Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Sweet Potato & Spinach Egg Casserole

 When I first started paleo, I decided the easiest way to get going was to trade in my go-to oatmeal every morning for an easy egg dish. There are plenty of egg-less paleo breakfast options, but since I was comfortable with eggs, I decided to experiment with baked frittatas/casseroles. I had only eaten egg whites for years, so the pictures here are strictly with egg whites. Now that I have learned to love my farm fresh yolks, I would recommend making these with the real deal to get all of the vitamins, nutrients, and protein in the yolks.

I have made so many varieties of this recipe (will post more in the upcoming days), and they are all perfect to make Sunday evening or Monday morning so you have a healthy, protein-filled breakfast all week long.

- 1 carton egg whites or 10-12 eggs, beaten
- 2 small-medium sweet potatoes, chopped
- 2 cups+ spinach
- 1 large sweet onion, sliced & chopped
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- Salt, pepper, & garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Heat coconut oil over medium heat
3. Add onions and cook down for about 7-10 minutes until soft
4. Add sweet potatoes, salt, pepper, and garlic powder, and cook another 10 min
5. When sweet potatoes are soft, add spinach and cook another 1-3 minutes until spinach wilts softly
6. Grease pan with coconut oil, and add veggie mixture
7. Pour egg whites (or beaten eggs) on top of the mixture, and bake for 30 minutes or until set


Monday, October 29, 2012

Applesauce & Pumpkin Crock Pot Chicken

Hurricane Sandy has been causing quite the stir today. My office is closed again tomorrow, and the power outages are up over a million. The pouring rain has finally made it up to Boston, and the wind is howling like crazy between the apartment buildings on my street. I still haven't bought bottled water, batteries, or any other emergency supplies, so fingers crossed that it doesn't get too bad here!

While I worked from home (and checked every five minutes) today, I created a new crock pot recipe with some leftovers in my fridge. I think I officially have the first applesauce + pumpkin crock pot chicken recipe (paleo or otherwise) on the web.  This is one of those recipes that reminds me how flavorful the simplest ingredients can be. There is absolutely no sweetener of any kind in this recipe, and it is sweet as can be. The combination of the apples, pumpkin, cinnamon, and garlic give it such a great flavor. I am thinking of making some fall-inspired lettuce wrap tacos with the leftovers if I can make it to the store this week when the rain finally stops. Stay tuned!

- 3-4 lbs. chicken (I used boneless, skinless chicken breast + rib meat)
- 1 cup leftover applesauce (recipe can be found here)
- 1 cup leftover pumpkin (used canned organic pumpkin from Trader Joes)
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder, & cinnamon
- 1 cup apple juice (from the applesauce)
- 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic

1. Put the applesauce and pumpkin on the bottom of the crock pot and mix to blend the two
2. Rinse the chicken, and lay it on top of the applesauce/pumpkin mixture
3. Generously season the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cinnamon
4. Flip the chicken with tongs and season the other side 
5. Mix the chopped garlic into the apple juice, and pour on top of the chicken (note - this apple juice is the thick/cinnamon-y liquid that was excess when I made the applesauce. You could always just use an extra cup of applesauce if you don't have the liquid reserved.)
6. Cook on low for 6 hours
7. Take the chicken out of the crock pot, shred the meat, and put it back in the crock pot with all of the juicy goodness
8. Enjoy a scoop of this with a dollop of applesauce - the perfect hurricane meal!


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sweet, Sweet Potato Pie

Are you ready for Hurricane Sandy? Apparently my office is closed tomorrow, and it is debatable if/how that affects me given that I work from home in another state. Regardless, I have my mini flashlight, some great smelling candles, and leftover sweet potato pie from tonight's paleo potluck, so I should be in good shape. 

The potluck was great, and we had quite a nice fall feast. I am looking forward to hosting more events and getting some cooking classes in the works. I think the applesauce, sweet potato pies, and the goodie bags were all a success. Great company as always!

In other exciting news, I upped my crossfit membership to 3x a week. Hopefully Sandy doesn't keep me away this week!

This recipe is straight from Paleo Comfort Foods, a fantastic cookbook my mom got me. I tweaked it a bit (removed the nutmeg and cut the honey in half), and it was wonderful. I highly recommend making one (or two) of these for Thanksgiving to switch out the standard pumpkin pie. Enjoy!

Nutty Crust

- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp. vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine almond flour, pecans and salt in a bowl
3. In a separate bowl, combine the coconut oil, honey, and vanilla
4. Add the wet ingredients into the dry until completely combined
5. Press the dough into a pie dish
6. Bake for 12-15 minutes until the crust is golden brown
7. Remove from the oven and put on a baking rack to cool. Make sure the crust cools completely before filling it

Sweet Potato Pie

- 2 cups sweet potatoes, peel, boiled, & mashed
- 1 Tbsp. coconut butter
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup coconut milk
- 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. honey 

1. Prepare crust as outlined above
2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
3. Mix sweet potatoes and coconut butter with electric mixer or in food processor
4. Add in eggs and mix until fluffy
5. In a separate bowl, combine cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt
6. Add dry mixture to sweet potatoes along with coconut milk and apple cider vinegar
7. Mix well and then add honey
8. Pour mixture into pie crust
9. Bake for 10 minutes, then lower the oven to 325 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes 


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Easy Organic Applesauce

If you want a quick and easy side dish or dessert, I highly recommend making some applesauce with your freshly picked apples from the orchard or the farmer's market. It couldn't be easier, and the smell and taste are to die for. This applesauce is one of my many contributions to tomorrow's Halloween Paleo Potluck Meetup that I'm hosting. Between the eight pounds of applesauce, two sweet potato pies (still in progress), and 4 dozen pumpkin-style "Ali-Bars", I am wiped. 

I should also mention that I completed my hardest WOD to date this morning which consisted of:

- 1 mile run
- 20 Bar-facing burpees
- 20 Deadlifts
- 20 Burpee lateral jumps
- 20 Power cleans
- 20 Burpees
- 20 Empty barbell thrusters
- 400m sprint

Somehow between the crossfit and the cooking, I also managed to stop by the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival (great vendors, but insanely over-crowded/chaotic), go grocery shopping at Trader Joes and Whole Foods, get crafts supplies at Michaels, and attempt to find a Halloween costume at Target. I ended up with some fabric that I will attempt to use to create my own costume tomorrow. We will see if I still have the crafty costume skills I learned in my sorority days. 

Let's hope the potluck is a success tomorrow! Pictures to follow :)

- 8 pounds organic apples
- 2 Tbsp. organic cinnamon
- 1 cup water

1. Wash apples, and chop them into slices or chunks keeping the skin on
2. Put apples in a large pot and add the water and cinnamon
3. Bring the pot to a boil
4. Cover pot, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 45 minutes (stirring every 15 minutes)
5. Ladle out any excess liquid (you can always add it back later) to avoid making your applesauce too watery
6. Using an immersion blender, partially blend the sauce so the skin blends but leaving some chunks/texture based on your preference
7. Enjoy the amazing smell of fall in your house!



Friday, October 26, 2012

Sweet Potato & Beef Stuffed Peppers

I am happy to announce that I will be posting my first paleo-related interview on an upcoming blog post. While in NYC, I tried an amazing new restaurant called Hu Kitchen that focuses on how humans should eat. There are limitless gluten-free and paleo options, and the space is amazing. I will write more about it on the upcoming post when I interview CEO and founder Jordan Brown.

On another note, I came across a great blog this week that I've been loving. I definitely recommend Katie did, and her awesome pepper recipe inspired my dinner tonight. 

- 4 sweet peppers
- 1/2 lb. grass-fed ground beef
- 1 sweet potato, shredded
- 4 eggs
- Salt, pepper, garlic powder, & cinnamon

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cut the tops off the peppers, clean out the insides, and put them in a baking dish with an inch of water
3. Bake for 30 minutes
4. While peppers cook, saute the ground beef, and drain all excess fat/liquid when cooked
5. Add the shredded sweet potato, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and cinnamon to the beef, and cook for another 10-15 minutes until sweet potato is cooked
6. Whisk eggs in a bowl, and add beef mixture
7. Pour the mixture into the peppers, cover the dish with tin foil, and bake for another 30 minutes
8. I served these with some simple roasted asparagus (20 min @ 350 degrees with a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder)


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Apple Cinnamon Autumn Meatloaf

Paleo on-the-go can be easier at times than others. While in Stamford last week, I took a lot of heat from my coworkers about ordering the same lunch from the same restaurant three days in a row. I talked about this salad enough over the course of the week to convince some colleagues, friends, and family all to check it out. Tabouli Grill is a cute little Mediterranean restaurant in Stamford with great service and fresh, delicious food. They have had this Moroccan salad on special for the past few weeks full of seasonal ingredients. It has spiced butternut squash, beets, red peppers, avocado, sliced carrots, almonds, hard-boiled egg, and grilled chicken. I substituted the pomegranate dressing (which did sound amazing) for some olive oil and balsamic, and it was a perfect paleo meal. I highly recommend trying out the restaurant if you are in CT, and if not, whip this up yourself when you're craving a hearty salad. 

Now that I am home and back in the kitchen, I have decided to create some new fall-inspired recipes. I have always loved a good meatloaf, so I tried to get a bit creative this one. I added apples, cinnamon, and raisins for a new twist, and I loved it! I bought super jumbo raisins by mistake (no idea this was even an option), and for the record, I would recommend your typical average-sized raisins. Bigger is not always better.

- 1 lb. grass-fed ground beef
- 1/4 onion, chopped (I got carried away and used a whole onion and can still taste it 2 days later...)
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins (optional)
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Mix all ingredients in a bowl (you are going to need to use your hands for this one)
3. Put mixture into greased loaf pan (can use coconut oil, spray, other fat of choice, or silicone loaf pan)
4. Sprinkle a little extra cinnamon on top
5. Bake for about 40 minutes or until cooked through and set
6. Let sit for at least 10-15 minutes before serving 
7. Delicious with a side of sweet potatoes or squash and your favorite green vegetable!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cashew Raisin Paleo Bread!

One of the most common things people say to me about my paleo lifestyle is that they could never give up bread. I have actually been shocked how easy it has been to say no to the bread basket at restaurants and pass on sandwiches I used to order all the time. That being said, I do miss my favorite fruity/nutty breads, and I knew I could create a delicious paleo version to have once in a while. Raw cashews are my favorite because my grandma always had them in her house in Brooklyn when we went to visit. To this day, every single time I eat a raw cashew I can picture being in her house and seeing her smile knowing that we were eating one of her special treats (she loved to feed us). 

This is a simple, dense bread with just a hint of sweetness. You can omit the maple syrup, substitute it for honey, or use another sweetener of choice. I stored the bread in foil overnight after it cooled. It was much easier to slice on day two, so don't get frustrated!

- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 Tbsp. cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbsp. all natural organic maple syrup (can also use raw honey)
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 cup cashews, chopped/crushed
- 1/2 cup raisins

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix all ingredients other than nuts and raisins
3. Fold in nuts and raisins
4. Put batter into a parchmont-paper lined loaf pan (you can also use a silicon loaf pan)
5. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick or fork comes out clean
6. Let sit for at least 10 minutes, then lift the paper out of the pan and remove your loaf
7. This bread is delicious plain but would be great to experiment with for sandwiches, toast with almond butter and/or fig jam, french toast, etc. Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Turkey Burgers w/ Roasted Beets & Carrot Mash

Writing this blog has been incredible for me for so many reasons. I am finally able to share my love of eating, cooking, feeding others, and health and wellness with such a wide audience. I am thrilled that in only two weeks, I have had around 1,500 hits from 10 countries around the world! I have reconnected with some old friends and classmates and had the opportunity to meet some fantastic new people as well. I have already provided guidance to people transitioning into a paleo lifestyle, and I taught my first cooking class. I can't wait for all of the adventures to come as this continues!

One of my Pi Phi sisters from Vandy sent me a message last night saying that she is in Boston for work and has been enjoying the blog. She has been doing Crossfit for almost a year and knows about the whole paleo movement. I was so excited to hear Kat was in town, and I invited her over for dinner so we could catch up. It was great chatting and learning how many things we have in common five years after graduation. I tried a slightly new variation on turkey burgers and made two brand new sides. If you can believe it, this was my absolute first attempt at carrots and beets. Kat was very brave and was my taste-tester... I hope she left happy!

Apple Cinnamon Turkey Burgers

- 1 package all natural ground turkey (mine was 1.2 lbs.)
- Olive oil
- 1 apple, chopped
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- salt & pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Heat olive oil over medium heat
3. Add onions and saute for 5-10 minutes until soft
4. Add apples and cook for another 5 minutes
5. Add all ingredients (including cooked onion/apple mixture) in a mixing bowl
6. Form into patties (I made 5 quarter-pound burgers), and put them on a foil-lined baking sheet
7. Bake for 30 minutes until cooked through 

Roasted Beets

- Two medium beets, chopped
- Olive oil
- Salt, pepper, and garlic powder

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. Put all ingredients in a large ziploc bag and shake what your mama gave you (Side note - I let a woman squeeze my butt at the Avon walk campsite because she thought it was fake. This is a true story!)
3. Roast for 45 minutes until slightly crispy, and stir/rearrange beets every 15 minutes so they cook evenly

Carrot Mash

- 1lb. of carrots 
- 1/2 chopped onion
- 1 Tbsp. of chopped garlic
- Olive oil
- Salt & pepper
- 1/2 tsp. Trader Joes "21 seasoning salute" (or random herbs/spices from your cabinet)

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat
2. Add onions garlic, salt, pepper, and TJ spices, and cook for 7-10 minutes until soft
3. Put carrots in a pot, cover in water, and boil for 6-10 minutes until tender
4. Add drained carrots and onion mixture to the food processor
5. Pulse until smooth and add additional seasoning to taste

Monday, October 22, 2012

Green Power Soup w/ Kale & Cauliflower

It has been a few days (sorry), and I am back in action. I was in NYC for the weekend walking the 40-mile Avon walk for breast cancer with my mom, my aunt, and the rest of our "flock". We had an awesome weekend walking everywhere from the Intrepid, Harlem, Brooklyn, Randall's Island, and everywhere in between. Highs of the weekend were:

  1. Signing the dedication banner at opening ceremonies (see below) to remind myself why I walk
  2. Spending the weekend chatting and laughing with two of my favorite people with great visits along the way from friends and family
  3. Saying "Helloooo Newman" when we ran into the real Newman from Seinfeld on the street
  4. Taking a hot shower in a truck and wearing my headlamp around the tent
  5. Maintaining 100% paleo throughout the weekend (special thanks to Steve's Original!) even though I ate a can of wild salmon and cashews when everyone else was eating warm oatmeal and hot chocolate for breakfast
  6. Realizing that no amount of blisters, armpit chafing (gross, I know), or sore legs will stop me from continuing to support such an important cause - I am already signed up for 2013!
  7. Finding an amazing hot pink barbell at the campsite so I could get in a few crossfit moves before curling up in my sleeping bag 


Even though I was able to eat 100% paleo over the past five days while I was gone, I was dying to get back to my kitchen to cook some fresh, homemade meals. I will be posting all week to make up for lost time, but today's first concoction was a souper healthy dish full of vitamins and nutrients (that joke is for you, Uncle Bill!). I was feeling rundown from the travel and exhaustion, so I wanted a green power soup to bring me back to basics. Enjoy!

- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 sweet onions, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 2 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
- 2 leeks, chopped (I ditch about an inch from the top and bottom first)
- 16 oz. portobello mushrooms, chopped
- 1 head cauliflower, chopped
- 2 bunches kale, stems removed
- 2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 Tbsp. dried parsley (optional)
- 1 Tbsp. dried basil (optional)
- Salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat in large soup pot
2. Add onion, shallot, and, garlic, and heat until soft (5-10 minutes)
3. Add leeks and mushrooms and cook another 5-10 minutes
4. Add cauliflower, kale, broth, dried herbs if using, salt, and pepper
5. Bring the pot to a boil, and when boiled, lower heat to medium-low (I did 3), cover, and cook for 30 minutes
6. Check to make sure the cauliflower is soft. If so, turn off heat, and let soup slightly cool for 10 minutes
7. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup in the pot. If you don't have an immersion blender, buy one! If you don't want to buy one, you can work this into your blender or food processor in batches to blend.
8. Season with any additional salt, pepper, and/or herbs as needed


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Stamford Summer Throwback: Best Meal of the Summer

Hello from Stamford! I had quite the journey down to my old stomping grounds. My train was less than five miles from Stamford, and we got stuck behind a broken down metro north train. We waited twenty minutes, went backwards for ten, and then finally headed into the not-so-big city. I was extra impatient to arrive because I was running late for a birthday dinner with my wonderful mentee and friend Kevin (hi Kev!). I decided to go straight to the restaurant with my typical homeless bag lady look because I couldn't wait any longer. We had an awesome meal at a Brazilian churrascaria, and Kevin even ate a chicken heart! I didn't try it because it looked too much like a kidney bean and was freaking me out. After a great dinner, I got back to my hotel to realize that I had never made a reservation. I am thoroughly convinced I got a minor concussion from my Crossfit fall last week, because I have been feeling weird and blanking out on things ever since. Luckily my good friend at "club zero" found me a room even though they claimed to be sold out.

Today's post highlights my favorite meal from this summer (which says a lot) from a previous Stamford trip. Ryan and I tag-teamed the cooking on this one, and it couldn't have turned out better. Check out the gorgeous view from the lake house where the meal was created. It is pretty much paradise!

Our perfect paleo feast included:

- Grilled steak (this is Ryan's job)
- Grilled peaches stuffed with prosciutto and fresh basil
- Grilled sweet peppers
- Roasted cauliflower with pomegranate seeds, fresh mint, cumin, & garlic

If you need recipes, feel free to ask, but these are all basically as simple as they sound - a great steak (get organic, grass-fed if possible!), produce from your local farmer's market, and fresh herbs from the garden. Everything got a bit of my usual mix of olive oil, salt and pepper, and that's it!

This upcoming weekend is supposed to be beautiful, so take out your grill for one last hurrah before the cold really settles in, and give it a try! The stuffed peaches were to-die-for...


Monday, October 15, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Carrot Walnut Muffins

I'm not going to lie to you. These are good. Really good. You can ask Chris - we ate them while we had a wonderful heart-to-heart around the kitchen island drinking tea yesterday. It doesn't get much better than that on a Sunday afternoon. I have to give credit to a new paleo meetup friend Anna for posting a picture of gorgeous pumpkin muffins on her facebook page Sunday morning. I tried to get her recipe, but clearly I am very impatient, so I created my own and added shredded carrots into the mix since I looove carrot muffins/bread/cake. I now love carrots even more after the nice man at the SOWA market got so amused from the way Chris and I were picking the "perfect" carrots. In other SOWA news, my favorite woman at the Westminster Meat table remembered me from last week and asked how my 5lb. chicken turned out! I was so excited to tell her that I was able to use the whole frozen chicken to make delicious soup, and it is great to see that I am becoming a regular at my neighborhood market. 

In breaking paleo news, I am hosting my first official paleo meetup in a couple of weeks. It is going to be a halloween potluck, and I have been brainstorming a few costume ideas (think grass-fed cow, hunter/gatherer, etc...). I already have a great group of people signed up, and I can't wait. It will be a wonderful thing to look forward to after I trek back up to Boston after the big Avon walk this upcoming weekend! There will be a ton of special treats at the potluck, and I'm sure my new paleo friends won't be disappointed. Stay tuned!

- 1.5 cups almond flour
- 1/2 cup pumpkin (I used canned organic pumpkin from Trader Joes)
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 3 eggs
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. - 1/4 cup raw honey (optional - I used 1 Tbsp.)
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- Splash of vanilla
- 1/2 chopped walnuts + 12 big pieces 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix all ingredients other than walnuts in a mixing bowl
3. Fold in chopped walnuts (reserve the 12 pieces for later)
4. Grease muffin tin (12-muffin size) with coconut oil or use silicon baking cups
5. Spoon batter evenly into muffin tin and top each muffin with a whole walnut
6. Bake for 25 minutes (fork or toothpick should come out clean)
7. Let sit for 5 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack
8. Eat with a friend, a cup of tea, or both ;)