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food: saffron rice with chorizo & chicken

yesterday I started digging into my massive pile of magazines. and here’s the thing…. I love getting and reading magazines, but when I’m done I feel his strange obligation to keep said magazine as if it were a book.
particularly since I have 3 subscriptions to food magazines. I rarely make things from the magazines, I mostly just enjoy drawing inspiration and keeping up on trends and restaurants for when I travel… that sort of thing.
but every now and then I do make an actual recipe from one of these magazines. or at least a reasonable facsimile of.

anyways, I went through some of my mags and ripped out recipes that I thought I might make and then turfed the rest of the issue. and this one came from a canadian living from september.

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I was on the prowl for a good weeknight dinner and remembered I had all this lovely saffron that I brought home from Budapest last year.
now, like the true pantry/fridge warrior that I am, I had a few substitutions.
brown rice became pearl rice. because we had brown rice with stir fry on sunday… and I think a nice white rice would be prettier with the saffron.
shrimp became a thinly sliced boneless skinless chicken breast.
we don’t eat vegetable oil, so that became ghee…
and peas I had, but I wanted to pack a bit more of a healthy punch, so I subbed in rappini that I had blanched.

the result was delicious. a super easy dish that thanks to my quite lean chorizo, I’m going to declare also pretty healthy. the rappini worked well and I used it because it’s in season, but you could just as easily use something like kale.

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food: beef barley soup

if there is one thing i know, its that my life is made easier by my ownership of the slow cooker and food processor.

but to be honest, i really don’t use either to their maximum capacity.  i often find myself with a big pot simmering away on the stove or meat braising in the oven, when a slow cooker could definitely be doing that work for me.
and the same goes for my food processor.  sometimes i’m elbow deep in chopped vegetables working away for 40 minutes when it dawns on my that i could have just chucked these in the food processor and i could have been done in seconds.
so i’m working on it.

to me, the slow cooker is a magical device that slaves away when i’m at work.  i throw my raw goods in before i leave, and when i’m home i reap the benefits.  nothing could be easier.
but there’s no reason that i can’t be using it on weekends while i’m nesting on my couch watching movies.  and if i have to pop out to run an errand, its a-okay to leave it to do its thing.

so, on sunday i put it to use.  my biggest temptation is to constantly be lifting the lid & stirring & tasting.  but where the slow cooker is involved, thats bad news.  so i had to really restrain myself from fussing over it.

i used the food processor to chop: 1 onion, 3 giant carrots, some green cabbage and 4 stalks of celery into a pretty uniform dice.  then i threw that in the slow cooker with a frozen ziplock bag with some bone broth i’d made a few weeks ago and let that make friends for a couple hours while my stew beef was defrosting.

i tossed the beef in salt & pepper and browned it in ghee before adding it to the cooker.  topped it up with a bit of water, dried thyme and a teaspoon of beef better than boulion.  and because my husband loves barley, i added a half cup of pearl barley.  oh, and a can of tomato paste.

that hung out in the slow cooker and got delicious for about 5 hours.  we added a bit of chopped fresh thyme and flat leaf parsley and chowed down.

as a side dish, i whipped up some savory scones.  they kinda went down like this:

– 3 cups of flour- 1 tablespoon sugar
– 2 tablespoons of baking powder
– 1 teaspoon baking soda
– 1/2 teaspoon each of: dried thyme, garlic salt & dried jalapeno
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 stick of cold butter
– 1 cup plain greek yogurt
– 2 green onions finely diced
– 1 cup shredded cheese (i used cheddar & aged gouda)

preheat the oven to 400
mix dry ingredients in a large bowl
cut in butter with pastry blender
stir in cheese, onion & greek yogurt.  use a little water to thin if dough isn’t coming together – i probably had to add about 1/4 cup of water total
let chill 20 minutes. divide dough in half & roll out into a square.  cut into quarters and then cut each square diagonally to make a triangle.
brush with milk or melted butter (i used ghee) and bake for 15-20 minutes on parchment paper until golden brown.

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food: paleo pumpkin bread

i did a bad bad thing this week.
a very bad delicious thing…
i had a starbucks pumpkin scone.  and then a pumpkin loaf.  aaaaaand also a pumpkin cream cheese muffin.
not all on the same day… but within a 7 day period.
basically i’m trying to say that i’m craving the pumpkin.

so instead of sliding further down the slippery slope of starbucks baked goods, i’m going to try to nip this in the bud and make myself a paleo pumpkin loaf.
as with most things, there’s many of the same recipe floating around the net, so with my usual tweaks in play, here’s what i ended up using…

Paleo Pumpkin Loaf

Ingredients:

-1/2 Cup Coconut Flour
-1 Cup Pumpkin Puree
-5 Eggs
-1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
-1 to 2 Tablespoons Pumpkin Spice (cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg)
-1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
-1/4 Teaspoon Sea Salt
-1/4 Cup melted Coconut Oil
-2 Tablespoons Raw Honey

Instructions:

  1. Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  2. Combine all wet ingredients in a separate dish.
  3. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient dish, mixing well, preferably using a whisk or electric mixer.
  4. Pour batter into greased baking dish, preferably an 8×8 dish, smooth top of batter
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes.

*This coconut flour pumpkin bread recipe can also be used to make muffins. For muffins, bake for about 15 minutes.

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okay… so I also added 1/2 cup of Hershey chocolate chips. because my ovaries told me so.
the loaf/bread whatever turned out more like a cake, which made it extra delightful… and it definitely satiated my pumpkin craving.

food: farro & kale salad

last week there was a fun article on buzz feed that had a bunch of pumpkin recipes and they all sounded soooooo yummy…
so of course, i took it upon myself to bastardize one of them.

this recipe below started as a lentil & pumpkin salad with feta & arugula.
and i turned it into a farro & sweet potato salad with blue cheese & kale.  because those all seemed like logical substitutions.

I started with a bag of trader joe’s 10 minute farro.  essentially its been par-cooked, so it doesn’t take an hour of boiling before its edible.
so i cooked the farro, microwaved 2 sweet potatoes and chopped a couple kale leaves, some asparagus and flat leaf parsley.

once the sweet potatoes & farro were cooled off (aka – not steaming hot, but still warm) i combined them in a big bowl with the veggies, added the juice of 1 lemon, about 1/4 – 1/2 cup of olive oil, salt & pepper and chili flakes.
then i tossed in some delicious crumbled blue cheese and topped with chopped avocado.

easy peasy!

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food: paleo veggie burgers

last week i decided it might be fun to totally make up a recipe for paleo veggie burgers.  or veggie patties.  or whatever you want to call them.
but at the end of the project i was aiming for something that was paleo, healthy and used up a lot of the veggies hanging out in my fridge.

because i’m a huge fan of things in cake or patty form, i figured the paleo veggie burger must exist.  and it does… kind of.
i read through about 20 different recipes online before deciding just to giv’er and see what i ended up with.

first things first – you NEED a food processor for this.  not ifs, ands or buts.
the idea of chopping all this by hand is actually insane.

second – what we’re going for here is a patty that hopefully will hold together.  so thats going to require a certain amount of moisture control.  so if its juicy; blot it, strain it or squeeze it before adding it to the big bowl.
i had to drain after chopping the onions, zucchini and the roasted peppers.

third – try not to get too out of control.  i used like a bazillion veggies and ended up with 16 really good sized veggie burgers.  thats a LOT of veggies.  so i’m going to tell you what i did, but you might want to downsize that shit.

alright… let’s get to it!

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in the above bowl i have the following that has been chopped pretty finely in the food processor.

– 1/2 head of cauliflower
– 1 sweet onion
– 1 medium zuchini
– 4 carrots
– 1 sweet potato (peeled)
– 4 or 5 kale leaves (i used curly)
– 1 serrano pepper
– 1 jar of roasted red & yellow peppers (drained)

to the veggie mix i added:
– 4 eggs, beaten
– 1/2 cup of oil (i used olive)
– 1/2 cup of coconut flour (or more depending on wetness)
– pepper and a touch of salt (you don’t want to draw too much moisture out of the veggies)

then form into patties and place on an oiled baking sheet or oiled silpat…

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and into the oven at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes – flip when brown and give’em another half hour or so until they look beautiful.

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then nom on those bad boys with some paleo mayo.  they’re a delight.

i froze a bunch of the extras and ate them for lunch all week.  they were good cold or reheated.

food: coconut steel cut oatmeal

this is a pretty long overdue post… i actually drafted this back in february and just didn’t get around to finishing it.
but, i did definitely want to share the recipe with you all because i thought it was a good one…

eating breakfast is an ongoing struggle for me.  i know its important, but i also know that laying in my bed until the last possible moment is important a lot of days too.
and because i know that productivity first thing in the morning isn’t a consistent strength for me, i have been working on ways to make it easier on myself.

juicing has been a big help for me.  i make juice the night before for the next morning, sometimes for 2 days… and i clean the juicer, put everything away and just have to grab a juice on my way out the door in the morning.
but honestly (and maybe TMI),  my insides can’t handle juice every day of the week.  its also a lot of sugar and so i try to juice two or three times a a week and thats it.

and i’m really breakfast picky.  my stomach is sometimes demanding and finicky in the morning.  i generally don’t like sweet breakfasts, it has to be savory… and in the past, the more carbs the better.  and i don’t love eggs.  so i’m a tough customer when i’m in a rush.

i came across this recipe for steel cut oatmeal that can be premade and reheated and decided to give it a shot.  i was pleased with the results…

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Here’s the recipe I was working from:

  • ½ cup unsweetened coconut, toasted lightly
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1½ cups water
  • 1½ cups coconut milk (canned)
  • Pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar or preferred sweetener (optional) {i used maple syrup}
  1. Place steel-cut oats, water, coconut milk, and salt in a medium-size saucepan over medium heat. Stirring occasionally, bring ingredients to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes until thick and creamy.
  2. Stir in vanilla extract. Taste for sweetness, and add sugar if desired depending on your individual tastes.
  3. Spoon into individual bowls and sprinkle with toasted coconut. Serve.

*I made a few changes (of course) as follows:
– used a carton of So Delicious Coconut Milk drink instead of the coconut milk from the can & water.  It worked with no problems.
– I also stirred in a spoonful of chia seeds during the cooking process to add some extra goodness.
– and i didn’t toast the coconut because i’m lazy.
– for the “sugar” i used maple syrup.
– oh, i also added a pinch of cinnamon.

instead of serving right away, i put it into 1 cup mason jars, let cool and refrigerated until i was ready to enjoy.  (made 4 jars)

and then it’s as simple as removing the lid (metal bad) and microwaving for a minute until its heated through.
ta-da!

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food: paleo granola bars

the other day my husband called me up, all grumpy about how he’d read the label on his granola bars from his lunch and now he can’t eat them anymore because they’re full of junk.
ya… once you know, there’s no going back.

for years he’d been living the “granola bars are healthy” lie… i mean, they were nature valley (sounds natural and healthy, right?) and filled with nuts, not chocolate and marshmallows and whatever other junk they could have had…

but still, the label doesn’t lie.

http://www.generalmills.com/~/media/Images/Brands/Nutritional_Images/Nature_Valley/Sweet_and_Salty/NV_Granola_Bar_Sweet_and_Salty_Nut_Almond.ashx?keepThis=true&

yikes.
there’s a lot of crap in there. sugar, refined oils, binders and just not-food.

and i don’t want him eating them either, but we’d kind of just accepted the necessity of it, as he works in the field a lot and sometimes needs something quick and easy and filling to tide him over.

but to be honest, until he brought it up, i didn’t realize there was that much crap in them either. i mean, i knew they were going to have some garbage, but ya, i was surprised too.

so, its time to make our own granola bars.
i actually used to make granola and granola bars when i worked at a bakery in my youth. so i know the basics… but i wanted to make something that was not only healthier, but also paleo.
the ones i used to make were full of oats and honey and dried sweetened fruits… all delicious things, but again, if you make a homemade version full of sugar, then really, what are you accomplishing? 😉

so i found this recipe from the paleo mom website and decided to give it a go.

Paleo Chewy Granola Bars

  • 1 ½ cups Sliced Almonds
  • 2 cups finely Shredded Unsweetened Coconut
  • 1/3 cup Raw Sunflower Seeds
  • 1/3 cup Raw Pepitas (Shelled Pumpkin Seeds)
  • 1 Tbsp Brown Sesame Seeds
  • ½ cup Blanched Almond Flour
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup unsweetened, natural Almond Butter
  • ¼ cup Honey
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • ¾ tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Tbsp Flaxseed Meal
  • 1½ Tbsp water
  • ¾ cup Mini Chocolate Chips or your favorite chopped dried fruit (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9”x13” baking pan with coconut oil.
2. Mix ground flax seed with water and let sit for 3-4 minutes.
3. Pulse pepitas in a food processor a couple of times to break up to the size of sunflower seeds.
4. Add coconut oil, almond butter, honey and vanilla to flax goop and mix well.
5. Add almond flour and baking soda and stir to combine.
6. Add slivered almonds, shredded coconut, pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and chocolate chips or dried fruit. Stir to combine.
7. Spoon batter into prepared baking pan. Spread out and flatten well with your hand or the back of a spatula.
8. Bake for 22-23 minutes, until golden brown. They will puff up slightly while baking, so immediately after removing from the oven, flatten the bars with the back of a spatula (or something else heat resistant and flat).
9. Let cool completely in pan before cutting into bars (I actually like to refrigerate before cutting). Cut into bars (I usually get 18-20) and wrap individual bars in plastic wrap for easy travel (optional). I prefer to store these in the refrigerator.

Note: This recipe is very sensitive to small changes in the wet to dry ingredient ratio. Please measure carefully.

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they turned out great!  held together better than i thought they would and they were nice and soft/chewy and quite delicious.
i sprinkled a little flaked sea salt on top when they were out to finish them off…
the husband’s feedback was that they could have been a touch sweeter, so if your tastes run sweet, maybe increase the honey a bit.  but i liked them as is.

i also did not add any of the optional fruit/chocolate chips, so that would have impacted the overall sweetness as well.  for what its worth.

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