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Mayonnaise

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One of my parishioners is also following a paleo diet and she shared how to make mayonnaise with me. Shout out to Sandra! I use this for a variety of things- to make salad dressings, making coleslaw (I’ll post that soon), and of course as a simple condiment. It really is crazy easy if you follow this method and it is full of healthy fats. I know, I know, how could mayonnaise be healthy but truly it isn’t bad if you make your own.

The trick to making mayonnaise is using an immersion blender. Technically you can make it in a plain old blender or even a food processor but I find that it doesn’t thicken as well and it takes longer. The picture in this post was made with my blender and it just isn’t as pretty, though it is great for a salad dressing. With an immersion blender you have fewer dishes (just make it in a wide mouthed mason jar) and it comes together in about 30 seconds- no joke! This is just about fool proof. If raw eggs make you squeamish (sure, you don’t eat cookie dough or brownie batter, whatever) you can use pasteurized eggs. Also, use a “light tasting” olive oil. The flavor of a strong olive oil will really come through. And that’s coming from someone who loves olive oil. Okay, let’s get started!

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Mayonnaise

  • 1 cup olive oil (use the light tasting kind- trust me)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice or vinegar

I use a wide mouthed canning jar but use whatever you have. Place all your ingredients into the jar. Using an immersion blender, blend the mixture without moving the blender until the mixture begins to thicken; about 20 seconds. Once your mayonnaise has started to thicken move the blender around to incorporate all the oil.

Want to make Ranch dressing? Add ½ tsp. (ish) each of onion powder, dill, dried mustard, and garlic. This ain’t a science, folks, go with your gut.

Paleo Brownies

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It’s MS Awareness Week. Once a year I let myself get preachy about MS. Congratulations, it is that time of year. Feel free to skip this section and scroll down to the recipe.

You may have noticed a change in the content of my blog; that’s because I recently decided to try a Paleo diet to help with my MS. I’ve noticed some pretty significant improvement so I’ll be keep the diet around.

Most people who know me also know that I have MS. It’s a pretty nasty disease- you can read about it here. MS is different for everyone. I was diagnosed about 6 years ago in my last semester of seminary. My presenting symptoms were vision problems; since then I have wrestled with fatigue, numbness, and weakness in my legs. I told you that it is a nasty little devil.

I’m very lucky that I am still able to do most of the things that I love to do and my disease has been relatively quiet. I’d gone about 4 years without an attack until it made itself known again this last December. I really struggled with this attack because I’d been off medication for some time to have another baby and I was still breastfeeding my daughter. It is hard to go into the doctor and hear that you must immediately stop feeding your child so that you can take high level steroids and try a new disease modifying therapy. But there it was. The good news is that since I’d become pregnant and had my daughter new drugs were available- PILLS! A normal person would not be that excited about taking pills everyday but when you have grown accustomed to giving yourself (nasty) injections every day; pills get you giddy. And so, 2015 started with a new regimen. I’ve spent years reading various things about diet and MS but you all know I’m a foodie and giving up my biggest hobby seemed too steep a hill to climb. Until now. I have a busy career, an amazing family, and if changing my diet could help with those things, by God, I’m going to do it. And so, here we are. Since mid-January I have removed gluten, dairy, and refined sugar from my diet. You’ll notice from my obsession with trying brownie recipes; I haven’t given up chocolate- merely made some adjustments.

Talking about my chocolate addiction is a great segue into the recipe today. I find keeping my diet is a whole lot easier when I know I have something on hand at home so I try to keep a container of brownies in the fridge and a bag of Costco’s chocolate covered super fruits in the pantry. If you decide to use a dry sugar (coconut, etc.) use 1 cup. I’ve made these with both coconut sugar and maple syrup and I just happen to prefer maple syrup but that’s just me. You could also double the recipe for an 8×8 pan but a loaf pan makes plenty for me. These are very rich so a little goes a long way. Not to mention they are kind of expensive.

Also, I’m lazy and I don’t like too many dishes so I make these in the blender. Because they are gluten free, you don’t have to worry about over-mixing. I wouldn’t recommend that method with a “normal” brownie recipe.

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Paleo Brownies (Here’s the original)

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ¾ c. maple syrup
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil, melted (to be honest, I just guess and sometimes it comes closer to ½ c.)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350. Mix ingredients in a bowl until smooth or throw them in a blender. Pour into a parchment lined 8×4 loaf pan. Bake 25-30 minutes.

Cool brownies and cut them into squares. I keep mine in the fridge.

Sweet & Sour Chicken

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I cook a lot of stir fry. It is an easy and quick meal that gets a lot of veggies in front of my family. Not to mention I have voracious rice eaters so this keeps them happy.

Sweet and sour chicken is always a keeper. You can include as many vegetables as you want or cut some out. Whatever you have in the fridge- throw it in the skillet. I highly recommend using fresh pineapple; it makes the dish. However, if you don’t have it around or hate cutting it (I’m not judging) use the canned stuff. On another note; woks are stupid and if you own one you should throw it out. A large skillet does the trick and is better at distributing the heat you need to stir-fry.

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Sweet & Sour Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 6 T apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 6 T orange juice
  • 3 T ketchup
  • 1 tsp. cornstarch
  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken, diced
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 c. pineapple chunks
  • 1 c. broccoli
  • 1 c. carrots, sliced (I used carrot chips)
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. ginger

Whisk vinegar, orange juice, ketchup, and cornstarch together.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil until shimmering. Cook chicken until no longer pink. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add the onion, garlic, broccoli, carrots, and bell pepper. Cook 2 minutes. Add the pineapple until heated through. Stir in garlic and ginger. Add vinegar/juice mixture. Toss until all the ingredients are well coated with the sauce.

Avocado Brownies

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I might be on this diet but I am NOT giving up chocolate. On a side note, I’ve seen some significant improvement so I’ll be sticking with this whole health-kick-thingy. Luckily for me, there are plenty of recipes that are big on chocolate flavor that do not use refined sugar (hello, Pinterest). Also, Costco has dark chocolate covered “super fruits” that are just about the greatest thing ever. Seriously, try them.

This recipe for brownies was my first foray into the whole “Paleo” dessert realm. I must say, they are pretty darn good. Having said that, give them a day. The first day you bake these they aren’t all that great. They are even better chilled so I keep mine in the fridge. Even if you aren’t into the whole Paleo-thing these have avocados in them so basically they are a health food. I found this recipe at The Not So Desperate Housewife; without Pinterest I’d be living on baked chicken and broccoli.

avocado brownies

Avocado Brownies

  • 4 oz Baking Chocolate (unsweetened or semi-sweet)
  • 1 T Coconut Oil
  • 2 Large Avocados, pureed
  • 1/2 c Maple Syrup
  • 1/4 c Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • 1 T Vanilla
  • 1 T Coconut Flour (I have also used almond flour/meal)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 t Salt

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave (stirring at 30 second intervals); allow to cool. Fold in avocados. Add the rest of the ingredients. In a recipe with flour I would say fold everything until just incorporated but this doesn’t have gluten in it so stir to your heart’s content/the batter is smooth. Pour mixture into a prepared 8×8 pan (personally I’m a big fan of just lining with parchment paper). Bake 30 minutes. Allow brownies to cool before removing from pan. Again, I keep mine in the fridge but that’s a personal preference.

Turkey Meatballs (GF/CF) and Spaghetti Sauce

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Full disclosure: I started eating paleo recently (i.e. no gluten, no dairy). After a very long time reading research and various other things I decided to try working with my diet to help with my MS. My family does not eat this way- I’m pretty sure I would be dead if I so much as proposed the idea. Dinner can be a little interesting because of our different diet plans so I try to adapt as best as I can- or I make two different dinners. Spaghetti is always a big hit around here so I’ve started making paleo meatballs and then having two options- traditional spaghetti or zucchini noodles (aka zoodles). The picture with this post is with zucchini for the simple reason that everyone else was already eating before I got a picture. I don’t have a recipe for zoodles for you because all I did was peel a zucchini (yes, it really is that simple). I encourage you to try zoodles because they are super easy and very good as a pasta. Not to mention the health benefits of a zucchini over a pasta noodle. Unless you are in my household; in which case I would never propose a green vegetable over pasta- nope never!

meatballs and zoodles

Turkey Meatballs (GF/CF)

  • 1  lb. ground turkey
  • 1   egg
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4  c. almond meal
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients; use your hands to mix and form into balls. Bake 20-25 minutes, until browned and cooked all the way through. I then add them to a spaghetti sauce on the stove. You could use a canned/jar spaghetti sauce but I think it is easy to make your own.

Easy Spaghetti Sauce

  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • ½  onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1 T olive oil

Heat olive oil until shimmering in a pot. Add garlic and onions, cook until onions are translucent (3 minutes). Add canned tomatoes and sauce, then add spices. Bring to a simmer, if you are using meatballs add them now, and cook 15 minutes.

Beef and Broccoli

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My father sends the best Valentine’s gift to me every year- 9 pounds of steaks. To say I love a good hunk of beef is an understatement. Normally, I would argue against doing anything to a steak but salt and pepper BUT stir-fry is another favorite of mine. You could use different cuts of meat (i.e. cheaper ones) but why???

This is a basic stir-fry recipe- you could really use any vegetable/meat combination. I used beef broth because that’s what I had on hand but use what you have. Stir-fry is healthy, fast, and easy. A perfect combination for a weeknight dinner at our house. What more do you want?

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Beef & Broccoli

Ingredients

  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 strip steak, cut into strips
  • 2 c. broccoli
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 c. broth
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 2 T. corn starch

Combine broth, soy sauce, and corn starch; set aside. Heat oil in skillet; sauté steak. Remove steak. Sauté garlic until fragrant and then add broccoli; cook about 3 minutes. Add steak. Stir in broth/soy mixture. Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, about 4 minutes. Serve with rice.

Fried Rice

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Maybe you do a better job of keeping lunch staples around your home- myself? Not so much. And so while standing in the doorway to my pantry (starving) this fried rice was born. You could definitely use some other vegetables, this is simply what I had on hand. Also, I used brown rice but any rice would work. In other words, this is a base recipe that can be used to make many variations. Remember: baking is a science; cooking is an art. No rules, baby!

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Fried Rice

  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 2 c. cooked rice
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 c. peas
  • 2 T. soy sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, minced

In a large skillet, heat oil; add garlic.  Add cooked rice; cook until heated through.

Stir eggs into rice; cook 30 seconds. Add peas and soy sauce; cook 2 minutes or until eggs are cooked and peas are heated through.

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