Chicken +Dumplings

for the dumplings

2/3 cup arrowroot powder

1/3 cup coconut powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried herbs (I used 1/2 thyme and dill)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup warm water 

for the rest of it

dash olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried parsley

2 quarts chicken stock

1.5 # boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces

6 oz sliced mushrooms

6 oz green beans, chopped

3 tablespoons arrowroot powder

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a small baking tray with a silpat or parchment paper. 

In a bowl, whisk arrowroot powder, coconut flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, pepper and dried herbs together. Stir in olive oil and water. Add more water as necessary. The dough should resemble playdough and hold together, Form into ping pong sized spheres, arrange on prepared baking tray and bake 20 minutes. Dumplings will be a lovely golden brown. Set aside. 

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bay, thyme and parsley. Cook about 5 minutes until soft and glossy. Add stock and mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Add chicken. Reduce to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes.

Make a slurry with arrowroot powder and a bit of water. Stir into pot. Add green beans. Continue cooking until green beans are soft, about 5 minutes, covered. 

 To serve, place a couple biscuits into a bowl and ladle over stew. 

Pho-most Soup (Paleo, GF, DF)

I have no idea what to call this soup. When I was putting it together in my head, I wanted a super flavorful beef broth base like pho but I didn't exactly want pho. This soup is built on a rich broth infused with charred onion, browned ginger and toasted spices like cinnamon, anise and coriander seed. It's the best part of the soup. 

I just added carrots, sugar snap peas, collard greens and tofu knots - for protein. If you're aip or paleo, substitute any cooked meat. Toppings are a must. They really elevate the soup to a much better place. Shredded mint, cilantro, diced white onion and lime wedges. 

A word on tofu knots - They are delicious. I've used both fresh and frozen. Fresh are about 100 times better but they're hard to find. They also come dry but I haven't tried those yet. I've only seen each in asian grocery stores or markets. 

Makes 4 servings. 

A Pho Like Soup

3 star anise pods

1 cinnamon stick

3 cloves

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

1 yellow onion, peeled, halved

2" ginger, halved

4 cloves garlic, peeled

2 quarts beef stock

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon coconut aminos or tamari soy sauce

10 oz sugar snap peas, trimmed

3 carrots, peeled, chopped

8oz tofu skin knots

2 cups chopped collard greens

juice of one lime

salt, to taste

lime wedges

chopped mint

chopped cilantro

In a small cast iron skillet, toast spices. Set aside. Use the same pan to char onion, garlic and ginger. Add spices, charred onion, garlic, ginger and beef stock to a large pot and simmer for 1 hour. Strain out and discard solids. Return liquid to pot and add fish sauce, snap peas, carrots and tofu knots. Simmer until carrots are soft, about 7 minutes. Stir in collard greens and season with salt. 

Ladle into bowls and garnish with chopped mint, chopped cilantro and lime wedges. 

Thai Chicken Collard Wraps (Paleo, GF, DF)

I'm obsessed with these collard wraps. In the past two weeks I've made chicken burrito collard wraps, curry samosa wraps and now these Thai wraps. I have other types on my mind - I'll keep you posted. 

These have chicken, cucumber, cabbage, carrots, mint, cilantro and peanut sauce wrapped up in a blanched collard green leaf. They're healthy and crunchy. I assemble them all a take them for lunch throughout the week. I like to two or three as a serving so each one, I add only about 1/4 cup of chicken and fill it up with veggies. I got 15 wraps out of the recipe but it will depend on the size of the veggies and how much you put in each. I would guess 12-17 to be the amount of wraps to expect. 

Makes about 15 wraps. 

Thai Collard Wraps

for the wraps

1/5 # skinless, boneless chicken breast

1 english cucumber, cut in matchsticks

2 carrots, cut into matchsticks

1/2 small red cabbage, shredded

handful mint, chopped

handful cilantro, chopped

about 15 Collard Leaves

for the sauce

1/3 cup tamari soy sauce

3/4 cup peanut butter

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 teaspoon maple syrup

juice of one lime

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Cook chicken as you like: grilled, baked, boiled or my favorite way - season with salt and pepper and cook in a slow cooker on high for 2 hours or so and shred. 

Chop and shred veggies while chicken cooks. A mandolin fitted with a juliene attachment is great for this. 

To prep the collard greens, slice off the chunky part of the stem by cutting straight across the base of the leaf. Use a peeler to shave down the thick stem. This will make it easier to roll up and eat. 

Bring a 10-12 inch skillet with an inch or two of water to a boil. Dip collard leaves into the boiling water, one at a time, for about 10 seconds. Transfer to towel until ready to use.

Make the sauce by whisking tamari, peanut butter, fish sauce, maple syrup, lime juice and apple cider vinegar together until smooth. 

Assemble wraps by laying out a collard leaf, smearing on a bit of sauce and piling on the chicken, cucumber, carrots, cabbage and herbs. Roll up tightly, tucking in sides as you go. I wrap them all in one sitting and store in the fridge. They last and make packing lunch quick and easy. 

 

Paleo Week 4 Grocery List + What I Cooked (Paleo, GF, DF)

I wanted some serious comfort food and that's exactly what I made. Paleo friendly, of course. 

This is week four of my batch cooking posts. The first one has a more in depth on tips and tricks - here's a link! Again, some of my tips for grocery shopping and batch cooking are: pick a menu,  inventory the fridge/pantry and write a shopping list that is organized by departments in the grocery store.

Recipes will be posted this week and linked.  I prepared everything on Sunday evening.  Cameron helped and we listened to S Town podcast and music. 

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The Menu:

Paleo Thai Chicken Collard Wraps

AIP Chicken + Dumplings

AIP Vegetable Pho-lmost 

And my snacks: plantain chips, tigernuts, unsweetened dried fruit, green apples with cinnamon, baby carrots, grapes, veggie snacks, smoothies (Chocolate Cherry!), canned tuna, blanched broccoli, curry cauliflower, Anita's coconut yogurt, sliced deli meats, hummus, roasted peas and avocado with lime juice, s+p.  These things always get added to the list as needed and are not included in the main list below. 

The List:

3 limes

1 english cucumber

2" ginger

1 head garlic

1 yellow onion

4 stalks celery

9 carrots

6 oz sliced mushrooms

6 oz green beans

1/2 head small red cabbage

10oz sugar snaps peas

1 bunch mint

1 bunch cilantro

about 2 bunches collard green leaves (around 18 leaves total)

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast

2 quarts beef stock

2 quarts chicken stock

peanut butter

8 oz tofu skin knots

Pantry staples you will also need for these 3 recipes: coarse kosher salt, ground black pepper, tamarind soy sauce or coconut aminos, fish sauce, maple syrup, 3 anise pods, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, teaspoon coriander seeds, coconut flour, arrowroot flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, dried thyme, bay leaf, dried parsley, olive oil

DIY Rosewater Lotion Bars

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Pssst! Mother's day is this Sunday and what could be a better gift than something you made for her? Or even made with her? This is a great quick, easy and customizable DIY. 

Lotion bars are so convenient. It's lotion in a hardened form made with beeswax, coconut oil and shea butter and an essential oil of your choice. I used a mild rose water which is great for skin and I like the subtle, floral scent. If you prefer a stronger scent - use 15 drops of any essential oil. 

These will melt with heat so don't leave them in a hot car or anywhere too warm. To use, either smoosh (yes, a real word) a bit onto your hands, rubbing together to melt or pick the bar up and smooth over skin. My legs always seem to be a bit scaly and dry but a few swipes from one of these and they're much better. Let the moisturizing begin!

Measure all of your ingredients except rosewater and oils by weight for accuracy. Use organic ingredients. For sourcing: I found organic shea butter and organic cosmetic grade beeswax pellets on amazon; organic unrefined coconut oil at trader joes and rose water at whole foods. 

Makes 4 bars. 

DIY Rosewater Lotion Bars

2 oz coconut oil

2 oz shea butter

2.15 oz beeswax

2 teaspoons rosewater

Add coconut oil, shea butter and beeswax in a clean glass jar. Place in a sauce pan filled with water. Water line and ingredients lines should be roughly the same. Bring to a soft boil.

While everything is working on melting, prep your molds. I placed 4 muffin liners in a muffin pan but you can use a silicone mold or pour directly into a cosmetic compact or tiny jar. 

Melt all ingredients to a liquid state. Stir. Remove from heat and stir in rosewater or essential oils. Pour into prepared molds and let cool completely. Speed up the cooling process by placing them in the fridge. Once completely cool, they can be popped out of the molds and are ready for use. 

Reusable Replacements

While I love a good feng shui purge but I really hate throwing things out. Not that I mind parting with things - I just don't like to create waste. It's guilt. I feel guilty and enviornmentally irresponsible. 

To avoid this feeling, I'm going to start with looking for replacements of disposable, single use items. Specifically, non recyclable plastic items. I really don't like using plastic. Especially single use plastic items like zippy or produce bags that go straight into the trash. It's too wasteful for something with such a short lifespan. I've found a few great replacements in my search and wanted to share. 

1. No more zip lock bags. I carry veggie snacks to work everyday and wanted something that once empty, would be flat. These reusable, silicon versions seem like a good fit. They can be rinsed in the dishwasher. 

2. I've always found cotton balls to be wasteful. Instead, cut up an old cotton t-shirt into squares and store in a pretty jar in the medicine cabinet. When I'm done removing my makeup or swiping on toner, they just go into the laundry hamper. I'm going to cut little rectangles, fold then in half and sew them. The double layer will make them more absorbent. 

3. Replace produce bags with thin muslin bags like the ones below. They are easily found on online or would be a quick way sewing project. Just don't make them too heavy if you're going to be weighing you produce in them!

4. Plastic water bottles. I say just don't buy them. Don't support these companies. For many reasons. Don't support these companies, the plastic bottles, the privatization and commoditization of water or the chemicals used in the process. Use the tap and a refillable bottle. 

Of course, all the ones I like a pretty expensive but I only need one so I might as well love it, right? 

5. Carry a hanky instead of a pack of tissues for your coughing, sneezing and nose blowing. Did I lose you on this one? People seem to find this one very off putting but I don't see the problem,. The hanky is prettier than a tissue. I wash it. I carry a clean one. It does not pollute the environment with more trash. Get over it and use a hanky!

6. Replace paper coffee filters with reusable cloth or metal ones. These are probably not the worse things on the list but it's still something I throw out everyday. I don't like sooty coffee like the last bit out of the french press or coffee made with a metal filter so I was happy to find cloth filters for my Chemex. These are cheap and work just like the paper filters. 

Chemex coffee filters (2) by CoffeeSock, $12.99

Chemex coffee filters (2) by CoffeeSock, $12.99

7. Skip the bagged tea for loose leaf teas made with a tea infuser or teapot. I've been drinking a lot of tea lately and it's another thing I throw out everyday. I don't know what these little bags are made of. I always assumed natural fibers but these heat sealed baggies must be something synthetic. Also, who hates teapots? I love them and their little tea infuser relatives. 

8. Never buy another box of dryer sheets because I have these cute little felted wool dryer balls instead. I've been using these for a while now and love them. I use six for a normal load of laundry. I add a couple drops of essential oil to each, put them in the dryer with the wet laundry and dry as usual. They laundry smells nice, is soft and takes less time to dry. They are chemical free and will last for years. 

9. I've said this one before in my kitchen detox post but here it is again: Swap cloth towels for paper towels. We have a big stack of 20 and use them for everything. You can even buy different color kitchen towels and use them for different tasks: blue for cleaning, green for food, pink for dining. 

10. I've said this one before too but it's important! No more plastic bags. They're terrible in every single way. I've put thin, rolled up canvas totes in all of my purses and car so I always have one with me. It's also a lot easier to carry a couple totes packed with groceries than the 6 tiny double bagged bags every grocery store in Brooklyn loves to send people on their way with. 

Thanks for reading!

xo Mea

Strawberry Banana Mini Muffins (Paleo, GF, DF)

Many things are better when they are mini and a muffin is one of those things. I love popping these sweet little things into my mouth, crushing them with one bite and refreshing with a sip of coconut milk. I pretend I am a little muffin eating monster. Small pleasures, right?

Here's a tip - if you have super ripe, black spotted bananas that you either don't want to eat and don't feel like cooking, do not throw them away! Peel, chop and put them in the freezer. Then you can use them for smoothies or for these muffins. I actually made these with thawed, previously frozen bananas and didn't add any honey because they bananas were so sweet!

Makes 12 mini muffins. 

Paleo Strawberry Mini Banana Muffins

2 super ripe bananas, peeled

1 egg

2 tablespoons honey

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/3 cup coconut flour

1/3 cup almond flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon melted coconut oil

1/3 cup chopped frozen (thawed) or fresh strawberries

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a muffin pan with oil, paper or both. Set aside. 

In a bowl, mash the hell out of the bananas. Add egg, honey and vanilla. Mix very well. Add coconut flour, almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and coconut oil. Stir until evenly combined and flours are hydrated. Fold in strawberries. Fill muffin cups. Batter will be level with the top of the cup. Bake 25 minutes. Let cool. 

Chicken Collard Wrap Burritos (AIP, Paleo, GF,DF)

These collard wraps are life changing. This is the easiest yummy substitute for wraps I have found yet. It's like eating a handheld salad disguised as a burrito. Most importantly, it tastes good. Yay!

I make a batch of these and put them in the fridge for a few quick lunches during the work week. I'm going to make a thai peanut version next week and maybe indian samosa ones after that. 

Makes about 6 wraps. 

Chicken Collard Wrap Burritos

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon fenugreek leaves

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional, include if you can have seeds)

1.5 # boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 bunch collard greens

1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

1/2 head cabbage, shredded

1/2 head crispy lettuce, chopped 

2 avocados

1/2 white onion, finely diced

2 avocados, see last paragraph

Additional options: salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, shredded cheese

Mix together salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, fenugreek, oregano, cinnamon and cumin, if using. Season chicken. Cook the chicken anyway you like - grilled, baked, whatever. I seasoned mine, put it in the slow cooker for 2 hours on high and shredded it. 

While the chicken cooks, you can chop your veggies and set out any additional toppings you'll be using. 

To prep the collard green, slice off the chunky part of the stem by cutting straight across the base, where the leaf fans out. Next, use a peeler or knife to shave down the thick stem. This will make it easier to roll up and eat. 

Bring a 10-12 inch skillet with an inch or two of water to a boil. Dip collard leaves into the boiling water for about 10 seconds. Do this one at a time. Transfer to a towel. This softens up the leaves and makes them taste better. 

Assemble wraps: Layout a collard green, pile on chicken, chopped cilantro, cabbage, lettuce, onion - whatever you like. Roll it up tightly like burrito, tucking the sides in as you roll. I wrap them all at once and leave them in the fridge. In the morning, when I'm packing my food for the day, I grab a couple, unroll them and add fresh avocado slices. Maybe this is crazy but I like the avocado to be fresh and bright. It's a pinch more work but easy and worth the effort.

Khao Soi (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I really like this soup. Something about thai flavors lately. Every week my grocery bag comes home with lemongrass, ginger, garlic and coconut milk. It feels like I'm eating takeout but it's all home cooked. The beauty of batch cooking, right? 

Recipe adapted from Lazy Cat Kitchen. I love that name. 

Makes about 6 servings. 

Khao Soi Soup

6 garlic cloves, peeled

2" ginger, peeled, roughly chopped

1/4 cup chopped cilantro (stems or leaves)

2 lemongrass stalks, tough leaves removed, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon madras curry powder

3 tablespoons water

1 butternut squash, peeled, diced

2 stalks broccoli, peeled, in bite sized pieces

1 1/2 cup chopped green beans

4 carrots, peeled, sliced

1 quart vegetable stock

1 14 oz tin full fat coconut milk

28 oz water

1 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons tamari or coconut aminos

juice of 1 lime

2 teaspoons maple syrup

salt

cilantro, for garnish

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line two sheet trays with parchment paper. Toss squash with a splash of oil, arrange on one tray. Toss broccoli with splash of oil, arrange on the other tray. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Roast until softened and beginning to blacken, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. 

Combine garlic, ginger, cilantro, lemongrass, shallots, coriander, turmeric, curry powder and water in the bowl of a food processor. Puree to a paste. 

In a pot, heat a tablespoon of oil over a high flame. Add paste and cook until slightly browned, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock, coconut milk, water, peppercorn sachet and carrots. Boil, reduce to a simmer. Add green beans. Skim off any foam from surface. Simmer until greenbeans and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Add roasted broccoli and squash. Stir in fish sauce, tamari, lime juice and maple syrup. Salt to taste. Serve with noodles, zoodles, rice or enjoy on it's own. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro leaves. 

Paleo Week 3 Grocery List + What I Cooked

This week the menu's all Paleo. I was not messing around. I wanted clean, healthy food that would give me energy and taste great. 

This is week three of my batch cooking posts. The first one has a more in depth on tips and tricks - here's a link! Again, some of my tips for grocery shopping and batch cooking are: pick a menu,  inventory the fridge/pantry and write a shopping list that is organized by departments in the grocery store.

Recipes will be posted this week and linked.  I prepared everything on Sunday evening.  Cameron helped and we listened to S Town podcast and music. 

The Menu:

Paleo Collard Wraps Chicken Burritos

Paleo Egg Squares + Sweet Potato Toast

Paleo Khao Soi Paste Soup

And my snacks: plantain chips, tigernuts, unsweetened dried fruit, green apples with cinnamon, baby carrots, grapes, veggie snacks, smoothies (Chocolate Cherry!), canned tuna, blanched broccoli, curry cauliflower, Anita's coconut yogurt, sliced deli meats, hummus, roasted peas and avocado with lime juice, s+p.  These things always get added to the list as needed and are not included in the main list below. 

The List:

1 bunch collard greens

2 leeks

1 bunch kale

8 oz mushrooms (brown, white or mini portobellos)

1 butternut squash

2 stalks broccoli

5 oz green beans

4 carrots

2 avocados

1 lime

1/2 head red or green cabbage 

1 bunch cilantro

1/2 head crispy lettuce (iceberg or romaine)

1/2 white onion

2 shallots

1 head garlic

2" ginger

2 lemongrass stalks

1.5 # boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 quart vegetable stock

1 14 oz tin full fat coconut milk

10 eggs

Pantry staples you will also need for these 3 recipes: coarse kosher salt, ground black pepper, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, fenugreek leaves, oregano, cinnamon, cumin, ground coriander, madras curry powder, szechuan peppercorns, fish sauce, tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos, maple syrup, 

Lavender Chamomile Pillow Mist

I didn't think I was a pillow mist person but then I made this stuff and it pretty much follows me around the house. I definitely don't need it - I typically fall asleep around 10pm without fail because I'm old/boring and prefer to get up very early - but I like it. It smells good and is super calming. It's also non toxic, safe, natural and homemade. 

This pillow mist smells great. It's super calming thanks to chamomile and lavender. You can also use this as a face mist, which is what I've been doing. Throughout the evening, I'll give myself a little mist just because of the lovely scent. Ah, aromatherapy. So great. 

Super Calming Mist

2 oz witch hazel

1 chamomile tea bag

about 20 drops lavender essential oil

Add tea bag to witch hazel and let steep at room temperature of 24 hours. It should be very fragrant at this point. Discard teabag. Add lavender oil. Feel free to add more drops as needed - you want a nice balance of both chamomile and lavender. Pour into a mini spray bottle and spritz away. 

Lentil Soup (Vegan, GF, DF)

This is a very loving soup. It's comforting, healthy and very adaptable. I make it all the time and I think it's about the third time I've posted a lentil soup on here but it's been awhile. Each time I make lentil soup, I like to tweak it a little bit. Sometimes it's full of cumin, marmite, tamari & sesame or garam masala - like this one. 

It's hard to resist the warm spiced notes of garam masala - an Indian spice blend. I took things a bit further with a dash of sesame oil,squeeze of lemon and splash of apple cider vinegar, You'll know when the seasoning is right because all the flavors will pop and brighten. 

I strongly prefer chicken stock for my lentil soup but vegetable stock is great too if you're looking to keep things vegetarian. If you're in comfort food mode and you eat nightshades, a potato does something wonderful in here. Chop it up and add it with the lentils. 

Makes about 8 servings. 

Simple Lentil Soup

splash olive oil

1 yellow onion, finely chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

4 carrots, peeled, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon garam masala

2 quarts stock (chicken or vegetable)

1 1/2 cup french green lentils, rinsed

1 bunch collard greens, stems removed, chopped

s + p

lemon juice, to taste (about 1 lemon)

sesame oil, to taste (about 1.5 teaspoons)

apple cider vinegar, to taste (about 1 tablespoon)

In a pot, over medium low heat, warm olive oil. Add onion and cook until soft and glossy, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, bay, thyme, garam masala, stock and lentils. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer. Cook until lentils are tender, about 35 minutes. Add collard greens. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, sesame oil and apple cider vinegar. 

Recipe Cards

I made you something! Printable recipe cards. I picked up a Polaroid Snap Touch camera a few months ago and have been using it to print out little business card photos from my phone. It connects with blue tooth and works like a portable, wireless mini photo printer. I love it. The backing of each photo peels off and becomes a sticker if you want. 

I want. I realized I could print food photos from my phone and stick them to recipe cards. I love recipe cards but didn't find any that had space of a photo so I designed these and thought I'd share. 

For printers, you do not need the Polaroid Snap - you could use a Fuji Film Instax Camera, HP Sprocket, Zink Happy Printer, Polaroid Zip, Kodak Mini Mobile or small photos printed from your printer. 

Click on the buttons below to download:

Egg Squares (Paleo, GF, DF)

Occasionally, I forget that I hate eggs and make these egg squares. There are just enough veggies in here to balance the eggs out. When it comes to eggs and me, it's all about a delicate ratio of cleverly disguised egg to other things like saluted vegetables, starch or meat. 

I ate these on sweet potato toast. It's not toast. I was fooled into this one by some very attractive images on pinterest with yummy comments. Sometimes, when you don't have a certain food for awhile, you are easily duped into accepting something like a roasted slice of sweet potato as toast. What am I talking about? I'll tell you: take a sweet potato, cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices lengthwise, put those slices in the toaster and use it as a stand in for bread. It's delicious but it's not toast. (That said, I will probably make it again.)

This recipe makes a big pan off egg squares, feel free to use a smaller pan and cut the recipe in half. 

Egg Squares

splash olive oil

2 leeks, white parts only, halved, thinly sliced

8 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 bunch kale, stems removed, chopped

10 eggs

s + p

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease or paper a 13 x 9 inch pan.

In a large skillet or wok over medium heat, warm oil. Add leeks, mushrooms and kale, cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Arrange evenly in prepared pan. 

In a bowl, whisk eggs. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over cooked vegetables. Bake until egg set in the middle, about 25 minutes. Cut into squares. 

How to Drink More Water

Are you drinking enough water? If so, you deserve a medal or golden chalice. We are supposed to be drinking at least half an ounce of water for each pound we weigh. That's a lot. Personally, I hate drinking water and have come up with a handful of tricks to help get all those ounces in. 

Most important thing to remember - You need it! How are you supposed to be your best self if you're brain and body are struggling for something it needs?  The more hydrated you are, the better you will feel: less frequent headaches, a stronger immune system (less colds!), a strong sense of mental clarity, less weight gain, energized body, less wrinkles, and happy bladder, kidneys and colon. All important things, right? Right.

1. H20-lympics! When I was a bartender we would make things a little competitive by each filling up pitchers of water and try to make progress through out the shift. It's silly but there's no better way to get that determination going than with a little competition. 

2. Buy a quart sized container and fill it up with water twice throughout the day. Something with a nice, big mouth is better than a sports cap since you can take giant, satisfying gulps and chugs. Yum. I've found this to be the best, most reliable method. I drink one quart water at work and then another when I get home. 

3. Flavor your water! Add some fruit, mint, cucumber, citrus slices to those water containers you're filling up. It tastes better and adds health benefits. Just keep in mind that drinking lemon water throughout the day is not great for your tooth enamel because of the acid so mix it up. 

4. Drink out of an eight ounce cup so you can count your cups consumed each day. You'll need to drink about 8 of them. I do this all the time at home and Cameron thinks its funny but it works! I keep an actual measuring cup by the sink just for this - accuracy is important to me - just don't lose count.  

5. Set reminders on your phone. There are apps for this or simply set a few reminders on your phone to pop up throughout the day. 

6. Consider starting a health journal  with a water log. This way you will be able to see how wonderful you feel as a more hydrated person - or if you forget, how tired and icky you feel. 

Here are some safe, non toxic, bpa free water bottles - each holds 32 ounces and features a different size top.

32oz glass water bottle at Nordstrom, $45

32oz glass water bottle at Nordstrom, $45

32oz stainless steel bottle at Bed Bath & Beyond, $32

32oz stainless steel bottle at Bed Bath & Beyond, $32

32oz stainless steel, insulated water bottle at REI, $40

32oz stainless steel, insulated water bottle at REI, $40

Now, who's thirsty? 

AIP Turkey Tacos

I love taco night but it's pretty much impossible on AIP. Or is it? It's not impossible, it's just a bit of work. As someone who does not enjoy lettuce wraps for mexican dishes, I have to make my own tortillas. So far I've tested a few different plantain tortilla recipes but am still not 100% pleased with the texture of any. The flavor is always great but they just fall apart. How terrible is it to bit into your first taco and have it's entire, artfully assembled fillings fall out. Very sad. As a solution, I make a lettuce taco and then wrap that in the plantain tortilla. 

If anyone has any tips on AIP approved plantain tortillas that don't fall apart - please post it in the comments. I'd love to hear. 

AIP Turkey Taco Filling

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon fenugreek leaves

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cumin, optional but great if you're ok with seeds

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon cooking oil of choice

1 lb ground turkey breast

tortillas of your choosing

garnishes: lime wedges, diced onion, chopped cilantro, zucchini salsa, lettuce

Combine salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, fenugreek, oregano, cinnamon and the optional cumin with water. Set aside. 

In a small pot over medium high heat, warm oil. When hot, add turkey. Stir occasionally, getting a nice brown on the meat, break into small pieces with spoon. When cooked through, about 10 minutes, add seasoning mixture. Stir until coated and liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. 

Spoon onto shells and/or lettuce wraps and add toppings. 

Almost Mac + Cheese (GF, DF, Vegan)

I've been dying for mac n cheese but just couldn't bring myself to cheat. After coming across a forgotten jar of nutritional yeast and box of Banza pasta in the way back of the cupboard, I decided I could make my own vegan, gluten free version. 

Banza is one of my new favorite things. It's a gluten free, grain free pasta made from chickpea flour and tapioca starch. As a former lover of all things pasta, I love it. So far, it's my favorite alternative pasta. (This post is not sponsored  - I just like to share good things when I find them.)

Makes 2 large servings. 

Almost Mac + Cheese

1 stalk broccoli, peeled, chopped

6oz banza pasta 

1 cup cashew milk

1/2 cup nutritional yeast flakes

1/2 teaspoon arrowroot powder

1/4 teaspoon mustard powder

pinch nutmeg

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

s + p 

dash of Worcestershire, optional (not vegan or vegetarian)

Boil a pot of water. Add broccoli. Blanche for 2 minutes. Drain. Set aside. 

Boil a pot of water and cook pasta until al dente, about 8 minutes. Drain and set aside. 

In a  pot, whisk cashew milk, yeast flakes, arrowroot, mustard powder and nutmeg over medium high heat. Add pasta and broccoli, stirring until thickened and hot. Add vinegar. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in Worcestershire if using. 

 

 

DIY Ombre Watercolor Dry Erase Board

deb.jpg

I love making lists. I'm visual and need to write things out and have a list or notes to revisit when I need. It's so satisfying to accomplish tasks or goals and cross them off. So great. I have about 10 lists in the notes app of my phone that I'm currently using.

I also keep a big dry erase board in the kitchen. I made it from a huge, cheap white frame found at Ikea. I painted the board backing with white acrylic paint, let it dry and assembled the frame as usual but instead of displaying art, Cameron and I use it to note groceries, things we are out of, things we might want to cook, our to do lists...anything. We just write on the plexi with a thin dry erase marker and wipe it off with a towel or hand when done. It's great on Sundays when we're cooking and have 3 different dishes to make. Just scribble down what needs to be done and start cooking. (I'm a bit of a control freak, if you couldn't tell.)

The best part is that it's temporary. whatever I write down can just be wiped off. 

I thought I'd show how to make a pretty one with a simple monochromatic ombre watercolor background. You can use any color you like, just consider what color dry erase ink you will be using. There will need to be enough contrast to keep the writing legible. 

I used command strips to hang this. Have you used these things?  If you follow the directions exactly, they are great. I prefer to use these to nails or tacks - no holes in the wall! 

Supplies:

a large frame with glass or plexi - 16" x 20" or 18" x 24" are good sizes

watercolor paper that matches frame size

watercolor paint - color of your choice

large watercolor brush 

rag or sponge brush (to wet the paper)

cup of water

dry erase marker

command strips or hooks to hang your completed project

Instructions:

Wet entire surface of paper with a sponge brush. It needs to be wet so the watercolor paint can blend and flow when applied. Once wet, stir a few drops of water directly into your watercolor paint using the watercolor brush. Saturate the brush with paint. Start at the top of your paper, painting with long, horizontal strokes, side to side. Add more paint to your brush as needed. Keep painting until the top quarter of your paper is saturated to your liking with paint. 

Do the same to the next quarter section, just mix a lighter saturation of paint - more water to pigment than you used before. Wash the color on as before, dabbing more water or paint as needed. Watercolor is very forgiving and mistakes can be corrected easily with more paint (darken)  or water (lighten). 

Complete the remainder of the piece as the other sections. Adjust as needed with more paint or water. The last quarter might now need any paint. 

Let dry completely - it will be dry to the touch and will not feel cold. Frame and hang!

Pesto Portobello Salads (GF, DF, Vegetarian, Vegan)

I'm obsessed with Sweetgreen. First, it was the Wild Child Salad, now it's this Pesto Portobello Bowl. It's a warm bowl with quinoa, chickpeas, arugula, mushrooms, roasted broccoli tossed in a basil vinaigrette. I've done my best to replicate it. I hope you enjoy this copycat version. 

Grains and beans?  Are you wondering where the hell my Paleo and AIP recipes have gone? Don't worry, they're still my primary ways of eating. My functional doctor said small amounts of organic quinoa is ok and I have successfully added beans back into my diet. 

This is a great one to take to work. It gives you lots of clean energy to get you through the day. It's a complete protein with the quinoa and chickpeas - no meat needed here! This is good cold or warm but I prefer it warm. Here's a tip to how to pack this thing if you agree: in a quart sized container/jar, start with dressing at the bottom. Then mushrooms, broccoli, chickpeas, quinoa. In a separate container, pack your arugula. When you're ready to eat: heat everything but your greens. Toss everything together in a nice big bowl. 

This salad is all about the different components. All these components get prepared separately so to make things easier, I've broken it down into what you need to make. 

Makes about 5 salads. 

Pesto Portobello Salad Bowls

 

1.

Make Pesto Vinaigrette: Blend 1 bunch basil leaves, 1/3 cup oil, 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 clove garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt until very smooth.  

2.

Cook the Quinoa. In a small saucepan add 1 cup dry red or white quinoa and 2 cups water. Cover. Boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook 15 minutes or until soft. 

3.

Cook Broccoli and Mushrooms: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Chop and peel 3 stalks broccoli. Toss with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Arrange on half sheet tray. Roast 30 minutes. 

Toss 10 oz sliced mini portobello mushrooms with 2 grated cloves garlic, 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Roast 15 minutes. 

4.

The Chickpeas: Stir together 1 tablespoon olive oil with 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin and 1/4 teaspoon turmeric. Add 1 14oz tin chickpeas(drained and rinsed), stir to coat. Cook in microwave or on stovetop until warm. 

5.

Assemble salad bowls. Toss spoonfuls of cooked quinoa, roasted broccoli, mushrooms, warm chickpeas with a bit of pesto dressing and a large handful of arugula

Cameron's Daikon + Mushroom Soup (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF, Vegan)

I love when Cameron gets a cooking idea like a soup or a salad  - whatever it is will always be delicious, healthy and well made. This soup is no different. Savory, brothy and full of daikon. I secretly think he was trying to make a fish free, Mea-friendly version of this Oden he used to get in the winter at a place near his old work but he might not agree. (We'll see.) 

Daikon + Mushroom Soup

to make the stock:

2 leeks, halved

fennel tops

2 inches ginger root, peeled, sliced

4 garlic cloves, smashed

4 dried shitakes

1 bay leaf

1 kafir lime leaf

1 teaspoon peppercorns (black and pink)

Place everything in a large pot. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Strain and discard solids. 

for the soup

splash olive oil

1 celeriac, peeled and diced

1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced

2 daikon, peeled and chopped

6 oz chopped mini portobello mushrooms

2 cups baby bok choy, sliced in half

juice of 1 lime

Saute celeriac and fennel until, softened and glossy, about 5 minutes. Add stock and daikon. Bring to a boil, add mushrooms and simmer. Cook about 40 minutes until all vegetables are soft. Add bokchoy. Season with lime juice and salt.