Cranberry Coconut Healthy Cookies (Vegan, GF, DF)

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As you can probably tell from my posts, I don't eat many sweets or sugar anymore. I try to limit my sugar intake to only fruit which means not a lot of baked sweets happening around here. I prefer to 'save' my sugar indulgences for things like coconut ice cream or a piece of vegan layer cake. Treating it as a rare, special occasion thing has helped changed my sweet tooth to a healthy tooth. You'll notice most of my dessert recipes are sugar free, use natural sugars like maple syrup or are sweetened with a fruit. 

These cookies are made without sugar and sweetened only with a banana and the dried cranberries. 

Cranberry Coconut Healthy Cookies

1 mashed ripe banana

1/2 cup quick GF oats

2 tablespoons dried cranberries 

2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes

1 tablespoon chopped pecans

dash cinnamon and nutmeg

pinch salt

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

In a medium sized bowl, combine all ingredients. Use a tablespoon to portion 8 cookies onto prepared baking tray. Cookies will not flatten or expand during baking so flatten them into round cookie shapes. Bake 15 minutes. Remove. Cool. 

Ramen Soup Jars (Vegan, GF, DF)

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Aka your new favorite lunch. Who doesn't love a cute little jar lunch. It's so portable and easy to eat anywhere. All you need is hot water. You can definitely change customize these to your liking. Want spice? Add a bit of chile paste or hot chile oil. Want carbs? Add a ton of noodles. 

I'm calling these ramen jars but you can definitely make them with out noodles for a lighter, grain free meal. You can't see them in the photos, but we used these aip friendly Shirataki noodles. They are a dried noodle, made from tapioca starch, konica powder, calcium and citric acid. They taste just like a glass noodle. I found these at whole foods but they are also available online.  Feel free to use any noodle you like but precook them if they will need more than a few minutes in hot water to cook. 

Just remember when you're prepping the vegetables that everything in the jar is cooked by pouring boiling water into the jar, sealing and letting it sit for a few minutes. This means that everything should be sliced small and thin. 

Here's grocery list what you will need to make 8 jars:

4 carrots, cut into thin matchsticks

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

2" knob fresh ginger, grated

4 cups thinly sliced green beans (about 1#)

4 cups chopped broccoli, in bite sized pieces

1/2 cup corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup shelled edamame, fresh or frozen

1/2 cup miso paste

1/2 cup tamari soy sauce

1/3 cup sesame oil

2 teaspoons garlic powder

noodles, amount is up to you, I used 8 shirataki dried noodle nests.

Here's the recipe for ONE jar:

Vegan Ramen + Vegetable Jar

1 tablespoon miso paste

1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce

2 teaspoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon grated ginger

1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

1 scant tablespoon thinly sliced scallions

1/2 cup carrots, cut into thin matchsticks

1/2 cup thinly sliced green beans

1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli

1 tablespoon corn kernels, fresh or frozen

1 tablespoon shelled edamame, fresh or frozen

1 serving of noodles (cooked or uncooked - see note above)

Line up 8 clean glass jars with lids. Fill each jar with the above ingredients. Seal and store in fridge. When ready to serve, fill jar with hot water. Stir, to loosen miso paste. Replace lid and shake lightly to mix ingredients. Let sit for about 5 minutes. Carefully remove lid and enjoy. 

Turkey Meatballs + Basil Pesto (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

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Meatballs! Since I don't eat tomatoes or pasta, I almost never make these little things anymore. What am I thinking, right? They're so tasty and delightful. My new solution: basil pesto and spaghetti squash. A nice healthy meal for those time when I'm missing spaghetti and meatballs. 

For Cameron and I, I picked a small spaghetti squash. To cook it: cut off the stem, stand the squash on its new flat end and halve from navel to stem end. Scoop out seeds. Lightly rub cut sides with olive oil. Roast cut sides down on a lined baking tray in a 400 degree oven for 45 minutes (small squash) to an hour (larger squashes). Flip over and shred with a fork, Discard skins. 

To make this AIP, omit almond flour or substitute with coconut flour. 

Serves 6. 

Turkey Meatballs + Basil Pesto

for the meatballs

2 lbs ground turkey 

1/4 cup almond flour

1 yellow onion, grated

5 cloves garlic, peeled, grated

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

for the pesto

1 large bunch basil, leaves only

2 garlic cloves

juice of one lemon

1/2 cup olive oil (I like half olive oil, half avocado oil, personally)

salt, to taste

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line a baking tray with a silpat or parchment paper. Set aside. 

In a medium sized bowl, combine all the ingredients for the meatballs. Mix well. Form into tablespoon sized balls and arrange on prepared tray. Roast 15 minutes, flip and cook 15 minutes more. 

While meatballs are cooking, make the pesto by blending all pesto ingredients in a blender or food processor. Serve with meatballs. 

Pickled Red Onions

This is possibly the quickest, easiest way to transform your meal into something special. It's true - imagine a simple taco, now imagine said taco with pickled red onions on it. Let's think outside this taco for a minute and explore what else you could improve with these onions. Sandwiches, salads, grilled cheese, fried rice, quesadillas, hot dogs - there are many more but I'm starting to get too hungry thinking about it. 

I like to keep a jar of these in the fridge and put them on everything. Since I can't have hot sauce, (why are you a nightshade, chile pepper???) I use these instead. They're not spicy at all but fulfill the same need with their sharp, briny punch. 

Feel free to add more aromatics if you like -  bay leaf, chiles, other seeds. I leave everything free floating in the jar but you can wrap the aromatics up in a piece of cheesecloth to keep things tidy. 

Pickled Red Onion

1.5 teaspoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1/2 cup or so white vinegar

1 red onion, thinly sliced

Add kosher salt, sugar, peppercorns and vinegar to a 12-16oz jar. Shake or whisk to dissolve. Add onion slices to jar, pressing down to fit if needed. Top off with water so onions are covered in liquid, if needed. Leave them alone for one hour. After that, they are ready to eat. Store in fridge. 

Chicken Marsala (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I've never made chicken marsala and was dying for it the other day. Kind of strange to crave something I've only had once but I went with it anyway. So pleased I did! This was a very satisfying, fast but impressive mid week dinner with one of my favorite spring vegetables, asparagus. 

If you can pick up actual marsala wine, do it. It's much better than the marsala cooking wine, although either are perfectly fine. 

I hope you enjoy my AIP version of the classic Italian American dish. 

Serves 4. 

Chicken Marsala

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

s + p

1/2 cup coconut flour

splash olive oil

8oz mini portobello mushrooms, sliced

1 bunch asparagus, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup marsala wine

1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning

1 teaspoon arrowroot powder

Cut each chicken breast crosswise into two thin pieces. Or butterfly and pound flat. Season with salt and pepper. Dredge in coconut flour. Set aside. 

Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. When hot, add chicken. Cook until well browned on each side. When cooked through, remove and set aside. 

Add mushrooms, asparagus and garlic. Cook until mushrooms are soft, stirring frequently. Add wine and let bubble up a bit. Add stock and seasoning.  Make a slurry with the arrowroot powder and a little water or stock. Stir slurry into skillet along with the chicken and bring to a boil. Cook until sauce is thickened.  

Chicken + Broccoli Stirfry (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

As you know, I do a lot of batch cooking every Sunday, prepping all the healthy meals Cameron and I will eat through out the week. My menu planning usually follows the same pattern: a soup, a lunch entree and at least one quick mid week meal. The mid week meal is pretty much the only thing I cook start to finish during the work week so it has to be simple and fast. 

This is one of those recipes. AIP friendly, healthy, fast and delicious. You can even make the sauce and chop the veggies one night to speed things up. 

If you serve this with rice or noodles it can definitely serve 4 but since starting aip, I eat very large portions - which is fine because my meals are pretty much big bowls of veggies and protein. In the Vizenor household, this recipe is dinner for two with leftovers for one. 

Caramelized Chicken + Broccoli Stir Fry

4 tablespoons water

3 tablespoons rice vinegar (or apple cider vinegar)

3 tablespoons fish sauce

2 tablespoons coconut aminos or tamari 

1 teaspoons honey

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1" ginger, grated

1 garlic clove, grated

1 tablespoon cooking oil

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin, bite sized pieces

2 stalks broccoli, cut into bite sized pieces 

Whisk together water, vinegar, fish sauce, coconut aminos, honey, pepper, ginger and garlic, 

Heat a wok over high heat. Add chicken and sauce. Let cook until chicken is cooked through and sauce has thickened, about 12 minutes. Add broccoli, stir to coat in sauce. Cover and let cook until broccoli is tender, about 2 minutes. Uncover, toss and serve. 

AIP Slow Cooker Beef Stew (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

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I swear I've posted this already but I can't find the post so here it is again. We make this all the time. I have the recipe memorized. It's usually a spur of the moment decision to make this. The ingredients are staples so we're usually almost all the way there with the ingredients, minus the beef.  

It's one of the easiest recipes, no searing or browning on the stove first - just easy chopping prep and into the slow cooker for a few hours. It's done when the beef is so tender it can be cut with a  spoon. This takes a surprisingly long time even on high - like 6-8 hours. Each time I make this, I cut the beef into smaller and smaller pieces and it's ready much faster. 

About 6-8 servings.

AIP Slow Cooker Beef Stew

1 yellow onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped

4 carrots, peeled, chopped

4 ribs celery, chopped

2 turnips, peeled, chopped

8 oz mushrooms, chopped

1.5 cups green beans

2 lbs lean stew meat, cut into 1" pieces

1 bay leaf

1 sprig rosemary

1 teaspoon dried thyme

water, as needed

salt + pepper

1-2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

Place all the ingredients, except water, in slow cooker. Pour in just enough water to be level with ingredients. Cover, set on high and cook until meat is spoon tender, about 7 hours. Remove bay leaf and rosemary sprig. Season with salt, pepper and apple cider vinegar. 

Healthy Week 5 Grocery List + What I Cooked

This is week five of my batch cooking posts. The first one has a more in depth on tips and tricks - here's a link! Again, some of my tips for grocery shopping and batch cooking are: pick a menu,  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 stew, soup and chicken marsala on Sunday and the chicken stir fry on a week night.  Cameron helped and we listened to This American Life. 

The Menu:

Chicken Marsala

Chicken + Broccoli Stir Fry

Lentil Soup

Beef + Veggie Stew

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 List:

2 Yellow Onion

1 head garlic

1" ginger

8 carrots

8 stalks celery

2 stalks broccoli

2 turnips

24 oz cremini mushrooms

1 bunch asparagus

1.5 cup chopped green beans

1 bunch collard greens

1 lemon

1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)

2 lbs lean stew beef

4 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast

2 quarts + 1 cup chicken stock

1.5 cup french lentils

1/2 cup marsala wine

Pantry staples you will also need for these 3 recipes: coarse kosher salt, ground black pepper, tamari soy sauce, bay leaf, rosemary, thyme, apple cider vinegar, coconut flour, olive oil, italian seasoning, arrow root powder, fish sauce, honey, garam masala spice blend, sesame oil

Chicken + Dumplings (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I love comfort food. I especially love chicken and dumplings. Chicken, vegetables and dumplings simmered in a thickened stock. I tested several combinations to get the dumplings just right. The first batch were made with cassava flour and while the flavor was great, the texture was that of gummy mochi. Not good. 

It was really important to me to keep this recipe AIP friendly since there are so many comfort foods we miss out on on the AIP. I'm happy to say this is a great AIP version of the classic dish that I would feed anyone whether on the protocol or not. There is an extra step of baking the biscuits first and adding them to the finished stew but it's worth the effort.

Makes about 6 servings. 

AIP Chicken +Dumplings

for the dumplings

2/3 cup arrowroot powder

1/3 cup coconut powder

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 teaspoon dried herbs (I used 1/2 thyme and dill)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup warm water 

for the rest of it

dash olive oil

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

4 carrots, chopped

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon dried parsley

2 quarts chicken stock

1.5 # boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into small pieces

6 oz sliced mushrooms

6 oz green beans, chopped

3 tablespoons arrowroot powder

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a small baking tray with a silpat or parchment paper. 

In a bowl, whisk arrowroot powder, coconut flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, salt, pepper and dried herbs together. Stir in olive oil and water. Add more water as necessary. The dough should resemble playdough and hold together, Form into ping pong sized spheres, arrange on prepared baking tray and bake 20 minutes. Dumplings will be a lovely golden brown. Set aside. 

In a large pot, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions, celery, carrots, garlic, bay, thyme and parsley. Cook about 5 minutes until soft and glossy. Add stock and mushrooms. Bring to a boil. Add chicken. Reduce to a simmer and cover for 20 minutes.

Make a slurry with arrowroot powder and a bit of water. Stir into pot. Add green beans. Continue cooking until green beans are soft, about 5 minutes, covered. 

 To serve, place a couple biscuits into a bowl and ladle over stew. 

Paleo Week 4 Grocery List + What I Cooked (Paleo, GF, DF)

I wanted some serious comfort food and that's exactly what I made. Paleo friendly, of course. 

This is week four of my batch cooking posts. The first one has a more in depth on tips and tricks - here's a link! Again, some of my tips for grocery shopping and batch cooking are: pick a menu,  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 everything on Sunday evening.  Cameron helped and we listened to S Town podcast and music. 

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The Menu:

Paleo Thai Chicken Collard Wraps

AIP Chicken + Dumplings

AIP Vegetable Pho-lmost

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 List:

3 limes

1 english cucumber

2" ginger

1 head garlic

1 yellow onion

4 stalks celery

9 carrots

6 oz sliced mushrooms

6 oz green beans

1/2 head small red cabbage

10oz sugar snaps peas

1 bunch mint

1 bunch cilantro

about 2 bunches collard green leaves (around 18 leaves total)

3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast

2 quarts beef stock

2 quarts chicken stock

peanut butter

8 oz tofu skin knots

Pantry staples you will also need for these 3 recipes: coarse kosher salt, ground black pepper, tamarind soy sauce or coconut aminos, fish sauce, maple syrup, 3 anise pods, 1 cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, teaspoon coriander seeds, coconut flour, arrowroot flour, cream of tartar, baking soda, dried thyme, bay leaf, dried parsley, olive oil

Chicken Collard Wrap Burritos (AIP, Paleo, GF,DF)

These collard wraps are life changing. This is the easiest yummy substitute for wraps I have found yet. It's like eating a handheld salad disguised as a burrito. Most importantly, it tastes good. Yay!

I make a batch of these and put them in the fridge for a few quick lunches during the work week. I'm going to make a thai peanut version next week and maybe indian samosa ones after that. 

Makes about 6 wraps. 

Chicken Collard Wrap Burritos

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon fenugreek leaves

1/4 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cumin (optional, include if you can have seeds)

1.5 # boneless, skinless chicken breast

1 bunch collard greens

1/2 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped

1/2 head cabbage, shredded

1/2 head crispy lettuce, chopped 

2 avocados

1/2 white onion, finely diced

2 avocados, see last paragraph

Additional options: salsa, hot sauce, sour cream, shredded cheese

Mix together salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, fenugreek, oregano, cinnamon and cumin, if using. Season chicken. Cook the chicken anyway you like - grilled, baked, whatever. I seasoned mine, put it in the slow cooker for 2 hours on high and shredded it. 

While the chicken cooks, you can chop your veggies and set out any additional toppings you'll be using. 

To prep the collard green, slice off the chunky part of the stem by cutting straight across the base, where the leaf fans out. Next, use a peeler or knife to shave down the thick stem. This will make it easier to roll up and eat. 

Bring a 10-12 inch skillet with an inch or two of water to a boil. Dip collard leaves into the boiling water for about 10 seconds. Do this one at a time. Transfer to a towel. This softens up the leaves and makes them taste better. 

Assemble wraps: Layout a collard green, pile on chicken, chopped cilantro, cabbage, lettuce, onion - whatever you like. Roll it up tightly like burrito, tucking the sides in as you roll. I wrap them all at once and leave them in the fridge. In the morning, when I'm packing my food for the day, I grab a couple, unroll them and add fresh avocado slices. Maybe this is crazy but I like the avocado to be fresh and bright. It's a pinch more work but easy and worth the effort.

Khao Soi (AIP, Paleo, GF, DF)

I really like this soup. Something about thai flavors lately. Every week my grocery bag comes home with lemongrass, ginger, garlic and coconut milk. It feels like I'm eating takeout but it's all home cooked. The beauty of batch cooking, right? 

Recipe adapted from Lazy Cat Kitchen. I love that name. 

Makes about 6 servings. 

Khao Soi Soup

6 garlic cloves, peeled

2" ginger, peeled, roughly chopped

1/4 cup chopped cilantro (stems or leaves)

2 lemongrass stalks, tough leaves removed, chopped

2 shallots, chopped

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

1 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon madras curry powder

3 tablespoons water

1 butternut squash, peeled, diced

2 stalks broccoli, peeled, in bite sized pieces

1 1/2 cup chopped green beans

4 carrots, peeled, sliced

1 quart vegetable stock

1 14 oz tin full fat coconut milk

28 oz water

1 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns

1 tablespoon fish sauce

2 tablespoons tamari or coconut aminos

juice of 1 lime

2 teaspoons maple syrup

salt

cilantro, for garnish

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Line two sheet trays with parchment paper. Toss squash with a splash of oil, arrange on one tray. Toss broccoli with splash of oil, arrange on the other tray. Sprinkle each with salt and pepper. Roast until softened and beginning to blacken, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside. 

Combine garlic, ginger, cilantro, lemongrass, shallots, coriander, turmeric, curry powder and water in the bowl of a food processor. Puree to a paste. 

In a pot, heat a tablespoon of oil over a high flame. Add paste and cook until slightly browned, stirring, about 5 minutes. Add vegetable stock, coconut milk, water, peppercorn sachet and carrots. Boil, reduce to a simmer. Add green beans. Skim off any foam from surface. Simmer until greenbeans and carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Turn off heat. Add roasted broccoli and squash. Stir in fish sauce, tamari, lime juice and maple syrup. Salt to taste. Serve with noodles, zoodles, rice or enjoy on it's own. Garnish with lime wedges and cilantro leaves. 

AIP Turkey Tacos

I love taco night but it's pretty much impossible on AIP. Or is it? It's not impossible, it's just a bit of work. As someone who does not enjoy lettuce wraps for mexican dishes, I have to make my own tortillas. So far I've tested a few different plantain tortilla recipes but am still not 100% pleased with the texture of any. The flavor is always great but they just fall apart. How terrible is it to bit into your first taco and have it's entire, artfully assembled fillings fall out. Very sad. As a solution, I make a lettuce taco and then wrap that in the plantain tortilla. 

If anyone has any tips on AIP approved plantain tortillas that don't fall apart - please post it in the comments. I'd love to hear. 

AIP Turkey Taco Filling

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon fenugreek leaves

1/4 teaspoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon cumin, optional but great if you're ok with seeds

2 tablespoons water

1 teaspoon cooking oil of choice

1 lb ground turkey breast

tortillas of your choosing

garnishes: lime wedges, diced onion, chopped cilantro, zucchini salsa, lettuce

Combine salt, pepper, turmeric, garlic powder, onion powder, fenugreek, oregano, cinnamon and the optional cumin with water. Set aside. 

In a small pot over medium high heat, warm oil. When hot, add turkey. Stir occasionally, getting a nice brown on the meat, break into small pieces with spoon. When cooked through, about 10 minutes, add seasoning mixture. Stir until coated and liquid is absorbed, about 4 minutes. 

Spoon onto shells and/or lettuce wraps and add toppings. 

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

I love when Cameron gets a cooking idea like a soup or a salad  - whatever it is will always be delicious, healthy and well made. This soup is no different. Savory, brothy and full of daikon. I secretly think he was trying to make a fish free, Mea-friendly version of this Oden he used to get in the winter at a place near his old work but he might not agree. (We'll see.) 

Daikon + Mushroom Soup

to make the stock:

2 leeks, halved

fennel tops

2 inches ginger root, peeled, sliced

4 garlic cloves, smashed

4 dried shitakes

1 bay leaf

1 kafir lime leaf

1 teaspoon peppercorns (black and pink)

Place everything in a large pot. Cover and simmer for 1 hour. Strain and discard solids. 

for the soup

splash olive oil

1 celeriac, peeled and diced

1 fennel bulb, cored and sliced

2 daikon, peeled and chopped

6 oz chopped mini portobello mushrooms

2 cups baby bok choy, sliced in half

juice of 1 lime

Saute celeriac and fennel until, softened and glossy, about 5 minutes. Add stock and daikon. Bring to a boil, add mushrooms and simmer. Cook about 40 minutes until all vegetables are soft. Add bokchoy. Season with lime juice and salt. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.  

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.    

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.