Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

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I made these delicious cookies a couple of weeks ago but wasn’t sure they’d turn out, so didn’t take any photos…

I was very pleased when they did end up turning out perfectly but by the time they came out of the oven, I was out of daylight and wasn’t about to give you a photograph with hideous kitchen lighting. I do have a light box but it’s in the basement and it’s big and somewhat laborious to set up – and I guess the real story is that we just wanted to sit around eating cookies instead of taking photos of them.

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Now that the long weekend has come to an end and life has quieted down, today was the perfect day to test them again and make sure I had some daylight for photographs.

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They turned out just as well as the first batch and I love their flavor and texure. I don’t eat oats often so when I splurge, I only settle for the best possible treat.

They’re versatile too. You could just do chocolate chips or chocolate pieces if you’re not into raisins. Or, you could add dried cherries instead of raisins. You could also do a variety of dried fruits, you could add your favorite nuts, and if white chocolate doesn’t give you issues…well, white chocolate chunks and dried cherries in these would be to die for. The options are all up to you so have fun!

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Gluten Free & Dairy Free Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Makes About 15 Cookies

1 Cup of Mama’s Almond Blend Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of Ceylon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon of Baking Soda

3/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1/2 teaspoon of Xanthan Gum

1 1/2 Cups of Bob’s Redmill Organic Gluten Free Rolled Oats

3/4 Cup of Organic Coconut Sugar

1/2 Cup of Earth Balance Soy Free Dairy Free Butter

1 Organic Egg

2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Cup of Organic Raisins

Add dry ingredients (except raisins) to a medium bowl and whisk to combine – set aside. In a stand mixer, cream the sugar and butter (about 2 minutes). Scrape down sides and add the egg and vanilla. Beat on medium until fully incorporated and creamy. Scrape down sides. Turn mixer to the “stir” setting and add the dry ingredients. Stir until fully incorporated. Add the raisins and mix until combined. Chill for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (I do all of my baking and cooking with convection). Line two baking sheets with parchment and place spoonfuls of the dough onto the sheets. About 2 Tablespoons each. Bake for 12 minutes, remove from oven, and cool on cookie sheets for 5 minutes. Transfer to cooling racks to cool completely.

Grain Free Spinach Tortillas

2018-05-02 16.11.04A few weeks ago I tried to make the plain tortillas on the back of the Otto’s Cassava Flour bag, they were really dry and I had to keep adding liquid. The final product was stiff and not so appetizing.

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This time I tried more oil and water and I also wanted to add some more nutrition and color with the spinach.

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The result was a much smoother dough that was easy to work with. After kneading it I covered it with a damp paper towel to make sure I didn’t lose any moisture when it came time to roll it.

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I tried a few different ways of rolling but the tried and true method of rolling out tortillas between parchment worked the best. If you’re using the sheets like I did, you can stack them and cut them in half. I’m sure you could also use a tortilla press but I would be mindful of the plastic wrap and either go without and lightly flour the press or lightly flour the plastic wrap.

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Get them all rolled out first rather than rolling and cooking one at a time. You’ll be working with a very hot pan and it will get too hot if you roll between cooking tortillas.

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I haven’t perfected my rolling technique to have perfectly round edges yet – but I really like the rustic look after they’re cooked.

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Wait for it to bubble and it should slide around in the pan when it’s cooked on the underside when you tip and swirl the pan.

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The first time I tried making homemade tortillas I learned the hard way not to use a plastic spatula for flipping. I had melted plastic all over the pan! I have special directions in the recipe below.

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Loved the texture and they also got two thumbs up from the hubby.

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Grain Free & Dairy Free Spinach Tortillas 

*Makes about 8 Tortillas

1 1/2 Cups of Otto’s Cassava Flour

1 1/2 Cups of Fresh Baby Spinach Leaves

1/4 Cup of Water

1/2 teaspoon of Sea Salt

5 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/2 Cup of Water

Puree the baby spinach and 1/4 Cup of water in a blender or NutriBullet. Whisk the sea salt and flour together and add the pureed spinach, olive oil, and 1/2 cup of water. Knead until completely smooth. Cover with a damp paper towel and set aside.

Cut 16 pieces of parchment paper (for rolling the tortillas). Split the dough into 8 somewhat equal pieces, form into balls, and place in the middle of a sheet of parchment. Press down the dough ball with your palm to form a flattened circle then cover the top with another piece of parchment and roll out into a thin circle. Continue with the remaining dough.

Heat a medium stainless steel or cast iron skillet on medium high (no oil). Hold the tortilla (in its paper) on your hand and flip it over. Loosen the bottom sheet first then flip back over and carefully remove the top parchment sheet (if you rub it lightly all over with your hand, it will peel off more easily). Holding the tortilla with the bottom parchment sheet, flip it into the hot pan. When it begins to bubble, life the edge and check to see if it is slightly browned on the underside. It should also slide pretty easily in the hot pan when it is ready to flip. **DO NOT use a plastic spatula to flip the tortillas because it will melt and leave streaks of plastic in your pan. Use a flat wooden spatula or you can also slide a butter knife under the tortilla and hold the top with your other hand to flip it.

Remove the cooked tortillas to a cooling rack to cool or tortilla holder if you’re serving them immediately and repeat the process with the remaining tortillas.

**For the tortilla in the header picture, I mixed some garlic and herb goat cheese with a little olive oil mayo, and pepper – poached some boneless skinless chicken tenders, and then added micro greens, onion, broccoli, and bell pepper and rolled the tortillas with a folded piece of parchment so they were easy to hold and eat.

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Stray Thought Thursday – Stepping Out Of Survival Mode

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Welcome to Stray Thought Thursday, a new addition to the blog! Every now and then I’ll be posting about health and lifestyle information, subjects we talk about behind the scenes in your messages (anonymously of course) that I think would be helpful to others, and just some stray thoughts I think you may find helpful or interesting. If there’s something specific you’d like me to focus on in one of my Stray Thought Thursday posts, shoot me a message and I’ll do my best! 

Stepping Out of Survival Mode

Ever feel like you get caught in that endless loop of survival? I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been there. Some of us more than others. Or maybe you’re so caught up in the mode, you don’t realize that’s what you’re experiencing? Slowing down causes reflection and reflection makes you think. That kind of slow living and deep thinking comes with a lot of emotions and baggage attached. So you stay busy instead. Busy, busy, BUSY, until your body, finally out of sheer disgust with you says, “Enough is enough!”

Commence crash and burn.

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Survival mode usually starts because we’re burning the candle at both ends, juggling too much, or there’s an undercurrent of worry or fear running in the background about one thing or another that we dread dealing with. It’s all about control, isn’t it? Fear of lack of control or fear of too much control over things we don’t want control over. When we’re sick, overworked, injured, dealing with life issues –  we don’t want to give in to it so we push further when we should be resting. When we’re upset, that feeling is uncomfortable so we distract ourselves – social media, food, Netflix, friends, hobbies, or we disconnect from the world. When something needs to be addressed but communication is an issue with that person, we cram it down not wanting to rock the boat and add more stress to our lives – which of course, has the same result if not worse in the long run. On the flip side, when certain issues arise whether they’re ours to own or not, we jump into fix it mode because the reality of just living with the outcome of no solutions to a problem – are often hard to wrap our minds around.

Any of this sound familiar? You don’t have to have major issues going on in your life to get caught up in survival mode. Maybe there’s just a consistent stream of little things running like a current under the surface that wear you down?

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Survival mode inevitably starts to feel like running around with a back pack full of all the heavy stuff.  Stress, anxiety, overwhelm, exhaustion, and dread. You lug that pack everywhere with you even though the straps are digging into your shoulders, your back is sweating, and the weight of it is pulling you backward. You shower with it, work with it, relationship with it, eat with it, and go to bed with it. When more things to deal with pile on, you simply unzip it and stuff them in to handle at “a later date” weighing you down further.

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That backpack also comes with your special hiking frenemy – nervous energy. Let’s call it Zippy. Zippy is fueled by stress, nightly tossing and turning, rash decisions, refined sugar, and too much caffeine or booze or both – all the things you know break your body down, but Zippy talks you into anyway. Initially Zippy makes you feel like a rock star, cheering you on with that buzz of energy. “You’ve GOT THIS! No problem. You can handle THIS!” Zippy runs alongside convincing you that you’re just fine with that pack… that will eventually bring you to your knees.

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You’re on Zippy’s high until suddenly you’re not, and that bottoming out is a harsh one. You crash and burn on that trail to nowhere. The straps finally split from the weight of everything you’ve been avoiding and you’re left with bloody shins, bruised knees, and scraped up palms.

That’s when you’re reminded Zippy is more enemy than friend. You try to stand up but you’re legs feel like wet noodles and you’re drenched in the sweaty stench of bad decisions. Wired and tired, exhausted but jumpy, you realize you’ve been duped. There you are, swirling around at the bottom of, “Why do I do this to myself?”

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Where do you go from there? First, Zippy and everything it promotes, gets the boot. Don’t let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya, Zippy!

Mindfulness is where we need to be focused every waking moment of every day in order to avoid the survival mode trap. Aware of our diets, how much movement we’re getting, how we are feeling about our mushy insides that we try so hard to protect, what messages are running through our heads behind the scenes, the state of our relationships and friendships, and most importantly, awareness about where we are in life. Are we experiencing joy? Peace? Fulfillment? Health? Are we voicing our gratefuls every day? There is no such thing as the perfect life in every area,  but if you can’t say yes to all of those questions above on at least a semi regular basis – you’re in survival mode and your one and only fantastic life, isn’t being lived.

I know, I hear you!  Raise your hand if you’re sick of hearing you need to be more mindful. It’s such a trendy buzz word these days. We’re so used to seeing it on our path  we just jump right over it on our way to bad decisions. If ‘mindfulness’ bothers you, we can switch it out with Awareness, or Watchfulness, or my personal favorite found on Dictionary.com – Gingerliness!

Let’s go through life Gingerly shall we?

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The definition of gingerly is ‘with great care or cautious manner; delicately‘. Let’s do life with great care. Great care by paying attention to what serves our health and spiritual well-being, even when we are in the midst of ongoing stress, a seemingly impossible situation, or a crisis. Let’s remember to stay on track no matter what life throws at us large or small. Let’s do life with a cautious manner by avoiding negative old patterns of escapism and survival mode. By ditching unhealthy relationships – unhealthy foods and eating patterns- unhealthy choices – and ALL situations that do not serve us or the ones we love, our goals, or our health.

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Let’s live life delicately. Taking deep breaths, being truly present, minimizing chaos, seeking things to be grateful for, responding to life rather than reacting, speaking from the heart, learning how to let go, ditching validation, and filling our cups with the exact opposite of just surviving.

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 Repeat after me, “I will live my one life with great care. With a cautious manner, paying attention to what feeds me and makes me whole, physically and spiritually. I will live – gingerly“.

You were not created to live life in survival mode.

Blessings of peace to you ~ Gluten Free Zen

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All photos taken by me in the beautiful Methow Valley. 

Gluten Free Dinner Rolls

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These gluten free and dairy free rolls are my all time favorite! Everything about them from texture to taste is perfect thanks to My Gluten Free Kitchen. I’ve been using Michelle’s recipe for several years and it never disappoints! They are delicious with dairy free butter, jam, dipped in soup or stew or gravy, used as a sandwich bun, and I’ve even sliced them and popped them in the toaster for breakfast.

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Gluten-Free Pull Apart Dinner Rolls

(One batch recipe makes 9 rolls, if you want to double it you’ll need to also increase the flour by 1/4 – 1/2 cup)

2 3/4 Cups Gluten Free Mama’s Almond Blend Flour

1 1/2 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum

2 teaspoons of SAF Instant Yeast

1/4 Cup Sugar (I have also used coconut sugar but it darkens the color of the rolls)

1 1/2 teaspoon of Salt (I use sea salt & add 1/2 teaspoon to her original 1 teaspoon)

1 Cup of Warm Water

2 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter (I use Earth Balance Soy Free)

1 Egg

1 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar

In the mixing bowl of your electric mixer, mix together flour, xanthan gum, instant yeast, sugar, and salt. With mixer running on low speed, add in the water, melted butter (or substitute), egg, and cider vinegar. Mix on medium speed 3 minutes. The batter will be very soft. 

Spray 8″ or 9″ round cake pan or pie plate with cooking spray. Using a 2″ scoop or 1/3 cup measuring cup, scoop dough into 9 mounds in the pan. I place one mound in middle, then scoop 8 mounds of dough side by side all the way around the pan.

Dip your fingertips into warm water and use to smooth out the tops of the rolls, continuing to wet fingers as needed. Cover with a dry towel (I spray a sheet of plastic wrap and lay that lightly over the rolls with a towel on top) and let rise in a warm place 45 minutes to 1 hour.

During the last few minutes that the rolls are rising, preheat oven to 400°. Bake in 400° oven for 26-28 minutes. Tops should be golden brown and if you measure temperature of dough, it should measure 200°. Brush rolls with additional 1/2-1 Tablespoon of melted butter (I omit this step).

Twice Baked Potato Casserole

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This casserole is very easy to make and you can use any combination of cheeses, herbs, and seasonings you like. I went with goats and sheep’s milk cheeses because cow dairy doesn’t agree with me. I also omitted the typical sour cream in a potato casserole for obvious reasons but after some thought, have decided the next time I make this that I’ll try a home made high fat dairy free plain yogurt and see how that works as a stand in for sour cream. I’ll let you know!

There are also other potato options you could try. You can use packaged frozen hashed browns if you don’t want to go through the process of baking the potatoes first and then scooping out the filling. I’ve also seen recipes where they cube and bake the potatoes. I like mine to seem more like a mashed potato casserole with some chunky potato texture, so I prefer to use baked potatoes and do a light mash.

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Even though I forgot to take pictures of everything coming out of the oven and the food on the table on Easter, I did manage a shot of the table and a shot of a little bit of all of the leftovers the next day. Next time I’ll have to write myself a note to remember to take food photos!

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I absolutley love 2nd day leftovers for breakfast, and clearly that morning my priority was the cherry fluff.

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Twice Baked Potato Casserole

10 Large Russet Potatoes Washed and Wrapped in Foil, baked

About 3/4 Cup Dairy Free Milk, heated (I used diluted full fat coconut milk)

3 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter

3 Cloves of Garlic, minced or grated

3 Tablespoons of Mixed Herbs (I used oregano, rosemary, and a little thyme)

3 Heaping Cups of Cheese (I used goat cheddar, goat gouda, and Daiya Cheddar Style Cheese)

5 Tablespoons of Dairy Free Butter

Sea Salt & Ground Pepper to taste

6 Slices of Crispy Bacon

1/2 Cup of Green Onions, sliced

Bake and cool the potatoes. Scoop potato meat out of skins into a large bowl. Add the heated coconut milk and 3 Tablespoons of butter and lightly mash the potatoes.

Spray a 13×9 inch casserole dish and set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Fold in the 3 heaping cups of cheese, the garlic and herbs, and season generously with sea salt and ground pepper. Dollop the top with the 5 Tablespoons of butter. Transfer to the casserole dish and bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes. While the casserole is baking, slice the onions and fry the crispy bacon (or you could prepare the bacon the day ahead like I did).

Remove the casserole from the oven and top with the onions and bacon. 

Cherry Fluff Salad

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I made this for Christmas with cranberries and with cherries for Easter and it got rave reviews both times. Everyone loves a traditional “fluff” salad that takes us back to holiday meals at Grandma’s house.

Cherry Fluff Salad

16 ounces of Pitted Dark Cherries, thawed & drained

8 ounce can of Crushed Pineapple, drained

1 Cup of Sugar

2 Cups of Mini Marshmallows

6 ounces of Soft Goat or Sheep’s Milk Cheese

1 Tablespoon of Sugar

Zest of 1 Lemon

2 Tablespoons of Lemon Juice

2 Cups of Sweetened Vanilla Coconut Milk Whipped Cream (I make this the night before so it has time to really chill and set up. Some coconut water will separate, just pour it off before folding the whipped cream into the other fluff ingredients)

Chop the thawed, drained, cherries and toss them in a small bowl with the drained pineapple and 1 cup of sugar, chill in the fridge for 1 hour. Drain off excess juice.

While the fruit is chilling, bring the goat cheese to room temperature. Beat the cheese, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 1 TBS of sugar until smooth and fluffy. 

Remove the coconut milk whipped cream that’s been in the fridge chilling over night and drain off excess coconut water. Fold the cheese and whipped cream together carefully. Don’t overwork it. Fold in the fruit mixture and marshmallows and chill for at least 1 hour before serving. 

Easter Breeze

2018-03-31 15.35.06Easter weekend has come and gone and still, our typically warm spring is nowhere to be found! At least the Robins have arrived so we there’s some guarantee that warmer weather is around the corner.

We were hoping to have our Easter meal, or at least cocktails out on the patio with a nice fire this year but the weather didn’t cooperate. But high winds and a nip in the air didn’t stop me from going ahead with a fun spring cocktail.

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Easter Breeze

2 Large Whole Pineapples (peeled & juiced or you can use store bought pineapple juice – about 20 ounces)

15 ounces of Organic Pure Cranberry Juice

2 Limes (one for rim slices and one sliced for the cocktail mix)

15 ounces of Ciroc Vodka (more or less depending on how strong you like your cocktails)

Sparkling Apple Cider

Sea Salt & Sugar For Glass Rims

Make this cocktail mix the night before serving so the flavors have time to come together. Juice the pineapple and add the cranberry juice, lime slices, and vodka. Refrigerate over night. Rim the cocktail glasses with the sugar and sea salt mixture and a slice of lime. Fill the glass 3/4 full and top with a little sparkling apple cider.

Had to have a little taste test before the mix went into the fridge for the night.

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Pomegranate Crunch Salad

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Well, in true form I forgot (once again) to take photos of all of the Easter food when it hit the table. I did take some photos as I was going along on IG and did a few Stories, but as for “professionally” staged and delicious looking photos…I’m sorry to say there aren’t any. So bear with me on my next few blog posts as I present to you pictures of leftovers so that I can at least get the recipes we love to you and you have an idea of what they look like. The leftover photos don’t do them justice of course, but I can promise you that I never share anything with you that I don’t absolutely love.

Pomegranate Crunch Salad

1 Package of Brussels Sprouts, bottoms trimmed, peeled, and sliced (About 2 Cups)

1 1/2 Cups of Red Cabbage, thinly sliced then cut in half

1/2 Cup of Parsley, chopped

1/2 Cup of Green Onion, chopped

1 Large Honey Crisp or Gala Apple, cored and cubed

1/2 Cup of Pomegranate Seeds

(For The Dressing)

1 Avocado

Zest of 1 Large Lemon

Juice of 1 Large Lemon

1/4 Cup of Olive Oil Mayo

1/2 Cup of Fresh Parsley

1 Small Knob of Fresh Ginger

2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar

2 Tablespoons of Raw Honey

A Few Grinds of Pepper

Pinch of Sea Salt

Toss all of the salad ingredients together and chill while making the dressing. In a blender or NutriBullet, add all of the dressing ingredients and blend until smooth. Toss the salad with the dressing and let chill for 1 hour before serving. 

 

 

Cranberry Pepita Bread

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This makes a really delicious, dense, loaf of semi-sweet bread. My husband doesn’t like nuts in his food so I had it all to myself. He really missed out!

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One day I had it with breakfast topped with dairy free butter and raw honey. The next day I toasted it and topped it with sliced avocado. The other afternoon I was craving something sweet so I toasted it and topped it with dairy free butter and a little bit of raspberry jam. Another day, I ate it plain with a salad. It’s very versatile. And of course, you can add any fruit and nut/seed combo you like. Or all fruits or all nuts, or chocolate, or dried ginger, you could add cacao to the recipe to make it really dark and chocolaty, or you could also lower the coconut sugar and make it savory with herbs and garlic.

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It’s egg free, grain free, refined sugar free, and dairy free. I’m going to work on more egg free, limited ingredient breads over the next couple of months. Most of us with food allergens have the basics on hand but I really love a simple, delicious recipe that we can whip up easily whenever we get the craving.

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Cranberry Pepita Bread

2/3 Cup of Arrowroot

1 Cup of Chestnut Flour

3/4 Cup of Coconut Flour

2 teaspoons of Xanthan Gum

3 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder

3 Tablespoons of Coconut Sugar

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

3 teaspoons of Cinnamon

3 Tablespoons of Active Yeast

1/2 Cup of Dairy Free Butter

3 Tablespoons of Grass Fed Gelatin

1 Cup of Warm Water

1 Tablespoon of Vinegar

1 Cup of Organic Dried Cranberries

1/2 Cup of Raw Pepitas

(You’ll need parchment paper and a dutch oven for this recipe.)

Cut two pieces of parchment to line a medium bowl and set aside.

In an electric mixer whisk the arrowroot, chestnut flour, coconut flour, xanthan, baking powder, coconut sugar, sea salt, cinnamon, and yeast to combine. Work the butter through until it resembles pea sized crumbs. Measure the cup of water and add the gelatin into the water mixing quickly with a fork so it doesn’t clump. Microwave for 30 seconds. Add the gelatin mixture and the vinegar to the dry mixture. Beat on medium for 1 minute scraping down sides once or twice. Fold in the cranberries and pepitas.

Lightly form the dough into a ball and place in the parchment lined bowl. Preheat the oven to 475 degrees, cover the bowl with a light towel and set it on top of the stove to rise for 1 hour. At the 30 minute mark, place your dutch oven in the oven with the lid on. If the lid handle isn’t metal, remove the handle by unscrewing it.

At the 1 hour mark, carefully pull the rack out and remove the dutch oven lid. Set it somewhere safe because it will be HOT. Pick up the sides of the parchment and transfer the dough and the parchment to the dutch oven and replace the lid.

Bake for 40 minutes. Turn off the oven and let sit for 10 minutes. Remove bread to cooling rack before slicing.

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Asian Style Beef & Vegetable Soup – Instant Pot

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I woke up at 2:30 this morning. Wide awake. I don’t know why that happens sometimes. So I laid there for about 45 minutes trying to go back to sleep but one of the dogs – Romeo, was farting and my husband was snoring. No matter how many times I jiggled the bed, poked him with my toe, or moved the pillow that he sleeps with over his head…the snoring (and dog farting) just continued at a steady pace.

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Abigail wanted in and out of the covers numerous times. Then of course, I started thinking – which is never a good idea when you’re trying to fall back to sleep. Pretty soon I was planning my summer garden, rearranging the house in my head, then I’d try to divert myself from that and just envision myself laying on a hot sandy beach. Then I was thinking about paying bills and the laundry that needed to be done, and how I was going to manage getting into swimsuit shape by summer (which is more like a nightmare than a daydream)…so I finally just got up! I made myself a cup of tea and did my little morning bible study. I’m also reading Lysa TerKeurst’s new book, Uninvited, and it is SO GOOD! I’ve read all of her books and have never been disappointed. So at least my early morning wasn’t wasted.

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So now here I am. It’s 12:30 and I’m truly thankful that I had this soup on hand. It made for an effortless lunch and probably a good pre cat-nap meal. Warm and soothing and the ginger, sriracha, and cilantro really give it something special.

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Asian Style Beef & Vegetable Soup

1 Sirloin Steak, sliced thinly on the diagonal – fat trimmed and reserved

1/2 Onion, diced

6 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and minced

About 2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

28 Brussels Sprouts, outer first layer peeled and bottoms trimmed

1 Cup of Red Cabbage, roughly chopped

1/2 Cup of Celery, sliced

1/2 Cup of Red & Orange Bell Peppers, sliced (I used the minis)

1 Cup of Multi Colored Carrots, sliced

2 1/2 Tablespoons of Vegan Pesto

1 1/2 Cups of Sliced Cremini Mushrooms

2 1/2 teaspoons of Freshly Grated Ginger

1/4 Cup of Cilantro, roughly chopped

5 Green Onions, thinly sliced

1 1/2 teaspoons of Sea Salt

1/4 Cup of Coconut Aminos (Or tamari sauce)

2 teaspoons of Sriracha (If you like heat, if not, less)

1 1/2 Boxes (48 ounces) of Beef Broth

Saute (in the Instant Pot) the Beef fat, onions, garlic, and avocado oil for about 6 minutes. Add the sliced steak and saute quickly until the steak is medium rare. Add the brussels, cabbage, celery, bell pepper, carrots, mushrooms, pesto, and ginger. Stir to combine. Add the coconut aminos, sriracha, and beef broth. Stir to combine. Secure the lid and Manually set the Instant Pot timer for 5 minutes (it will take time for the pressure to build up, so the finished time will probably be closer to 15 minutes or a bit more).

As soon as the timer goes off immediately begin releasing the pressure. Remove the lid and stir in the cilantro and green onion and serve.

 

 

Grain Free Crispy Chicken Tenders

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Every now and then I need something fried. There’s something about that salty crunch that is so satisfying! These crispy chicken tenders are simple to prepare and are much healthier than you’ll find in most restaurants that serve this type of food.

When I have the opportunity to eat things like this it makes me really miss Legal Seafood Harborside in Boston. It was only about 90 minutes from our home in New Hampshire and always well worth the drive. They have a spectacular gluten-free menu and even bring gluten free rolls to the table. If you ever have the chance, make sure to set aside some time to sample their menu. They offer fried clams, fish and chips, calamari, fisherman’s stew, a wide array of choices…all the things you’re typically never able to eat  when visiting a coastal city and dealing with food sensitivities and allergies.

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If you don’t want to fry these chicken tenders they can also be baked. You can use gluten free or grain free bread crumbs, whatever fits with your current dietary needs. When I make my home made grain free bread, I also set aside a few rolls or slices to dry and crumble for crumbs to store in the freezer. Then they’re handy whenever I need them.

If you’re not into making your own bread, there are gluten free Panko crumbs available in many natural food isles along with gluten free bread that you could dry and crumble into crumbs. If you’re looking for a grain free bread that you don’t have to make yourself, I’ve heard good things about Predominantly Paleo’s Legit Bread Company but haven’t had a chance to try it myself.

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Grain Free Crispy Chicken Tenders

*Amounts will vary depending on size of your family. This recipe is based on 6 chicken tenders.

6 Boneless Skinless Chicken Tenders

About 1/4 Cup of Avocado Oil

2 Eggs

1/4 Cup of Full Fat Coconut Milk, or any milk you like

About 1 Cup of Grain Free or Gluten Free Bread Crumbs

1 1/2 teaspoons of Sea Salt

Several Grinds of Fresh Pepper

1 1/2 teaspoons of Garlic Powder

1/2 teaspoons each of Thyme & Oregano

1/2 teaspoon of Paprika

Pat the chicken tenders dry with paper towels and set aside. Whisk the egg and milk. Add the crumbs, salt, pepper, and herbs to a bowl and whisk together. Coat the chicken in the eggs and milk mixture then roll in bread crumb mixture. Transfer to a plate to rest. In a large skillet add the avocado oil and heat on medium to medium high. Add the chicken tenders and fry until browned on both sides and chicken is firm to the touch.

If you’d like to bake instead of fry: Line a baking pan with parchment and add the coated chicken tenders. Drizzle lightly with olive oil or avocado oil. Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes.

If you’re craving breaded dishes, here’s another tasty recipe you may enjoy for Baked Halibut and Sweet Potato Fries.

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Chicken Meatball Soup

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I could live on soup!

I’d say I make a big batch about every six weeks.

My favorite is chicken soup but I do like to switch it up every now and then. Sometimes I do beef and vegetable, creamy broccolli, and occasionnally a potato soup. Sometimes I just like bone broth.

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 I try to keep individual servings in the freezer at all times. Speaking of which – this soup was so tasty we ate it all over a few days and there wasn’t anything left to freeze!

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If my husband is traveling for work, I can live on soup and salads for days. My body just loves it. I even have it for breakfast! It’s a really nutritious, gut healthy way to start your day. It’s my first go to when I’m not feeling well, when I’m cold, when I’m tired, I love the way it fills the house with wonderful scents – and if you use healthy ingredients, it’s a great way to get a lot of healing nutrients into your body.

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The meatballs are bite size so they fit perfectly in your mouth and there’s no fussing with cutting them in half.

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The mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes combine to make a wonderfully rich and silky broth. It’s infused with fresh herbs and the meatballs are perfectly seasoned (along with being grain free and egg free) and the kale and sliced carrots add just the right amount of flavor without overpowering that wonderful broth.

Chicken Meatball Soup

*For the Meatballs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

(Makes 72 bite size – I used half and froze half )

2 Packages of Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs, 8 thighs

3 Tablespoons of Diced Red Onion

2 Tablespoons of Minced Garlic

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Fresh Minced Rosemary

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Fresh Minced Sage

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Fresh Minced Thyme

1 1/2 teaspoons of Sea Salt

1/2 teaspoon of Ground Pepper

Place half of the chicken, half of the garlic, half of the herbs, and half of the sea salt and pepper in a food processor, pulse until ground. Not too much or you’ll end up with pate, but enough that there aren’t chunks of chicken and the herbs and garlic are distributed thoroughly. About the texture of tuna fish, so minced pretty well. Remove the ground chicken mixture to a bowl and repeat with the second half of the meatball ingredients. Cover two baking sheets with parchment paper and form bite size meatballs. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Don’t over cook as they will cook more while simmering and you don’t want tough meatballs.

While the meatballs are baking, prepare the base.

8 Cremini Mushrooms, sliced

3 Cloves of Garlic, diced

1/4 Cup of Red Onion, chopped

2 1/2 Cups of Purple Kale, ribs removed and chopped

5 Multi Colored Carrots, skin on and sliced on diagonal

4 Sun Dried Tomatoes In Oil, chopped

1 1/2 Tablespoons of Fresh Sage, chopped

1 Tablespoon of Fresh Rosemary, chopped

2 teaspoons of Fresh Thyme, chopped

About 2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil

3 – 32 ounce Boxes of Chicken Broth (I use Pacific Organic Free Range)

Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste

Saute the onions and garlic with the avocado oil in a Dutch oven or stock pot until the onions are translucent. Add the kale, carrots, herbs, and sun-dried tomatoes and saute until the tomatoes melt down a bit. Add a couple pinches of sea salt and pepper. Add half (or all if you want a lot of meatballs) the meatballs and the broth. Bring to a boil and turn down to simmer for 1 hour. Season again with sea salt and pepper to taste.

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