Tag Archives: Paleo

The Amazing Artichoke!

I recently held a cooking and nutrition seminar with a support group of amazing ladies who are either currently in cancer treatment or are in recovery. To say it was inspiring just doesn’t do justice.  These women were warriors!   I am a firm believer that what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger and have witnessed testimonials from people who say some of their weakest and lowest moments end up becoming their biggest blessings.  #staystrong

This particular seminar focused primarily on anti-inflammatory foods since inflammation and gut health are critical to recovery and fighting free radicals.  #foodheals  One of my highlighted foods was the artichoke and can I just say it is amazing!  Truly!   I can’t say enough about how my mind was blown when I started researching the benefits and why artichokes might be the best superfood on the planet!

For starters,  did you know that the antioxidant value in one cup of artichoke hearts is nearly the equivalent of  1 cup of blueberries plus an 8-ounce cup of orange juice combined?! Not to mention it is double the fiber of 1 cup of cooked broccoli and 25% higher in fiber than a cup of prunes! But wait, there’s more;  artichokes provide 12% of our daily requirement of vitamin k, they also contain phytonutrients and compounds that fight and neutralize free radicals. The list goes on and on…

http://www.oceanmist.com/artichokes/12-unexpected-artichoke-health-benefits/

So when was the last time you ate an artichoke heart and why didn’t we know this? Clearly, pom wonderful and blueberries have a better marketing team because for the longest I thought they were The power food with the highest amount of antioxidants.  #mindblown

Now comes the hard part.  What do I do with an artichoke? How do I cook artichokes and start incorporating them into my diet?  Easy!  Check out some of my favorite recipes below for preparing this superfood at home fresh or out of the jar! And check out my video below on grilling artichokes with a Ceasar style dipping sauce.

 

artichoke benefits

Artichoke & Leek Soup

  • 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
  • 2 leeks- tops removed, washed well and chopped
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cans (8 ounce) artichoke hearts, drained
  • 2-3 quarts of chicken stock
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • 1 TBSP Turmeric
  • 1 lemon juiced or 1 Tablespoon organic bottled lemon juice
  • Pinch of Cayenne
  • Chives for garnish

Heat the oil in a stock pot or large saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add the leeks and garlic and stir.  Add the artichokes, stock, salt, turmeric, and pepper and cook until vegetables are tender about 15 minutes.

Using a handheld immersion blender, puree the soup.  Add the coconut cream, lemon juice, cayenne and re-season to taste with salt and pepper.

Ladle the soup into serving bowls. Garnish with chopped chives and a pinch of cayenne or paprika.

Spinach & Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup artichoke hearts
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 teaspoon garlic
  • 1/2 bunch of green onions finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoon mayonnaise or substitute with greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 TBSP Sambal Oleek – (Red Chili Paste)
  • Splash of lemon juice
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Hot sauce to taste

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix until combined. Once all ingredients are combined serve fresh with toasted pita chips or place in a baking dish and bake at 375° for 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle additional Parmesan cheese on top

Grilled Artichokes 

grilled artichoke

  • Four large artichokes
  • 2 lemons halved
  • Fresh dill for garnish
To prepare the artichokes bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the lemon to a large bowl of water and working with one artichoke at a time, trim the outer leaves, cut in half lengthwise, scoop out the choke.  Place in lemon water to prevent browning while trimming the remaining artichokes.
Cook the artichokes in the pot of boiling water for 15 minutes or until almost tender but not falling apart. Drain.
Heat a grill pan on a high heat.  Brush the artichokes with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill the cut side down until charred in spots for about 5 min.  Serve with dipping sauce and enjoy leaf by leaf.
Caesar style dipping sauce 
  • 1 can of coconut cream
  • 1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp anchovy paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tsp red pepper flake
    Whisk all the ingredients together in a medium bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste.
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Low-Carb Cauli Fried “Rice”

 

 

It’s of course that time of year, where we are all struggling to keep from breaking those new years resolutions,  hoping to lose a few more lbs and shred that winter weight.  I am a firm believer in watching carbs, primarily I say carbs and refer to wheat and grains.  Over the course of the last couple of years, I have slowly merged to a gluten free lifestyle and have eliminated pasta, bread and a lot of grains from my routine.  To be honest, I don’t miss it (that much).  Let’s be really honest, there are those days no substitutions will suffice for good ole’ southern biscuits and gravy BUT, I try live by the motto progress not perfection. #afreshhotmess

 There are so many options available now and fairly easy substitutions.  Take my fried cauli rice recipe for instance,  I have a nine year old and she can’t tell the difference between cauli-rice or white rice in this dish.  It is flavorful, full of veggies and Asian flavors and is delicious!

Not only does replacing white rice (a nutrient-poor refined grain) with cauliflower drastically cut the amount of simple carbs you would be taking in, it adds tons of beneficial nutrients as well. Cauliflower is chock-full of fiber (about 3 grams per cup), which aids with digestion, helps fill you up and keep your belly full longer, and could help lower your cholesterol. Looking to boost your immunity? A one-cup serving of cauliflower provides  nearly 77% of your day’s recommended vitamin C intake. It is also a good source of B vitamins and vitamin K.

A 1-cup serving of cooked cauliflower rice contains a mere 29 calories (23 calories per every 100 grams) and 7.5 grams of carbs. If you compare that to an equal-sized portion of white rice, you will discover that 1 cup of cooked white rice contains 242 calories and (130 calories per every 100 grams) and 53 grams of carbs. That is a huge difference!

Enjoy my delicious recipe for Fried Cauli “Rice” and Share your dishes with me on instagram at @afreshhotmess! Cheers!

fried-cauli-rice

Cauliflower FriedRice
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 medium head cauliflower (6 to 7 cups florets) or 1 bag of riced cauliflower
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 2 medium garlic cloves
  • 1 nob ginger (1 tablespoon minced)
  • 2 green onions
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups frozen shelled edamame or frozen peas
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire’s sauce (soy free) or coconut aminos
  • 1 bunch of cilantro chopped
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 lime juiced or rice vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • ¼ cup cashews, for garnish (optional)
Directions
  1.  If you can not find the already riced cauliflower in the bag. Chop the cauliflower into large florets. Place half of the florets into the bowl of a food processor and pulse until fully chopped and the cauliflower resembles grains of rice. Remove the “rice” to a bowl and process the remainder of the cauliflower.
  2. Peel carrots, then chop them into small cubes. Thinly slice the celery stalks. Peel and mince 2 cloves garlic. Peel 1 nob ginger, then mince enough for 1 tablespoon. Thinly slice 2 green onions.
  3. Melt 1 tablespoon coconut oil in a large frying pan, then add eggs and scramble them, breaking them into small pieces. Remove the eggs from the pan and set aside.
  4. Heat 1 tablespoon coconut oil; add garlic and ginger and saute, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add veggies and saute for 2 minutes. Add cauliflower rice and 2 cups shelled edamame (or peas) and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes. Season with ½ teaspoon kosher salt.
  5. Add 2 tablespoons sesame oil, lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, and fish sauce along with the cooked egg and stir until fully combined.  Remove from heat and stir in the green onions and cilantro. Serve topped with cashews.

Chef Notes:  We like things a bit spicy in our house, so I like to top with a little Sriracha drizzle over the top of my bowl.  Also for a complete dinner you can top with grilled shrimp, seared chicken thighs, mix in ground beef, and so on and so forth.

 

Eat it up!

Maximizing Macros and I Still Eat Bread!

Today is day four of the #fasterwaytofatloss boot camp and I am loving it! I must say, @amandatress you are an amazing inspiration! Being a female entrepreneur myself, and having listened to her this week has provided me helpful insights and encouragement for the struggles I face daily!

For the fist two days of this program we focused on low carbs in order to deplete our glycogen stores combined with intermittent fasting to maximize our fat burning hours. #keto  Day one and day two workouts were just sprints, which burns additional fat stores for the best results.  Yesterday was a heavy lifting day (arms) and today was another heavy lifting day focused on legs.

To say I felt a little soreness when I got out of bed this morning is an understatement, and my legs are already like jello from this morning’s workout. If I even get near a stairwell or squat on the pot, I think they might actually give out.  LOL! (picture this; woman knocked unconscious in the bathroom as her legs gave out and she busted her head on the toilet)  I just have to laugh at myself and remember I got into this mess because I haven’t worked out in six months! “Positive changes, one day at a time!”

Since yesterday and today are ‘heavy-lifting’ days, I am granted a little more flexibility in the carbs arena.  Low-carb days are under 50 net carbs, however, yesterday and today are more about the macro percentage and the extra carbs are OK.

What exactly are macros?  

Macronutrients are the caloric content found in food.  Sometimes referred to as “macros,” the three categories are carbohydrates, fat, and protein. The caloric combination of the macros is where that mysterious total number of calories comes from. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 1 gram of carbohydrates = 4 calories
  • 1 gram of fat = 9 calories
  • 1 gram of protein = 4 calories

So it’s not about how many calories are in your food, but what kind of calories are in your food.

Simply put, strict calorie setting can be deceiving; you could be staying within your calorie count for the day but eating total crap.  I can’t count how many times I have seen people come into my shop and we start talking about their ailments, lack of energy, focus, fatigue, and their inability to lose weight. Then once we actually start looking at what they are consuming, (ie. cereal bars, fat-free ready meals, plus all those items that appear to be healthy and are full of artificial flavors, preservatives, additives,) it’s no wonder they feel like total shit.

How do you track macros?  

I am currently using the My Fitness Pal app which is addicting!  It helps me keep a food diary, and it has everything (all the way to Trader Joe’s cookie butter)  programmed and will give you the calorie count, macro breakdown, etc.  You can also scan barcodes through the app, adjust your serving size, and create your own recipes to get an accurate breakdown of what you are putting in your body. (and that’s just the beginning)

What are the benefits of ditching the calorie counting method?

For starters, you can indulge with a little less guilt. “Eat for crying out loud, and eat what you want!” Fit them into your macro allowances, and don’t just stick to ‘boring foods’ or you’ll burn-out and then binge. When you’re eating a balanced diet, the cravings go away, because you’re no longer deficient in anything. This balance will give you more energy, better workouts, and better results.

Feeling better, working out better, killing cravings, and treating yourself to the foods you love? Sounds too good to be true right? Well, stay with me through this six-week journey and we will prove this method to be either true or false.

What is the best ratio of macros for a typical day? 

With the #fasterwaytofatloss boot camp, I focus my macro ratio at 50% carbs, 30% fat, and 20% protein.   I tend to be a little higher in the fat% intake because I am used to eating keto and paleo and therefore consume more coconut, avocados, nuts, etc.  So my percentage of fat may be slightly higher but my trans fats are always 0.

I am currently in a closed boot-camp facebook group where we send our macro counts each day to have that accountability and support.  I have seen across the board that you honestly have to push yourself to eat and keep eating to reach the right carbs and macro counts for the day. You just feel full and aren’t super hungry.  Amanda even encouraged us to enjoy a doughnut today since we had a heavy leg day. “It’s all about progress, not perfection!” (mind-blown) This may sound weird, but when you are eating the right foods (primarily gluten, dairy, and soy free) you will have that full sensation, not be ‘hangry’ or have cravings.  It has been eye-opening and freeing, to say the least!

Alrighty then,  I say that is enough info for one day!  Y’all know I couldn’t leave you without a recipe and this one is a good one! Not just that it tastes good but it is really good for you, and the macros on this bad-boy are fantastic!  You noticed the title of this post says “I can still eat bread!” and just like Oprah, who doesn’t love bread? I am remaining gluten free, meeting my macro goals, and  I can still have bread!

Please enjoy this delicious recipe for my QUICK & EASY ten minute English Muffins topped with guacamole and salmon salad.  It is the perfect start to the day (even if you don’t break your fast until noon).

Gluten Free English Muffins topped with Guacamole and Salmon Salad 

Yield: makes 4-6 muffins img_1693

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs
  • 6 tsp coconut flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 TBSP Nutritional Yeast  (optional, but gives it a cheesy flavor)
  • Pinch of Paprika, garlic, and dried basil ( add red pepper flake if you like a little spice)
  • 2 TBSP of coconut oil for searing edges

Directions

Whisk eggs, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, nutritional yeast and spices in a medium bowl vigorously until well combined.   Pour contents of egg mixture into a greased or non-stick muffin pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 6-8 minutes  or until they have risen and a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Once the muffins are cool enough to handle, slice in half. Preheat a non-stick or stainless steel saute pan with 2 TBSP of coconut oil on a medium high heat. Once the oil is hot, place the muffins in the pan cut side down and allow the edges to sear and crisp.  Remove and serve immediately.

Calories per muffin  Fat- 16.7g     Protein- 6.7g    Carbs – 3.3 g  Fiber – 2 g

You could top this with anything….bacon and eggs, smoked salmon and goat cheese, sliced ham and honey dijon.

I topped mine with a TBSP  of Avocado’s number Guacamole from Trader Joe’s   on each half (total count of 3) and whipped up a quick salmon salad by using a 1/2 can of Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon, mixed with fresh dill (1/2 a bunch), 2 Tbsp capers, and about a 1/4 of a red onion sliced. Mix together in a bowl and serve on top of the guacamole on the seared English muffins.

Beats the heck out of  bagels & lox any day and it’s guilt free! 

 Thanks to My Fitness Pal app, I also can give you the macro breakdown of this dish!

Total Nutrition per serving as shown in the picture (3 halves) is as follows:

Fat= 21.4g    Protein= 21.8g   Carbs= 17.7g   Fiber=10.5g

Macro Percentage: 25% carbs / 50% fat / and 25% protein   (remember this is not a daily macro percentage just this dish and it’s very high in fiber!)

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boot Camp & Broccoli “Cheese” Dairy-Free Soup

My last post was all about guilty indulgences(#cinnamonandhoneycremebrulee) and boy did I ever satisfy my sweet tooth last week! (Halloween candy hangover) I knew if I didn’t get it out of my system, I would have little success with the boot camp I started today. (yes, I started yet another boot camp & fingers crossed I will see it through to the end) Stay tuned for my random rants throughout the next six weeks as I continue to post and blog about my fitness and nutrition journey as I follow the guidance of fitness trainer/mogul and digital marketing consultant @AmandaTress with her #FASTerwaytoFatLoss program.   I have had several friends complete this program and their results were amazing!  I mean these women (unlike myself) have had a serious and consistent workout regimen in place and have lost inches and toned up by working out less!  This program is proving what I have always believed to be true.  Weight loss and body composition is  80% nutrition and 20% fitness.  What you put in your body affects everything else from your overall health to how well you fit in “dem” jeans, no matter how hard you workout.

Day one of boot camp (can you see how happy I am?)

img_1655

I focused on low net carbs.  (Total Daily Carbs – Fiber = net carbs).

Another key factor in this boot camp is known as intermittent fasting.  Not a full day fast by any means (no chance in hell I’m doing that)  but planning your meals and food intake during a 6-8 hour window (i.e. Noon-7pm).  I am pretty familiar with this concept because I have also been following the ketogenic diet prior to this program and just finished Quick and Easy Ketogenic Cooking by Maria Emmerich where she also highlights the fasting periods to greater weight loss.  The idea is since you have low glycogen stores, your body will use ketones and body fat for energy instead of glycogen. Combine this with a cardio workout in the morning and your sure to be burning those fat stores! (let’s hope it hits my thigh fat stores first!)

So today, I fasted until 12:30 and then had to come up with a low carb solution to satisfy my hunger and quickly!  I am not only trying to run a business, answer phones and emails, cater to customers that pop into the shop; I am now trying to log all my food and exercise intake into my fitness pal app, monitor my macros for the day, and cook for other people while refraining from snacking.  (WTF was I thinking?)   So I made a quick and easy Broccoli Cheese or rather “Nooch” soup. Most of you are thinking, what the heck is Nooch…but if you are “in the know” or have some vegan friends you may have heard this term used before for nutritional yeast.  Now before you skip on to the next recipe you MUST trust me when I say this stuff is amazing (coming from a cheese lover) and it tastes just like cheese!

This soup is super easy to make, takes less than 15 minutes, only has six ingredients, and is damn good too!  Enjoy!

broccoli-soup

Creamy Broccoli “Cheese/Nooch” Soup 

  • 2 Broccoli Crowns -cut into small florets
  • 1 onion -small diced
  • 5 garlic cloves -minced
  • 1 can of coconut milk or coconut cream
  • 24 oz of beef bone broth (or organic beef broth)
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (I prefer Braggs brand)

In a medium stock pot heat 2 Tablespoons of coconut oil or olive oil on a high heat.  Add the onions and saute for two-three minutes. Add in the garlic and continue to stir until fragrant. Add in the broccoli and saute for another three-five minute on medium to high heat.  Add the broth and turn heat to medium and continue to cook for another five minutes. In a separate bowl whisk the coconut cream and nutritional yeast together and season with salt and pepper.  Pour in the “Cheese” or “Nooch” mixture and stir until thoroughly combined.  Taste and adjust with salt and pepper to taste.  This soup can be served chunky with bits of broccoli or pureed by using an immersion blender to blend the soup to a creamy smooth consistency.

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Steamed…

Here’s my truth: sometimes I just overthink dinner, therefore making it stressful, making it a job and taking the joy out of cooking. In reality, dinner doesn’t have to be complicated; it can be as simple as steamed mussels in a gorgeous white wine broth served with a side of crusty bread and a block of cheese.  I have a lot of friends however that are following the whole thirty, paleo, and auto immune protocol and you may not be allowed wine, cheese, and bread.  Here is a quick fix:  substitute white wine vinegar for the white wine in your broth along with some fresh lemon juice.  Instead of bread roast off some cauliflower and tomatoes and toss in with your mussels after you have steamed.  Now tell me that doesn’t sound good…and the best part is it can be ready and served in less than 30 minutes. Plus, it’s cheap! A bag of mussels is usually no more than $3.00-$5.00 a pound. A three-pound bag is more than enough to feed a family of four.
This simple and delicious dish can be served any time of the year but is one of my preferred weeknight dinners on a hot summer night. It’s fresh, full of flavor,  and yes, my nine-year-old daughter enjoys it just as much as I do.
Trust me, this will become a family favorite on many summer nights. I recommend stopping by the market on your way home, picking up a bag of mussels, and voilà, dinner is served in no time, leaving you more time to enjoy with family. Cheers!
Summer Steamed Mussels with White Wine Sauce
Ingredients
3 pounds  mussels
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons good olive oil
1 cup chopped shallots (5 to 7 shallots)
1 ½ Tablespoons minced garlic (5 to 6 cloves)
1 ½ cups chopped tomatoes (heirloom, or cherry)
⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1 cup good white wine  (For my whole 30 friends sub in  1/2 cup of white wine vinegar and juice from two lemons)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon Hot Sauce or ½ tsp crushed
red pepper flakes
Lemon for garnish

Directions
To clean the mussels, put them in a large bowl with 2 quarts of water and soak for 20 minutes, or until the mussels disgorge any sand. Drain the mussels, then remove the “beard” from each with your fingers. (The beard is a fibrous tail that you can pull with a pairing knife off of the mussel). If they are dirty, scrub the mussels with a brush under running water. Discard any mussels whose shells aren’t tightly shut or are cracked.
Tip: Another way to tell if the mussel is dead is if it is wide open and will not shut when you apply pressure to the shell.
In a large non-aluminum stockpot, heat the butter and olive oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for 5 minutes; then add the garlic and cook for 3 more minutes, or until the shallots are translucent. Add the tomatoes, parsley, thyme, wine, salt, and pepper. Add a splash of hot sauce or crushed red pepper flakes (preference Frank’s Red Hot). Bring to a boil.
Add the mussels, stir well, then cover the pot, and cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, until all the mussels are opened (discard any that do not open.) With the lid on, shake the pot (like if you were popping some Jiffy pop) once or twice while cooking to be sure the mussels don’t burn on the bottom. Pour the mussels and the sauce into a large bowl and serve hot with fresh lemon wedges, a side of crusty bread, (i.e. Ciabatta, French Baguette) and a block of cheese.

Summer is quickly coming to a close so get out of the kitchen and spend some QT with those you love most!

 

Cheers!

 

 

I Think I Believe in Paleo…

January 3rd, 2016….and we resolve to do better this year. Eat healthier, workout, balance life, and so on and so forth. Honestly, I’m already salivating for the chance to bite into a delicious cheeseburger with a side of truffle fries. But why can’t we have our fat and eat it too? The truth is you can! Seriously.. not all fat is bad and if you choose to eat your favorites in moderation you can still achieve the results you want. Right?

So where do we begin? At the first of December, I started making changes to my daily habits. The first goal was drinking at least 64 ounces of water per day. Drinking water not only helps boost your metabolism and cleanse your body of waste but also acts as an appetite suppressant. Drinking more water can also help your body stop retaining water, leading you to drop those extra pounds of water weight.

The second step is far more personal and requires some diligent research to see what works best for you and your lifestyle. I chose to eliminate “bad” complex carbohydrates and sugar from my diet with a primary focus on whole foods, chock-full of vegetables and limited quantities of pasture- raised locally-sourced meats. As a chef in Kentucky I have access to some amazing farms including Pike Valley Farm which is a certified organic farm with free range chickens, 100% grass fed beef, heritage breed pigs, and more. The quality of their meat has made a tremendous difference in my overall health. To learn more about Pike Valley visit

With just the increase in water, decrease in processed wheat and refined sugars; focusing on vegetables and local meat, I have lost 10 pounds in one month! (Let it be noted…I dropped these 10 pounds over the holidays and yes I cheated on bourbon and bacon on Christmas with ZERO reservations) No starvation diet here, no hunger pains, just results. I think I am a believer in Paleo.

This now so common household kitchen term is less complicated than it sounds. The Paleo tent is big enough to fit a host of different approaches, but the core tenets of this “caveman” eating remain the same:

  • Eat whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense, nourishing foods. Prioritize grass fed and pastured meats and eggs, wild-caught seafood, and vegetables. Enjoy fruit, nuts, and seeds in moderation.
  • Avoid foods that will harm us by causing systemic inflammation, wrecking our guts, or derailing our natural metabolic processes. Abstain from toxic, pro-inflammatory foods like gluten-containing grains, legumes, sugar, and processed foods so conveniently placed in the middle of every aisle in the grocery store. (I mean how many different boxes of cereals can there be?!) #tangint

Once slang as “the caveman diet” Paleo has certainly entered into the 21st century. Not that I can speak for the caveman, but I highly doubt they were eating roasted beets with fennel and Brussels sprouts topped with a walnut vinaigrette, or a Chinese braised pork belly with grilled bok-choy and a sesame ginger glaze. You can find an abundance of helpful resources to explain the benefits of this lifestyle along with thousands of gourmet recipes that even a novice cook can perfect. I haven’t posted a cookbook alert in over a year so I thought I would hit you with a double whammy as you start down a road towards the new and improved you of 2016.

Some of my current Paleo favorites include:

Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo

practical paleo

Against all Grain by Danielle Walker

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And here is one of my very own recipes to get you going…
Roasted Beet and Brussel Sprout Salad with Fennel and Walnut Vinaigrette
beet and brussel sprout salad

Roasted Beet, Brussel Sprout & Fennel Salad with Walnut Vinaigrette

Serves 4 – 6

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts
  • 2 large beets
  • 1-2 fennel bulbs (Fennel fronds reserved for garnish)
  • coconut oil, salt, and pepper
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
  • Orange Segments (optional)

vinaigrette

  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1/4 cup of white wine vinegar or rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup or unfiltered raw honey
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1-2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 3 TBSP walnut oil

Heat the oven to 400. Cut large brussels sprouts in half, and trim any tough stems. Peel and cut the beets into large chunks (about an inch). Cut the fennel length wise and remove the bottom core and slice in 1 inch thick pieces. On a rimmed baking sheet, toss with a drizzle of melted coconut oil (roughly 2 TBSP) and a pinch of salt and pepper. Roast for 30 to 35 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and nicely browned.

Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the vinaigrette. Mince the shallot and toss in a medium bowl with the next five ingredients. Whisk together and while continuing to whisk vigorously, slowly add the walnut oil to create an emulsified vinaigrette. In a large bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the brussels sprouts, beets, and walnuts. Taste for salt and pepper, garnish with fresh fennel fronds and orange segments (optional) and serve. Can be prepared up to two days ahead of time.

Resolve for No More Resolutions!

Well it’s that time of year where you are still working to keep your resolution…vowing to never do this to yourself again, or you broke it during the second week of January.  Of course the most common new years resolution is to lose weight, eat better, or practically starve your self to fit back into your summer swimsuit. It is the time of year when gym memberships sky rocket, Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers battle for TV time, and diet book sales soar.  Why is it that we set these unrealistic goals for ourselves just to end up defeated and disappointed in the end?

If it isn’t apparent I am not a fan of dieting.  They never work in the end.  The key to successful weight loss is moderate lifestyle changes and new habits.  For instance, over time I have been able to cut out “bad” carbs from my diet such as gluten dense breads and pasta by replacing them with “good” carbs like cauliflower, leafy green vegetables, spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles, and using almond meal and tapioca flour.  I also like to take the first part of the year after the holiday season to detox from sugar. A detox is not the same thing as a diet.  A detox purpose is not for losing weight but rather improving your overall health and wellbeing.  I follow a 21 day sugar detox guide by Diane Sanfilippo, who clearly lays out the importance of curbing your bodies dependence and cravings for sugar and carbs.  Research supports that it takes 21 days to form new habits. The brain imprints patterns of things you do and choices you make as habits, which makes it easier and easier to practice those habits again and again.  The best part of this detox is that it’s focused on eating real food….no shakes, powders, potions, or pills and supplements. It’s not a vegetarian program or deprives you from food when you are hungry.

My advice this year for a healthy and productive 2015 is to set realistic goals, set simple steps, make new habits, and fill your belly with real, nutritiously dense, organic vegetables and pasture raised meats, full of the good fats and good carbs your body so desperately has been craving.  Below I have included a full day of recipes to give you a healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack to get you well on your way to a new you.  Enjoy!

To learn more about the 21 day sugar detox program, healthy cooking classes in Lexington Kentucky or to learn about a gluten and grain free meal program you can visit balancedbites.com and wildthymecooking.com.

Breakfast: Buffalo Chicken Egg Muffins

Pack an extra protein punch into your morning with these savory egg muffins!

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YIELD: 6 egg muffins (2-3

servings)

For the chicken:

  • 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs (or breast)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp chipotle powder
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c + 2 tablespoons (divided) Tessemae’s Wing Sauce (or use 3 tablespoons of a clean-ingredient hot sauce* + 3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil)
  • 6 large eggs, whisked
  • 2 tablespoons green onion/scallion, sliced
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 425.

On a baking pan, arrange the chicken thighs and season with garlic, spices, sea salt, and black pepper. Bake for 25 minutes or until cooked through.

Place the cooked chicken thighs into a large mixing bowl and shred with two forks. Pour the wing sauce over the chicken and toss to combine and set it aside.

In a small mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, 2 tablespoons of wing sauce, green onion, sea salt, and black pepper.

Pour the egg mixture into parchment cup lined muffin tins to fill them approximately halfway. Gently spoon about 2oz of the shredded chicken into each muffin cup so that it’s evenly distributed. Serve any extra chicken alongside the cooked muffins.

Bake for approximately 30 minutes or until the muffins rise and become golden brown around the edges.

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Lunch: Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl with Cold Sesame and Cucumber Noodle Salad 

To make these delicious cucumber noodles you will need to purchase a veggie spiralizer. These can be found online at amazon or in the wild thyme culinary boutique in Chinoe Center.

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Ingredients

  • 1 large sashimi grade ahi tuna steak, diced into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 very ripe avocado, peeled, insides cubed
  • 1 small jalapeno, seeds removed, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced cilantro
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons of sesame oil
  • 1 freshly squeezed lime
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 5-2 large seedless cucumbers, Blade C, noodles trimmed

For the poke dressing:

  • 2 teaspoons toasted white sesame seeds and black sesame seeds
  • 1 TBSP sesame oil
  • ¼ coconut aminos
  • 2 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • ¼ heaping cup finely diced scallions

Instructions

Place the tuna in a bowl with the poke dressing ingredients. Stir to combine and set aside to marinade.

While the tuna marinades, combine the avocado, jalapeno, cilantro , ginger, sesame oil, and lime juice in a medium sized mixing bowl and season with salt and pepper. Whisk together until creamy. Taste and adjust, if needed.

Thoroughly pat dry the cucumber noodles and add them to the mixing bowl and toss the noodles until they’re completely coated in the avocado sauce.

Divide the cucumber noodles into three bowls and top with equal amounts of the tuna poke, using a slotted spoon to portion out the poke, to avoid extra liquid. Serve.

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Snack: Easy Baked Kale Chip

kale chips

1 bunch of  Kale (my favorite is dinosaur Kale)

2 TBSP Grapeseed oil  (melted coconut oil)

1 -2 cloves minced garlic

Salt and Pepper (about 1 TBSP of each)

Rinse the Kale and pat dry thoroughly to remove any moisture.  Taking a pairing knife or scissors, cut out the middle rib from the Kale and discard.  Break the leaves apart into large pieces that are about the size of your palm. Spread evenly on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and minced garlic. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 10-15 minutes.

If the Kale chips are still wet, place back in the oven and continue to cook until the leaves start to brown and the Kale is crispy like a chip.  Remove from oven and let cool.

These Kale Chips are a hit!

***  You can season kale chips with anything! Try red pepper flake or cayenne for spice, garlic powder, onion powder, curry, chili powder, the combinations are endless. And indulge by tossing these babies in truffle oil, it is to die for!!   ***

Dinner: Oven Braised Tex- Mex Beef with Cocoa and Chili Roasted Cauliflower

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Ingredients (Serves 4-6):

  • 2½ pounds boneless beef short ribs, beef brisket, or beef stew meat cut into 1½-inch cubes (my favorite cut is boneless short ribs)
  • 1 tablespoon chipotle powder
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or fat of choice
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste (sugar free)
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • ½ cup roasted salsa (I use Trader Joe’s Double Roasted salsa which is also sugar free)
  • ½ cup chicken stock
  • ½ teaspoon Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • ½ cup minced cilantro

Preheat oven to 300°F with the rack located in the lower middle. In a large bowl, combine cubed beef, chili powder, and salt. Toss well.  Melt fat over medium heat in a large, oven-proof dutch oven. Add onions and sauté until translucent.  Stir in tomato paste and fry for 30 seconds before tossing in garlic and seasoned beef. Next, pour in salsa, stock, and fish sauce and bring to a boil. Cover pot and place in oven for 3 hours or until beef is tender. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. (At this point, you can store the beef in the fridge for up to 4 days and reheat right before serving.) Spoon the beef onto a serving platter and top with cilantro.  Serve with sliced avocado and cocoa and coffee rubbed cauliflower for an explosion of flavor.

Cocoa-chili Roasted Cauliflower-  21DSD

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  • 2 medium head of cauliflower
  • ¼ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ½ teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 425°.

Chop cauliflower in to ¼ – ½ inch pieces. In a large mixing bowl, combine to cocoa powder, chili powder, cinnamon, onion powder, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over the cauliflower and toss gently with your hands, massaging the oil and spices into the cauliflower.

Spread the cauliflower evenly in a single layer on 2 rimmed baking sheets and roast for 30 minutes, until tender and starting to caramelize.

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