There was a little snafu with the photographs on my phone when our son was fixing another snafu with my computer. So this is the one and only photo I have of this delicious soup! It’s actually a photo of a photo because that’s the only way I could figure out how to get it from “out there” to here. ha
My eyesight has changed and I can no longer focus through the view finder on my good cameras so I didn’t have all my photos on a memory card. I’ve been using my iPhone for all my food photos. I’m hoping the optometrist will have a solution because currently I have two very expensive cameras aging in a drawer. Fingers crossed! Until then, we’ll just go with the flow and have a bowl of this soul warming soup to get us through these chilly days.
Instant Pot Beef & Vegetable Soup
12 ounce Top Sirloin Steak, sliced thinly
1 Medium Sweet Onion, sliced
3 Cloves of Garlic, diced
14 oz Bag of Brussels Sprouts, stems cut, outer layer peeled, then halved
8 ounces of Cremini Mushrooms, halved
3 Stalks of Celery, sliced on the diagonal
2 Large Carrots, sliced on the diagonal
1 Cup of Kale, ribs removed and chopped
1/2 Cup of Parsley, chopped
1 Medium Sweet Potato with Skin, cubed
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Rosemary, minced
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Thyme, minced
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Oregano, minced
64 ounces of Beef Broth
1 1/2 teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar
Sea Salt & Pepper To Taste
About 2 Tablespoons of Avocado Oil
Heat the Instant Pot to saute the steak. Add 1 Tablespoon of the avocado oil and quickly saute the beef until it begins to brown and remove to a plate. (I removed mine at rare-just barely medium rare.) Add the remaining Tablespoon of avocado oil, the onions, garlic, celery and carrot and saute until the onions are aldente. Add the meat and the remaining ingredients, stir to deglaze the bottom of the pan, and secure the lid.
On “Manual” set the Instant Pot for 5 minutes. (It will take approximately 30 minutes to come to temperature and THEN the 5 minute timer will begin.) When the timer sounds, release the steam and season with salt and pepper. Serve.
Often when people hear the words “gluten free” or “grain free” or even “dairy free”, they think those terms equal = weird texture, odd tastes, and punishment. Which is kind of bizarre to me considering the real punishment is eating foods you’re sensitive to that make you sick, stiff, hormonal, anxious, and grumpy.
Once you realize there’s a whole world of other options out there, you can let go of all of those negative attachments to what you “think” eating allergen free tastes and feels like.
My goal when I started this blog (and still remains) was to create recipes that anyone would love to eat – but especially those people who have the mindset that they’re getting robbed by not being able to eat what “normal” people eat.
One of the fun things I like to do every now and then when I run across a traditional recipe that really peaks my interest, is to see if I can tweak it to fit the needs of people who cannot eat certain foods. This recipe was inspired by an orange cake I ran across in Better Homes & Gardens. Once you learn the basic science behind baking with allergen free ingredients, it’s all a matter of swapping and understanding the balance between the liquids and dry ingredients, and what you need to make it hold together and rise, if necessary.
It really is as easy as that.
This cake not only came out of the oven smelling and looking beautiful, the flavors were out of this world after allowing it to rest covered for 24 hours. It’s perfect lightly heated with a scoop of coconut milk vanilla ice cream, or just eaten by itself alongside a hot cup of tea for breakfast or an evening snack.
Clementine Yogurt Cake
1 Cup of Coconut Sugar
1 1/2 Cups of Gluten Free Mama’s Almond Blend Flour
2 teaspoons of Double Acting Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt
1/2 Cup of Old Chatham Sheepherding Company’s Vanilla Yogurt
2 teaspoons of Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 Cup of Avocado Oil
2 Tablespoons of Raw Honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 8 1/2 by 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with a piece of parchment. Spray generously with nonstick spray (I use avocado oil spray). *When I “line” a pan with parchment, I only cut a long piece that will go over the middle of the pan and hang off of each side. This makes is much easier to remove the bread and keeps it from sticking on the bottom.
Measure the sugar into a medium bowl and zest 6 clementines into the sugar. Rub the zest into the sugar until it is completely incorporated and the sugar is moist and aromatic. Set aside. Peel the tangerines with a sharp knife and cut out the orange sections onto a few folded paper towels. Blot dry.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt. Whisk the yogurt into the sugar, then beat in the eggs one at a time to form a smooth mixture. Whisk in the vanilla, then lightly whisk in the dry ingredients. Switch to a large spatula, and fold in the avocado oil. You should have a smooth batter with a light sheen.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top. Scatter the clementine segments over the top.
Bake (I use convection) for 50-60 minutes or until the cake is golden brown and begins to pull away from the sides. Cool for 20 minutes in the pan, then remove the cake from the pan to a cooling rack that has parchment placed underneath.
To glaze the cake, zest and juice the remaining 2 clementines into a small bowl. Add the honey, and heat for 20-30 seconds in the microwave. Drizzle the mixture over the top of the cake. You can eat this warm and right away, but if you cover it and keep it at room temperature to serve it on day 2, it’s much better – rich and full of flavor.
I’ve cut down dramatically on red meat. In fact, I haven’t had a steak in almost three weeks. If you aren’t familiar with me and my love affair with steak, I could easily eat a gigantic, bloody rib eye every day of my life. I would never tire of it. However, I’m really clamping down on inflammatory foods so we’ve been focusing more on chicken, fish, and seafood with a treat of some kind once a week or so.
As I was running errands today I was thinking of all the ways I could eat a somewhat small amount of red meat, combine it with all the vegetables in my diet, and still have it be really tasty.
This is it. These wraps are now my new favorite. And that butter lettuce was live – root and some dirt intact when I bought it. That’s the first time my store has offered that choice and I have to say, I think it does make a difference. Next year we’ll be planting rows and rows of butter lettuce. It is so delicious and holds up really well as a wrap.
This recipe on its own feeds two people as a main course (about 3 small to medium wraps each). If you are going to serve it with a couple of side dishes, I’d say you could feed four people but you would likely need to get two heads of the butter lettuce and increase the toppings just a bit – the one steak if sliced thinly, goes a long way.
Butter Lettuce Steak Wraps
1 Trader Joe’s Grass Fed Australian Strip Loin Steak (you find these in their freezer section)
About 1/4 Cup of Red Onion, sliced
About 1 1/2 Cups of Red Cabbage, sliced
About 1 Cup of Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
2 Cloves of Garlic, minced
About 1 teaspoon of Dried Oregano
About 1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder
Celtic Sea Salt To Taste
1-2 Large Radishes, sliced
1/4 Cup of Parsley, chopped
About 1/4 Cup of Daiya Jalapeno Havarti Style Dairy Free Cheese, finely grated
1 Head of Butter Lettuce
Trader Joe’s Green Goddess Vegan Salad Dressing
Avocado Oil Spray
Cut any large pieces of fat off of the steak, slice thinly (this is easier to do when the steak is still a little frozen), and set aside. In a medium pan sprayed with avocado oil, saute the sliced onions, cabbage, mushrooms, oregano, and minced garlic until the cabbage and onions are aldente and the mushrooms are browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
Spray another medium pan with avocado oil and heat on medium high. When the pan is hot, add the sliced steak. Season with salt and 1/2 of the garlic powder. It will cook quickly, don’t over cook it or it will be tough. When the steak is beginning to brown on one side, quickly flip them over season with salt and the other half of the garlic powder and brown for 1-2 minutes. (About 4-5 minutes total cook time.) Remove from the heat and set aside.
Here is how I assembled the wraps:
Two lettuce leaves stacked, a little salad dressing, then cheese, then sauteed veggies, then steak, a little more sauteed veggies, radishes, and a sprinkle of parsley.
How do you feel about your birthday? Dread it, love it, celebrate it, pretend like it never happened? It IS the only birthday at that age that you will EVER have. I wonder if people understand the significance of that? I turned 50 this summer. I wasn’t about to celebrate my 50th with a black balloon mentality. No way! I didn’t want this particular birthday to just go by with a flutter and a pffft either. I planned my own birthday trip!
I don’t expect or need big birthday celebrations but I was particularly excited about this birthday because some significant changes had taken place over the past few years. 2018 has been by far, the healthiest year for me in the last 11 years since I became sick with Lyme Disease. Also, we have been on a wisdom ride that I will never forget. We have experienced the full range of all the heaviest emotions crammed into a five-year period. It felt like a friggin’ tornado.
We moved from one end of the country to the other twice, we lived in our camping trailer for a few months because we couldn’t find a house, my husband changed careers and jobs three times, I had two really terrible Lyme flares, and during that time we also had to deal with some ongoing significant extended family issues. We were experiencing several of the top ten things on those lists psychologists put out in articles about extreme stress – all at once. But we knew we wanted something different, so we powered through. Once we were settled into our new house, I hit the ground running. Going through all that stuff at once had stirred up some questions for more and I needed to figure out how to get them answered.
I felt like I needed a new approach to an old way of thinking. I read everything I could get my hands on that was related to what I wanted to learn. Then, I went completely out of my comfort zone and joined a support group run by an out of the box family and relationship therapist. The people in my group were from all walks of life with past experiences and current challenges to share. If I wanted growth, I was going to have to share too, which meant setting aside my fears of exposing all of those emotions and scary questions we all try so hard to cram down.
When I let go of the fear of being totally transparent, it became one of the top three absolute best experiences of my life. We were all working toward one common goal – personal growth and a better understanding of relationships with ourselves and others. I had found my tribe. After the first couple of weeks, I could clearly see that healing and growth is a full body experience. You must work on the not so obvious as well as the obvious. I know, it sounds like a fluffy new age book. But it was nothing like that. It was an intense, humbling, and fulfilling experience that no self-help book (and I am an avid reader) has ever provided.
There’s a lot of wisdom in people’s stories even when you have nothing in common with them. Their choices, and how they deal with life can be a significant learning experience for you if you choose to really listen and apply it. I came out the other side about two years later knowing myself better than ever. I thought I already had that down, but it turns out there were some old patterns that were allowing negative things to happen that I didn’t think I was in control of. And because I took the time to really practice pulling the wool from my eyes – I came away with a very clear view of the underlying issues all of us face, and how those issues play out in our lives based on our own belief systems, patterns of behavior, family influence – and the choices we make based on how much or how little value we think we hold in other people’s eyes. I am the master (on earth) of my own destiny as far as my relationships and how I my experience with life pans out. I learned how to say no, how to better recognize red flags, and to set boundaries and it opened up endless growth opportunities.
That journey is a very large part of why I was so excited and looked forward to turning 50. I thought to myself, Now THIS is what celebrating a birthday feels like. Beyond the surface of fun, lies the true reason to celebrate: Growth. I cannot sit stagnant in my life just going through the motions when I know there’s blossoming to be had! We need growth and pruning because it all works together. Then when we come to the end, we’re a beautiful full blossom – not some number we should dread! I can see concrete changes in how I feel, think, and react to what life has to offer whether it’s an irritating challenge or a welcome one. THAT is certainly worth celebrating along with a year of pretty dang good health!
There is another side of growth that doesn’t involve all the unicorn and rainbow feelings. Growth doesn’t just fall in your lap. Your mentality doesn’t just flip without a fight. It’s painful at first. Sometimes excruciatingly humbling. Changing ingrained patterns of behavior and choices that have been with you all your life and recognizing how they have played a role in the things you’re unhappy about, takes time and some serious nerve. I had no idea what would come of joining that support group. Several times I felt like turning around and running the other way. Just quitting and pretending like I’d never stirred “that” pot. But I forced myself to stick with it and the others did the same and it created a really unique and amazing bond that I’m not sure I’ve ever had with any other human being. I forced myself to stick with the work of being fully transparent and it paid off in ways I never could have imagined. Real growth provides a clear lens and when you get used to living with those wool free lenses, you can’t believe you ever lived any other way!
If you are seeking a new way of doing things, you may have to be your own cheerleader for a while or find a group like I did. Being transparent and strong in your character and convictions isn’t truly promoted and celebrated in the outside world. Some people will say they are supportive but really they just want you to fall in line and not think outside the box. They’ll try to convince you to keep quiet and that not upsetting the apple cart is more important than living your best version of the life God has planned for you. They’ll think you’re selfish or crazy or that you’re not Christian “enough” or forgiving or empathetic “enough” when you change long ingrained patterns that people are used to. They’ll take it personally and it will make them mad. But that’s OK, because when you stick to what you know is best for you and the people you love, there are no negative outcomes regardless of other’s opinions.
For your next birthday, I challenge you to lovingly embrace that number. Make it something special and CELEBRATE IT! It’s your gold medal for that year and it means you’ve made it through like a champion. You have marched through 365 days of every single challenge and every single dip in the road and over every mountain and every amazing thing that you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing and being a part of.
You didn’t compromise on some of the stuff that shouldn’t be compromised (you don’t have to be perfect), and you lived your best life that you knew how to that year. That birthday number people try to outrun, represents miraculous growth if you let it. Championship level growth if you focus on what you want.
Your actual outer “age” means nothing when you’re busy getting wise and slaying demons and seeking your most joyful, peaceful, loving life!
While I was looking for wild caught fish that’s easy to deal with at Costco the other day, I ran across Langostino “Lobster Tails”.
Lobster? Not really, but they do taste like miniature lobster tails. And after searching “what is langostino” in Wikipedia, let’s just say – they taste delicious but I still really have no idea what they are.
My only three stipulations with fish and seafood are – it’s not tilapia, it’s not farm raised, and it tastes good. So as long as it meets those requirements, who really cares what it is…right?
Here’s what Wikipedia had to say:
Langostino is a Spanish word with different meanings in different areas. In the United States, it is commonly used in the restaurant trade to refer to the meat of the squat lobster, which is neither a true lobster nor a prawn. Squat lobsters are more closely related to porcelain and hermit crabs. Langostinos are not langoustes (spiny lobsters) despite a similar name (in Spanish, lobster is called langosta). Also, langostinos are sometimes confused with langoustines (Norway lobster), which is a true lobster common in European cuisine.
In the United States, the Food & Drug Administration allows “langostino” to be used as a market name for three species of squat lobster in the family Galatheidae: Cervimunida Johni, Munida gregaria, and Pleuroncodes monodon. In Spain, it means some species of prawns. In Cuba and other Spanish-speaking Caribbean islands, the name langostino is also used to refer to crayfish. In Argentina the name is used to refer to Pleoticus muelleri, a kind of shrimp, while in Chile and Peru it refers to Pleuroncodes monodon.
So whether they’re squat lobsters or shrimp or prawns or cray fish – who knows? We DO know they taste amazing any way you’d like to prepare them. I chose tacos but they’d also be delicious with a little butter and sea salt as an appetizer alongside a flavorful focaccia and roasted garlic, or cold on top of a salad, or baked in a creamy seafood dish or simmered in a seafood stew. They’re relatively inexpensive for a large bag and they’re individually frozen which means you can take just the amount you need and keep the rest in the freezer for another time.
*Makes 4 Large Tacos or 8 Small Tacos
**Go Here for my Grain Free Spinach Tortilla Recipe
For The Sauce:
2 Cups of Fresh Cilantro, stems removed
4 Whole Green Onions
1/2 of an Avocado
2 Garlic Cloves
3/4 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt
Juice of 2 Limes
1 Tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar
1/4 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 teaspoons of Coconut Sugar
1/8 Cup of Water
Place all ingredients in a blender or nutribullet and blend until smooth. Refrigerate. You’ll likely have extra sauce left over – it goes great on top of salads, baked potatoes, and with chicken. The next night, I used it as a sauce for cole slaw with a little of Primal Kitchen’s dairy free caesar dressing and it got rave reviews.
For The Toppings:
1 Large Carrot Peeled, then sliced with the peeler into long strips
4 Large Radishes, sliced thinly
1 Cup of Red Cabbage, thinly sliced
1 Cup of Baby Spinach Leaves, stems removed
1/2 Cup of Red Onion, thinly sliced
2 Avocados, thinly sliced
Prepare toppings and set aside or refrigerate. Wait until you’re ready to serve the tacos to slice the avocados.
For The Langostino:
4 Cups of Langostino, thawed and patted dry
1/4 Cup of Avocado Oil
4 Cloves of Garlic, peeled and grated
2 Tablespoons of Fresh Lemon Juice
1/2 Cup of Minced Parsley
Celtic Sea Salt to Taste
Heat the avocado oil in a large skillet on medium high. The langostino is already cooked, so this process is quick. Add the grated garlic and move it around in the oil to flavor, making sure it doesn’t burn. Add the langostino and toss several times to heat through. About 3 minutes. Add the parsley, season with salt and lemon juice, toss a couple more times and remove from the heat.
Layer the tacos however you’d like and top with the cilantro sauce and serve. We also added a little hot sauce.