Thai Lemongrass Beef + Root Vegetables (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

This is the slow cooker, crockpot, AIP version of the recipe I made a couple years ago. I love a good beef braise. This one is less labor intensive - just put everything in the slow cooker and let the magic begin. The kitchen's going to smell great thanks to the cinnamon, anise and lemongrass. 

My favorite part of making this dish is getting out my meat mallet and giving the ginger and lemongrass pieces a good hit. Bruising helps release the flavor. 

I'm going to sauté thinly sliced cabbage zoodles to serve with this. 

Serves 6. 

AIP Thai Lemongrass Beef + Root Vegetables

2 lbs stew beef, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 yellow onion, chopped

4-5 carrots, peeled, chopped

2 daikon, peeled, chopped

5 cloves garlic, minced

2" ginger root, peeled, smashed

3 lemongrass stalks, cut into thirds, smashed, tied into a bundle

2 kafir lime leaves, fresh or dried

2 star anise

2 cinnamon sticks

several turns of szechwan peppercorns

1 quart beef stock

s + p, to taste

lime juice, to taste

Place beef, onion, carrot, daikon, garlic, ginger, lemongrass bundle, kafir leaves, star anise, cinnamon, fresh crushed szechwan pepper and beef stock into a slow cooker. Cook on high until beef is spoon tender, about 6 hours. Skim off any foam. Remove lemongrass bundle. Season with salt, pepper and lime juice. 

Healthy Week 2 Grocery List + What I Cooked

So this one isn't AIP or even totally Paleo because of the quinoa and beans but it's healthy and delicious! It's going to be a good week - we made a lot of food and I can't wait to eat it. 

I posted the first one of these types of posts - here's a link! Again, some of my tips for grocery shopping and batch cooking are: pick a menu (I like salad for lunch and stew/soup for dinner with a midweek stir fry or taco night), inventory the fridge/pantry and write a shopping list that is organized by departments in the grocery store.

Recipes will be posted this week and linked.  I prepared the slow cooker beef braise, salad components and pesto vinaigrette on Sunday evening.  Cameron made the soup on Sunday, too. It took about 2-3 hours. It's a nice, relaxing time: we listened to Here's the Thing and This American Life podcasts while we cooked and chatted. 

The Menu:

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AIP Thai Lemongrass Beef + Root Vegetables in a slow cooker (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

Cameron's Daikon + Mushroom Soup (AIP, Paleo, Gf, DF, Vegan)

Copycat Sweetgreen Pesto Portobello Salad Bowl (Vegan, DF, GF) + Pesto Vinaigrette

AIP Turkey Tacos + Plantain Tortillas

And my snacks: plantain chips, tigernuts, unsweetened dried fruit, green apples with cinnamon, baby carrots, grapes, veggie snacks, smoothies (Chocolate Cherry!), canned tuna, blanched broccoli, curry cauliflower, Anita's coconut yogurt, sliced deli meats, hummus, roasted peas and avocado with lime juice, s+p.  These things always get added to the list as needed and are not included in the main list below. 

The grocery list: 

 3 lemongrass stalks

1 bunch basil

1 yellow onion

1 head garlic

4" ginger

4 daikon

1 celery root

1 fennel bulb

2 leeks

5 carrots

2 limes

2 bunches broccoli

2 plantains

16 oz cremini mushrooms (or mini portobellos)

about 2 cups baby bok choy

1 bin arugula

1 head iceberg lettuce (optional, for tacos)

1/2 head cabbage (optional, to serve with thai beef)

1 bunch cilantro (optional for beef braise and tacos)

2 lbs grass fed stew beef

1 lb ground turkey

1 quart beef stock

1 tin chickpeas

4 dried shitakes

Additional Staples for These Recipes: red wine vinegar, olive oil, avocado oil, kosher salt, ground black pepper, dried thyme, cumin, turmeric, quinoa, fish sauce, bay leaf, dried kafir lime leaves, star anise, cinnamon sticks, szchuan peppercorns, 

 

DIY Beauty Mask

How's your skin doing? Mine has been crazy lately - bumpy forehead, dry parts, oily forehead. What's going on? I think it's the weather.

I knew a mask was just what I needed. I waited until Cameron left the house and raided the fridge and pantry for a quick DIY homemade face mask to help get my skin back in order. 

This one is a winning combination. It has an egg white, honey and rose hip oil. Simple! The egg white  will make your pores happy and tighten your skin. Honey is a natural humectant and has antibacterial properties and is full of antioxidants. It's great for acne prone skin, too.

Rose hip oil gets it's own paragraph because it is my new favorite thing. I bought this one because it's pure, organic and not treated on animals. It has really changed my skin. Each day, once I know I'm home for the night, I wash my face and rub about 5 drops for rose hip oil into my skin. It's helped my forehead be less oily and bumpy. I think it's also helping with any old pimple scars - generally my skin seems very happy since I've been using it. Rose hip oil is bright orange but it will absorb into your skin and does not stain. It's full of fatty acids and a natural anti aging product. 

Makes enough for two masks. 

DIY Beauty Mask

1 egg white

1 teaspoon honey

1 teaspoon rose hip oil

Whisk egg white, honey and oil together. Apply to face, avoiding eyes, nostril and mouth. After about 5 minutes, when it begins to dry, apply a second coat. Get comfortable and let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Wash off with mild cleanser and water. Pat dry and moisturize. 

AIP Tom Khaa Gai (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I love a coconut tom kha soup. So exotic and flavorful. I just don't use enough lemongrass in my everyday cooking. This one is full of veggies and healthy fat from the coconut milk. It makes a lot of soup so you could consider halving the recipe or freezing some. Just be sure to cool it down all the way before it goes into the freezer. 

To make the lemongrass easy to remove, cut it lengthwise but leave an inch at the top so it stays together. Roll it 180 degrees and cut again the same way. It should look like a little lemongrass tassel, Take a minute to bask in all the lovely lemongrass aromatics. 

AIP Tom Khaa Gai

serves 8. 

2 shallots, minced

2" numb of ginger, peeled and minced

2 stalks lemon grass, bruised and cut like a tassel

6 fresh or dried kafir lime leaves

2 tins full fat coconut milk

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, thinly sliced

6 cups chicken stock

4 carrots, peeled, sliced

8 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 head cauliflower, chopped

8 oz green beans, chopped

lime juice, to taste

s+p 

fresh cilantro, chopped

In a large pot, boil shallots, ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and coconut milk for a few minutes until fragrant. Stir in fish sauce, honey, chicken, stock, carrots, mushrooms, cauliflower and green beans. Simmer until vegetables are soft. Season with lime juice, salt and pepper. Remove lemon grass stalks and lime leaves. Garnish with cilantro leaves. 

Beef Fajita Salad Bowls (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

This was a fun one to cook. I love fajitas and hadn't had them in so long since they are generally off limits on AIP. But not these! I got out my two burner cast iron griddle and huge spatula, turned the heat up to high and started blackening the steak, then worked cooking the veggies in two big batches. Little is more satisfying then turning huge piles of wilting, sauced veggies over on a searing flat top. Really, give it a try. 

serves 4-6. 

AIP Steak Fajita Salad Bowls

1 teaspoon kosher salt

juice of one lime

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 teaspoon ginger powder

2 cloves garlic, grated

2 tablespoons olive or avocado oil

high heat oil, as needed for cooking

1 lb grass fed sirloin steak, sliced 

1 zucchini, sliced into half moons

1 yellow zucchini, sliced into half moons

10 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced

1 red onion, halved and sliced

fresh chopped cilantro

sliced avocado slices

lettuce

In a small bowl, whisk salt, lime juice, oregano, turmeric, pepper, ginger, garlic and olive oil. Set aside. 

Set a large cast iron griddle on high heat. Brush with high heat oil. Once hot, blacken steak. Cook until desired level of doneness. Transfer to a large bowl. Cook zucchini, squash mushrooms and onion on griddle. Work in batches as needed, brushing griddle with oil in between batches. As veggies are softening, pour with a portion of prepared sauce. Transfer to bowl with steak and toss with any remaining sauce. 

Build bowls with steak anad veggies, over lettuce garnishing with cilantro and avocado. You can also make little tacos with lettuce leaves or coconut paleo wraps. 

AIP Week 1 Grocery List + What I Cooked

I don't know if this is helpful to anyone but I really have a good routine down of grocery shopping early Saturday morning and doing a big batch cooking Sunday late afternoon. There's a bit of research involved: I spend time deciding what I'm going to make for the week, make basic recipes and do a quick inventory of what I already have and make a list.  I write my menu on the grocery list and organize the list by department.  My dad taught me the last one and it really is genius.

Usually, I like to make either lunch or dinner meat free.  It is almost always a salad for lunch with homemade dressing and a soup or stewy one pot for dinner. Midweek I will also make a simple stir fry and at least one night we have dinner out or order in. I also like to make sure I'm mixing up the type of food I eat.

Recipes will be posted this week and linked.  I prepared the soup, fajita bowl and banana bread on Sunday evening. It took about 2-3 hours. I like cooking and Cameron helps. It's a nice, relaxing time: we listen to podcasts while we cook and talk. 

Here's the menu:

AIP Tom Kha Gai

AIP Beef Fajita Salad Bowls

AIP Ground Turkey + Cabbage Stir fry

AIP Banana Bread

For Snacks: plantain chips, tigernuts, unsweetened dried fruit, green apples with cinnamon, baby carrots, grapes, veggie snacks, smoothies (Chocolate Cherry!), canned tuna, blanched broccoli, curry cauliflower, Anita's coconut yogurt, sliced deli meats, hummus, roasted peas and avocado with lime juice, s+p.  These things always get added to the list as needed and are not included in the main list below. 

My Grocery List:

1 bunch fresh cilantro 

2" ginger root

lemongrass stalk

2 limes

20 oz cremini mushrooms

bag of carrots

green beans - a large handful

1 head cauliflower

2 bananas

3 avocados

1 red onion

1 yellow onion

1 head garlic

1 yellow squash

1 zucchini

1 bunch broccoli

1 large bin of baby spinach or lettuces

1 # chicken breast

1 # sirloin

1 tin full fat coconut milk

2 quarts chicken stock

Additional Staples for the above recipes: 

coconut oil, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, grass fed gelatin powder, maple syrup, ground clove, cinnamon, kosher salt, baking soda, coconut flour, turmeric, black pepper, ground ginger, dried kafir lime leaves, fish sauce, honey

I hope this post is helpful and makes your grocery shopping and batch cooking life easier!

 

DIY Branch Jewelry Organizer

I made one of these years ago and always meant to post a tutorial. It's a simple organizer for jewelry or keys made from a found tree branch. I painted mine white but you could customize yours by painting it any color, leaving it natural or even dry brushing different colors. 

Supplies:

a dry branch, bark removed

1/2" or 3/4" brads (length and quantity depend on branch size)

white acrylic paint

paint brush

cotton kitchen string

scissors

hammer

Instructions:

1. wipe branch with cloth to remove any dust or dirt

2. Use hammer to add brads as you like. (Placing a folded towel between the branch and your work surface helps absorb some of the blow. 

3. Once all brads are nailed in, paint white. I used two coats. Let dry. 

4. Once dry, experiment with different hanging styles. I like a bit of string wrapped around each end and then each side it hung on the wall with it's own nail.  

Detox That Kitchen!

I read a lot about healing, healthy practices like green beauty, clean diets and detoxing our bodies but what about the kitchen?  The kitchen is where we prepare the food we are eating so it makes sense to have a clean, green, detoxed kitchen. I have good intentions and thought I was doing a great job but when I take a good, honest look at things - there's much room for improvement.  

Here's a few simple steps I'm taking to detox my kitchen:

1. Replace my plastic food storage containers with glass ones.  I say I don't reheat in plastic but sometimes life happens and I do. Sigh. We all know the horrors of cooking in plastic. Storing food in plastic isn't good for us either. Here are some sources for glass food storage containers:

2. Use green, environmentally friendly cleaning products that are safe for you and your pets. This includes your hand soap. One of my favorites is Common Good - they make lots of different types of green soap products and have these great refilling stations that you just bring your bottle to and fill up - so much less waste!  Other favs are below!

3. Switch our your sponges on the 1st and 15th of the month. Sponges get gross and need to be changed regularly. Creating mini schedules for simple tasks make it more likely you'll remember to do it. I use this 1st and 15th of the month trick for a few things around the house. It really helps. 

4. Use re-usable produce bags and shopping bags.  This isn't so much about our personal health but the environment's health. It will also help you declutter - I bet you have hundreds of pesky plastic bags crammed under your sink or between your fridge and the wall. Not a bad idea to carry a little portable bag with you so you're always prepared. Did you hear that NYC is now going to charge you for those plastic shopping bags - just another reason to bring your own.

5. Add a plant! Plants do a lot of great things.  Consider adding one that purifies the air like a spider plant, something with medicinal properties like aloe vera or simple fresh herbs for adding to your cooking. 

6. Clean your vents and filters regularly. There's a filter in your dishwasher that needs to be cleaned. It can collect mold which is not what you want all over your dishes. Here's a great way to naturally clean your whole dishwasher.  Don't forget the vents over your stove or any heating ducts - they need attention too. 

7. Remove your non stick, Teflon cookware. It's toxic. Consider ceramic, cast iron, copper or stainless steel pieces. Don't bother with a whole set - think about what you cooked in the last month and what pans your used. For us, a 10 inch skillet, a wok, 3 quart saucepan and a 6 quart stock pot are what we use almost all of the time. 

8. Use cotton towels instead of paper towels and napkins. Years ago, Cameron and I picked up about 25 cotton rags/teas towels and we still use them all the time for cleaning up spills or drying our hands - we have a handful that we use as napkins as well. Find some you like, pick up 20 of them and ditch your paper towels. The earth will thank you. 

9. Brew your coffee with a french press or pour over method because your basket or pod coffee maker is probably full of mold and bacteria. The chemex (a manual pour over style) is my favorite because I feel it makes the best tasting cup of coffee. Also, it's easy to clean and there's nowhere for mold to hide. 

What about you?  Any tips?  

4 Long Books

I love to read and go through a lots of books.  I thought I'd share four books I've read that I feel are great.  All of these were very popular books recently so you might have already read them but if you haven't - give them a go.

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg

Well, it's New York in the 70s which is always enough for me but if you need more there's conspiracy theory, murder, drugs, art, relationships and intertwined character plots.  A girl gets shot on NYE and the book follows a handful of characters whose related stories spider web from the shooting.  Hallberg writes of a world that doesn't exist anymore but luckily, I can experience it in his writing.   

The Magus by John Fowles

It just doesn't stop with this one - prepare yourself for many, many twists.  It will turn you into a very curious and untrusting reader.  The plot follows a young man coasting on a teaching assignment in a lonely island in Greece. His boredom is soon interrupted by a mysterious and wealthy resident of the island. 

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt

I don't think I went out much while I was reading The Goldfinch - I couldn't put it down and just wanted to be home reading. (Very nerdy but I don't care - I love a good book!)  It's about Theodore Decker who survives a terrorist attack at The Met and takes a painting with him as he escapes. You read as his unravelled life passes into adulthood full of complexity but still haunted by the goldfinch painting. I spent a long shift at work casting a movie version of it with coworkers.  (I work with a lot of actors. It's a favorite game.) If you've already read this one try her other book Secret History.  

Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee

I just read this one on our beach vacation. There are flaws but it is so entertaining and the main character is incredible. I was sad when it ended - ready for more of her story of farmer to circus performer to courtesan to prisoner to nun royal maid to opera singer to... you get the idea. It's a fun ride. 

Mango Cucumber Smoothie

Another good morning shake. This one is so refreshing with mango and cucumber. Those two things were just made for each other. It's super hydrating and good before a sweaty workout or helping a hangover. I put two scoops of this miracle stuff in for extra protein. 

You can use fresh mango instead of frozen - just add two ice cubes as well. I use english cucumbers as they are practically seedless.  They can be peeled or unpeeled. Coconut water can be substituted with coconut milk beverage or light coconut milk.  

serves one.

Mango Cucumber Smoothie

 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks

1/2 cup cucumber slices

3/4 cup coconut water 

2 scoops collagen peptides

Blend all ingredients until smooth and drink. 

Baked Falafel Salad + Tahini Cucumber Dressing (GF, DF)

After a week of pondering a new salad, I came up with this one.  I've probably mentioned this but every sunday Cameron and I do a big round of batch cooking, making everything we're going to eat for the week.  Always it's at least a big salad, homemade dressing, a soup, curried cauliflower and a breakfast option.

I have about 5 salads that I rotate through but really wanted to add a new one.  I'm pretty excited about this one.  It's a clean, healthy, vegetable filled salad with falafel.  The falafel are baked but still crispy outside with a creamy, flavorful middle.  The dressing is adapted from Detoxinista and I think I would eat pretty much anything with this dressing on it.  There's a lot of flavor in this salad bowl - I hope you enjoy!

About 6 servings. 

Baked Falafel Salad

for the falafel

2 tins chickpeas, rinsed, drained

1 1/4 cup diced red onion

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1/3 cup fresh cilantro leaves

1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves

1 tablespoon olive oil

juice of 1 lemon

1 tablespoon cumin

1 teaspoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon coarse salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

for the tahini dressing

1 cup chopped cucumber

1/4 cup tahini

1/4 cup water

1 clove garlic

juice of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon coarse salt

for the salad

spinach leaves

shredded cabbage

shredded carrots

olives

chopped parsley and cilantro leaves

pickled red onion 

sliced cucumber

Falafels: Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Place a baking tray on the middle rack. 

Place chickpeas, onion, garlic, cilantro, parsley, oil, lemon juice, cumin, coriander, paprika, salt and baking soda in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S blade.  Pulse until it smoother but still chunky.  It should look like minced onions and chickpeas held together with hummus.  

Remove hot tray from oven and brush liberally with a high heat oil.  Use a tablespoon to portion falafels.  Form thin, patties.  You want more surface area.  This results in a crispier falafel.

Bake 20 minutes.  Carefully flip patties.  They should be browned on the bottom before flipping.  If they come apart, press them back together.  Back another 20-30 minutes or until both sides are browned.  Remove from oven and cool.  

Tahini Dressing: Blend cucumber, tahini, water, garlic, lemon, cumin and salt in a blender until smooth.  

Assemble salads with spinach, shredded cabbage, shredded carrots, olives, pickled onions, chopped herbs, falafel patties and dressing.       

Beach Vacation Getaway

It's that time of year!  Every year, right after the holidays, Cam and I book a beach vacation.  This year we are heading to Mexico.  It's the best - it gives me something to look forward and obsess over though this chilly winter season.  I've been working out, eating well, doing everything not to catch the office cold like making sure to get enough sleep and researching all the fun things we're going to do.  I REALLY like planning.  For me, it's almost as good as the vacation itself.  Do you know what I mean?  It's nice to be really excited about something.  

In addition to planning, I've also been on the hunt for some new beach vacation clothing and accessories.  Here's a few that I think anyone else heading to warmer places might like too:

1.  Travel Journal.  Cam and I started bringing one on our trips and it's really fun to write and sketch about how we spend our beachy days.  I love this mermaid one.  So pretty.  

2. Turkish Towels because then you don't have to subtly kidnap your hotel bath towel on your adventures beyond the resort.  It's also nice to have a towel for your beach lounger and one for drying off.  A turkish towel rolls up super small so it's easy to pack and doubles as a wrap for the pool and a blanket for the plane. 

3. Caftans!  This blue one or this white lace number because they are the best.  So comfortable and everyone looks great in them.  A nice step up from my usual (and beloved!) black yoga pants.  I'd wear the hell out of that white one once the weather warms up back here in nyc, too. 

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4. Simple, comfortable sandals for daytime.  These are classic and go with everything. Easy to get on and off is key here.  

5. Something a little more striking for when you change for dinner. I'm always partial to anything with a stud or jewel, like these.

 

6. Instant gratification with this cute camera.  Capture all the beautiful and interesting situations you find yourself in - just remember to bring enough film. 

7. A big sun hat because when else do you get to wear one? This one sends the right message. 

8. Beach bag.  I'm that person at the airport, using my beach bag as a purse, wearing socks under my sandals.  This blue striped one is made with responsibly sourced materials.  This one has a great tassel.  And this one I would add my own tassel to. 

9. Very moisturizing hair mask because your hair is going to sizzle and the hotel shampoo/conditioner doesn't care. This one is made of natural ingredients and smells great. 

10. A new bathing suit.  Apparently, we're all wearing one pieces now.  I love the tiny straps on the back of this one and this one for running down the beach in slow motion.  Really though, my heart belongs to this scalloped bikini.  

Curry + Turmeric Roasted Cauliflower (Paleo, Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

I make this every Sunday.  It's so good.  Sometimes I like to chop up the florets really small and eat it like popcorn.  It usually doesn't last but if it does I'll add to salads during the week.  

For reference - the photo is one normal sized head of cauliflower.  It doesn't make enough!  It really shrinks during cooking.  I'd say it serves 2.  

Turmeric Curry Cauliflower

1/4 cup grape seed oil

1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

a few turns or a pinch of black pepper

1 head cauliflower, chopped

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a baking tray with parchment paper or lightly oil it.  Set aside. 

Combine oil, curry powder, turmeric powder, salt and black pepper in a large bowl.  Toss chopped cauliflower in oil mixture until evenly coated.  The better and more evenly you coat it the better it will be.  I like to get my hands in here - tossing and rubbing the pieces in the oil. It's messy but makes it so much better.  Transfer cauliflower to baking tray and place in oven.  Roast until edges are browned and pieces are soft, about 40 minutes. 

Mea's Green Soup (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I made this a month ago and can't believe I didn't post it.  I think I was saving it for spring when all other the ingredients are more in season.  I made it today and decided I better share before I forget.  This is a great clean, bright healthy soup.  I love having a dinner of simple vibrant veggies and a little lean protein in a punchy broth like this with dill and lemon. 

Make this vegetarian by skipping the chicken and substituting vegetable stock.

If you like this one, you'll also like Cam's Green Soup

Makes 6 servings. 

Mea's Green Soup

1 lb boneless skinless chicken breast

3 quarts water

splash cooking oil (I like olive oil for this one)

1 yellow onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

2 carrots peeled, sliced

2 stalks celery, chopped

1 1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) green peas

1 bunch asparagus, chopped

2 cups chopped green beans

3 cups chopped kale

1 bunch fresh dill, chopped

lemon juice, to taste

s + p, to taste

Simmer chicken in water until cooked through, about 20 minutes.  Remove chicken and shred when cool.  Save the water to use as the stock.  Set both aside.  

In a pot, heat a splash of oil over medium heat.  Add onion, garlic, carrot, celery and bay leaf.  Saute until glossy and softened.  About 5 minutes.   Add stock.  Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer a few minutes until carrots are tender.  Add peas, asparagus, green beans and kale.  Cook a few minutes.  Stir in dill and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper. 

Chocolate Cherry Protein Shake (Paleo, GF, DF)

I have two smoothies in rotation at the moment.  I'll be posting the other one soon but my favorite one is this chilly chocolate cherry goodness.  I recently started having a shake before I work out and I can't believe how much better I preform.  Seriously, in kickboxing class I have so much more energy and am able to finish all my reps.  So much better than before, when I exercised on an empty stomach.  I like that the smoothie is quick to make, quick to consume, tastes good and is full of protein.  

Makes one serving. 

Chocolate Cherry Protein Shake

1/2 cup frozen pitted cherries

handful baby spinach leaves

1 scoop chocolate protein powder

1 cup liquid (coconut milk, coconut water or tap water)

Blend all ingredients together until smooth.  

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.