Category Archives: Recipes

Stuff to Eat

Happy Thanksgiving To You!

Paleo + Life | Bacon-Wrapped Turkey
This pretty beastie is my all-time favorite. All other turkeys pale in comparison to the joy of the bacon wrap!

How is it already Thanksgiving time? I was just discussing with a friend how it always seems like “Oh, it’s two weeks away, I don’t need to worry about that yet!” and suddenly it’s HERE. Whoops.

But no need to fret: one of the reasons I adore Thanksgiving is that it’s really the simplest holiday to manage. Not like Halloween, with costumes and candy and trying to plan treats that won’t make one feel bad afterward; or all of the hoopla surrounding Christmas (and which, I might add, has been going on since darned near August!). Turkey Day is the best because it’s just three parts: Buy food. Cook it. Eat it.
Depending on your family, there may also be football (we are sports-averse, so this is not us), or a trip to the movies (sadly, the tot is not quite old enough for this yet), but the heart of this holiday is the meal. It’s a food blogger’s dream come true.

Every year, I try to make the meal just a little bit different. Sure, there’s always turkey, and there’s gotta be dressing (NOT stuffing and yes, there is a BIG difference), but the sides and desserts are where I like to have my fun. This year, I’m thinking:

It’s simple, totally Paleo, and easy as the proverbial pie. I’m so looking forward to a relaxing day of cooking up some goodies for the family.

What are you thinking of making for this foodiest of holidays? Drop a line in the comments if you’re so inclined.

Strawberry Cucumber Salad

Strawberry Cucumber Salad | Paleo + Life

As I write this, great sheets of rain are pouring down outside, our fireplace is going full blast, and I’m making an immense mug of tea. It seems an odd time to be thinking of light, fruit-based dishes like this one. Strawberries, in particular, seem to be the heart of summer.

However, it happened that when I went to the grocery store, I was thinking about salad. Well, about roast chicken and salad. Specifically, about how boring this salad would be, because I always do roast chicken with a big salad. I was also thinking how very, very tired I am of the same old tomato salad, and what on earth could I do instead?

While I was standing there in the produce department, I noticed a stack of strawberries. The combination of the crisp, meaty smell of roasted chicken in my basket and the sweet perfume from the berries reminded me of a lovely meal I’d had at a restaurant ages ago. The salad was fantastic, with strawberries, blackened chicken, corn, black beans — I don’t remember anything else about that evening, but that salad was perfection.

Thus inspired, I picked up the berries, some balsamic vinegar, and dashed home to try to make something like it. In the end, this salad was more like a cousin than a twin, but it added a twist to the routine, the kids happily gobbled it up, and it was lovely having a little bit of summer in the middle of my autumn.

Strawberry Cucumber Salad


  • 1 head romaine lettuce, cut in a chiffonade
  • 10-15 sorrel leaves, cut in a chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons mild fresh herbs, such as salad burnet or parsley
  • 1 pound fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 cucumber, sliced into half rounds
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. In a large bowl, combine romaine, sorrel, herbs, berries and cucumber slices. Toss gently with salad tongs.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine olive oil and vinegar, stirring vigorously. Drizzle the mixture over the salad.
  3. Grind salt and black pepper over the salad to taste. Toss salad again; serve immediately.

Kaput, or Get Well Soon Tea

I had planned to post a recipe this week, but I suddenly found myself in food blogger hell.
My fridge died. It requires some part, probably from the deepest pits of Mt. Doom, and untold dollars to set it to rights. So my recipe progress will be a bit stalled until that happens.

Oddly, the freezer is still working fine. Because of this, and because we purchased a tiny dorm-style fridge to tide us over, we have been, if not exactly comfortable, at least able to continue feeding ourselves. It requires regular trips to the store (not exactly daily, but close), which makes me feel very fancy and European. Ooh la la indeed.

This death of the fridge has coincided with my youngest girl being under the weather. She doesn’t want to eat much, but she does love sweet things. Since I had blueberries in the freezer, honey in the cupboard, and a tiny little squeezer of lime juice in the mini-fridge, I made this tea for her.
The frozen blueberries, aside from being chock full of vitamins, quickly bring the tea down to a reasonable temperature (cool enough for my little, but warm enough to still be soothing).


Get Well Soon Tea


  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon gelatin (I use Great Lakes, in the green can -- it dissolves perfectly)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 1/8-1/4 cup frozen blueberries (do not thaw)


  1. Combine lime juice, honey and gelatin in a heatproof mug. Pour in boiling water; stir thoroughly.
  2. Add frozen blueberries. Serve immediately.


Honey & Pepper Roasted Carrots

Roasted Carrots

Paleo + Life|Honey & Pepper Roasted Carrots

Oh, what a long, strange trip it’s been. Suddenly, it is the first day of fall. Looking back, summer flew by, though I can clearly recall individual days that seemed to last forever.

While I feel like I still need time to really settle in to the rhythm of fall, the thing I am most glad of is the cooler weather and the ability to cook in my kitchen again. I have missed it terribly, but so much of the summer was just too hot to live. Fall, now, this is my time. There’s just so much good food to be had.

Like these carrots, for example. I am a complete sucker for rainbow carrots. They cost a bunch more than regular carrots, but I don’t even care. Colors! Yellow ones, purple ones, even the usual orange ones are pretty spiffy when arranged prettily on a plate.

You may be surprised to learn which variety is your favorite — I love the orange varieties of carrots, but the yellow ones are my favorite, as they are milder and sweeter. The purple are a bit intense: they seem almost beet-like in their musky overtones.

A couple of notes: Go easy on the pepper (and a little heavier on the honey) if you are making this for little ones, unless yours are like my oldest, who loves spicy things about as much as she loves us. Sensitive palates may balk. Also, if your honey is a really thick variety, try zapping it in the microwave to get the right consistency for drizzling. You don’t want to use immense gobs of honey; the idea is to gently enhance the natural sweetness of the carrots, not overwhelm it.


Honey & Pepper Roasted Carrots


  • 2 pounds rainbow carrots
  • 3 tablespoons oil (melted coconut oil is my favorite)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (if yours is quite thick, warm it up in the microwave)
  • 1-2 tablespoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt


  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Wash, gently scrub and pat dry the carrots. Lay them flat on a cookie sheet.
  3. Drizzle the carrots with the oil, rotating them to ensure that all sides are coated. Repeat with the honey.
  4. Sprinkle the carrots with pepper and salt. Place them in the oven, roasting until they are carmelized and "give" when poked with a fork (approximately 25 minutes).
  5. Remove from the oven and serve.

Butter Tea

Butter Tea Bl This is not the post I intended to write today.

I had grand plans involving honey, and cherries, and ginger — but I also have hungry teenagers. That bag of cherries never stood a chance. Sigh.

Instead, I’m revisiting a lovely winter evening in the early 2000s. At the time, my beloved and I had just moved to Minneapolis — during an icy, snowy January. Although we were from Chicago, this was a whole new level of winter. We felt like human popsicles much of the time.

Butter Bl

Just a pat of butter…

Since we were new to the city, just exploring our neighborhood was novelty enough for us.
We lived close enough to Uptown to walk, and frequently found interesting places there. On one of these excursions, we discovered a teeny little Tibetan restaurant. Though I can no longer recall its name, I remember steamy warmth that instantly fogged my glasses, turmeric-yellow walls, and momo (dumplings) filled with intensely flavored meat.
I also remember that my husband, more adventurous than I, ordered yak butter tea. At the time, he loved it, but I was certain such a thing would never cross my lips. Nope, no, negatory – absolutely not.

You all see where this is going, right?

Coconut Oil Bl

And a scoop of coconut oil…

A decade later, we are eating paleo, and we discover “bulletproof coffee. ” My husband, as I may have mentioned, loves coffee. Every morning, he grinds his own beans, makes coffee in the morning to drink at home, takes a cup to commute with, and keeps a single serving coffee maker on his desk so that he can refresh his cup after lunch. I’m convinced that the reason he agreed to buy our house was its proximity to four local coffee shops, two of which roast their own beans.

When I told him about this insane coffee trend, we had a good giggle over the craziness of blending perfectly good coffee with butter and coconut oil — but then we tried it.

Tea Bl

Add a cup of hot tea and blend.

Frothy like a latte, the combination of butter and coconut oil gave it an extra richness that was better than milk alone. We quickly added it to our regular repertoire of beverages. But a few months later, while listening to a podcast, the guest suggested trying the bulletproof recipe with tea.

A light bulb went off in my head, and I immediately flashed back to that cold night, and the wonderful meal, and the ‘crazy’ tea that had stayed in my memory all this time.
I tried it, and it was overjoyed to find it just as good as I had imagined.

Froth Bl

20 seconds later, voila! Butter tea. For this batch, I added cinnamon afterward, but I think it’s better included with the other ingredients.

The most important thing here is the tea. A good strong one is a must, as the butter/ghee and coconut oil is going to smooth out whatever sharp qualities it normally possesses. I used a chocolate pu-erh, which was very tasty indeed. While the chocolate notes were a complement to the cinnamon I included, it’s not necessary; the tea is delicious either way.

Butter Tea


  • 1 tablespoon butter or ghee
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup strong black tea
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, divided (optional)


  1. Combine butter, coconut oil, tea and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon in a high-speed blender. Process on high for approximately 20 seconds, or until well mixed. Pour into a large mug. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon on top; serve immediately.

Paleo Chocolate & Cinnamon Mug Cake

I am still adjusting my schedule — a much more active little one presents some difficulties — but I needed to share with you all this delightful creation. I present: mug cake.Chocolate & Cinnamon Mug Cake | Paleo + Life

“Really, Cher?” I hear you saying. “Mug cake? That’s so 2013.”

Perhaps mug cake is a bit past its new and exciting stage. But you know what it also is? Delicious.
I adore mug cakes, and I am not ashamed. Especially since paleo mug cakes have fairly healthy ingredients. Eggs, bananas, a bit of spice for flavoring — these are staples I use just about daily.
(Speaking of spice: I have always wondered: just what the heck is in “spice cake” anyway? I need to investigate. I bet a spice-cake style mug cake would be amazing.)

This recipe is quick and easily adaptable to whatever spice you have on hand. Two things to note:

1) This works best with liquified oil. If using coconut oil, warm it before using so that it isn’t solid.

2)For best results, be sure to mash the heck out of the banana. If you don’t like banana or want to lower the carbs, a thicker applesauce (like my Apple Sassy Applesauce) is a fine substitute.

Paleo Chocolate & Cinnamon Mug Cake


  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1 egg
  • 2 heaping teaspoons cocoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil


  1. Combine banana and egg in a large coffee mug; mix thoroughly. Add remaining ingredients, stirring after each addition. Microwave for 2-3 minutes, depending on the power of your device. Serve immediately.

T’s Quick Pickle

Quick Pickled Veggies | Paleo + Life


My oldest boy loves to cook, which is fantastic, because occasionally I need him to start dinner while I’m picking up the younger girl from school. He is happy to do it — he often says he wants to be a chef like his dad. He will suggest a meal from time to time, but usually asks what I would like. This results in a flurry of texts between us. Occasionally, those texts are misunderstood, which can result in some, er, interesting meals. Even more occasionally, those meals turn out to be better than what I’d originally planned.

Last night, for example, I decided to pick up a rotisserie chicken, cheese and tomatoes so that we could make tacos. Since I knew we had it at home, I asked the boy to chop up some lettuce. Then I gave him an off-the-cuff recipe for a simple vinaigrette to put over some shredded carrots, so we would have another vegetable in the dinner. However, he misunderstood that I wanted two separate things — and mistook the cabbage for a head of iceberg. So he shredded both cabbage and carrots together, then put them in the vinaigrette. The result? Surprisingly delicious.

Quick Pickle & Chicken Wrap | Paleo + Life

Crunchy, crispy and tangy, this little pickle turned out to be the perfect accompaniment to roast chicken and lettuce wraps. It was so tasty, I had it for breakfast again this morning. It’s basically a cole slaw, but even better because it’s faster than my usual version.
I’m pretty excited to have an inventive little partner in crime. Here’s to more happy accidents in the kitchen.

T’s Quick Pickle


  • 1/2 cabbage, shredded
  • 2 fat carrots, shredded
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon coconut sugar


  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir thoroughly. Allow flavors to meld for at least 15 minutes; serve immediately.

Food Lovers’ Fridays: Compound Butter

Food Lovers’ Fridays: I’m a big fan of bringing classical cooking methods and recipes into the home kitchen. Today’s post is part of a series meant to highlight those traditional techniques and recipes that can be used in or adapted to paleo cooking.

I have been dragging lately. These days I cannot seem to get motivated and I am cranky when I have to try. I guess the whole bar experience took more out of me than I realized. It doesn’t mean I am not thinking of food, or wanting lush, expansive doses of flavor — it just means I’m leaning more heavily on the culinary tricks that offer the most bang for the buck.
Thus, today’s FLF is one of the simplest, but most amazing things I know how to make: compound butter.

It really is as simple as it gets: warm some butter, dice some herbs, moosh together, and serve. If you are a more strict paleo eater, you’ll use ghee. If you aIre vegan, I would try a combination of equal parts red palm oil and coconut oil. The red palm has a rich, carroty flavor that is reminiscent of butter or ghee, and the coconut oil makes that flavor a little less intense, so that the flavor of the herbs can shine.

Because compound butters so simple, they allow for endless variations. My favorites, I think, are  fresh herbs from our garden with just a touch of salt. A single herb works just as well as a blend, so use whatever you’ve got. Compound butters don’t have to be savory, though — a vanilla and coconut sugar version, for example, would be great on a paleo muffin or bread.

I call the attached version Scarborough Fair Butter after the song; it’s my go-to for seasoning our Thanksgiving turkey. Because rosemary and sage are more dominant flavors, I’ve balanced them with a stronger dose of thyme and parsley. It is equally adept at livening up any number of vegetables (try roasted beets or sweet potatoes) or swirled atop a gorgeous grilled steak. That extra hit of flavor is divine.

Food Lovers’ Fridays: Compound Butter


  • 1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley leaves, minced
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage leaves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. In a small bowl, combine parsley, thyme, rosemary and sage, and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  2. Continuing to stir the mixture, add the softened butter. Mix thoroughly. Serve immediately.
  3. If preparing for later, roll the mixture into a cylindrical shape. Cover with plastic wrap, then wrap the bundle with aluminum foil. Place in freezer until ready to use.


Sage & Pepper Pork Chops


Sage & Pepper Pork Chops | Paleo + LifeI am pleased to report that I am done with the bar exam, and my life has started to regain a bit of normalcy. As normal as it ever is, at any rate.

This means I get to focus a bit on fun things, like figuring out how to take pictures again. I am still very much a novice food photographer, and with the last two months being taken up with other things,  my beginning skills seem to have flown the coop. I really want to spend a lot more time playing around with my camera again.

These pictures were not taken when I had time to fiddle around with the camera, but just as we were sitting down to dinner. I served these with sides of butternut squash and sauteed peas, but really, they work with just about anything.
I love chops because they are so easy to customize to your own taste. Mild and meaty, pork chops take on flavors exceptionally well. I love to marinate them (or cook them in the sous vide), because they can be rather dry, but oiled chops, as they are here, stay pretty moist, too. This recipe is one of the simplest, but it works because the combination of earthy sage and sharp black pepper just sings on the palate.

Sage & Pepper Pork Chops


  • 6 pork chops
  • 3 tablespoons oil of choice (leftover bacon drippings are especially excellent)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 6-8 whole sage leaves


  1. Rinse the chops; pat dry with a paper towel.
  2. Coat both sides of the chops with oil. Salt and pepper both sides, then place them on a baking sheet. Top each chop with one or two sage leaves.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes, or until chops are lightly browned and tender. Serve immediately.



California Citrus Tea

CA Citrus Tea

My in-laws were here for an all-too-brief visit recently. We spent as much time with them as we could, considering that I was deep into my studies, my husband was working and the kids were all in school. Still, it is so rare that we get to see them, so any time at all is a treat.

They also happened to bring a few treats with them. A few adorable things for the kids from their trip to the Bay Area, and some pomelos for my husband and me.

Pommelo Bl

Pomelos are hard to describe. It’s a huge citrus fruit — larger by far than most; it is actually called Citrus maxima. After you’ve peeled the ruggedly bumpy skin, and removed the inch or so of fluffy white pith, you’re left with a fruit that’s about the size of a grapefruit. Speaking of grapefruit, the taste is somewhere between a grapefruit and a lemon, but without the hint of bitterness that gives grapefruit its savor. Instead, it has a gentle fragrance that is slightly floral with a tiny bit of musk. These are light, bright and delicious.

While my immediate thought was how wonderful it would be to candy the peel — seriously, one fruit is so big you’d have it forever — my first taste of the tart flesh changed my focus. Trying to stay healthy while the family drops like flies around me, I knew I needed to turn it into this delicious, soothing tea.

All of the ingredients are so healing: turmeric, full of anti-inflammatory curcumin, and the black pepper which helps activate it; honey and ginger, which help fight off nasty bugs; and of course, pomelos are full of vitamin C. This is not the prettiest drink, by any means — I nearly called this “Ugly Tea” — but the soothing heat and tangy flavor are gorgeous.

Pomelo & Spice Tea


  • 2 segments pomelo, peeled and separated into small chunks (may substitute lemon or other citrus)
  • 1" knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  1. Combine pomelo, ginger, turmeric, black pepper, and honey in a cup; add 1/2 cup boiling water. With a fork, mash the ingredients together, then add enough water to fill the cup.
  2. Serve immediately.

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