Thursday, January 31, 2013

Spinachy Egg Nests

The day has finally come! Tonight is the first PaleOMG cooking class in Boston. I signed up for both nights because 1. I'm obsessed, and 2. I couldn't choose between sweet and savory (shocker). I can't wait to meet Juli, see what recipes we are going to make, and make some more paleo friends in Boston. I will try to snag some great pictures, and I'll be sure to post about both classes over the weekend. 

On another note, last weekend I had a crazy stomach reaction after going out to eat - it reminded me of the pre-paleo days. Pretty sure I had some gluten and dairy by mistake, and I was feeling sick, bloated, and sluggish. I decided to try a one-day juice cleanse to load up on organic veggies and clear out the toxins in my system. I tried the BluePrint cleanse because they are sold at Whole Foods now. It was $58 for the day which is pretty great compared to other brands on the market. I went with the Foundation Cleanse which is the "intermediate" level. I am so used to green juice now, and I actually loved it. They are so filling, and since it took me almost an hour to finish each bottle, I never once had food cravings in the entire day (definitely not my typical situation). The cashew milk at the end of the day was such a good treat and tasted like a rich milkshake. I felt so amazing and energized all day, and I woke up the next morning feeling completely rejuvenated. I had to get back to real food, so I made these spinach egg nests and a popcorn shoot salad. A guy at the farmers market convinced me to buy these shoots because he promised the flavor was as sweet and complex and he was. He was right - these shoots have such an insanely sweet flavor, and the taste changes as you chew them. I threw on some avocado and blueberries to make a "salad" - it was a bizarre combo but nice to switch it up. Definitely try these micro-shoots next time you're at the market - it is like a mix between alfalfa sprouts and kettle corn popcorn, and you'd need to taste it to believe it!

Spinachy Egg Nests Serves 1, Prep time: 5 min, Cook time: 10 min

- 1 tsp. olive oil
- 2 cups spinach
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- sea salt & pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat
2. Cook spinach with salt, pepper, and garlic powder until soft
3. Make two holes/nests for the eggs, and crack the eggs in the holes
4. Cover the pot, turn the heat to low (2-3), and cook for about 5 minutes (+/- depending on your egg preference)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Perfect Paleo Banana Bread Cake

Last night's ladies night was a Trumbull reunion. Claire, Ali, Sarah, and I proudly represented three classes of retired field hockey players. Our last pasta party was over 10 years ago, so we had a new and improved pasta-free version with an arugula salad, paleo chicken pot pie, and roasted butternut squash. I wanted to whip up a dessert, so I decided to go with a banana bread cake. I used to love making banana bread, and this was my first paleo attempt. The cake was moist, sweet, and cooked perfectly. I will definitely make this again - it would be great for a brunch party or anytime you need a quick and easy dessert. I gave away all the leftovers because I knew I would eat the whole thing! You could make this in a loaf pan and cook it for an extra 15 minutes, but I think it cooks more evenly in a pie dish. This recipe is perfect to try out on the paleo critic - it is as good or better than the traditional recipe!

Perfect Paleo Banana Break Cake:  Serves 8, Prep time: 15 min, Cook time: 40 min

- 3 cups almond flour
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. cinnamon 
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3 eggs (I used 2 eggs + 3 Tbsp. egg whites)
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla
- 3 medium or 4 small bananas, mashed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Combine almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl and set aside
3. In a separate bowl, mix coconut oil, honey, eggs, and vanilla
4. Mix wet ingredients until fully combined and then add the mashed bananas
5. Combine the wet and dry ingredients in one bowl
6. Pour batter in a 9-inch pie dish (I didn't grease it but will next time for easier cleanup)
7. Bake for 40 minutes - top will be lightly browned and a toothpick should come out clean
8. Let cool and then serve topped with chopped walnuts and with your favorite cup of tea

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Winter Farmers Market Chicken Soup

Big things have been happening in my kitchen lately. Winter has been brutal, so I have had to increase my tea intake - I am drinking at least 4 cups a day, and in the spirit of accepting cool gadgets (and avoiding the microwave) in 2013, I got a few new things for my tea-drinking. I had been looking for some new mugs that are huge with a big handle, and I got some great ones at Marshalls with a very old store credit. There was a fourth one that said "Crazy Cat Lady", but that one was for Mal of course. I also got this great cuisinart electric tea kettle. It has six temperature settings and heats up in just a couple of minutes. It is faster than a standard tea kettle and safer than the microwave, so really a win-win. Lastly was the most romantic gift a girl could get from her boyfriend - an infrared thermometer. You may be wondering why it is such a life-changing gift, but we discovered in Vermont that my ideal tea temperature is 140 degrees (very hot still but not hot enough to burn my mouth). Even though the tea kettle has temperature settings, you have to steep the tea after the water is heated, so I couldn't take the chance of drinking my tea at the wrong temperature! Now all my cups of tea are perfect, and I can check the temperature of my computer, walls, feet, etc. when I'm bored. Any guys out there stuck on a Valentine's gift for your girlfriend/wife... you're welcome!


I had another great trip to the Cambridge Winter Farmers Market on Saturday. I was craving soup (like always), so I decided to go with a winter chicken soup - all ingredients (other than olive oil and broth) can be found at the market, and the soup is fantastic. It is hearty, sweet, and perfect for these 10-degree nights we've been having. Heat yourself up with some 140-degree tea and a bowl of chicken soup, and you'll be good to go! Spring will be here in no time...

Winter Farmers Market Chicken Soup Serves 10ish (it's a lot), Prep time: 30 min, Cook time: 2 hr

- 1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 medium sweet onions, chopped
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 head garlic, chopped
- 5 carrots, peeled & chopped
- 5 parsnips, peeled & chopped
- A 5lb. free-range organic chicken
- 2 quarts low sodium organic vegetable broth
- Sea salt, pepper, paprika, & thyme
- 2 bunches kale

1. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat and add onion, shallots, and garlic for 5-10 minutes
2. Place whole chicken on top of onions and season generally on both sides with salt, pepper, paprika, and thyme
3. Add the carrots and parsnips 
4. Cover the chicken and veggies with your broth (can use half broth and half water if you want) 
5. Bring the pot to a rapid boil and then cover the pot and cook on low for at least 90 minutes 
6. Take the chicken out of the pot, remove skin and bones, and add all shredded meat back into the pot
7. Break your kale into 1-inch pieces, add to the pot, and cook for another 5 minutes
8. Enjoy your local soup!


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Pure & Simple Dry Roasted Almond Butter

I am on a roll! After yesterday's success with homemade almond milk, I decided to move onto almond butter today. I really hope my future children appreciate all of the hard work I'm putting in now so I will be prepared to feed them the most healthy and delicious food in the future! The only thing that would make this recipe more fulfilling would be if I grew the almonds myself. I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon snack of a local apple with homemade almond butter and a cup of lemon herbal tea. It was a great choice considering I had all the ingredients in the house and didn't have to go outside into the 10 degree weather!

I am so excited to share that I am almost pre-certified as a health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. In a few more weeks I will be able to start meeting with clients and will be offering an introductory 6-month program. The best part is that I will be able to do this in person, over the phone, or over Skype, so location doesn't matter. I have been loving the program, and it is definitely keeping me busy on nights and weekends along with my full-time job! I am looking forward to helping people with their health goals with everything from wellness coaching to meal planning. I have a lot of fun ideas for the road ahead and can't wait to share them with all of you. In the meantime, go make some almond butter!

Pure & Simple Dry Roasted Almond Butter Makes 1.5 cups, Prep time: 2 min, Cook time: 15 min

- 2.5 cups raw almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cook almonds for 10-12 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper
3. Transfer warm almonds into the food processor
4. Process almonds for about 5 minutes until smooth and buttery - you may need to scrape down the sides of the food processor every minute or two so it blends evenly


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ali's All-Natural Almond Milk

I have been dying for some fresh almond milk ever since I tried it for the first time at Organic Avenue in NYC. The problem is that all of the almond milks in standard stores (including Whole Foods and Trader Joes) sadly have tons of additives and preservatives. I knew I would need to make it myself, so I finally bought some cheesecloth so I could make it happen. 

I am going to try some out in my oatmeal tomorrow morning - you heard it here first that oatmeal has reentered my life. I have been suffering from some stomach problems for the past couple of months, and after my trip to canyon ranch, I made the decision to try to reintroduce small amounts of certified gluten free oats and brown rice back into my diet. I am on my second week of the experiment (1/2 cup oats in the morning and 1/4 cup brown rice mid-day), and I am feeling a lot better. I had a very hard time eating them at first since I have gone over six months without a single grain. I had to remind myself that my goal isn't about being 100% strictly paleo - it is about being the healthiest version of myself possible. Every person is different in terms of what their body needs, so I plan to continue to experiment until I feel fully healthy. I have battled stomach issues my whole life and am committed to find what truly works for me. For now, I am Sooo Paleo + Oats & Rice... I'd change the website, but it doesn't have the same ring to it ;)

Ali's All-Natural Almond Milk: Serves 4 (32oz.), Prep time: 15 min, Wait time: 12 hours

- 1 1/2 cups raw almonds
- water for soaking
- 3 1/2 cups fresh water

1. Soak almonds in a bowl of water for 12 hours
2. Drain the almonds, and put them in the blender along with the fresh water
3. Blend for 1-2 minutes until fully blended.
4. Put a strainer on top of a bowl, and line the strainer with cheesecloth.
5. Pour in the almond milk - all of the chunks will collect in the cheesecloth. 
6. Squish out all of the excess milk using your hands or a spoon. 
7. Seal the milk in an air-tight container, and refrigerate. Sources say it should last 4-7 days. 

For almond meal, spread the leftover almond pieces from your cheesecloth on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 175 degrees for 2-3 hours until dry. You can then run it your food processor, and you have homemade almond meal!



Monday, January 21, 2013

Chicken & Brussel Bowl

I never thought my love for the 80's could be any stronger, but it has reached an all-time high. Thanks to one of my lovely coworkers (hi Moaky!), I now appreciate and miss that beautiful decade more than ever. I am not ashamed to admit that I have dabbled with online dating in the past, and it always was an experience to remember. I did meet some wonderful people along the way, but I also have many hilarious stories (think allergic reaction + bloody nose + shrieking). I am lucky to have the online dating chapter of my life behind me, but after seeing this video from Moak, I am not so sure. Before eHarmony, Match, and OKcupid, apparently there were VHS movies you could get with video clips of potential suitors. I cannot stop watching this video... it just doesn't get old: Single Hotties in the 80's 

I wasn't sure what to make for dinner tonight, so I just took a few ingredients from the fridge and threw them together. This turned out to be one of my favorite dinners in a while. The toasty garlic was delicious, and I loved the combo of flavors. I really think the spinach from the farmers market this week is the best spinach I have ever tasted. The leaves are enormous (almost the size of my face), and they are thick with almost a little crunch. I snacked on some leaves while I was cooking, and it tasted like I was eating them fresh out of the garden. Try this recipe out next time you are in a rush and don't have a dinner plan. You won't regret it!

Chicken & Brussel Bowl Serves 2, Prep time: 5 min, Cook time: 20 min

- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1-2 tsp. coconut oil
- 8 oz. chicken, poached & shredded
- 1 cup brussel sprouts, quartered
- 1 cup spinach
- Sea salt & pepper to taste

1. Melt coconut oil over medium heat
2. Add garlic and cook for 5 minutes until fragrant and lightly browned
3. Add brussel sprouts and cook for 10 minutes, stirring often
4. Add shredded chicken and spinach and cook for another 3-4 minutes
5. Add salt & pepper to taste, and serve in a bowl. That was easy!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Creamy Carrot & Kohlrabi Soup

I am thrilled to report that I survived two days of back-to-back Bikram yoga. It feels so good to attempt a new workout routine after four straight months of crossfit. I definitely miss the camaraderie at the box, but I felt like I needed to give my body a break and switch it up a bit in the midst of all of my travels. I think Bikram yoga is as mentally challenging as it is physically. All of the yoga, meditation, and breathing classes at Canyon Ranch really seemed to have helped with my focus during class, and it has been a great experience so far. 

I am almost done with the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle which tells the story of a family who commits to a 100% locavore lifestyle for a full year. It has given me so many ideas, and I am dying to have my own garden one day. In the meantime, I will be supporting all of the local farmers markets. I tried out the Cambridge Winter Market for the first time yesterday and loved it. The farmers were all so friendly, and even though I got there on the later end, there was still a great selection. I was talking to one of the farmers and she convinced me to try kohlrabi (aka German turnip). She said that she eats them raw, roasted, pureed, and in any recipe that needs a little extra flavor. I tasted a bite of the raw vegetable, and it tastes like a mix between cabbage, cauliflower, and brussel sprouts but with the texture of a radish or almost a water chestnut. I decided to make soup with these along with the multi-colored carrots, onion, and garlic. The soup turned out great, and you could add some curry or other spices if you want a little more flare. 

Creamy Carrot & Kohlrabi Soup Serves 6-8, Prep time: 15 min, Cook time: 50 min

- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 large sweet onion
- 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 large purple kohlrabi bulbs, peeled & chopped
- 3 small green kohlrabi bulbs, peeled & chopped
- 3 orange carrots, peeled & chopped
- 3 golden yellow carrots, peeled & chopped
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1 qt. vegetable stock
- 1 can light coconut milk (I used Trader Joes)

1. Heat coconut oil over medium heat
2. Add onion and garlic, and cook for 5-10 minutes until lightly golden brown
3. Add kohlrabi, carrots, and spices and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently
4. Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil
5. Cover pot and reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes
6. Remove pot from heat and blend with an immersion blender
7. Mix in the coconut milk, and serve!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Spiced Meatballs w/ Balsamic Fig Reduction

Happy Saturday! I had a great week in Stamford and am Back in Boston. I realized that I haven't been home for a full week since before Thanksgiving, so it is nice to be back. I have had quite the whirlwind with friends, family, holidays, vacation, and work trips, and now it is time to get back in the swing of things. I checked out the Cambridge Winter Farmers Market today with Chris which was awesome. It's closer than the one in Somerville and just as big. We made friends with some of the farmers and got great stuff. I bought a couple new things that I haven't tried (anyone tried kohlrabi before?), so I will be experimenting with some new recipes this week.

I am off to Bikram yoga for a 10-day trial at Bikram Yoga Boston. I have had some wonderful experiences with Bikram in the past, but I have also had a few nightmare classes. When I went in Naples with mom, I think she almost punched the teacher in the face at one point. Between the instructor, the damp smelly carpet, and the atmosphere, it wasn't pretty. Fingers crossed for this studio!

Today's recipe is a slight variation of an amazing recipe from Practical Paleo. You can check out information on the book here. I got the cookbook as a holiday gift from Evan & Catherine, and it is amazing. These meatballs smell great thanks to all of the spices, and the fig compote is absolutely delicious. I have never made a reduction before (seemed a little intimidating), but it was actually one of the more simple recipes to make. Try this out as an appetizer at your next dinner party to wow your guests!

Spiced Meatballs w/ Balsamic Fig Reduction: Serves 4, Prep time: 10 min, Cook time: 25 min

- 1lb. ground lamb or grass-fed beef
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. dried minced onion
- 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. allspice
- Sea salt & pepper
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup water
- 6-8 dried figs, sliced (I used organic extra large Turkish figs)
- 2 sprigs of fresh organic rosemary

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees
2. Mix the meat and all spices together in a mixing bowl
3. Form into 16 small meatballs, and lightly brown the edges in a pan over medium heat (about 15-30 seconds per side)
4. Bake on a foil-lined sheet for 20-25 minutes until cooked through
5. While baking, add vinegar, water, figs, and rosemary to your pan on the stove
6. Simmer (I cooked on a level 3 of 10) for about 15 minutes or until the compote reduces. It will seem very watery at first, but over time, it will turn into a thick sweet compote.
7. Serve the meatballs fresh out of the oven on top of the compote


P.S. I swear the meatballs weren't hot pink... the camera got crazy!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Roasted Chicken w/ Sweets & Beets

So if you're wondering, I am still upset about my poop sneaker. I am trying to pretend it never happened, but it isn't working. I don't have a padded mat under my standing desk yet, so I really need to wear sneakers in the house while I work. After yesterday's incident, I think my days of wearing sneakers in the apartment are over. The good news is that I will have a padded mat delivered and ready to go by the time I'm back from Stamford this week AND I found out that my sneakers are on sale on Zappos. I need another pair anyway, so this may just work out perfectly. I realize that if you are here for a delicious recipe, you probably don't want to hear about my dirty sneaker, but I just really needed to share!

I had a wonderful visit from my Dad today, and I wanted to make him a special meal before he headed out to London for business. I channeled my Grandma and went with my first ever roasted chicken. While I mastered the turkey back in November, I was still nervous about roasting the whole chicken. I threw it together with some roasted sweet potatoes and beets from the Siena Farm farmstore, and it was amazing! The one issue with beets is that their juice gets everywhere. The color is gorgeous, but I'd recommend wearing an apron (and a poncho) to avoid getting beet juice all over your clothes. Don't say you weren't warned!

Roasted Chicken w/ Sweets & Beets: Serves 4, Prep Time: 15 minutes, Cook Time: 90 minutes

- 4-5lb. free-range organic chicken
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled
- 2 beets, peeled
- Olive oil
- 1 lemon, halved
- 2 sprigs each of rosemary, thyme, & sage
- Sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried onion

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Chop sweets & beets into 1-inch cubes and arrange in a baking dish. Toss with olive oil, sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, and dried onion (or onion powder).
3. Rinse and pat dry chicken. Make sure you clean out the inside (luckily this one didn't have any surprises inside)
4. Coat the chicken with a little olive oil, the juice from the two lemon halves, and some of the spices.
5. Stuff the chicken with all of the herbs and the leftover lemon halves
6. Bake for 75 minutes, basting every 15-20 minutes
7. Flip over the chicken and cook for another 15 minutes
8. Let the pan sit for 5-10 minutes and then carve and enjoy!


Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sweet Celeriac Root Hash

Happy Sunday people. Today was an interesting and informational day for many reasons:

1. (I thought) I bought a rutabaga for today's recipe, and it turned out to be celeriac root (see recipe below) - such an interesting vegetable that I've never had before!
2. I stepped in a huge pile of dog sh*t on the street at the very end of my 5+ mile walk with Chris, and we discovered that it isn't that easy to clean a poop sneaker when you live in a city.
3. I practiced my qigong in the shower tonight which was awesome - I must warn you that it can be very dangerous when your feet are slippery while harvesting your qi ;)
4. The nutrients in a 1oz. shot of wheatgrass are equivalent to those in 2.5 cups of green vegetables... I still haven't tried it yet, but I think this will be my next experiment. 

I have been loving all of the winter root vegetables, so I tried to get creative this morning. I created this sweet and savory breakfast hash and threw a dollop of it on top of a spinach and mushroom frittata. The final picture didn't come out too beautifully, but it tasted fantastic. The recipe below will serve two people, and you can make a really delicious mash with the leftover half of the celeriac root. It is an awesome potato substitute with way more flavor and great nutrients.

- 1/2 celeriac root, peeled & shredded
- 1 small sweet potato, peeled & shredded
- 1 small apple, peeled & diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- Olive oil
- sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste

1. Heat olive oil over medium heat
2. Add diced onions and cook for about 5 minutes until soft
3. Add shredded celeriac, sweet potato, and apple (use a cheese grater or food processor for these)
4. Season with a little sea salt, pepper, and garlic powder
5. Cook for 15-20 minutes until it fully cooks through and gets a little crisp like hash browns. I stirred it quite a bit at first but then let it sit for a few minutes at a time so the bottom would brown.
6. Serve on top of your favorite frittata or topped with poached eggs.


Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mushroom Mish Mosh Soup

So much news, I don't even know where to start! Thank you for your patience as I spent the week relaxing and rejuvenating at Canyon Ranch. I soaked up every minute of the trip, and it was fantastic. I will share some highlights over the next week along with some great new recipes. 

These two pictures are my two of my favorite spots at the ranch - on a cozy couch in front of the fire where I did some quality reading (and napping) and the indoor track above the spa where I walked about 20 miles over the course of the week. It was very warm up on the track, so I almost always had it to myself which allowed for some good meditation, singing, and random gymnastics moves as I circled the track over 250 times. 

When I got home this afternoon, I decided it was time to go for a walk to get inspired for a new soup recipe. Instead of brainstorming soups I just walked in circles around my neighborhood while I talked to Mal. I don't think I convinced her to meet with a psychic, energy healer, and acupuncturist, but I think she at least appreciated the stories! When I got to the store, I saw that they had an amazing variety of mushrooms (button, portobello, oyster, crimini, and shitake). I bought all of them and decided on a mushroom soup. I added the head of cabbage and celery to bulk it up a bit, but I would definitely try it again omitting those two ingredients so the mushroom flavor is stronger. The most exciting part of this recipe was when I had to peel the garlic. One of my many wonderful Christmas gifts from Ryan was this silicone garlic peeler. If you haven't tried one, it really works like magic. You put a clove in the silicone sleeve, press down on it, roll it back and forth for a second or two, and then it just falls out of the sleeve fully peeled! A wonderful invention worth trying out...

- 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 2 sweet onions, chopped
- 1 large leek, chopped (whites & greens)
- 1 shallot, chopped- 1 head garlic, peeled & chopped
- 1 bunch of celery, chopped
- 1 small head cabbage, chopped
- 1 lb. white button mushrooms, chopped
- 10 oz. baby portobello mushrooms, chopped
- 6 oz. crimini mushrooms, chopped
- 6 oz. oyster mushrooms, chopped
- 6 oz. shitake mushrooms, chopped- 1 bunch of fresh organic herbs (I used thyme, rosemary, and sage)
- 2 quarts of organic vegetable stock
- pepper to taste

1. You know what to do... chop it all (preferably while watching the season premiere of the Bachelor on DVR like I did...)
2. Heat olive oil over medium heat
3. Add onions, leek, shallot, and garlic and saute for about 10 minutes until soft
4. Add all other veggies and pepper and cook for another 10 minutes
5. Add herbs and broth and bring to a boil
6. Cover pot, turn heat to low, and cook for 45 minutes until everything is soft
7. Remove herbs from pot and then puree soup with your immersion blender


Sunday, January 6, 2013

Garlic Sesame Kale Chips

I am officially ready for my big vacation! I'm all packed, I got 4 new tires for my car, got my nails done, made CDs for the car ride, gassed up, and mapped out the trip. I have to admit that this 130-mile drive is going to be the longest drive I have ever done in my life! That may seem hard to believe, but I usually draw the line at 30 miles. My mix CD has a big job of keeping me awake and alert on the road. It is quite the eclectic mix:

1. "I Will Wait" by Mumford & Sons
2. "Home" by Phillip Phillips
3. "Get Back to Ya" by Casey Hurt
4. "Madness" by Muse
5. "Some Nights" by Fun
6. "Pretty Wings" by Maxwell
7. "The a Team" by Ed Sheeran
8. "Overwhelmed" by Tim McMorris
9. "This Woman's Work" by Maxwell
10. "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman
11. "Hall of Fame" by The Script &
12. "Why" by Annie Lennox
13. "Climax" by Usher

Between this and my Lumineers CD, I should be good to go. I most likely won't be doing much blogging over the next week, but I will have loads of stories and new recipes when I'm back. In the meantime, here is a simple recipe for garlic sesame kale chips. I have made these four days in a row, and they never get old. Feel free to switch up the seasonings for a new twist if you don't like eating the same thing all week like I do! Enjoy these as a snack, appetizer, or side.

- 2 bunches kale, stems removed
- olive oil
- garlic powder
- fine sea salt
- pepper
- sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees
2. Put kale leaves in a mixing bowl and break into chip-sized pieces. Be sure to discard any stems/crunchy bits
3. Drizzle a little olive oil in the bowl and rub the oil into the kale leaves with your hands
4. Arrange on a foil-lined cookie sheet, and sprinkle with garlic powder, sea salt, and pepper
5. Bake for 10 minutes, toss the leaves, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and bake for another 5-15 minutes based on your crispiness preference


Friday, January 4, 2013

Paleo Gigi Salad

Happy Friday! I can't believe it, but I am officially on vacation. My week at Canyon Ranch starts on Sunday, and I am so excited! I just signed up for all of my services which include a detoxifying ritual, marma chikitsa, acupuncture, and a healing energy treatment. I will report back on everything when I return. I am just shy of a 10-year reunion for my last visit to the ranch, and I cannot wait. I will be trying over 2 dozen exercise classes, listening to amazing lectures on health and wellness, taking cooking classes, and spending a significant amount of time reflecting on the new year and everything I am grateful for. I have to say I am pretty thrilled 2012 is behind me, and I have such a wonderful list of things to celebrate and appreciate for the years ahead. 

Tonight's recipe is my take on the Gigi salad which comes from the Palm Restaurant. I made this recipe as part of my cooking duties on Christmas, and I fell in love with it. I remade it on New Years Day for my dinner party, and it was a big hit. I have to admit this would be a perfect addition to a summer BBQ, but it is delicious in the winter too. The recipe is incredibly easy, only has 5 minutes of cooking time, and is a gorgeous addition to any meal. Give it a shot at your next dinner party or potluck!

- 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut in half
- 1 lb. beefsteak tomatoes, chopped
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
- 3/4 lb. wild-caught shrimp, peeled & chopped
- 1 avocado, chopped
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- 1 lemon
- Sea salt & pepper 
- Optional add-ins: hard-boiled egg & crumbled bacon

1. Boil green beans for 5 minutes, drain, and then rinse with cold water so they stop cooking
2. Mix green beans in a large bowl with the tomatoes, onion, shrimp, and avocado
3. Dress the salad lightly with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, juice from one lemon, and salt and pepper
4. Top with hard-boiled egg and crumbled bacon if desired

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Chunky Hunky Man Soup

Does your hunky man hate soup? If so, I have created the perfect recipe that will make you both happy! To me, a fresh soup every week is the best part of winter, and it is even better if you can share it with others. I even eat soup for breakfast these days as an alternative to my old favorite oatmeal. Some of the soup haters out there think that it doesn't count as a real meal and is too watery, so I created this recipe that is chunky, full of flavor, and guaranteed to please your biggest critics. 

I made this soup on New Years Day for my own special hunk and our friends. It was the perfect mix of sweet and savory, and it was a wonderful way to start out 2013!

- 2 Tbsp. Olive oil
- 2 sweet onions, chopped
- 1 large leek, chopped (whites & greens)
- 2+ Tbsp. garlic, chopped
- 1 bunch of celery, chopped
- 5-7 large carrots, peeled & chopped
- 12 mushrooms, chopped
- 6 parsnips, peeled & chopped
- 2 sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped
- 2 cups of chopped steak (I used leftovers from a garlic roasted bottom round roast)
- 3 sprigs of fresh, organic rosemary
- 2 quarts of organic chicken (or beef) broth/stock (no sugar or preservatives added)
- pepper to taste

1. CHOP EVERYTHING! (I've warned you about this before.. it takes a while but is totally worth it!)
2. Heat olive oil over medium heat
3. Add onions, leek, and garlic and saute for about 10 minutes until soft
4. Add all other veggies and cook for another 10 minutes
5. Add steak, rosemary, and broth and bring to a boil
6. Cover pot, turn heat to low, and cook for 45-60 minutes until everything is soft
7. Eat this soup with your hunky man - mine likes his grains, so I threw some farro in there for a little extra chunk


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Perfect Veggie Quiche

I'M BACK! I hope you haven't missed me too much over these past two weeks. I had quite the traveling adventure visiting so many of my favorite people for the holidays. After bouncing from house to house in CT, I headed up to Vermont for almost a week. I had to work for some of it, but I have no complaints. Apparently Waitsfield got close to five feet of snow over the week we were there, and I had the most beautiful views from the house while I worked. The fire was going nonstop every day, and I got in some great skiing over the weekend. I also visited an amazing natural food store called Sweet Pea that had an unbelievable selection of paleo-friendly foods. I was a bit under the weather for most of the trip, so I loaded up on echinacea teas, fresh-pressed organic green juices, and a few treats like trailmix and "nut buddies". 


When I finally got back to Boston I was dying to get back in the kitchen and whip up some delicious home-cooked meals. I have plenty of material to share now, and I am starting up with a delicious vegetable quiche. You can feel free to switch up the veggies, add meat (or cheese if you do that), and get creative. This recipe is very simple and came out so well. I have had a few quiche recipes that are a bit too moist/watery, and this one cooked perfectly in exactly 30 minutes. Enjoy the leftovers for breakfast the next day!

- 1.5 cups almond flour
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp. dried onion (or onion powder)
- 2 tsp. parsley

- 1 large sweet onion, chopped
- 1 shallot, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 10 white mushrooms, chopped
- 1 bag spinach
- 4 eggs
- Sea salt & pepper 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix all crust ingredients in a small mixing bowl until dough forms
3. Press the dough into the pie dish working it into the dish so it fills out the full pan
4. Bake for 15 minutes until lightly brown and set aside to cool
5. Heat olive oil for filling over medium heat
6. Add onion, shallot, and garlic to oil and cook for about 10 minutes until lightly browned
7. Add mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes
8. Add spinach and cook for another 5+ minutes until some of the liquid cooks off
9. Whisk eggs in a bowl and then add veggie mixture and S&P
10. Pour filling into the crust and bake for 30 minutes
11. Let sit at least 10-15 minutes before slicing