Prosciutto Wraps!

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After a long summer, I’m headed back to my second year of grad school.  One of the best things about summer has been having the time to garden and cook!  Now that the crush of the school year is upon us again, I’ll be making a lot of these quick, easy wraps.  These prosciutto wraps are yummy, surprisingly filling, and so quick to make!  With the ingredients on hand, I can make them in less than five minutes.  Served with fresh figs and homemade refrigerator pickles, it’s the perfect summer meal.

Ingredients: (Serves 1)

2 Strips of prosciutto (Trader Joe’s sells a SCD and Paleo friendly brand)

Prepared Mustard to taste

2 pickles

2 slices of SCD legal cheese

1/4 of a small avocado cut in slices

A handful of lettuce

Directions:

1.) Spread mustard on the slices of prosciutto.  Assemble pickles, avocado and cheese on one side of the prosciutto and roll it up.  Enjoy!

Sesame seed encrusted Salmon salad with Creamy Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette

Since getting a new grill for my birthday, Mike and I have been grilling something or other almost every single night! This salad is quick, easy, and incredibly delicious!  Start to finish, it takes me less than 20 minutes to create and has become a go-to in our house for weeknight meals.  The Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette is delicious and I usually make extra to carry with me in my purse for lunches out.

Sesame seed encrusted salmon

Sesame Ginger Vinaigrette: Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil

1 TBS toasted sesame seed oil

1 clove garlic

1 inch knob fresh ginger

2 TBS coconut aminos

2 TBS rice vinegar

1 tsp honey

1/4 tsp prepared mustard

S/P to taste

Directions:

1.) Place all ingredients into a container and blend.  I find that my immersion blender whips up the creamiest version of this vinaigrette that won’t separate.  For a more traditional vinaigrette, grate ginger and mince garlic and then emulsify.

Sesame seed encrusted Salmon salad: Ingredients

1/4 cup sesame seeds

2 tsp red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

6 cups mixed greens

2 large carrots

1 ounce shaved romano cheese

2 (6 ounce) wild salmon fillets

Directions:

1.) Pre-heat grill on medium heat.

2.) Mix greens with shaved carrots.  Shave romano cheese over the top of the salad.  Set aside.

3.) Mix sesame seeds, s/p. and red pepper flakes.  Coat salmon fillets with mixture.

4.) Grill on both sides for 5 minutes.  Depending on how hot your grill gets, it should be medium rare in the middle.

5.) Serve on top of salad and enjoy!

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!

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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!

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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.

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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.
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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 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.

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.