Asparagus Breakfast Skillet

Breakfast has been a bit of a challenge on the Auto Immune Protocol. Luckily, I happened upon this delicious veggie skillet and have been eating it like a fiend! It’s really flavorful and still tastes like breakfast. Pair it with a banana and coconut milk whipped cream and you’re in business!

image

Ingredients:
5-6 small to medium asparagus stocks
3 pieces of bacon
1 cup shredded golden beet
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Salt (and pepper if you can have it) to taste

Directions:
1. Wash, chop, and shred veggies. Cut bacon into bite sized pieces.
2. Heat coconut oil over medium heat in a medium sized skillet for about 2 minutes and then add beets. Cover with lid and cook for about 5 minutes.
3. The beets should be getting brown on the bottom. Flip them with your spatula and add the asparagus to your skillet. Cover again for 3 minutes.
4. Remove cover and use spatula to shift beets if they are starting to burn. Add bacon. Don’t cover but continue to shift them around occasionally, checking frequently to prevent burning. Cook for about 5 minutes and remove from heat.
5. Salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy!

image

Chicken and squash soup

I’ve been battling a mild flare for the last couple months. It’s frustrating and discouraging after two years of being virtually flare free to be struggling again. Luckily it’s relatively small, at least compared to previous flares, and doesn’t seem to be getting worse. One step I’ve taken this past month is to try the paleo auto immune protocol. It’s designed to eliminate common irritants and has a whole science of its own, but suffice it to say, this month in addition to the rest of the food I don’t eat, I’ve added nuts, seeds and seed based spices, nightshades, dairy and eggs. Ugh.

I kind of hate it but I keep reminding myself that it’s not forever, that healing comes first, and that it’s a privilege to live in a country where it is possible to make these kind of choices for myself. One food that we’ve been eating fairly regularly, as in multiple times a week, is this simple soup. I buy a whole chicken every week, roast it, and use half the chicken to make this and the bones to make bone broth.

image

We love it. It’s simple, rich and filling. Perfect for the AIP. My biggest fans have actually been my in laws who are about as far from being paleo as humanly possible.

Ingredients:
The meat from a roasted chicken, about 3 cups
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1 cup acorn squash (about 1/2 squash)
2 cups spinach
2 cups bone broth
2 cups water
Salt and pepper, or simply salt

Directions:
1. Add chicken, carrots, butternut squash, bone broth and water to a pot and bring to a boil. Adjust heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
2. Roast or microwave acorn squash (40 minutes in the oven at 375 or 6 minutes in the microwave). Once cooked, add to pot.
3. Chop or tear spinach. Add after 20 minutes and simmer for an additional 5.  Remove from heat and add salt.
4. Serve and enjoy!

For more information about the auto immune protocol, I recommend reading The Paleo Approach by Dr. Sarah Ballantyne.

Strawberry Shortcake with Coconut Flour

Once again, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted but I wanted to post some pictures of the incredible grain-free Strawberry Shortcake that I made for my birthday!  I used the recipe last July for some patriotic triffle and was excited to see that Jenni, over at the Urban Poser, had made it into a cake as well.
IMG_20140401_113321
It was incredible and does not taste grain-free at all.  It’s dense, like a lot of coconut flour recipes, but very moist, sweet and the coconut whip cream gives it a sort of airiness.

I used 9 inch pans so my creation did not turn out as ethereal and lovely as Jenni’s but it was mouthwateringly delicious and a definite crowd pleaser.  Find the recipe and instructions here!

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.

IMG_20140211_084423

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.

Image

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.

Image

Amy’s Paleo Shower:

Strawberry Shortcake Meringue Cupcakes

Image

Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies (in Danielle’s book)

Image

Watermelon Arugula and Feta Salad

Image

Almond Thyme Crackers and Baked Brie (from Roost Blog)

Image

Black Mission Fig Jam (in Danielle’s book)

Image

Lemony Apple Carrot Bombs (from The Urban Poser)

ImageImage

 

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.

Image

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”.

IMG_2163

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.

IMG_2145

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!

IMG_2134

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

IMG_2098

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.

IMG_2110

 

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.

IMG_2101

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.  :)

IMG_2108

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

IMG_2105