Almond milk

I made some beautiful home-made almond milk this week. It was so easy, and tasted so amazing that I don’t think I’ll ever buy the boxed stuff again!

1 cup raw almonds (organic if you can).
2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional).

Take the almonds and soak them in a bowl of water overnight.

In the morning drain the water and rinse the almonds.

Then put the almonds and 2 cups of fresh water in the blender and turn it on high. (Add the vanilla if you want it in there.)

Take a mesh sieve and line it with some cheese cloth, then set it over a deep bowl. Pour the almond milk through that, letting the solids collect in the cloth, and the milk to pool in the bowl.

I like to squeeze the last bits of goodness out of the cloth before I’m done.

I save the nut meat in a container and add it to pancakes and stuff, but feel free to toss it if you don’t think you’ll use it.

Then transfer the milk to a glass pitcher (like this awesome one I have from The Container Store) or a glass mason jar and refrigerate.

It will elevate your morning coffee, or afternoon latte, like nothing you’ve experienced before!

It’s kind of a big deal…!

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Truffles. Truffles? Truffles!

I think this might be one of the most amazing things ever.

Two weeks ago I was back home in TX for a short weekend trip.

My sister’s best friend and I eat similarly, and we were exchanging recipes and trolling through Pintrest to find new ideas as we sat in a car for hours.

We realized we both pinned these really yummy Paleo “rolos” so we decided to stop at Whole Foods that night and pick up the stuff to give it a try.

Honestly they were way too sweet for me.

So I modified the recipe and here’s my version:

6 dates (pits removed)
1 – 2 cups of almond meal (depending on the moisture content of the dates)
Dark unsweetened organic chocolate
Coconut oil
Unsweetened coconut flakes
Coarse sea salt
Chi seeds

In a food processor, combine the dates and enough almond flour so that the mixture will hold together – but not so much that it falls apart. The only way to really test it is to take about a tablespoon out and see if you can form it into a ball and have it hold it’s shape.

Then roll the entire mixture into balls and freeze them for about 10 minutes.

While they’re chillin’, melt 1/4 of the bar of chocolate with 1 tablespoon of coconut oil.

Get another plate ready and put a little coconut oil on it to prevent sticking.

When the balls come out of the freezer, dip them in the chocolate mixture and then either roll them in the chia seed or the coconut. Either way, give a generous sprinkle of coarse sea salt to finish it off.

Put them back in the freezer for another 10 minutes and viola! A little bite of heaven!

And BTW, my son who hates dark chocolate in general, LOVES the ones rolled in coconut – even though it’s still covered in dark chocolate.

Try them.

I can’t guarantee you won’t eat them all yourself though!

(that’s why I only have one little picture of these guys…)

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Paleo brunch

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I love brunch!

And I love having people over on Sunday morning for a lazy breakfast that slowly bleeds into lunch.

It’s one of my favorite play-dates actually, having friends with kids over at about 9 am. We’re all up early anyway. And the kids play and us adults can talk and really catch up!

But brunch is a bit more challenging for me when I’m not eating any dairy, grains or sugar. I mean there’s really nothing better than a beautiful slice of crusty bread slathered with fresh butter and homemade jam! But alas…I would be in a sleep coma a few hours later.

So I abstain.

But my new favorite weekend breakfast is something inspired by an amazing Girls Weekend at the Four Seasons in Vegas earlier this year. What a fun trip that was!

It’s all kinds of yummie veggies either roasted in the oven or cooked stove-top in a cast iron skillet. Then you add poached eggs to the top and some beautifully roasted tomatoes.

Here’s how I did it – but feel free to use any combo of veggies you like!

serves 6:
(1-2 eggs per person)

1 red or yellow onion
2 zucchini
1 yellow pepper
1 bunch of asparagus
8 mushrooms
6 kale leaves (curly or Dino)
5 Roma tomatoes
olive oil
S and P
10 eggs
1 Tbs white vinegar for the poaching liquid
Optional:
Garlic
2 diced red Potatoes
Corn cut from one cob

Preheat your oven to 420.

Also heat a pot of water and add your vinegar to it. This will be for poaching the eggs, and the vinegar will help them stay together.

Cut the Roma tomatoes in half and rub them all with olive oil, sprinkle with s and p and place cut side up on a baking sheet.

Stick them in the oven for about 20 min.

Then chop all the veggies (except the tomatoes) into about 1/2 pieces.

Heat your large (16in cast iron skillet on med heat.

Sauté the first 5 veggies with olive oil and s and p. make sure to give them a little time in one place before you stir it up so it gets a roasted feel. When they’re about done, add the kale. This is so it stays fresh and green.

While those are cooking away, and when your water starts to boil, get started poaching the eggs 2 or 3 at a time. (Tip for egg poaching, crack them into a small bowl first, then dip that bowl into the water and use it to gently lay the egg in the water.) The eggs only need about 3 minutes each so keep an eye on them. when they’re done, remove them with a slotted spoon onto a paper towel.

After the tomatoes have roasted, add them into your skillet and then lay the poached eggs on top.

I’m telling you, UH-mazing!

Tip: If you need to keep it warm you can put the whole thing in the oven for a few minutes but those poached eggs will be come “over hard” if you don’t watch it.

Also, when I have hard-woking men-folk over I’ll add the corn and potatoes to the veggie mix. Just be sure to start with the potatoes (and some onions and garlic) for a few minutes before you add the rest of the veggies, because they take longer to cook.

Serve it all in the cast iron skillet, with a side of uncured, nitrate-free, pepper bacon and loaf of fresh crusty bread for your non-Paleo guests.

Enjoy!

And let me know what you think of it. I’d love to hear your feed-back!

 

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Gluten-free apple pancakes

Mummmm….Sunday morning. Knowing I can make a pot of coffee and drink at least one warm cup before running out the door for the day.

This is a dish requested almost every weekend. And if were up to my kids they’d eat it every day!

Apple pancakes:

2 large Fiji apples
1/2 stick (4 TBSP) butter
1/4 tsp salt
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 TBSP local raw honey
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
6 large eggs
1/4 cup rice flour (white or brown)
1/4 cup milk

Pre-heat the oven to 350. And start by peeling the two apples (I usually use a horizontal veggie peeler) and then core and slice them into 1/8 in slices. Meanwhile heat a large cast iron skillet over med heat. Add 1/2 the butter, the apples, salt and cinnamon. Sauté it around for about 5 minutes until the apples start get some color. Then add the lemon juice and the honey and cook for about 1 minute more.

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Add the remaining butter and give it a good stir to make sure there’s a pretty even distribution of apples in the pan.

Now whisk together the eggs, rice flour and milk until it’s lump-free. And carefully pour that over the apple mixture, into the skillet. Be careful not to stir it once you put it all together in the pan, otherwise you’ll end up with apple-scrambled-eggs.

Gently set the entire skillet into the preheated oven for about 10 minutes, or until it’s set and the center is firm – but not brown.

This is what it will look like when it comes out:

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I cut mine into pizza like slices and my son likes his with maple syrup ( only Organic Grade B of course) but I eat mine just by itself. I find it sweet enough on its own with the apples and honey.
But…. a little dusting of powdered sugar sure is a show stopper!

And if you’re looking for a grain-free alternative try substituting almond or coconut flour for the rice flour!

Breakfast tacos

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I grew up in Texas. Breakfast burritos/tacos are a staple. And they’re so yummy! The way my mom would traditionally make them they had eggs, pork sausage, roasted onions and potatoes and lots of gooey cheese – all wrapped in a warm flour tortilla. They’re indulgent! But not really great for you. And as I sat at the kitchen sink one Sunday morning trying to scrub the melted cheese off the bottom of my pan o’left-over-goodness, I realized this is probably what my intestines will be trying to do to this burrito later in the day. So I started making a healthier version! One that still packs that amazing flavor punch, but with some of the bad stuff left out and little bit more good stuff thrown in.

Here it is:

serves 4

3 slices thick cut (uncured) apple-wood smoked bacon (or you can sub chicken sausage.)
2 small purple potatoes and 1 small yellow potato, diced.
1/2 onion diced
5 large leaves of kale, julienned with ribs intact
2 shredded carrots (optional)
6 eggs
salsa and corn or whole wheat tortillas for serving

I use a cast iron skillet when making this. It’s kind of traditional down South.

Start by cutting the bacon into small pieces and cooking it over med-low heat until it’s crispy – but not burnt – and most of the fat has been rendered. Then remove the bacon from the pan with a slotted spoon and put it on a paper towel for later. Now that you have all that yummy fat from the bacon in your cast iron skillet, turn the heat up to med and throw in your onions and potatoes and cook those until the onions are slightly caramelized and the potatoes are browned. Season with S and P, then add your kale and if you want, some shredded carrots. Stir that all around for about 1 minute and then turn your heat back down to med-low and add the eggs to the pan and scramble it all up. Warm your tortillas one by one, either in another pan that’s empty, but on low heat – or directly on an open flame over a burner on your stove. Then put them in a clean kitchen towel to keep warm and moist. By now your eggs should be nicely scrambled and you can throw those precooked bacon pieces back in the mix. Take the tortillas and scoop up some of that awesome scrambled good-ness into them and pour some salsa on it and serve. Or if you’re going a bit healthier, do it with no tortilla! Just the scramble and the salsa.

…and dream of being on the beach in Cabo as you eat your breakfast.

 

 

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Catalyst kid

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My 2 year old went to grab a snack out the the cabinet yesterday and ended up with a can of white beans. It was an odd request, but one I indulged. And while she was happily eating a handful of beans I was trying to figure out what to do with the leftovers.

What I came up with blew me away! It was so good, I ate the entire thing myself. So of course I had to share it with you!

White bean salad:

1 can of organic cannelloni beans
1/2 lemon
1 large clove of garlic
1 large tomato
2 cups chopped greens (kale and spinach)
1 tsp salt

Rinse the beans and put them in a bowl. Mince the garlic and add that to the beans and then add the salt and stir. Let that marinate while you chop the greens. I used a mixture of kale and spinach, because that’s what I had in my fridge, but you could use just one of two. Chop them finely, so that it mixes well with the salad. Then squeeze the lemon on the beans, add the greens and give it another big stir. Right before you’re ready to serve or eat it, dice the tomato and add that in. Check it all for seasoning and if it seems to acidic to you, add some evoo. I prefer it without, but that’s me. And at the end I also threw in some garlic chives, because they’re growing like crazy out in the garden right now!

Let me know how you like it!

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Kale, oh how I love thee.

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Since I have kale in the name of my blog, I thought it only fitting that one of my first posts be about this incredibly nutrient dense and versatile food. I was actually a little hesitant to have kale in the name of my blog because what if it’s just be a passing trend… I mean, it’s incredibly fashionable to be buying kale right now! But the truth of the matter is that I’ve loved greens since I was a kid. Growing up in Texas, you kind of can’t help but have a natural affinity for these leafy beauties. They’re a great source of Iron and B vitamins, and they’re availble year-round. The cool thing about Kale in particular is that you can hide it in other foods and still get the nutritional punch, without the sour face. (Consider throwing a leaf or two into a smoothie.) As you’ll see from my other posts, I’m all about sneaking lots of nutrition in my kids food when I have a chance.
Now with so many varieties to choose from how do you pick just one? Well the truth is, you don’t. But for the purposes of today’s recipes I used Dino Kale, also called Lactino Kale. It has relatively flat slender leaves and is shaped more like romaine lettuce than the curly kale you might be use to as a garnish on your old school plate. It has a bit of a waxy texture and that means it can stand up against acid well. That make it perfect for my first recipe.

Kale Salad

1 bunch dino kale
1 large fuji apple
1 lemon
1/2 dried cranberries

Wash and dry the kale then stack it on top of each other and cut it into very thin strips – crosswise. Then cube the apple into 1/2 in chunks. I like to leave the peal on since it has a lot of pectin and the peel is where the majority of the vitamins in an apple are located (it’s yet another reason to buy organic, as it’s also the place most of the pesticides are stored if you use a conventional apple).
Combine the kale and apple in a bowl and squeeze the juice from 1/2 – 1 whole lemon, depending on taste. Toss it together. Then sprinkle the dried cranberries on top and enjoy! In my opinion this salad tastes seen better after its sat in the fridge for a few hours. And the apples won’t brown because of the lemon juice.

This next recipe is something I make at least once a week. But it almost never lasts because everyone gobbles them up before they’ve even cooled!

Kale Chips:

1 bunch Dino Kale
1 TBS Olive Oil
Kosher Salt

Wash and dry the kale then chop it into pieces about 2 inches long. Take the olive oil and put some on your hands then rub each leaf between your hands so that they get a nice good rubdown. Then lay them all out in a single layer on a baking pan. I have a yummy dark pan that I use for roasting vegetable. You can see it in the picture – it’s become well seasoned with so much use. Try to keep them in a single layer so they cook evenly. Otherwise you’ll send up with some soggy and some burned. Then sprinkle them with salt and put it in the oven at 350 for about 17 min. Check it after 10 and you may have to turn the leaves once depending on their water content. Notice that I left the rib (center vein) in the kale when I baked it. I like the added texture as that part doesn’t crisp up. But if you want them crispy all over then remove that before baking and reduce your bake time to about 7 min.
This is one of my favorite late night snacks! And the kids love them too.

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And here is my finished product! Yummy, yummy….

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