Coconut Yogurt (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I've never made dairy yogurt before so I really didn't have anything to compare this too.  It's really easy to make your own coconut yogurt.  

I used one Now Probiotic -10 strain capsule.  Use a coconut milk that does not have stabilizers or preservatives - like trader joe's. The ingredients should just be coconut milk.  Use coconut milk from a tin - not the coconut beverage that comes in a carton.  The one in the carton has too much water and other things added to it.  

Makes 1 pint drinkable yogurt or 1 cup spoonable yogurt.

Coconut Yogurt

1 probiotic capsule

1 14oz can full fat coconut milk

1 tablespoon maple syrup

Empty capsule into a glass container.  Add coconut milk and maple syrup.  Whisk until smooth.  If the coconut milk it lumpy, just microwave it for a few seconds to warm it up slightly.

Loosely cover and wrap in a heating pad.  Wrap in a bath towel for extra insulation.  Don't let it get above 115 degrees.  It will feel warm but not hot to the touch.  Let this go for about 24 hours.  Conduct a simple taste test to see if it's ready.  It will be tangy and taste like yogurt.  

At this point, it's more of a coconut kefir yogurt drink than yogurt.  If you want a yogurt you can eat with a spoon, it's going to have to be strained.  To strain it, line a mesh strainer with a double layer of cheese cloth and set the whole thing over a bowl.  Pour the yogurt into the lined strainer and just let it be until it's thick enough for you.  Mine took about 2 hours.  It strains very slowly.  It's now ready to either be eaten or stored in the fridge.  Save the liquid that has dripped off for smoothies - it's delicious and good for you. 

Garlic + Rosemary Slow Cooker Pork (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I like this pork.  It fills the house with a lovely smell while it's cooking and rosemary always reminds me of winter.  It's so piney.  Piney is a word, right?  

I'll whip this up just to have in the fridge for last minute dinners like pasta/zoodles, with veggies in a stir fry, make tacos, sandwiches, use it for salad... 

If you don't have fresh rosemary, use 1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves tied in a piece of cheesecloth or in a tea infuser.  That way, you avoid all those hard little leaves in your dish but still enjoy the flavor. 

Garlic and Rosemary Slow Cooker Pork

2.5 lb boneless pork shoulder, cut into 2" pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 sprig large sprig fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon fennel powder

This one is real easy: place everything into the bowl of your slow cooker.  Stir to to coat pork - use clean hands - it's easier.  Cover and cook until pork is tender enough to very easily shred with a fork, about 5 hours on high, 8 hours on low. Shred and enjoy.

Turkey Taco Bowls (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

Whew.  Just got done cooking all the things for this one but let me tell you it was worth the time!  I've missed taco bowls.  Mostly because I just didn't know what to put in them.  You know, because a big part of bowls is the grain part.  

I had some leftover shredded cabbage from last week's Crunchy Thai Salad that I chopped up, gave a quick saute, tossed with fresh lime juice, chopped fresh cilantro and salt.  This I used as the grain for the taco bowl.  I have to say I much prefer the taste of this cabbage rice to cauliflower rice.  I used two different colors but that's optional.  

This recipe has a lot of parts: the cabbage rice, zucchini salsa, turmeric carrots, roasted red onion, chopped romaine, sliced olives and the seasoned ground turkey.  Luckily, everything is easy.  I'm used to a few hours of batch cooking every Sunday, and if you're on AIP then you probably are too. 

Makes about 5 servings.  (For the work week lunch!)

Turkey Taco Bowls

for the cabbage rice

1 tablespoon  cooking oil 

small head of green or red cabbage, finely chopped

juice of 1 lime

1/3 cups chopped fresh cilantro leaves (less is ok.  we love cilantro.)

s + p

for the turmeric carrots

1 tablespoon cooking oil

1 teaspoon turmeric

4 carrots, peeled, round slices

for the roasted red onion

1-2 red onions, thinly sliced

splash olive oil

s + p

for the turkey

1 pound ground turkey 

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon fenugreek leaves

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

splash cooking oil

additional toppings

1 tin pitted black olives, sliced

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

avocado slices

one zucchini salsa recipe

Ready?

To make the Cabbage Rice: Heat a large saute pan or wok over medium high heat.  Add oil and once hot, saute cabbage until tender - about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and toss with lime juice, cilantro, salt and pepper. 

To make the carrots and onion: Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix turmeric and oil together and toss with carrot slices.  Arrange on   one side of a half sheet tray.  Arrange onion slices on other end of sheet tray and drizzle with olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Transfer to oven and roast 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and cover.  (A sheet of foil works well here.) 

To make the turkey: Combine salt, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, fenugreek, pepper and cinnamon.  Season turkey meat with spice mixture.  Heat a large oiled skillet over medium heat.  Cook turkey.  

Assemble the bowl:  Spoon cabbage rice into bowl as a base.  Add carrots, onions, turkey, olives, lettuce and avocado slices.  Serve with zucchini salsa.  

Zucchini Salsa (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

No tomatoes?  No problem!  How much have you missed salsa?  I can't even tell you how much better life is now that this salsa is here.  I'm going to put it on everything!  (Especially an AIP taco bowl that I'll post later this week.)  After looking everywhere for a nightshade free salsa and not finding one - I knew i was going to have to make my own.  If you're skeptical, don't be.  I'm not the biggest fan of zucchini but this salsa is great. 

Makes 1 pint.

Zucchini Salsa

splash cooking oil

2 zucchini, peeled, sliced

1 clove garlic, peeled

1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

juice of one lime

1/2 cup diced red onion

1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/3 cup water

In a medium saute pan, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add zucchini slices and garlic.  Cook until browned and very soft, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to blender and blend with cilantro, lime juice, onion, salt and water.  

Crunchy Thai Salad + Peanut Dressing (GF, DF)

It's that time of year!  Salad time!  How great was it to indulge during the holiday season?  I LOVED it but it's time to get back to healthier, more sustainable ways.  Like everyone else, I'm back to the gym and eating right.  I had a satisfyingly long day of batch cooking this past Sunday, making lots of yummy and healthy things.  Like vegetables!  You remember vegetables. 

I also made an especially good peanut dressing. 

There's going to be a lot of leftover cabbage.  I shredded one red and one green head of cabbage and stuffed half into a gallon sized freezer bag, pushed all the air out of it, sealed, labeled and threw it in the freezer for another time.  Cam and I like to make a quick stir fry midweek with ground turkey, shredded cabbage and a simple sauce.  

Serves 6. 

Crunchy Thai Salad + Peanut Dressing

for the dressing

1/3 cup tamari soy sauce

3/4 cup peanut butter (crunchy or creamy)

3/4 cup water

2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 tablespoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

juice of one lime

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

for the salad

1/2 head green cabbage, shredded

1/2 head red cabbage, shredded

1 head romaine lettuce, chopped

4 carrots, peeled, shredded

5 scallions, green parts, thinly sliced

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro leaves, chopped

To make the dressing: heat tamari, peanut butter, water, brown sugar, fish sauce, sesame oil, lime juice and vinegar in a small pot and whisk until smooth and sugar has dissolved.  Cool.  

Compose salad and serve with dressing. 

Goals

2016

Happy 2017!  While I don't exactly make New Year's resolutions,  I do believe in living a conscious life with purpose.  At the beginning of every year, I make a list of goals, returning to this list throughout the year for motivation.

Here are my goals for 2017:

1. Challenge myself at work

2. Continue to grow Meats and Sweets

3. Stay healthy

4. Take more photos (and print them!)

5. Learn to play the ukulele 

6. Give more time and money to charity

7. Be kind

2016 was a great year full of fun times and major life changes.  I hope all of you feel like you are living a rich and beautiful life.  I'd love to hear what your goals are in the new year.  If you're up for sharing - leave a comment!

xo. Mea

Molasses Cookies (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

Who doesn't love a molasses cookie in December?  To me, they are the perfect christmas cookie.  I worked on a recipe over the weekend that whether you're aip, paleo or not you will enjoy.  These are very well balanced cookies - not too sweet, soft and chewy with a hint of spice.  Perfect for leaving out for santa or dipping in a cool glass of coconut milk.  

Makes 16 cookies. 

AIP Molasses Cookies

1.5 cups cassava flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon ginger powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 cup molasses

1/2 cup palm/coconut shortening

1/8 cup coconut sugar - optional

1 gelatin egg (1 tablespoon gelatin bloomed in 1 tablespoon water, whisked with 1 tablespoon boiling water)

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper.  Set aside. 

In a mixing bowl, whisk flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt.  Add molasses, shortening and gelatin egg.  Use an electric hand or stand mixer until it looks like cookie dough - it takes a couple minutes.  Use a tablespoon to portion, form balls and roll lightly in coconut sugar if you like.  

Use either cookie shaping techniques:

1. For smooth, flat cookies - Place dough ball on prepared cookie sheet, press with bottom of mason jar to flatten.  Bake 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool.  These cookies will be smooth, flat discs.

2. Or for rustic, crinkled cookies - Place dough ball on prepared cookie sheet, bake 15 minutes, remove from oven and flatten cookies.  Let cool.  

Holiday House Candle Holder DIY

aka The Christmas Village!  I made several of these little candle luminaries last year out of clay and they were so loved I thought I'd share how you can make your own without stoneware clay and a pottery kiln.  These are made of Sculpy, a polymer clay that is easy to use and can be baked in a normal oven.  

Supplies:

white sculpy clay

a knife

a toothpick or pin tool

parchment paper or another smooth non stick work surface

a rolling pin

two rectangular or square dowels 1/8" thick, about 24 inches long 

template - use mine or make your own

Method:

1.  Print provided template or make your own.  Regular paper is great. Cut out template so you can just see the dotted lines.

2. Work on a clean non stick surface, like marble, a silpat or parchment paper.  Sculpy sticks to paper so don't knead or roll out onto a papered surface.  Knead clay until smooth.  Form into a flat disc.  Set up dowels on either side of your disc of clay.  These will help you maintain even thickness.  Use rolling pin and dowels to roll clay out to same thickness as dowels.  Pick clay up and rotate or flip over from time to time while rolling.   

3. Set aside dowels.  Place template over clay and cut out with a knife.

4.  Cut 4 walls and one base - you can use the base template as a wall if you don't want each side to have a roof.  Cut out windows.  Windows are on template for inspiration - feel free to place windows as you like.  Cut them out carefully with knife.  The windows will look a little rough.  After cutting them out, use your pin tool to smooth and clean up the inside window edges on both sides.  

5. If pieces are too wet to stand up, place them between two pieces of paper for an hour or so.  Cut house walls at a 45 degree angle with knife.  This will help them fit together more cleanly at the corners. Use a pin to cross hatch any part that you want to adhere to another part - like the where to corners will meet together and where the walls will meet with the base. 

6. Assemble on top of the base, not around it.  Pinch the corners of two walls together, then add another wall and pinch the new corner together.  Add the last wall.  Pinch corners.  Go back and smooth corners.   

7. Heat oven to 275 F.  Place sculpy house on oven proof baking tray and bake 15 minutes.  Do not over bake.  

8. Wash hands well after using - rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer is great for getting sculpy residue off your hands.  

**Roll out your scraps and break out your holiday cookie cutters to make yourself some tree ornaments or gift tags.

9.  Let piece cool completely.  Place tealight in holiday house and light.  Enjoy to glow. 

2016 Gift Guide: Downtown Loft

Part 2 of the Meats and Sweets 2016 Gift Guide.  This one is for the city girl and all the things she needs in her hard working, busy, fun, beautiful life.  

This shiny gold bottle.  $42 at saks

This shiny gold bottle.  $42 at saks

This simple record player and speakers.  $169 at urban outfitters

This simple record player and speakers.  $169 at urban outfitters

A warm and fuzzy coat.  $298 at free people

A warm and fuzzy coat.  $298 at free people

For the eating of ramen noodles.  $28 at moma

For the eating of ramen noodles.  $28 at moma

So she can see where she's going in the rain.  $24 from amazon

So she can see where she's going in the rain.  $24 from amazon

A zippered pouch to help her organize.  $22 at madewell

A zippered pouch to help her organize.  $22 at madewell

The SOFTEST sweaties ever.  $69 at loft

The SOFTEST sweaties ever.  $69 at loft

Classic all white sneakers she can wear with everything.  $65 at converse

Classic all white sneakers she can wear with everything.  $65 at converse

A one year membership to the Whitney or other museum so she can look at beautiful art all year long.  $85 at Whitney Museum of American Art

A one year membership to the Whitney or other museum so she can look at beautiful art all year long.  $85 at Whitney Museum of American Art

One of these furry little bag charms.  $95 at tory burch

One of these furry little bag charms.  $95 at tory burch

Wash all that city grime off her face at the end of the day with this luxurious cleansing oil.  $48 at sephora

Wash all that city grime off her face at the end of the day with this luxurious cleansing oil.  $48 at sephora

Simple Chocolate Cake (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

These were supposed to be doughnuts but I forgot I never bought that donut pan that's been on my to do list forever.  It's actually a mini donut pan.  

No matter!  I really just needed something chocolate and have been watching a pile of plantains slowly over ripen on my counter so it seemed like everything would work out, doughnut pan or no.  I'll be doubling the recipe and using it for a layer cake in the future. 

These are mostly about chocolate and I've noticed it's important for me to keep my insulin from spiking too much so the honey is low.  When I go sweets crazy (holiday season, ahem!) I notice my inflammation levels are higher.  Keeping the sugar low but adding things like chocolate or cinnamon, ingredients that I already associate with dessert helps make what I'm eating taste sweeter.  That said, increase to 1 third or half cup if you need that sugar.   Also, substitute carob powder for chocolate powder to keep it AIP. 

Makes one 8 inch cake.

Simple Chocolate Cake

1/4 cup dark chocolate powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup cassava flour

3/4 cup coconut butter

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 green plantain, peeled and chopped

1/4 cup honey

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon gelatin

2 tablespoons boiling water

Heat oven to 350.  Grease one 8 inch cake tin and set aside. 

In a bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cassava flour.  Set aside.

In a food processor, fitted with S blade, process coconut oil, coconut butter, plantain, honey and apple cider vinegar until very smooth, about 4 minutes.  

In a small bowl, whisk gelatin and boiling water.  Add to food processor and run 2 minutes.  Add dry ingredients, process 3 minutes.  

Pour batter into prepared cake tin and bake 30 minutes.  Remove from oven and cool completely.    

2016 Gift Guide: Log Cabin Cozy

One of three Meats and Sweets' Gift Guides that I'll be posting every Friday this month.  For this one, picture your friend all cozy in her own beautiful log cabin - big socks, pjs, cup of coffee, fireplace, pixie light pillow fort... all the important stuff.  

 

super soft pj set because lounging is the best. $102 from eberjey

super soft pj set because lounging is the best. $102 from eberjey

a nice smelling candle, like this one, made from clean burning soy.  $18 from madewell

a nice smelling candle, like this one, made from clean burning soy.  $18 from madewell

these simple, stylish slippers. $78 from anthropologie

these simple, stylish slippers. $78 from anthropologie

a teepee because she'll have to hang those little pixie lights on something $190 from etsy

a teepee because she'll have to hang those little pixie lights on something $190 from etsy

a softly glowing aromatherapy diffuser that doubles as a night light. $69.50 from muji

a softly glowing aromatherapy diffuser that doubles as a night light. $69.50 from muji

socks.  because adults love getting socks for christmas. $29 from l.l.bean

socks.  because adults love getting socks for christmas. $29 from l.l.bean

a pom pom hat to keep her ears warm. $235 from bergdorf goodman

a pom pom hat to keep her ears warm. $235 from bergdorf goodman

porcelain nesting splatterware bowls with a vintage feel. $130 from food52

porcelain nesting splatterware bowls with a vintage feel. $130 from food52

this wool plaid scarf is almost big enough to double as a blanket. $44.50 from madewell

this wool plaid scarf is almost big enough to double as a blanket. $44.50 from madewell

string light for the blanket fort. $28 from urban outfitters

string light for the blanket fort. $28 from urban outfitters

warm, water proof boots for exploring the snowy terrain. $140 from sorel

warm, water proof boots for exploring the snowy terrain. $140 from sorel

Celeriac Hash (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I have a whole list of things i want to make breakfast hash our of.  Celeriac is one of them. White sweets potatoes were good.  Squash is next.  (I'll let you know how it turns out)  I took this celery root hash to work with a couple pieces of crispy turkey bacon and it was great.  I'm trying to mix up my breakfast routine since now it's a meal I eat everyday.  

About 3 servings. 

Celeriac Breakfast Hash

1 celeriac, peeled and diced

1 red onion, chopped

handful of chopped fresh sage

fresh or dried thyme

s + p 

2 tablespoons olive oil

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  In a bowl, toss celeriac, onion, sage, thyme, salt, pepper with olive oil until evenly coated.  Use more oil if you like.  Transfer to rimmed baking tray and roast about 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes.  

Hot Chocolate (Paleo, DF, GF)

hotcocoa02.jpg

It's here!  The holiday season is upon us!  I love this time of year.  LOVE IT!  I get to see family, celebrate with friends, sip hot chocolate, shop for gifts, decorate, bake sweets and eat feasts.  Peaking of hot chocolate... cocoa is one of my favorite winter treats.  So rich and warm.  We had company over yesterday for christmas decorating and I whipped this up for us to sip while we hung stockings and turned up the christmas playlist.  

I consider this AIP but it does have chocolate in it so depending on your feelings it might not be AIP for you.  Carob powder can be substituted in place of the chocolate, use the same amount. 

Serves 3.  

Mea's Hot Cocoa

6 tablespoons dark chocolate or cocoa powder

4 tablespoons raw local honey

1 bag vanilla tea (optional - I used yogi-tea tahitian vanilla hazelnut)

1 14 oz tin coconut milk (full fat)

14 oz water

Whisk together all ingredients in a small pot.   Bring to a boil.  Turn off heat and let sit 2 minutes.  Remove tea bag and serve. 

 

Simply Roasted Beets

The other day, I walked through the kitchen and found a little bowl of chopped, cooked beets.  I snuck a little bite and was blown away by how simple and tasty they were.  Like HOW AM I NOT EATING BEETS ALL THE TIME!? kind of good.  

So, Cam taught me how to make beets.  He really is a genius with veggies.  

This is more a technique than a recipe.  Feel free to use it for any amount of beets - like for that 20 serving side you're planning on making for Thanksgiving next week.

If you are using different color beets, keep them separate until assembling your final dish - the colors will bleed. 

Easy Beets

some whole beets 

water

olive oil

optional aromatics like citrus peel or herbs

red wine vinegar

salt

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Chop off the stems and tips of beets.  Place in baking dish and fill with water.  The water should reach 1/3 to 1/2 way up the beets.  (I use a loaf pan when I make beets for just us two.)

Drizzle a bi tof olive oil and add aromatics (oj is great) if using.  Cover with aluminum foil and place in oven.  Cook about one hour.  To test if beets are done, do a poke test: poke it with a cake tester or thin knife to feel if they are done.  

Uncover and rub beets in a bowl of cool water to easily remove the skins. Chop beets and toss in a generous amount of red wine vinegar.  Let sit 30 minutes at room temperature.  

Salt to taste.  These can be eaten now as a simple side dish or used as a salad component.  

Cauliflower Fried Rice (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

As a former lover of all things rice, I' m going to be very honest with you and let you know that cauliflower, no matter how dolled up it is, is not rice.  It just isn't.  I think if you can wrap your head around that then you will be fine with cauliflower standing in for your exiled rice.  You're on the AIP diet right now and that means no grains.  Very sadly rice is a grain.  So repeat after me:  I love stir fried riced cauliflower, I love stir fried riced cauliflower...

Rice and chickpeas (ok and popcorn) have been the hardest things for me to give up on AIP.  I didn't realize how much of these things I ate.  Gluten?  No problem because I had rice!  But not right now.  This cauliflower rice is really good - I just can't call it rice. 

Stir fried Riced Cauliflower

for the sauce

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

2 tablespoons, coconut aminos (or tamari soy cause for non aip)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar (or rice vinegar for non aip)

1 teaspoon sesame oil (for non aip)

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

for the stir fry

1 head cauliflower, in large pieces

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 small yellow onion, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 inch ginger, peeled, minced

1 carrot, peeled, finely diced

1 zucchini, finely diced

1 cup chopped mushrooms

In a small bowl, whisk turmeric, aminos, vinegar, sesame oil (if using) and black pepper.  Set aside.

Pulse the cauliflower is a food processor until it is the size of rice.  This happens very fast so watch out or you'll end up with cauliflower couscous.  Set aside. 

Heat coconut oil in a wok over medium high heat.  Once hot,  add onion, garlic and ginger, cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add carrots, zucchini and mushrooms, cook 5 minutes, stirring constantly.  Add more oil if needed.  Add cauliflower rice and prepared sauce.  Cook until heated through.  

 

 

 

AIP Frozen Pizzas (Paleo, GF, DF)

Frozen pizza + steamed artichokes + olive oil lime juice dip = the best emergency dinner. Seriously, really great.  The crust is simple and pretty easy to work with.  You can make the crust, top it and bake right away or you can make a bunch, par bake the crust, add toppings, wrap and freeze.  I made 5 in one go - one we ate right away and four into the freezer for later.

I used 1 bag Daiya shredded mozzarella vegan cheese, 1 pint nomato sauce made from Mickey Trescott's Auto Immune Paleo Cookbook (if you don't own the cook book, just google 'aip nomato sauce'), 1 small tin sliced black olives, 1 tin chopped artichoke hearts and 1/2 a red onion.  

recipe is for a single pizza.

AIP Pizza Crust

1/2 cup arrowroot powder

1/2 cup coconut flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoons olive oil

1/3 to 1/2 cup cup water

Heat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk arrowroot powder, coconut flour, salt, baking soda and cream of tartar.  Stir in oil.  Work in evenly.  Add water a bit at a time and really work in, making sure flours are well hydrated.  Roll dough out between two pieces of parchment paper to 1/4" thickness. Remove top piece of parchment paper.  Transfer pizza to baking sheet.

If making pizza for eating now: Add toppings, bake about 18 minutes. 

If making pizzas for freezing:  bake 15 minutes.  Let cool.  Add toppings. Wrap well and place in freezer.   

To reheat frozen pizzas:  bake 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. 

Cilantro Lime Chicken Soup (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

That's right.  Another soup.  Perky with lime juice and full of vegetables.  I was having a moment the other day when I was missing the tortilla soup that I used to get all the time from the Mexican place down the block.  Of course, this soup is not that soup but the flavors of lime and cilantro in a chicken-y soup get me there.  Just serve with a handful of plantain chips.  

Cilantro Lime Chicken Soup

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 quart chicken stock

1 quart water

Splash olive oil

1 large white onion, finely diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

3 carrots, diced

3 ribs celery, diced

2 turnips, peeled, diced

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 zucchini, diced

1 yellow summer squash, diced

s + p 

juice of 2 limes

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 avocado,  pitted and diced

Place chicken, stock and water in a medium sized pot.  Boil, reduce to a simmer and cook about 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Transfer chicken to plate to cool.  When cool enough to handle, shred.  Set both chicken and stock aside. 

In a large pot over medium heat, warm oil and cook onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add carrots, celery, turnips, oregano and chicken stock/water.  Boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes.  Add zucchini, yellow squash and shredded chicken.  Cook 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt, pepper, lime juice.  Serve with chopped cilantro leaves and diced avocado.

Smudging

Things are about to get a little good witch, new age-y over here.  Roll your eyes if you must but good energy is very important to me.  I'm really into vibes.  Creating and basking in the good ones, banishing and being cautious of the bad ones.  Crystals, chanting, candles, deep focused energy and smudging are all great for creating a positive environment. 

Smudging is, in my opinion, the best way to cleanse yourself, your space and your things of bad energy.  I do it whenever the mood strikes me.  Smudging uses the smoke of material with cleansing properties, like sage, to remove any negative energy that might be lurking about.  I will cleanse my home and myself.  For my method, you will need a flame, a fireproof bowl, a bundle of dried sage and something to fan the smoke with like your hand, a card or a feather.  

1. Crack open a window somewhere so the bad energy has somewhere to go.  Light the end of the sage bundle, let it burn for about 30 seconds and blow it out but do not completely extinguish.   You want the ember burning and smoking like incense or a cigar.  

2. Hold the bundle over a fireproof bowl to catch any ash or escaped embers.  Gently fan the smoke over and around yourself first.  Then continue onto your home or  area you wish to cleanse.  State your purpose as you go.  I like to have an intention that I vocalize over and over while I smudge - much to Chibi and Cameron's amused bewilderment.  (Yes, you do look a little nuts when doing this so feel free to do this alone or put up a sign.  Caution; chanting ahead...?)

3.  Pick a spot to start in and make your way around the perimeter.   Pay special attention to corners.  

4.  Finish your ritual by smudging yourself once more.  Extinguish the sage bundle.  Close the window.  

Need some supplies?  I have just put up a few one of a kind smudge bowls in my etsy shop. Take a look if you like. xo

Four Books I Couldn't Put Down

I have a long commute on the train between work and home.  It's about 50 minutes.  Most people groan when I tell them how long it is but secretly, it doesn't bother me at all.  I use the time to listen to music, zone out, make to do lists, brainstorm blog posts or weekend plans, I write, I do homework but most of the time I read.  I love reading and it's so great to have 50 uninterrupted minutes twice a day to relax and read.  

As you can imagine, I get through a lot of books.  I'll be posting my favorites once a month so check back if you ever need a recommendation. 

Sometimes I get a good one that, even if it's not great or important, I just can't wait to get another chance to read it.  As in, I don't want to do anything after work, I just want to go home and read... I love that.  

Here are four books I could not put down: 

Geek Love by Katherine Dunn was given to me by Cameron when we were dating and it's strange, a bit gross and completely entertaining.  The story follows a woman, formerly part of a freak show family whose mother and father intentionally tried to create 'freak' children: an albino dwarf,  a son with flippers for limbs, beautiful conjoined twins and a telekentic younger son.  I don't want to give too much away but things get crazy with a family power struggle, a disturbing cult and a revenge plot creeping along.  This is the one I give to people when they need something to read.  It always gets a good reaction thought creates a pinch of suspicion around the recommender. 

Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn - Oh, this one.  Everyone read Gone Girl but I think this is her better book.  An unstable reporter returns to her hometown to cover the mysterious murder of a young teenage girl. It eerie suspenseful plot made it impossible for me to put down.  No dull moments and it keeps going to the very end.  

Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld was just fun to read.  It's light, funny and to the point.  It's a modern retelling of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice: Liz is a 38 year old magazine writer, her sisters 20 year old crossfitters, Mr Bingley is a doctor turned reality tv star... you get the picture.  Setting and most of the social situations are different but the main plot is pretty much the same.  It's brilliant and funny.  

City of Thieves by David Benioff was recommended by Cameron's sister.  She was so right - it's a great book.  The story is set in Russia during WW II with two captured young men on an impossible task of locating one dozen eggs for a Soviet officer with the probable failure to do so resulting in their execution.  Even through the bleak setting, there are moments of warmth and humor. 

How about you?  Read anything good lately? Read any of these> 

Vietnamese Slaw (Paleo, GF, DF)

We served this with the Five Spice Coconut Fried Chicken previously posted.  I used the leftovers from both to make a great chopped salad the next day.  Everything should be sliced nice and thin.  The mandolin is your friend here. 

This recipe is not AIP but I have included options in parenthesis.   I am still on AIP but my doctor has ok'd sesame oil, fermented organic soy products like tamari soy sauce and miso.  And rice vinegar infrequently and in small quantities.  He also mentioned that if seeds are soaked overnight that they lose most of their inflammatory properties.  Interesting. 

Vietnamese Slaw

1 tablespoon sesame oil (AIP sub avocado or olive oil)

2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce (AIP sub coconut aminos)

3 tablespoons rice vinegar (AIP sub apple cider vinegar)

1/2 head red or green cabbage, shredded

3 carrots, peeled, shredded

1 red onion, thinly sliced

Whisk together oil, tamari and vinegar.  Toss with cabbage, carrots, onions and cilantro leaves. Place in refrigerator to chill 15 minutes before serving.