Paleo Korean Inspired Stir Fry

I recently had the awesome experience of a restaurant completely catering to my dietary needs.  My company hosts a lot of lunches there and the hospitality manager worked with the chef to create a dish specifically for me.  It was pretty significant as it’s a Korean-American fusion restaurant that makes its bread and butter with foods I can’t eat.  They made an awesome ground turkey stir fry and talked with me about what they put in it.  I think I’ve been able to replicate it almost to a tee.  They didn’t add coconut aminos but I couldn’t resist.  We’ve eaten it about 5 times over the last month as it takes less than 30 minutes from start to finish and tastes awesome.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

1 Tablespoon Toasted Sesame Oil (plus 1 Tablespoon for saute)

3 Tablespoons Coconut Aminos

2 Teaspoons honey

1 Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 Teaspoon ground onion

1/2 Teaspoon Chili Pepper Flakes

1 Clove Minced Garlic

1/2 lb Ground Turkey

1.5 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped yellow onion

1 cup finely chopped mushrooms (I like Cremini)

1 cup spinach or kale

Directions:

1.) Combine the first seven ingredients in a blender and blend until sauce forms, minus 1 Tablespoon of Sesame Oil.  Heat 1 Tablespoon Sesame oil in large pan over medium heat.  Add garlic and saute for about 2 minutes.

2.) Add ground turkey to garlic and brown on both sides.  Drain any access liquid and add carrots and onions.  Cook for 5-7 minutes or until carrots soften and onions are translucent.

3.) Add mushrooms and add sauce.  Cook for another 3 minutes and add spinach.  Cook for another 2 minutes or until the greens are wilted.

Enjoy!

Paleo Sonoma Chicken Salad

Chicago has been horrible this winter.  Snow so formidable that I’m afraid to drive the two miles to the grocery store.  Cold so fierce that I literally spent three days in my house, until I literally couldn’t stand it any longer- and I’m from Minnesota!

You would think that it would have resulted in a burgeoning of this blog, as I filled your news feed with stories of my snow induced cooking.  However, hibernation seems to have had an all encompassing grip on my creativity and I’ve found myself recreating other bloggers’ recipes for most meals.  The light has also been fairly poor and so all of my food photos have been fairly cave-like and unappetizing.

However, I have been loving this easy recipe that I recreated based on an non-paleo favorite of mine.  It’s hearty and filling and easy to transport for lunch.  I love the creamy, semi-sweet taste of the mayo with the firm crunchy of the celery and sweet burst of the grapes.  It makes enough for four large servings.

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Ingredients:

4 Large Chicken Breasts

2 Cups Grapes

1 Cup Packed Pecan Halves

3 Stalks Chopped Celery

3/4 Cup Homemade Paleo Mayo

1.5 Tablespoon Honey

1 Teaspoon Poppy Seeds

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Directions:

1.) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Prepare the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper from the recipe.  Cook for 40 minutes.

2.) Chop celery, half grapes and pecans (if needed).

3.) Cube chicken and add to celery, grapes and pecans.  Combine Mayo with honey and add to mixture.  Add poppy seeds.

4.) Chill for 1 hour before serving.

A Paleo Baby Shower

My sister is having a baby girl in November!  She is the first grand-baby in the Morris household and we are all over the moon!  In honor of our lovely, literary Amy, my mom and I decided to throw baby girl a children’s book themed shower.  When I talked with Amy about it, she told me that she wanted me to be able to eat everything at the shower.  And thus, a Paleo Children’s Book Baby Shower was born.

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We used this theme and template from Martha Stewart.  Ex-con or not, she is still about as picture perfect as they come!  I wanted the food to be pink and dreamy, whimsical and playful.  I spent weeks going through websites and books, picking out the best recipes.  Three weeks before, I bought Danielle Walker’s amazing new cook book and my menu suddenly flew together.

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Amy’s Paleo Shower:

Strawberry Shortcake Meringue Cupcakes

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Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies (in Danielle’s book)

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Watermelon Arugula and Feta Salad

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Almond Thyme Crackers and Baked Brie (from Roost Blog)

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Black Mission Fig Jam (in Danielle’s book)

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Lemony Apple Carrot Bombs (from The Urban Poser)

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It was so beautiful.  Friends and family from all over Minnesota came to celebrate our new life!  Our Grandma came with a cozy sleeper and Mary Poppins themed gift.  My younger sister flew in from Chicago and surprised my mom and sister!  The mother of the family Amy nannied for as a teenager came with a book from France that Amy had bought for them as a nanny.  Stories of love and encouragement were paired with the most delicious grain-free, sugar-free spread this side of the St. Croix.

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Needless to say, we can’t wait for little girl Williams to appear on the scene in November!  And when she does, she is going to have so many fun new books to greet her and hopefully, a taste for Paleo cooking!

 

Thai Red Curry

Without a lot of fuss, pomp, or circumstance, I have recently passed a large milestone in my personal history.  As of May 1st, I have been 1 year on the Specific Carbohydrates Diet.  I can’t believe it has been a full year.  I have been flare free now for nine months.  As short as it is, that is a victory for me.  In June, I start decreasing my medication intake to see if my body is ready to start relying fully on the diet.  For now, I am just so grateful to be well.  On May 2nd, I took my company’s annual wellness assessment.  For the first time in three years when asked “How would you rate your physical health?” I answered “Very Good”.

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This recipe is for your traditional Thai Red Curry.  I was inspired by memories of nights in Chicago eating at Cozy Noodles, an eclectic Thai Restaurant on the north side.  I am elated at how it has evolved and turned out.  Creamy and sweet, with subtle heat and a plethora of vegetables.  I started out with a recipe from Eat Live Run but adapted it to fit the SCD diet.  The original recipe includes sweet potatoes, sugar and fish sauce.  I left out the sweet potatoes and fish sauce and substituted 1 TBS of honey for the sugar.  It was great!  We like to serve it over cauli-rice but it makes a nice soup as well.  I made the Thai curry paste from scratch and have included the recipe.  Enjoy!

 

Thai Curry Paste

Ingredients:

  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, minced
  • 1 and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 thumb-size piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. tomato puree
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 TBS honey
  • 1+1/2 to 2 Tbsp. chili powder
  • 3 Tbsp. thick coconut milk, or just enough to keep the blades turning
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 TBS peanut oil

Directions:

  1. Put everything into the food processor and pulse until you have a paste consistency.  If you are like me and have a rather feeble processor, you may have to migrate to the blender to get the consistency you want.  Add coconut milk if the consistency is too thick.
  2. Now you are free to use it in your curry!  It makes about 9 TBS (enough for three curries).  I like to bag it up and put it in the freezer for further use.

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The Best SCD/Paleo Chili you have ever tasted!

This delicious savory, spicy and sweet chili is the culmination of over a year of fairly tragic SCD legal chilis.  No really.  Everyone send Mike an air-five for being a champ and eating burned, bland, s0-hot-your-nose runs, oh and did I mention bland, chilis.  However, by painstaking trial and error, I have created the BEST chili recipe!  It reminds me of Fresh Fields chili, if anyone remembers the tiny yet incredible diner, in tiny yet incredible Stillwater, Minnesota.   Hands down, this is the best SCD/Paleo chili I have tried.  I started with this recipe from Paleo Pot and it evolved from there.  Credit where credit is due, the Paleo Pot recipe was great but not sweet or substantial enough for an entire meal.

So far we have served it a bunch of ways- plain, over spaghetti squash, over cauli-rice, with Roost Blog’s Almond Thyme Crackers, with onion and avocado, with cheese, etc.  Try it out and let me know any fun new combos!

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Sweet and Spicy SCD/Paleo Chili Recipe:
2 Bell Peppers (1 Orange, 1 Yellow is my favorite)
1 Red Onion
1 Yellow Onion
1 Jalapeno pepper (Leave half of the seeds in or adjust according to heat preference)
1 lb. Ground pork
1 lb. Ground sirloin
1/4-1/2lb. bacon
4 cups diced tomatoes
1/2 head of garlic (5-6 cloves)
1 TBS Cumin
1 TBS Cayenne Pepper
1 TBS cocoa (optional- remove to make SCD legal)
1 TBS salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 cup honey
1 cup red kidney beans (pre-soaked according to SCD specifications)
1 cup water
Instructions:
1.) Heat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and place bacon strips evenly.  Cook for 9-12 minutes until finished cooking.  I love cooking bacon in the oven because it cooks evenly but feel free to cook in the skillet as well.
2.) Brown the pork and beef.  Strain the fat and set aside.
3.) Cook all of your veggies to roughly the same size.  It doesn’t have to be perfect because you’re going to put half of them in your food processor or blend after cooking.
4.) Combine the spices in a separate bowl.  Add all of the veggies, beans and meat to your crock pot.  Add the water, spices, and honey and cook on low for 8 hours.
5.) Remove the top and stir to combine.  Take roughly half of your mixture (about 5 cups) and blend it in your food processor.  Add the un-blended portion to the blended portion and stir to combine.
6.) Serve and enjoy!  We like it with avocados, served over spaghetti squash, with grated cheese on the top or just plain.  Yum!

Little Dipper’s Homemade Barbeque Sauce

Success for the Little Dipper!

 

When I was little, I lived in a small rural farming town in southern Minnesota where my dad served as a pastor of a small United Methodist church.  My grandparents would come and visit us and on those occasions, we’d frequent one of the two restaurants in town.  More often or not, we’d opt for “Daniel’s” over “Burger King”.  It was on one such excursion to “Daniel’s” that I received one of my most enduring nicknames.  I couldn’t have been more than three.  I was sitting next to my Grandpa Marlowe when I noticed him place a large blob of ketchup on his plate.  Seeing my gaze, he responded by plopping a large dollop on mine as well.  Giving me a mischievous smile he said “Look, Alli, like this!”  With that he dipped his finger into the ketchup and licked it off.  I was spell bound.  And the rest is food dipping history.

Growing up, I dipped all of my food.  To a disgusting event.  When there wasn’t food to be dipped, I would eat the condiment with a spoon or by scooping it up with my fingers.  “Little Dipper” was a charitable term for what became an obsession.  Alli had to have her sauce!  Even as an adult I would ask for 3-4 BBQ packets- not one, my own ketchup bottle- not a small cup and covered everything I could think of with a thick layer of sweet and spicy goodness.

SCD was a rude awakening.  My second day after the intro diet, I tried to make BBQ and failed miserably.  I wasn’t deterred and have made at least 20 variations of BBQ over the past year.  While I may not have tried every SCD recipe out there, I have sampled a great deal of them to frustrating ends.

Enter the hero of the story.  He scales large buildings in a single bound.  He consumes large tombs of theology without falling asleep once.  He keeps his jokes about yoga to a minimum AND he likes cats better than dogs.  But even more significant than all of these virtues is the fact that he alone created the perfect SCD BBQ sauce.  Without Mike Niebauer, Little Dipper’s Homemade Barbeque Sauce would not exist.

He gave me the recipe and the first batch for Christmas this past year.  It is the perfect combination of sweet and savory with a little bit of kick.  Delicious and authentic tasting, I wouldn’t be able to tell it from commercial BBQ.  It is in fact, the perfect BBQ sauce.  Best of all, it’s incredibly simple to make!  Mike Niebauer, you got it goin’ on.

Little Dipper’s BBQ Sauce 

  • 1 Can of Organic Tomato Juice (32 oz each)

  • ¾ Cups Apple Cider Vinegar

  • 1 tsp. onion powder

  • 3 ¾  tsp. salt

  • ½  tsp. all spice

  • ½  tsp ground cloves

  • ½  tsp. cinnamon

  • ½  tsp. garlic powder

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 ½ Tlb. Yellow mustard

  • 1/8  tsp paprika

  • ¼ tsp ground cayenne pepper

  • Dash of chili powder

  • 1/3 cup honey

  • 1 ¾ tsp. liquid smoke (I use Wright’s, it’s SCD legal)

Directions:
1. Combine all ingredients, except for honey, liquid smoke in a large pot.
2. Simmer for 3-4 hours until very thick, stirring occasionally, more so as it thickens.
3. Turn off heat. Remove bay leaves.
4. Add liquid smoke. Stir well.
5. Transfer to a blender and puree well.

Paleo Chocolate Crepes Cake with Coconut Whipped Cream

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Today I awoke to a beautiful spring day.  The sun was shining through the cracks in my curtains and the temperature of my apartment didn’t make me want to curl up under the covers and go back to sleep.  It was fitting that this is the first day that feels like spring because it’s the day we celebrate new life through the resurrection and it’s the day I celebrate being alive!  Praise the Lord for these 26 years and for regaining a great deal of my health through eating SCD/Paleo for 11 months now.

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To celebrate, I decided to make a special cake.  A crepes cake.  A stack of thin, sweet, crepes layered with chocolate frosting.  I started with the recipe I use for savory crepes and added more honey.

Almond Flour Crepes: 

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 10 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey

I used coconut oil and a 10 inch skillet.  I mixed all the ingredients together.  I made sure the oil was really hot before pouring 1/4 cup batter into pan and cooked it for about 2 minutes on each side.  It made 10 crepes.

Next, I whipped up some chocolate frosting using the recipe I use for my chocolate cupcakes.

Chocolate Frosting:

  • 1/2 cup 100% cacao bar
  • ⅓ cup coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  1. In a small saucepan over very low heat, melt chocolate, honey and coconut oil
  2. Stir in vanilla extract
  3. Place frosting in refrigerator for 15-30 minutes to thicken
  4. Remove from refrigerator and whip frosting until thick and fluffy
  5. Spread over crepes and stack them one on top of each other

Lastly, I cut up about 1 cup of strawberries to decorate the cake!

When I got ready to serve it, I used Danielle, from Against All Grain‘s recipe for coconut whipped cream.  The only thing I did differently was use Aroy-D coconut milk because I am still off of Guar Gum.

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The result was pretty incredible.  I shared it with our friend’s Griff and Brittani and we were all enthralled with the fluffy whipped cream contrasted against the firm french pastry taste of the cake.  And it photographed so pretty!  So pretty in fact that I tilted it too far down and dumped it on the floor!  Luckily I am the birthday girl so no one got after me.  :)

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Eaten on hand-painted plates from the amazing Lauren Wilgus at The Handmaden, what a treat!  Happy Birthday to me!

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Pineapple and Prosciutto Pizza with Cauliflower Crust

SCD Legal  Hawaiian Pizza

SCD Legal Hawaiian Pizza

Game night is not game night without pizza.  For the past year, I have tried over ten different ways to recreate our past carb loving, cheese indulging, gut wrenching, no holds barred game night with very little success.  While our game closet continue to over-floweth with pretty much every Euro game (and expansion) out there, we usually opt for ordering Papa John’s for Mike and the guys while I eat something awesome.  Like a salad.

The problem with SCD legal pizzas is almost universally the crusts.  Almond flour is too dense, has the wrong texture and gets too soggy in the middle even if it is pre-baked.  A combo of different nut flours gives a dry, lifeless crust that tastes bland and biscuitty.  I honestly thought I just wouldn’t be able to enjoy pizza ever again.

Not any more!  I’ve also been reading about cauliflower crusts for the past year but been too skeptical to try it out.  Shame on my doubting heart, it is AWESOME!  This recipe is by no means terribly original as I’m sure it’s an amalgamation of other recipes but it is incredibly tasty, crunchy, and crusty.  Welcome to my version of Hawaiian pizza!

Ingredients (cauliflower crust):

  • 3 cups finely grated cauliflower (about 1 medium sized head)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup cheese (I used 1/2 adagio and 1/2 muenster)
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon Italian blend (I mix evenly basil, thyme, sage and oregano)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Ingredients (pizza filling):

  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce (I used SCD legal Lucini’s.  They carry it at Whole Foods)
  • 1 cup cheese (again, I used 1/2 adagio and 1/2 muenster)
  • 1 can pineapple (make sure they are SCD legal and canned in their own juice)
  • 6 strips of prosciutto (make sure to look at the ingredients as many contain illegals.  Trader Joe’s carries a legal type)

Instructions:

    1. After washing the cauliflower, use a hand grater to grate three cups of cauliflower into an oven safe bowl.  You could use a food processor but I find that it makes the cauliflower “wetter”.
    2. Pre-heat the over to 450 degrees and put the cauliflower in until it is tender but not mushy (about 5-7 minutes once oven is warm).  You could use a microwave for this but I think microwaves are weird so…
    3. Take cauliflower out and combine all ingredients in the bowl until well mixed.  Grab a pizza pan and spread out your parchment paper.
    4. Scoop your cauliflower mix onto the parchment lined pizza pan.  At this point, don’t expect it to feel like dough.  It won’t really be sticking together enough for you to form it into a ball and that’s ok!  Using your hands, fashion it into a circle on the parchment paper so that it looks like a pizza crust.
    5. Pop it into the over for 15-17 minutes until the crust is golden brown.
    6. Remove it from the oven and spread pizza sauce and the rest of the ingredients over the pizza.

Turn the oven up to broil and put the pizza in for 3-4 minutes until the cheese is bubbling.  Remove and serve right away

Before the oven

Before the oven

After the oven

After the oven

Before the cheese

Before the cheese

After the cheese

After the cheese

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It turned out delicious.  Both Mike, Kara and I thought that if you didn’t know it was cauliflower, you wouldn’t have been able to tell!

 

 

 

 

 

Happy gaming and happy pizza night!

Surviving February: Slow Cooker Pineapple and Chili Pulled Pork

February is hands down, the worst month of the year for mid-westerners.  It manages to simultaneously never end and speed by, giving the poor chump stuck in a mid-west induced haze of flu, stress, and blizzards, the feeling of slow motion whip lash.  You know it’s happening, but you can’t do anything about it.  Mid-westerners, we are the true survivors.

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Fortunately, February also gives me this frenzied craving for all things tropical.  I window shop for dresses without sleeves and blush inducing lengths.  At work, I keep my sanity while holding on the phone by clicking on EVERY SINGLE travel “get-away” package that I see.  And I make a series of tropical inspired dishes that give me the illusory feeling of controlling my own destiny.  Maybe if I eat enough pineapple. I too will win Travelocity’s “Romantic Caribbean Get-Away” sweepstakes.

It hasn’t happened.  But March is here.  It’s sunny today and I am happy to post pictures of mouthwatering Caribbean spiced pork turned mid-western by virtue of the crock-pot.  I snagged the recipe off of paleopot.com and was glad I did.  The sweetness of the pineapple and the heat from the chilies made me ignore the blizzard outside.  I was so absorbed in the meal I didn’t even notice the snow plow, dutifully stacking snow around my little Vibe, making it impossible to leave.

Maybe getting stuck inside isn't such a bad thing after all...

Maybe getting stuck inside isn’t such a bad thing after all…

Paleo Double Chocolate Donuts

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About 3 weeks ago we celebrated my husband Mikey’s 32nd birthday!  The way I grew up, birthdays are not confined to a solitary party or a nice cake and presents.  Rather, a birthday is an event stretching anywhere from 24-72 hours in which the sole focus of everyone’s attention is celebrating the awesomeness that is you.  My mom even made all of us girls separate tablecloths, used only on our birthdays.  Mine was a spangely magenta masterpiece, while my younger sister favored a light pink velour table runner.  Nice work Mom.
Anyway, I was determined that Mikey was going to have the best birthday EVER despite my raging flu, his three hour night class, and all day meetings.  The morning of, I got up early and drove to get his all-time favorite breakfast: donuts from Dunkin’ Donuts.  I pulled through the drive through and leaned out my window into the frigid mid-western morning and said “Hi, I’m grabbing donuts for my husband’s birthday.  Do you have one double chocolate and one peanut cluster?”  “Sure do”, came the automatic reply.  “Will that be all?  Or can I get you one as well?”
Yes.  Yes I will have a light, fluffy, yeasty chocolate donut with Bavarian cream.  Or a thick, dense powdered sugar donut that leaves my lips frosted with a delectable white ring.  Or a few coy, round donut holes, the bane of the dieters existence but ever dear to my own heart.
“No.”  I replied regretfully.  “That’s all.”
Mike’s birthday passed but I haven’t been able to get the vision of those donuts out of my head!  Finally I decided to get serious, and get a darn donut!  This is my favorite variation of different recipes I have tried to get the perfect double chocolate, paleo friendly donut.
Ingredients: (Donut)

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup cacao powder
  • ¾ tsp baking soda
  • 2 TBS honey
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 TBS strongly brewed coffee
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease the donut pan very well with coconut oil or oil of choice.
  2. Combine all of the dry ingredients and sift to combine.  Make sure to use 100% unsweetened cacoa powder.
  3. Combine wet ingredients except for the eggs and stir to combine.  Add eggs and beat until well combined.  You should be able to pour into molds.  If it is too sticky, add a little bit of water.
  4. Pour into donut mold until 2/3 full.  Bake for 10 minutes, no longer.  Remove from molds while warm.

Ingredients: (Frosting)

  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 ounces unsweetened cacao in bar form
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions:

  1. Heat oil in sauce pan over medium heat until melted.
  2. Add cacao and stir constantly, making sure it doesn’t burn.  Adjust heat as needed.
  3. Add honey and whisk to combine.
  4. Remove sauce pan from heat and add vanilla extract.  Stir well.
  5. Cool to slightly warm.  Dip donuts into chocolate and then let cool.  The frosting will slightly harden as it cools.  Best when slightly warm.
Dunkin' Donuts ain't got nothin' on me!

Dunkin’ Donuts ain’t got nothin’ on me!