Tag Archives: vegan

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/strawberry-cucumber-salad/

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  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.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/paleo-chocolate-cinnamon-mug-cake/

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

Ingredients

  • 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

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Stir thoroughly. Allow flavors to meld for at least 15 minutes; serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/ts-quick-pickle/

Potatoes and Pecans

Potatoes & Pecans | Paleo + Life

How goes your January clean eating challenge? So far, so good around these parts. As opposed to last year, when I did my first one, I am actually enjoying it. I feel far less stressed about the process –it’s more of a reminder to myself, since I’ve basically got the “rules” down from a year of being paleo. It also helps that it’s a less restrictive challenge this time around. While I appreciated jumping into the deep end as a paleo newbie, the 21-day primal feels more compatible with my day-to-day life.

Which brings me to sweet potatoes (bear with me, it will make sense in a moment).

Sweet Potatoes & Pecans | Paleo + Life

I have always loved sweets, even pre-paleo, though I tended to reserve them for holiday eating. But it turns out they are full of vitamins A and B-6, among other things. With those kind of benefits, I am happy to eat them year-round.

We steam, mash, bake turn them into fries, pie, breads, even muffins. But at the moment, I’m focusing on quicker dishes, so my daily diet has been more about “how fast can I get food into my face and get back to my work?” than the patient cooking sweet potatoes require.

In order to make that happen, I’ve turned to the microwave. Ours has a “potato” setting, though I usually find that I need to set the machine for two potatoes instead of one (or three instead of two, etc). Still, it helps me get this vitamin-filled deliciousness onto my plate in a hurry. Topping them with coconut oil, pecans and coconut flakes adds healthy fats and makes even a fast snack feel luxurious.

Potatoes and Pecans

Ingredients

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil or ghee
  • 1/2 - 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. Wash potatoes and dry them; poke them with a fork several times.
  2. Microwave potatoes on high for 12 minutes, or until tender enough to pierce easily with a fork.
  3. Remove from microwave; slice potatoes in half and place into serving bowls.
  4. Split potatoes vertically; slip a dollop of coconut oil or ghee into the potato and mix it into the flesh thoroughly.
  5. To serve, top each half of potato with apple sauce, cinnamon and coconut flakes, and chopped pecans.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/potatoes-and-pecans/

Food Lovers’ Fridays: Roasted Garlic

Roasted Garlic | Paleo + Life

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’m just gonna come out and say it: You need this.

That’s a bold pronouncement, I know. But I’m not backing down from it. Roasted garlic can change your culinary life.

When you switch from the standard American diet to a whole foods/ancestral eating template, one of the things you lose is hyperpalatable food. Processed foods have scientifically engineered ratios of sugar, salt and fat to get you hooked. And why wouldn’t they? It’s a smart business decision. Big flavor makes you come back for more (and more and more).

So when you make the change to a new way of eating, getting used to natural tastes can be a challenge. But don’t despair. Real, whole food can have big, intense flavors, too — you just have to figure out how to make them happen.

Enter roasted garlic.

Roasted Garlic | Paleo + Life

Creamy, carmelized, and meltingly tender, roasted garlic will become your new go-to flavor booster. Less than an hour in a hot oven makes the sharp tang of raw garlic mellow into something so different, so luscious, it’s hard to believe it’s the same food. Spread it on crackers, mash it into soups, rub it on steaks or baked potatoes, mix it into guacamole, make salad dressing with it — once you’ve made a batch, you’ll want to use it all the time.

Food Lovers’ Fridays: Roasted Garlic

Ingredients

  • 5 heads garlic
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon herbs (I like rosemary or marjoram)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel the papery skin off of the garlic heads, but do not separate the cloves. Cut off the tips of each head of garlic (approximately 1/4").
  3. With aluminum foil, make a small packet to hold the garlic. Place a dollop of coconut oil on the cut side of each head. Sprinkle the herbs and salt over the garlic; close the foil packet tightly.
  4. Roast in the oven for 50 minutes, or until garlic cloves are softened and lightly colored.
  5. Remove from oven; set aside until ready to serve.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/roasted-garlic/

Roasted Bananas with Lime

Roast Bananas with Lime | Paleo + Life

You’ve probably figured out by now that I love dessert. Between the fudge and the figs, the panna cotta and the pudding, the sweet tooth is somewhat obvious. I try to keep it down to a dull roar, but sometimes my desire for a treat gets the best of me and I want something NOW.

This dessert, which we had after Christmas dinner, came about because of that longing. I had made cookies (Creamy Chocolate Chip Coconut Macaroons; so fantastic) with the kids the day before, but those disappeared almost as fast as we made them. I really wanted something as a nice ending to the meal that wouldn’t be overwhelmingly sugary.

Glancing around the kitchen, I spied the bananas. Seeing them made me think of a recipe for roasted fruit I’d found when the toddler was just beginning to eat solid foods. While baby food wasn’t exactly what I was aiming for, warm roasted fruit sounded just about perfect.

Roasted Bananas with Lime | Paleo + Life

The bananas are broiled, which brings out their natural sweetness, then coated with a drizzle of honey-lime sauce — it takes much longer to describe this than to make it. This takes hardly any time at all to roast; you could even do it  while dinner is on the table. Serve warm with a sprinkle of coconut flakes and a hit of lime zest. If you’re feeling indulgent, add a dollop of whipped coconut cream. Totally paleo, and totally delicious.

Roasted Bananas with Lime

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 bananas, peeled and sliced lengthwise
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 of a lime, preferably organic
  • coconut flakes

Instructions

  1. Set oven to broil. Coat a baking sheet with the coconut oil. Place the bananas on the sheet and set aside.
  2. Make the syrup: warm the honey (the microwave is perfect for this; approximately 10-20 seconds) and combine with the lime juice. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  3. Coat each slice of banana with the syrup, then place in the oven. Broil until fruits are softened and slightly brown (approximately 10 minutes). Remove from the oven; add a second coat of sauce to each piece.
  4. To serve,make a bed of coconut flakes in a dessert dish. Add two slices of banana to each dish. With a zester, scrape a bit of fresh lime zest over each serving. Serve immediately.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/roasted-bananas-lime/

Buckwheat Coconut Pancakes

Buckwheat Coconut Pancakes | Paleo + Life

The end of the year is nearly upon us. I really want to stop and reflect on the changes in my life this year — but today is not that day. Instead, this week begins the blizzard of work that is preparing for the bar exam.

Bar prep is obviously all-consuming, but this blog is my happy space, and I want to keep it that way. Therefore there will be minimal mentions of it here. Just know that every moment not spent here or with the family is devoted to that monster. While I will definitely keep posting, I suspect I will tend toward the quick and dirty rather than the elaborate.

Which leads me to today’s recipe. These pancakes are adapted from a recipe Chris Kresser shared on his blog (which he in turn adapted from one by Stephen Guyanet). Of all the paleo pancake recipes I have tried to date, I think this one is my favorite. Even though it takes three days to make, it is totally worth it for the sourdough flavor. (Besides which, there’s hardly any work for the first two days).

The sour tang of the batter balances out sweeter toppings beautifully. I plan to serve these for Christmas morning, with a side of Figgy Pudding, and homemade sausages. I am looking forward to this breakfast even more than the holiday itself.

Buckwheat Coconut Pancakes (adaptation)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup raw buckwheat groats
  • 2 cups water, plus more
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

  1. Day 1: Place buckwheat groats in a small bowl; pour water over them to cover. Cover the bowl with a lid and let ferment overnight.
  2. Day2: Strain and rinse the buckwheat. (It will be sticky like oatmeal; this is expected.) In a high-speed blender, combine 1/2 cup of water with the rinsed buckwheat. Blend for about 15 seconds or until smooth. Rinse the bowl you used for the first fermentation, and return the mixture to the bowl. Allow to ferment overnight a second time.
  3. Day 3: Coat griddle or skillet with coconut oil; allow it to warm up over medium-high heat while you finish mixing the batter.
  4. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Combine eggs with buckwheat mixture, milk, and vanilla; stir thoroughly. Add the coconut flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt, stirring again until batter is well-mixed.
  5. Using a small ladle or 1/4 cup measure, pour batter onto hot griddle. Fry each cake until bubbles form and burst around edges, approximately 2-3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes on the second side.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/buckwheat-coconut-cakes/

 

 

Paleo Coco Ginger Fudge

Coco Ginger Fudge | Paleo + Life

Happy holidays! Since this is our first paleo Christmas, I wanted to make a fun holiday treat.
In typical Cher fashion, this recipe took a detour, but I am quite happy that it turned out as it did.

What I meant to make was a date-based truffle — I’m sure you’ve seen them all over the interwebs. Since these are such a great paleo basic, I wanted to have one here for you.
However, I started working on this recipe while also making breakfast and packing lunch for the kids and husband. So while I only meant to soak the dates for about 10 minutes, they ended up soaking for about an hour.

fudge v bl

This made the dates extremely soft — and as bonus, the soaking water was a lovely sweetener for several cups of tea —  but also meant that they wouldn’t hold shape if I blended them for any length of time.

Of course, last month, while making nut butter,I managed to burn out the motor on my food processor. This meant I had to use Vera the Vitamix for the processing. Did I mention I was multi-tasking during this process? (Yes, I know better.)
Unsurprisingly, I ended up with a nut-butter like instead of the sticky mass I had aimed for –whoops.

fudge detail bl

Needing to improvise, I decided to make a paleo-style fudge. So I added melted coconut oil to the mix, gave it a good stir, and stuck it in the fridge. The result was a combination of creamy, chocolate, chewy coconut and slightly spicy ginger that just melts in the mouth. A happy accident if ever there were one.

This would be a great dessert after a Christmas dinner or for a holiday party. Make a big batch in a shallow tupperware-type container with a lid, and take it to a potluck. I bet it will be the first thing that disappears from the table.

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Ingredients

  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • Hot water
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup cashew meal
  • 1 piece of ginger, 1/2" - 1" long, peeled
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil

Instructions

  1. Place dates in a small bowl. Pour enough hot water over them to cover the dates completely. Soak for 30 to 60 minutes.
  2. When dates are thoroughly softened, drain water, reserving for another use. In a high speed blender, combine dates, cocoa powder, and cashew meal. Using a zester, grate ginger into the mixture. Blend for 30- 60 seconds, or until the date mixture has become a smooth paste.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine date mixture, shredded coconut, and coconut oil. Stir vigorously until well combined.
  4. Pour the mixture in a small, shallow container and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until firm. Cut into small pieces and serve.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/paleo-coco-ginger-fudge/

Delicata Squash Sous Vide

Delicata Squash Sous Vide | Paleo + Life

My friend C., one of my favorite people in the world, has something of a squash obsession.
I have known this woman to buy multiple pounds of winter squashes — even when she was only cooking for herself.
Because she loves food like I love food, I took her squash addiction seriously. However, I didn’t share it until two things happened:
One: I discovered that the skin on delicata squashes is edible. Blew. My. Mind. I have been cooking for far more years than I can recall, and yet this was news to me. Incredibly exciting news, too: anything that makes these vitamin-filled veggies even easier to cook and eat is brilliant in my book.

Two: I spent some time with my new favorite book,The Flavor Bible. Reading over the “Squash” entry, I noticed how close it was to the entry for “Turmeric”, and an idea was born…

Delicata Squash Sous Vide | Paleo + Life

This recipe was pretty much perfect right out of the gate. I attribute that to the generous use of fresh turmeric, which I had never tried before. The flavor is bright — a little peppery, a little earthy, with a menthol-like freshness that is nothing like the dried stuff. Inspired by 101 Cookbooks’ Turmeric Tea, I added a splash of lemon to really punch up that flavor, and a sprinkle of black pepper to enhance turmeric’s natural bite. With some onion, a dab of olive oil, and a little time in the sous vide, the squash becomes even creamier and more delicious.

Delicata Squash Sous Vide

Ingredients

  • 2 delicata squash, scooped out and sliced into rings
  • 1/4 large onion, sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2" x 1" piece fresh turmeric, peeled

Instructions

  1. Preheat the sous vide to 185F.
  2. While the oven heats, combine squash and onions in a large pouch. Add salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Grate turmeric over the mixture. Holding the pouch closed, swish the contents around so that the seasonings are spread equally over the squash. Seal the pouch.
  3. When the sous vide reaches the correct temperature, place the sealed pouch in the sous vide and cook for 1-1/2 - 2 hours. Remove the vegetables from oven; set aside until ready to serve.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/delicata-squash-sous-vide/

Paleo “Cornbread” Dressing

Paleo "Cornbread" Dressing | Paleo + Life

Are you absolutely sick of Thanksgiving food yet? I understand if you’re just over it. Most people are. Me, however? I’m still in love with holiday grub. Especially with this dressing.

Every year, I wonder to myself why I only make it on Thanksgiving. I suspect it is because when I was younger and more ambitious, I asked my grandma how to make her cornbread dressing.
(Side note: I didn’t even know stuffing made with bread was something people ate until I was an adult. All the people I knew ate dressing.)

Her instructions began “First you take a duck…” and went on, and on, and on for what seemed like ages. I decided any dish which required me to make two whole other dishes first didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and decided I would just enjoy it at her house.

As the years went by, I changed states. I also changed my mind about how much trouble stuffing was worth. Going home to Chicago was sometimes impossible, so I had to learn how to make a decent substitute. While I never equaled my grandmother’s dressing — she just had a way of “puttin’ her foot in it,” as folks used to say — I came close enough to satisfy my yearning for that flavor.

Paleo "Cornbread" Dressing | Paleo + Life

Since we are eating paleo these days, the main ingredients in cornbread dressing are off the list. My big project, therefore, was to make something that came close. I had planned to test it a couple of times before Thanksgiving, but that didn’t end up happening. On Thanksgiving Day, I found myself rushed and needing to improvise. With a cranky six year old and a starving spouse, I needed to get dinner on the table in the next 30 minutes.
(This did not fill my heart with joy. I am slightly obsessive about special occasion menus in general, and this one in particular. Most years, I spend the month of November planning and re-planning this meal because I enjoy it so.)

Shockingly, the quick-and-dirty version was pretty darned good. My very particular husband ate nearly the entire pan. However, I suspected I could do better. The version here is Dressing 2.0; still quick while having even more flavor.

Following the wise advice of gluten-free girl and the chef (Shauna and Danny Ahern, who have written a multitude of lovely cookbooks), I created my own gluten-free flour mix. Using their recommended ratio of 40% protein/60% starch, and attempting more algebra than I had since the eighth grade, I made a mix of almond, coconut and tapioca flours. Although I measured it precisely with my (new!) kitchen scale (this one is similar*), you might not want such a big batch.  For those of you who want to make a bit less, I used roughly 2 parts coconut/3 parts almond/8 parts tapioca. A store-bought GF mix would work, too.

Paleo "Cornbread" Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1/3 large onion, rough dice
  • 2 stalks celery, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon sage leaves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper
  • 4 cups gluten-free flour mix (2 parts coconut flour, 3 parts almond flour and 8 parts tapioca flour)
  • 2 cups cashew meal
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or other oil
  • 5 eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups broth

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet, combine onions, celery, carrots, sage, salt and pepper with a two tablespoons of fat. Saute over medium-low heat until veggies are softened (approximately ten minutes). When done, remove vegetables from pan.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the flour mix, cashew meal, baking soda and salt; stir thoroughly. Add melted oil, eggs, and broth, stirring after each addition (the batter will be somewhat stiff until Fold in sauteed vegetables.
  4. (There should still be some oil remaining in the skillet from cooking the vegetables; if not, add another tablespoon. Pour the batter into the skillet; bake for 40 minutes or until top is browned and crusty. Remove from oven and allow to cool before serving.
http://www.paleopluslife.com/paleo-cornbread-dressing/

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