Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Favorite Fall Recipes!


I’ve kept it no secret that Fall is one of my favorite times of year. The weather is perfect for outdoor fun, but it still feels nice to come in to a warm, cozy home after a day in the cool Fall weather.
And, of course, there is the food! To me, Fall food is about warmth, comfort and deep, rich flavors.
Today, I wanted to share a few of my favorite Fall recipes! These are dishes we make over and over again throughout the season.


What are some of your Fall favorites? 


 Harvest Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic Glazed Walnuts












Monday, October 29, 2012

Spicy Cilantro Carrot Fries


Carrot fries? I had never heard of them until I was browsing Fast Paleo earlier this week and noticed that Liz from Paleo on a Budget posted a recipe for Roasted Carrot Fries. I started doing a little research and realized this was obviously a secret the entire cooking community had been keeping from me. It seems everyone has a version carrot fries, even Martha Stewart, and I wanted in.

I was making these Sweet and Spicy Sausage Stuffed Peppers and was in need of a side dish. I just happened to have a big bunch of carrots in the fridge and images of carrot fries dancing around in the back of my mind. I wanted them to compliment the Southwestern theme I had going on with the peppers so I started rooting around the kitchen for ideas. There, in the back of the fridge, was a big bunch of cilantro. Cilantro usually gets neglected around here in the winter months. We'll buy some for a particular recipe and the rest is typically forgotten until it starts to look sad and depressed and we have to throw it out (into the compost bin, of course).

So I had my carrots and my cilantro and finally decided on a spicy cilantro pesto.  I love pesto of any kind, but pesto and carrots? That was a new one for me. But when all was said and done they were pretty darn tasty. The jalapeno adds just a hint of heat and the cilantro compliments the carrots nicely.


Spicy Cilantro Roasted Carrot Fries
Serves: 6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes


Ingredients

-12 large carrots
-1 tbsp olive oil
-2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
-1 cup tightly packed cilantro leaves
-1/2 jalapeno pepper, roughly chopped
-1 tbsp lime juice
-Dash of salt and pepper
-1 tsp cumin
-1/4 cup olive oil

Directions

-Preheat oven to 400 F
-Cut carrots into small (about 2 inches long) sticks (we are making fries here, cut them to about the size of a french fry!)
-Toss carrots with 1 tbsp of olive oil and spread out in flat in a single layer on a baking sheet
-Bake for 20 minutes
-While the carrots are baking, add garlic, cilantro, jalapeno, lime juice, salt and pepper, and cumin to a food processor.
-Start processor and while running slowly add the olive oil. Process until smooth.
-Remove carrots from oven and transfer to a large bowl. Toss with pesto. Return to oven for an additional 5 minutes.



Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Greek Stuffed Lamb Burgers

I have a cute little notebook with me at all times where I write down recipe ideas that I want to play around with and hopefully create something “blog-worthy”. A recipe's blog-worthiness is often determined by Kevin, as he is the only taste-tester in the house other than myself. If Kevin and I both give it a thumbs up then onto the blog it goes. Sometimes a recipe can be a total fail, sometimes it just needs a little work, but Kevin always gives an honest opinion and constructive feedback so I think we make a good team. :)

In my little notebook, I have had the idea to do a stuffed burger for a while now. I really had no ideas other than that I wanted to make a burger and I wanted it to be stuffed with something. Inspiration finally hit this week in the form of the ground mutton that we buy each week at the Farmers’ Market from Grass Corp. I like to say all kinds of nice things about the Steckler family and Grass Corp. because I SO appreciate what they are doing, which is providing our community with easy access to free range, grass fed meat.

So my train of thought went like this, “Lamb is used a lot in Greek cooking…I have a jar of black olives in the fridge…olives are also used in Greek cooking…ooh I can throw in some sun-dried tomatoes and lots of yummy spices and stuff it all inside of the burger!” And, with that, Greek Stuffed Lamb Burgers were born!

I served these burgers on a bed of spinach with a few extra sun dried tomatoes sprinkled on top. 

How will you serve them?


Greek Stuffed Lamb Burgers
Serves: 4
Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
1 lb ground mutton
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
10 olives, diced
1/2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp marjoram
Salt and pepper to taste


Directions
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well incorporated.

Form meat into 4 equal patties.

Coat a grill pan with cooking spray or olive oil and heat over medium heat (you can also use an outdoor grill, but we cooked these on the stove top).

Cook for 10 minutes, flipping after 5 minutes. Check one burger to ensure it is cooked through.

Serve over spinach and your choice of additional fixin's.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Kevin's Famous Broccoli and Bacon Omelete

I have decided that any time I post one of Kevin's recipes on the blog, it will be called "Kevin's famous (fill in name of recipe here)"! I am doing this because Kevin is an amazing cook and he deserves it. :)

So today I bring you.....Kevin's Famous Broccoli and Bacon Omelete. This dish first made an appearance one morning when Kevin woke up early to cook breakfast for the two of us. It was so good that now I make special requests for it. We were sitting in spin class Friday night (well actually we were spinning) and all I could think about was what I wanted for dinner so I asked if he would make me this omelete. It is stuffed full of broccoli, onions and, of course, bacon.

He started by frying up the bacon and then using the bacon fat to sautĂ© the broccoli, onions and garlic. The eggs are cooked in a separate pan while this is all happening and in the end the vegetables and bacon are folded into the perfectly cooked eggs to create this beautiful, veggie-packed omelete.

So what are you waiting for? Get in the kitchen and start cooking! :)




Kevin's Famous Broccoli and Bacon Omelete
Serves: 2
Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients
4 slices of bacon
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of chopped broccoli florets
5 large eggs, beaten with a dash of salt and pepper


Directions
Heat two large pans over medium heat (we used a flat skillet for the bacon and a deeper frying pan for the vegetables).

Once hot, add the bacon to one pan and the olive oil to the other.

Cook the bacon, turning often, until crispy (about 6-8 minutes).

While the bacon is cooking, add the diced onions to your other pan and cook, stirring often, until translucent (about 3-4 minutes).

Add the broccoli and cook for about 3 minutes until it begins to soften.

At this point, your bacon should be nice and crispy. Remove it from the pan and pour all but about a teaspoon of the bacon grease into the pan with your broccoli. Set your bacon pan back on the pre-heated burner. You can also add in the minced garlic. Stir well. Cook for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pour the eggs into the skillet you used to cook the bacon, which should still be hot. Let the eggs cook undisturbed until set, about 5-7 minutes. Once set, flip and let cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side.

Pour broccoli mixture over half of eggs and lay bacon slices on top. Fold eggs over and cut into two equal pieces using your spatula.








Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Paleo Pen Pals!


Let's face it, we Paleo folks eat some weird stuff. We use strange ingredients and we have to get creative. 

I just want you to know, you are not alone. 

Myself and Brittanie from Three Diets One Dinner have teamed up to introduce the great Paleo food blogger swap, Paleo Pen Pals. And now, Rachel from GrokGrub has joined the Paleo Pen Pals team to help bring together food lovin' folks, such as yourself!

If you choose to participate, we will pair you up with another paleo blogger or interested party (you don't have to have a blog to participate, just a love of cooking healthy, delicious food). You two will then exchange a unique, paleo-friendly ingredient/local item that your partner can use in his/her next post. We will have a round-up of recipes on GrokGrub, Three Diets One Dinner and What I Gather at the end of each month showcasing your culinary creation. You will also have the opportunity to post a link to your recipe on the Paleo Pen Pals Facebook Page.

If you are not a blogger, but would like to participate, Paleo Pen Pals is a great opportunity for guest posting. You can still showcase your creativity and Paleo cooking skills on the many platforms Paleo bloggers have to offer.

This all got started when Brittanie and I exchanged ingredients native to our part of the country. From Austin, Brittanie sent me a box of hatch chiles, which I used to create a delicious recipe for Hatch Green Chile Burgers. I sent Brittanie Maple Syrup from Indiana, which she used to make Maple Bacon Green Bean Bundles.

This is a great opportunity to share some Paleo blogger link love, get creative and interact with like-minded healthy cave people from all over the place.

You can learn more and join the adventure by signing up at the Paleo Pen Pals Facebook Page! Just visit the Facebook page, read the Terms and Conditions and click the Contact Form to signup. 

Don't forget to follow Paleo Pen Pals on Twitter!

You must visit the Facebook page to sign up, but here is a sneak peak at how it works...



Paleo Pen Pals Guidelines

  • To sign up for Paleo Pen Pals, visit our Facebook page and complete the signup form. To be included for the upcoming swap, you must submit your information before the 1st of the month. If you sign up after that time, you will be included in the following month’s swap.
  • Around the 1st day of the month, you will receive an email with your pen pal for that month. You will then send your pen pal an email with your mailing address and anything special they should know such as dietary restrictions, preferences or allergies.
  • You will have until the 10th of the month to mail your package. The package should include a Paleo item or items that your pen pal can sample and/or create a recipe with. There is a $10 spending limit (not including postage costs).
  • Think carefully about how you will package and ship your items so they stay fresh (if necessary) and remain intact on their journey.
  • You may want to include a little note with your item or items explaining what they are and why they were chosen.
  • Before the 25th of the month, you will publish a post to your blog with a recipe or review of the items you received and email the link to paleopenpals@gmail.com. To further promote your blog, you should post the link to our Facebook and Twitter pages. You and your pen pal can link back to each other’s blogs, as well.
  • By doing all of the above, your link will be seen on your pen pal’s blog (if applicable), the monthly roundups posted on What I Gather and Three Diets One Dinner, as well as the Paleo Pen Pals social media outlets. That is quite a bit of exposure! NOTE: Only posts submitted to paleopenpals@gmail.com will be featured in the round ups.
  • Paleo Pen Pals is not just for bloggers...all Paleo food lovers are welcome! Non-bloggers are encouraged to submit a guest post on their pen pal’s blog. If neither pen pal has a blog, you can submit your guest post to paleopenpals@gmail.com and we will post it to one of our blogs.
  • If you end up getting the cold shoulder from your assigned pen pal, we are so sorry. Here are some suggestions on resolving the “paleo pen pal ditch.”
Challenge yourself! Go out and buy an ingredient you have never used before. Make a recipe with it and "pretend" to have been challenged by a fellow pen pal. If you do this, we will happily include you in the round up, even though you technically didn't have a pen pal exchange.      

Find a new pen pal! Tweet to @paleopenpals with a cry for help. Tweet something like "Hey @paleopenpals, Does anyone need a new matchup? I'm available!" Then you can make the arrangements though Direct Messaging or however you want to do it.
  • To be a part of Paleo Pen Pals, you must sign up each month that you plan to participate. Don’t worry, we will send out a reminder so you don’t miss out on the fun.
  • At this time, Paleo Pen Pals is slowly building an international following. If two or more people from your country sign up, you will be matched up for that month.
  • Please contact us at paleopenpals@gmail.com if you do not receive a confirmation after signing up. You should receive a confirmation within 1-2 business days after signing up to confirm your participation.
Paleo Pen Pals Terms & Conditions By signing up as a Paleo Pen Pal, you are agreeing to abide by the following terms and conditions. Failure to comply will result in your removal from the Paleo Pen Pals program:

1: You will contact your pen pal within 72 hours of receiving their email address to swap mailing addresses and anything special they should know such as dietary restrictions, preferences or allergies.

2: You will mail your box by the 10th of the month so that it arrives in plenty of time for your pen pal to receive it and write their post. Purchasing delivery confirmation can ensure that your package is accounted for.

3: If you do not contact your pen pal or  your match does not receive a package from you for the month, you will be removed from the Paleo Pen Pals program.

4: Paleo Pen Pals, Tarah from What I Gather, and Brittanie from Three Diets One Dinner cannot be held responsible if you do not receive a package. Mail gets lost...things happen. We will do everything we can to ensure you receive a package from your pen pal and that participants who do not comply with the rules are removed.

5: Your pen pal’s email address and contact information is not to be used for any reason other than Paleo Pen Pals without their express permission.

When you join Paleo Pen Pals, show your pride by adding a badge to your sidebar!

For a 125x125 pixel badge, copy and paste the following HTML code into your widget sidebar:

<center>    
<a href="http://facebook.com/paleopenpals"><img src="http://i1326.photobucket.com/albums/u660/BrittanieBo/Badge_zpsc58d426d.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
<br/><br/>
</center>


For a 200x200 pixel badge, copy and paste the following HTML code into your widget sidebar:

<center>    
<a href="http://facebook.com/paleopenpals"><img src="http://i1326.photobucket.com/albums/u660/BrittanieBo/bigbadge_zps587e2ebf.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>
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</center> 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Fried Apple and Eggies

Don't ask me why I just called them "Eggies", I really have no good explanation for that. It just sounded cuter. This was a bit of an experimental breakfast. The hypothesis was that apples would taste absolutely delicious when cooked in bacon grease with onions and scrambled eggs. The research  time was tasty and I had a willing test subject (Kevin). The conclusion supported the hypothesis, just as I had expected!

These "eggies" were fruity and delicious, with just a touch of sweetness thanks to the cinnamon and nutmeg. I added coconut milk to the eggs to give them a creamier consistency and when you top it all off with a side if bacon, you have a perfect Fall breakfast!


Fried Apples and Eggies
Serves: 2
Time: 30 Minutes

Ingredients
4 slices of bacon
1apple, diced into bite-size cubes
1/4 cup diced yellow onion (about 1/2 of a small onion)
4 eggs
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Heat a large skillet over medium heat.
Once hot, add bacon to pan and cook until crisp, turning often (about 8 minutes).
While bacon is cooking, dice your apple and onion.
Remove bacon from skillet and set aside, leaving the bacon fat in the skillet.
Using the same skillet, add the apple, onion, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cook, stirring often, until softened (about five minutes).
While apples and onions are cooking, beat eggs in a small bowl with coconut milk, salt and pepper.
After five minutes, pour eggs evenly over apples and onions. Cook, stirring often, until eggs are set (about 6-8 minutes).
Divide eggs evenly between two plates and serve each with two slices of bacon.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Super ( Paleo ) Smoothie Recipes!


Fall may be here, but the cooler temperatures cannot deter me from a cool and creamy smoothie. I even have a perfect-for-Fall Pumpkin Blueberry Protein Smoothie recipe that I posted a few weeks ago. Smoothies can be a quick and tasty way to get in a few of your daily servings of fruit. They are a great breakfast on busy mornings and perfect as a post-workout recovery treat. 

When using frozen fruit in smoothies, I always check the label to make sure there is no added sugar. If you buy a bag of frozen pineapple, the only ingredient should be pineapple. For that same reason, I only use coconut milk in my smoothie recipes. The coconut milk I use is from Trader Joe’s and the only ingredients are coconut milk and water. No additives and no weird ingredients that I can’t pronounce. It makes me feel good to know exactly what I am putting into my body.

The smoothie recipes that I am going to share with you today each have a hidden ingredient that takes this icy treat to the next level. You may not even notice these little extras when you take your first sip, but they bump up the nutritional profile and pack an added “punch” that will leave you feeling happy inside and out.

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* Chocolate Cherry Smoothie with Cinnamon

Chocolate and cherries go together like peas and carrots...hmm, that was not the best analogy. Peas and carrots would not make for a very good smoothie. What I meant to say was that chocolate and cherries are a delicious combo! This recipe uses unsweetened cocoa powder, which brings out the rich, sweet flavor of the cherries without any added sugar. 

The nutritional booster here is cinnamon! Cinnamon helps to regulate blood sugar so you can say goodbye to mid-afternoon blood sugar crashes that send you running for the vending machine. Studies have even shown that cinnamon can lower LDL cholesterol, boost cognitive function and reduce cancer risk. 


Chocolate Cherry Smoothie with Cinnamon
Serves: 2

Ingredients
1 banana
1 ½ cups fresh or frozen cherries (if frozen, look for cherries without added sugar)
4 ice cubes
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup cup coconut milk
¾ cup water

Directions
Add all ingredients to blender.

Blend until smooth. If needed, add additional water until desired consistency is reached.

Divide evenly between two large glasses and enjoy!

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* Pineapple Citrus Smoothie with Turmeric

During the summer months and after a tough workout, I often crave bright and refreshing citrus smoothies. This smoothie is flavored with pineapple and orange, with just a hint of lime for a tart twist!

This tropical treat gets supercharged with turmeric, which is often found in Indian cuisine. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory properties - perfect for both workout recovery and disease prevention, as many diseases stem from inflammation in our bodies. 

Your taste buds probably won’t even notice this spice, but your body will thank you for the addition of this medicinal powerhouse!


Pineapple Citrus Smoothie with Turmeric
Serves: 2

Ingredients
1 banana
1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
1 orange, peeled and quartered
Juice of one lime
4 ice cubes
1 tbsp ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
2 tsp turmeric
½  cup coconut milk
¾  cup water

Directions
Add all ingredients to blender.

Blend until smooth. If needed, add additional water until desired consistency is reached.

Divide evenly between two large glasses and enjoy!

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*Banana Berry Smoothie with Molasses

Bananas and mixed berries are a classic combination. Potassium and fiber-filled banana, mingled with antioxidant-rich berries make for an already healthy treat, and the addition of molasses takes this drink right over the top! 

Molasses is much more than just another sweetener. Unlike table sugar and corn syrup, molasses isn’t refined and retains its mineral content. Molasses is chock full of iron and it is also a good source of calcium. It doesn’t take much (just a couple of teaspoons) to reap the benefits of molasses, which makes it super easy to get all of the benefits without adding many calories.

Banana Berry Smoothie with Molasses
Serves: 2

Ingredients
1 banana
1 ½ cups mixed berries, fresh or frozen
4 ice cubes
1 tbsp molasses
½  cup coconut milk
¾ cup water


Directions
Add all ingredients to blender.

Blend until smooth. If needed, add additional water until desired consistency is reached.

Divide evenly between two large glasses and enjoy!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Farmers' Market Chicken Bake


Fall is finally heeeeerrree! I love it. Now we can get down to some serious hiking and camping without it being so hot outside that we feel as if we are going to melt. Fall is also a great time of the year to visit the farmers' market. The summer items like berries and melons move out and make way for delicious fall specialties like squash, sweet potatoes and apples.

Our trip to the farmers' market last weekend provided a fresh bounty of peppers, sweet potatoes, okra, butternut squash and apples. The wheels in my mind started turning (a dangerous thing) and I knew I wanted to make a dish with the butternut squash and apples, but wasn't sure what. I remembered the Exotic Cinnamon Spiced Chicken Bake that I made a few weeks ago and knew these ingredients would work perfectly with a similar recipe.

I mixed chunks of apple, butternut squash, onion and chicken with some spices and a few fresh herbs from my garden, topped it with a layer of bacon and baked it for about an hour. My kitchen smelled fantastically like Fall as it was baking! The flavor was amazing - the butternut squash and apples had a slightly sweet taste that paired well with the herb-infused chicken and salty bacon.

I realized this recipe could work with so many fun combinations of meat and vegetables. What combination would you like to see? Peppers, onion and sausage? Zucchini, yellow squash and chicken? Let me know if you have any ideas and maybe that can be my next creation! :)



Farmers Market Chicken Bake
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 55 Minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 10 Minutes

Ingredients
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 apple (any variety), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 yellow onion, cut into 8 wedges
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeds removed and cut into 1-inch cubes
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp cardamom
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp chopped, fresh thyme
1 tbsp chopped, fresh sage
1 tsp chopped, fresh oregano
1 tsp chopped, fresh rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
6 slices bacon

Directions
Heat oven to 450F.
Coat a 13”x9” glass baking dish with cooking spray or olive oil and set aside.
Add chicken, apple, yellow onion and butternut squash to a large bowl. Toss with olive oil, spices and herbs until everything is evenly coated.
Pour chicken and vegetables into prepared baking dish.
Lay bacon slices evenly across the top of the dish.
Bake for 50-55 minutes, until bacon is crispy, chicken is cooked through and vegetables are beginning to brown.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Broiled Haddock Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Maple Dressing


One of my all time favorite meals is the Cafe Siesta salad from Ramsi's Cafe on the World. The menu describes it as follows-

CAFÉ SIESTA - Soft shell crab, curried sweet potato hash, fresh greens, bacon, spiced pepitas, sherry maple vinaigrette.

I wanted to recreate this meal at home because it just really isn't practical for me to drive to Ramsi's every night for dinner. It turned out that I enjoyed my homemade version even better! I knew exactly how it had been prepared and which ingredients were used, which I try to be conscious of with all of my meals.

For this version, I replaced the crab with broiled haddock filets and I added avocado. The flavors combined to create a sweet and creamy taste that perfectly complimented the fish and the saltiness of the bacon. New favorite dinner! Now I just have to convince Kevin to take my order from the dining room table and serve it to me fresh from the oven...


Broiled Haddock Salad with Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Sweet Maple Dressing
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Ingredients
1 sweet potato, cubed
1/8 cup plus 3 tsp olive oil, divided
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cumin
4 slices bacon
2 tbsp maple syrup
Juice of 1 lemon
Dash of salt and pepper, to taste
4 haddock filets, about 1/4 lb each
4 cups salad greens
1/4 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
1 avocado, diced


Directions
In a large bowl, toss sweet potatoes with two tsp of the olive oil, cinnamon and cumin

Roast at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes

While sweet potatoes are roasting, heat a skillet over medium heat. Cook bacon for 6-8 minutes, turning often, until crispy. Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk together maple syrup, 1/8 cup olive oil, juice of 1/2 lemon and a dash of salt and pepper in a small bowl.

Drizzle fish with remaining tsp of olive oil and lemon juice on both sides. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Remove sweet potatoes from oven and set aside.

Turn oven to broil and broil fish fish on a foil lined pan for 10 minutes.

While cooking, toss salad greens, sweet potato, avocado, pepitas and dressing in a large bowl.

Divide evenly between four plates. Serve each plate with one haddock filet.