The name of the game is going to be, “Quick(er) and Easy(er),” for a while. After Thursday I’ll have one pan, one pot, and a grill to work with for a while…so the recipes I post will have to work with those options. I just had the realization that my Vitamix and Keurig will be packed up. Me, Vitamix, and Keurig is like peas and carrots…and coffee. Oh well; eyes on the prize. In preparation for a hectic week, I plan to get as much cooking done in the next couple of days. Some of these recipes call for some kind of sauce, so I’ll have to get those made before my blending abilities cease to exist. These recipes also don’t require the oven, which is nice for those of you who have summer.

Monday: Quinoa, Avocado, Peas and Pistachio Salad With Coriander Basil Pesto– Vegan, gluten free. It doesn’t get any easier than this! I plan to use almonds instead of pistachios, because I have some that need to be used. Pistachios fit with the, “greenness,” of this recipe, but any nut or seed will work here.

Tuesday: Plantain Salmon Power Bowls: Gluten free, paleo- This is a great way to take advantage of any Manager’s Specials at the grocery this week. Use any vegetables that look good! I have a feeling that I’ll need a little bit more than coconut aminos to top this…

Wednesday: Vegan Mushroom French Dip Sandwiches– Vegan, gluten free if you substitute with g-free bread and use g-free Worcestershire sauce (if you can’t find it/don’t have it- just use more liquid aminos).  I’m excited about this one.

Thursday: Thai Curry Noodle Soup– I know….soup in the summer, but this tastes really great at all temperatures. And there are noodles and vegetables (and meat if you’d like), so it’s not too “brothy.” The recipe doesn’t call for vegetables, but I love peppers, carrots, and zucchini in this kind of soup. Fill up on vegetables, and you can have dessert later!

Friday: Spinach Pesto Pasta– Vegan, use g-free pasta if that suits you- Again, something very quick and easy. The pesto can be made ahead of time, and then all you have to do it boil water for pasta. This is full of spinach, and has very little oil and no cheese. Lots of calories left over so you can enjoy with some ice cold white wine.

Saturday: Creamy Chipotle Sauce Taco Bowl- So, this is a little made up. There’s a recipe for the sauce, but the rest is up to you! I have chipotles in adobo in the freezer that I need to use up, so you have to deal with the ingredients I’m trying to get rid of 🙂 Use whatever kind of yogurt works for you. To make the bowl, use a mix of greens and rice/quinoa as a base, add some beans, meat, corn, vegetables, salsa, cheese…you know what goes in a taco.

Sunday: Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables- No mystery here. Try a few spice rubs/marinades on the shrimp. Enjoy your long weekend!

 

 

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Please forgive me….I’m running around like a crazy person trying to prepare for our movers next week. And I just lied to you. Me…running? That would never happen.

I’m a bit short on time, but I wanted to share a couple of recipes with you.

I very rarely cook breakfast on the weekends. Which is sad, because growing up, my dad was in the kitchen every weekend cooking crepes, made to order omelets, pancakes (he would make me pb pancakes with chocolate chips added in because of health), danishes… Mr. Primo is a breakfast wiz. I’m too lazy. And my husband doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, so I’d be the one eating all of it. Which I totally could…but let’s just say I don’t have the metabolism of my 15 year old self. But, this weekend I’m going to make this Gluten Free Dutch Baby with Blueberry Maple Syrup. My cousin (Hi, J!) sent me this recipe, and I’ve been drooling over the thought of it for a week. There is 0 junk in this recipe. I plan to use frozen blueberries, because that’s what I have- and I need to start using what I have and not buying more. Any fruit would taste great with the maple syrup, so use what’s in the fridge/freezer! I’ll also sub the whole milk for almond milk…again; what’s open in the fridge. And I’ll use ghee or coconut oil in place of the butter. As for the directions, the only thing I’ll amend is the opening and closing of the oven several times. If I do that, my crappy little oven will drop to 300°, and will never recover. So, just preheat the pan, add the fat, let it sizzle, add the batter.

Question: Do you like ranch dressing? Well, I do. I used to go through bottles of Hidden Valley like my life depended on it. And it’s so healthy, since you can get reduced fat…*sarcasm.* I gave it up for years as I became more aware of what I was putting into my body. I recently found a recipe for vegan ranch, but of course I tweaked it…

Vegan High Protein Junk Free Ranch Dressing:

1 container of tofu (I’ve used silken and the kind that comes in water-both are fine. Buy organic tofu! When soy is involved-ALWAYS organic).

1/2 C yogurt (I use organic soy quark which is lactose free, sugar free, and the consistency of Greek yogurt. You could use any kind of yogurt, or milk…which will make it thinner).

1-2 Tbsp lemon juice (based on your taste preference)

Ranch Mix to taste- This mix is Whole 30 compliant. And you probably have all of these spices already. I also add red pepper flakes and cayenne, because I like spicy.

That’s it! Mix it up, and keep in the fridge. I’ve kept it for a couple of weeks, and it’s fine.

 

So there you have it: I’m moving, eat a Dutch Baby, and have some ranch.

 

 

I’ll be home later today, but wanted to make sure you’d be all prepared for the week! 

Monday: Mujaddara– vegan, gluten free- AKA lentils and rice. A light, spiced, healthy start to the week. 

Tuesday: Salad Bar

Wednesday: Cuban Quinoa Bowl– gluten free, vegan- This looks like a lot of ingredients, but it’s all very quick and easy. Start with the potatoes, and you can prepare everything else while they’re cooking. 

Thursday: Saag Tofu with Greens– gluten free, vegan- There are a lot of modifications in this recipe. If you don’t like tofu, try adding lentils or cubes of chicken. 

Friday: Slow Cooker Sesame Ginger Chicken– gluten free

Saturday: Salted Mocha Burgers– gluten free and paleo 

Sunday: Spicy Garlic Lime Salmon– gluten free and paleo

DIY Ghee

What is ghee? Ghee is made from butter. Butter is heated until the water evaporates, and the fat seperates from the milk solids. Since the milk solids are removed, ghee is generally tolerated by those with lactose issues. There are many benefits to cooking with and eating ghee…

Health Benefits of Ghee
Ghee is expensive, but you can easily make your own in a crock pot for so much cheaper. In preparation for moving, I just bought a bunch of French butter…can’t pack up butter, but you can pack up jars of ghee! This stuff does not need to be refrigerated, and lasts (almost) forever. I always make a big batch, and typically, I keep the jars that I’m not using in the freezer, FYI. And you can keep butter in the freezer too…so next time you see good quality butter on sale (not the GMO laden spread with sweet cream…not naming names) stock up and freeze it! Kerry Gold is a great brand of Irish butter made cream from grass fed cows. 

Here’s how you do it…Warning: this will make your house smell amazing. You may not think butter contributes to what you smell when you bake; it does! Several times I’ve left while making ghee, and come home thinking,”Where the hell are those cookies!?” But there are no cookies…just a crock pot full of butter. Ok, here we go.

1. Butter goes into crockpot- lid stays OFF! The time will depend on your crockpot…mine typically takes 5 hours on high.


2. Keep an eye on it. It starts to bubble, foam, and seperate. Here are a few pics of the process…



****At this point, you could be done…this time, I went a little longer to make brown butter ghee.****

3. When the top turns brown, and looks kind of crusty, you’ve done it!


4. Now you strain it. Careful it’s very hot! I use coffee filters, but cheesecloth will work too.



Look at the gunk that’s left! That’s the milk solids…


5. Now, carefully, pour into jars. Let them sit UNCOVERED overnight. You can lay a paper towel over the top, but you don’t want to put a lid on it and create condensation. This batch is dark…if you cook it for less time, it will be more golden in color. Both are okay and good! 

This is the next morning:


Tadaa! I don’t think I’ve ever had a batch that has come out like another. Sometimes it looks smoother, lighter, sometimes is looks like it’s a little grainy- it’s all good, though! And for $18, I made $100 worth of ghee! 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes

I’d like to take a moment of silence for my car, Bianca. She’s ok…but I just had to sell her. Bianca, I’ll miss you. You were a classy, beautiful woman. I don’t think I’ll ever have another car that will garner such compliments. It’s time for you to make someone else happy now. Because I gotsta get the hell outta here.

And my sweet friend and her sweet children are moving today, too! So far this day isn’t doing that ol’ outta wack root chakra any favors 😉 The day will get better, though. My legally bound, built-in bestie and I are headed to the Maldives! We had to see it before it sinks. I’m hoping for lots of relaxing, good food and wine, and SUN. Don’t worry; I’ve scheduled a couple of posts to keep you company while I’m gone.

Here are 7 delicious meals to nourish you and yours for the week…

Monday: Mixed Vegetable Satay with Peanut Sauce: Vegan, gluten free if you use g-free soy sauce, liquid aminos, tamari, or coconut aminos. Use whatever vegetables you want. If you don’t like/want tofu- use another protein source! If you’re paleo, sub almond butter for the peanut butter, and use maple syrup, honey, or coconut palm sugar.

Tuesday: Vegan Ranch Bowl– I feel like a broken record…if you don’t like some of the ingredients, use something else!

Wednesday: Rustic Tomato and Zucchini Tart– Vegetarian. Use a gluten free crust to make it g-free. Leave out the cheese, or use a non-dairy cheese to make this vegan. Rustic is code for: This can look like crap, and it’s okay. You can double this recipe. Or serve this alongside some chicken or pork.

Thursday: Salmon BLTs– Because sandwiches are good! Modify the ingredients to fit what you already have. Don’t have salmon, but you have sliced turkey? Congratulations! You don’t eat bacon? That’s ok, too! Mayo isn’t your jam, but you love mustard? Welcome.

Friday: Arepas with Chicken and Avocado– This tastes good, fyi. Naturally gluten and dairy free.

Saturday: Pesto Pasta with Shrimp and Asparagus– You could replace the parm with nutritional yeast to make this dairy free, and skip the shrimp and parm for a vegan meal. I love this combo of foods. I think this will taste great as leftovers, and is probably best at room temperature. But, that’s just my opinion.

Sunday: Greek Chicken Souvlaki– Yes, there are a lot of ingredients. I always leave out the rice for this recipe. I just don’t think you need rice and bread. Also, it saves you from cooking something else. With the chicken, vegetables, and naan/pita…you’ll be happy. I like hummus with this too. And you can buy hummus, pitas, and tzatziki, so really you’re just marinating chicken and vegetables.

My shit’s in the street, and I eat cake for breakfast

Well, our worst fears have been realized: I’m out of balance. Okay, maybe you haven’t been worrying about my balance lately…although, I’m not sure why you wouldn’t 🙂 Every now and again I like to take a Chakra test, to see if any of my chakras are oogey. I’m sure you’ve heard of chakras before, but if you’re not sure what they are, they are the “wheels” of energy throughout the body. There are seven chakras, which align the spine, beginning at the base of the spine and going up to the crown of the head.

Why does this matter?

“These swirling wheels of energy correspond to massive nerve centers in the body. Each of the seven main chakras contains bundles of nerves and major organs as well as our psychological, emotional, and spiritual states of being. Since everything is moving, it’s essential that our seven main chakras stay open, aligned, and fluid. If there is a blockage, energy cannot flow.”

For the first time, my Root Chakra (Muladhara) is under-active. The Root Chakra is the chakra of stability, security, and our basic needs. In hindsight, this is really not a shocker for me: I am a gypsy, about to make an international move, I’ve recently lost the sweetest soul I think I’ll ever know, and I haven’t seen my husband regularly in 11 years. Please don’t misunderstand me: This is not a,”woe is me” post. I have an incredible life, that I wouldn’t trade with anyone I know. But, this life can take it’s toll. And I need to take care of myself.

How do you get back in balance? Consult your local, organic, pasture raised Google. There are a lot of techniques that include visualization, essential oils, yoga poses, reflexology, eating certain foods…So, you don’t have to pay someone to do this for you. If you’re interested in figuring out your whole situation, take the test (instant results, no personal info/email is required) : Chakra Test

***Can we take a minute to pray for our “friends” who have posted, or will post political posts on Facebook from now until eternity? These people need our help. They know not what they do…and they don’t realize that we want to punch them super freaking hard, repeatedly, and often.***

Now on to cake…

I really dislike foods advertised as, “guilt-free,” because I don’t like correlating food with guilt. All foods can be enjoyed in moderation…and sometimes in more-than-moderation because life can be a real son-of-a. Anyway, this can be eaten every day, and really is guilt-free. I modified this from the Easy Coconut Flour Birthday Cake recipe on My Heart Beets. I’ve taken out all of the fat and sugar (not even coconut sugar or maple syrup is added!), and it still tastes great. Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup milk (ANY kind of dairy or non -dairy will work)
  • 6 eggs, room temperature (Coconut flour soaks up a ton of liquids, so this is not a misprint! I have not tried this with egg replacers, so I don’t know if this will turn out without eggs).
  • 3/4 cup applesauce, pumpkin, OR mashed banana
  • 25-30 drops of Stevia (more or less, depending on your taste)
  • A glug of vanilla
  • Can add some cinnamon, or other spices if you’d like
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Put everything in a blender, or beat by hand.
  3. Put in a greased baking pan (I use coconut oil, and put it in an 8×8).
  4. Bake for 45-50 minutes.
  5. Cool on a rack before slicing

I cut this into 6 pieces, and eat it for breakfast. Now, who in the hell would eat cake without anything on top? A psychopath; that’s who. I’ve tried several toppings and my favorites are:

  • A banana smashed with a scoop of Naked PB
  • Unsweetened soy yogurt (with a few drops of Stevia) and some strawberries and a banana
  • And the best is Paleo Pumpkin Avocado Chocolate Mousse. When I make this recipe, I reduce the dates to 5, and increase the Stevia to 25-30 drops (taste and add more…you can’t go back!) I also leave out the balsamic vinegar…used it the first time I made it, and I didn’t feel like it added anything to the overall taste. Why tho?

This recipe is good enough to eat for dessert. And it’s full of fiber and protein, so it’s a win-win.

Holler back for Thursday! Sun’s out! You’re alive!

I just have to get through the week, and then I can go on vacation again. Sorrynotsorry. It’s our last trip before we move! 24 days until the movers come; 43 until we say, “Tschüß, Deutschland!”

I’m already in food creativity mode…aka: clean out the fridge, freezer, and anything perishable…aka: weird stuff. I managed to not grocery shop this week, and have been scrounging. I’m on my own for most of the week, and really don’t want to buy much. So, these recipes will utilize pantry staples. There are still a lot of healthy foods packed in…condiment casserole will come later in the month. However, don’t use transitional times as an excuse to eat poorly. Throw out the last 5 crackers; dump the old jelly in the back of the fridge; donate unopened/unwanted items to food banks; make meals in advance and freeze them so you’re not eating out all of the time.

Happy week to you! Is anyone experiencing summer? Is it on the schedule for this year?

 

Monday: Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Patties: vegan/gluten free- Use organic beans in a BPA free can, or use dry beans and cook them yourself (will definitely take a bit longer). Can you buy beans in a glass jar? If you can, do that. These patties can be served atop greens for a healthy start to the week. If Monday already has you like, whoa, ain’t nothing wrong with a little bread, either.

Tuesday: Vegan Turmeric and Coconut Milk Vegetable Bowl: vegan/gluten free- This would be delicious with shrimp or chicken added. Load this up with vegetables…you can’t have too much.

Wednesday: Sticky Chicken and Vegetable Bowl with Avocado “Mayo”– gluten free- This can easily be multiplied to serve more than two, or to have some for leftovers. You can try using textured soy protein (the bigger chunks) and preparing it like the chicken, to make this vegan.

Thursday: Sloppy Lentil Sandwiches: vegan, gluten free if you use g-free bread/buns- This will make a big batch, and will freeze well. You can substitute textured soy protein for the lentils, or use grass fed beef if you want some meat.

Friday: Curried Quinoa Chicken Salad– gluten free- Try to use bone broth if you can find it, or make your own. Store bought broth is glorified salt water, with none of the nourishing benefits of bone broth. This can be eaten “as is,” or you can add it to wraps, as a sandwich…with a croissant. That made my mouth water. Thought you’d like to know.

Saturday: Slow Cooker Deep Dish Pizza: gluten free- I am 99% positive that this will work with any pizza dough recipe. Obvi, use whatever cheese and toppings you want. In the words of the great Ron Popeil, “Set it and forget it!”

Sunday: Pasta night- Choose your pasta: organic whole wheat, gluten free, shirataki noodles, zoodles, a combo of the aforementioned. Choose a sauce: tomato, pesto, alfredo, oil, butter, maybe a few to pick from. Want a protein? Ground beef, ground turkey, blackened chicken, roasted salmon. Add some veggies? Tomatoes, peas, peppers, onions…you know what veggies are. Extras: cheese, bacon, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, olives. The possibilities are endless. Can’t decide? Play a game of MASH with the options and let fate decide. Beware: You could end up eating pasta with alfredo sauce, ground beef, tomatoes, and olives.

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