Monday, July 21, 2014

How To Make The Best Cauliflower Rice {Paleo Basics}

I don't throw the word "best" around that often (well, maybe I do). I'm not joking with you though—this is seriously the best and only cauliflower rice recipe you'll ever need. I've had to stop myself from just eating an entire head of cauliflower for dinner before.

Ever since I started eating paleo, cauliflower rice has been a staple for my food piles. Exhibit A, B and C. And here is the easy, roasty, toasty, BEST way to make it.


The Best Cauliflower Rice
Paleo, Whole30, Gluten-Free, Vegan and Vegetarian

  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 2 T coconut oil, melted 
  • A sprinkle of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rice the cauliflower using the grater attachment on your food processor. Then toss with melted coconut oil (quickly, or it will re-solidify) and spread evenly on a lined baking sheet. Depending on how much cauliflower you have, you may need two baking sheets. Sprinkle sea salt over the pan(s). Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes, stirring once in the middle. The cauliflower is ready when some of it is toasty brown. EAT.


Thoughts, ideas and other uses:

  • The roasting gives the cauliflower so much more flavor than stovetop cooking ever did.
  • Endless recipes. Endless. I've done everything from cilantro-lime rice to lemon curry rice to paella to pesto risotto to kimchi-bacon fried rice to tabouli... the list goes on. It's my absolute favorite basic paleo recipe.
What are you going to make to go along with this rice? I gots'ta know.

Roasted Broccolini with Curry Sauce

If Isaac Becker knew how much I worship him, he'd probably be pretty creeped out.

For non-Minneapolitans, Isaac Becker is the chef slash restauranteur behind the gastronomic genius that is 112 Eatery, Bar La Grassa and Burch. I count those three restaurants among my favorites in the Twin Cities (maybe of all times) and this recipe is inspired by the absolute best side dish from Burch in Lowry Hill.

I've never wanted to give myself a bigger pat on the back—this turned out fucking amazing.


Roasted Broccolini with Curry Sauce
Inspired by Burch Restaurant in Minneapolis
Paleo, Whole30, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan
  • A bunch of broccolini, leaves and woody ends removed
  • Olive oil
  • Red chili flakes
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • Optional: a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
Preheat the oven to 425. Toss broccolini with olive oil, red chili flakes, sea salt and pepper (and Parmesan, if you like). Spread in an even layer on a lined baking sheet. Roast for 10-15 minutes, turning once in the middle. It's done when it's tender and slightly charred on the ends. Mmmm.

For the sauce:
  • 1 cup mayo
  • 1 T lemon juice
  • 1-2 T curry powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Black pepper and cayenne to taste
Mix everything together, taste, adjust spices, repeat. Once you're happy, thin it out a bit by stirring in some cold water until the consistency is to your liking.


Thoughts, ideas and other uses:

  • It's $7 at Burch and, like, $2 at my house.
  • The original version comes with a a sprinkle of fresh mint and toasted macadamia nuts. Yum.
  • It was my intention to grill the broccolini but then I switched to roasting—let me know if you try that out!


Why are you still here when you should be roasting? Git!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

10 Best Essential Oils for Women's Health {Wellness}

If you'd like to get more into essential oils and DIY skin care products, this lovely mini guide from Henry Happened is a good place to start.

One of my favorites actually isn't on this list. I love the rosemary in Aveda's lip balm—it's sort of medicinal and refreshing at the same time.
via Henry Happened


Do you use any essential oils? Which ones? Tell me everything.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

On Commitment {Worthy Pause of the Week}

Introspection ahead, be warned.

Even after eight months in San Diego, I still feel like I haven't totally committed to Southern California. I know plenty of people who would give everything to live in what is—no exaggeration—paradise, but I feel so bonded to Minneapolis that I make it hard on myself. Minneapolis and I share internal organs, it's disgusting.

I've committed to many things this year: huge career changes, Navy life, a soon-to-be launched side project that means a helluva lot to me... oh, and a husband. But committing to California has been surprisingly hard.

That said, I've been warming up to this corner of the country little by little and am constantly in awe of the beauty surrounding me on a daily basis. And constantly thankful to have met such wonderful people here.

A couple weeks ago, my husband and I spent the weekend in Malibu to see our two great friends get married. Before the ceremony, we spent an afternoon at Zuma Beach... and I certainly felt California growing on me in that moment.

This is where Dawn from the Babysitter's Club lives, right??


Despite all the obstacles I create for myself, I'd truly love to make California feel like home in more than just that physical sense of the word—any sage advice, pals?

Monday, July 14, 2014

Paleo Moussaka-Inspired Greek Ground Beef Skillet

The desperation that I feel when I haven't gone grocery shopping in a while is just stupid. The grocery store is three blocks away. I could easily make that feeling go away.

Instead, I get creative and make food piles.

If you're not familiar with moussaka, it's a Mediterranean casserole (or hot dish, to you Minnesotans) that's quite popular in Greece and the Balkans. Sort of like lasagna, but also like a shepherd's pie. There are layers of meat, tomato sauce and eggplant, topped with a light béchamel sauce.

Just to be clear, this recipe is entirely different from legit moussaka. I spiced this food pile up with similar spices, but I didn't have any eggplant or potato on hand so I improvised by adding some greens, artichokes and olives. Someday, when I have more groceries, I'll make some real moussaka and post it.


Moussaka-Inspired Greek Ground Beef Skillet
Paleo, Whole30-approved and Gluten-free
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • Cooking oil (ghee or coconut oil or whatever you like)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can or bag of frozen artichokes
  • 1 bag of frozen spinach
  • 1/3 cup sliced green and Kalamata olives
  • 2 T dried oregano
  • 1 T paprika
  • 1 tsp fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or just to taste)
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup leftover marinara (hey, it works!)
  • Optional: Mix in a whisked egg as soon as you take it off the heat—that's the moussaka way.
  • Optional: Crumble of feta, maybe a drizzle of tzatziki on top
Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté the onions for a couple minutes, then add the garlic for another minute, then the spice mix for another 30 seconds before you throw in the meat. Brown the meat. Add the artichokes, spinach, vinegar and marinara and simmer until everything is hot. Take the pan off the burner and mix in a whisked egg (if you like), add feta or yogurt (if you like) and then EAT.


Thoughts, ideas and other uses:
  • I made a tzatziki-like sauce (Greek yogurt, fresh dill, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper) to go with this and the combo was phenomenal. If you eat yogurt, do that.
  • You could also consider adding sun-dried tomatoes and other vegetables to this thing.
  • Layer this with eggplant and béchamel, real-deal moussaka-style.
  • Try a Greek shepherd's pie with mashed cauliflower or sweet potato.
  • If food piles are your thing, I think you might also like this chimichurri pile or chorizo Brussels sprouts slaw.
And now, go forth and make your own food pile and tell me all about it in the comments below.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Simple 3-Ingredient Paleo Banana Pancakes

I've never been a banana person—at least not a raw banana person. I like the banana as a concept and as a flavor, but it's a textural thing. Straight from the peel? Um, not that interested. Smashed, smoothied, baked or fried bananas? Sure, give them all to me.

Additionally, I'm not that into sweet breakfast foods. I would never, ever, ever order regular pancakes unless they were savory (like corn cakes topped with jalapeños and chorizo or something). They just don't jive with me when I could be eating a big scramble or eggs Benedict or anything better than a stupid pancake.

As you can imagine, it's a bit of a surprise that I'm so obsessed with these paleo banana pancakes. I've been making flapjacks this way for about a year and I can't get enough. They are just sweet enough that they sort of feel like a treat. They are easy enough to make everyday (but don't)—they only require three ingredients and about 5 minutes.

Every paleo blogger seems to have their own version of paleo pancakes, and this is mine. It makes one big pancake.

The best paleo pancakes, I swear.


Simple 3-Ingredient Paleo Banana Pancakes
Paleo, gluten-free, grain-free

  • 1 extra ripe banana, mashed up
  • 1 egg, scrambled
  • 1 T of ghee
  • A sprinkle of sea salt (shhhh, not counting this as an ingredient!)

Mix up the banana and the egg in a bowl. Melt ghee in a large non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Once it's hot, pour the pancake "batter" into the pan in an even layer. Cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until nearly cooked through to the top. Flip using two spatulas (I use one flipper and one silicon baking spatula to help). Cook for 1-2 minutes and then EAT.

Thoughts, ideas and other uses:
  • The banana should be pretty ripe so it smashes easily, like the one pictured above.
  • My favorite thing is to throw some chocolate chips in there and devour for dessert. It gets messy.
  • Add cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice for a slightly spiced version.
  • No need for syrup or extra butter/ghee—these hot cakes are pretty sweet and rich as is. If you want to add some, that's your business.
  • They are not Whole30-approved, which sort of irks me because eggs and bananas are both Whole30-approved—why not together? The reason is because it's kind of like a "treat" and a paleo version of something non-paleo, which could trigger some carb/sugar-cravings. So I get it, but I don't get it... ya know?

Do you have a favorite paleo pancake recipe? Please share in the comments!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Thursday, June 26, 2014

An August Adventure {Worthy Pause of the Week}

Midnight Sun, here we come...

My husby (husby?! WTF) and I just booked our honeymoon to Iceland in August and I'm out of my mind with excitement. Lagoons, volcanos, mountains and waterfalls are great... but most importantly, this trip is a much-needed 10-day pause button on the stress and responsibility of our regular lives.

We are both big travelers (historically, at least), but this is the first big trip we've taken together in a while (the last being Peru, where we ended up stranded at Lake Titicaca during a huge mining strike and then Afsheen got food poisoning... and both events were equally terrifying). I am sure we will have better fortune in Iceland—and at least if we end up stranded, we'll have a lot of pretty things to look at.


My new bathtub.

What's next on your travel bucket list?

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Gajar Halwa i.e. Carrot Cardamom Paleo Dessert {Clicking Around}

I was thrilled to discover another Indian paleo blogger recently—Ashley at My Heart Beets. She's got a whole archive of awesome recipes that I can't wait to try (hello, NAAN), but I decided to start with this easy (and traditionally super-sweet) carrot halwa dessert for an Indian dinner party I had a while back.


I made only a few tweaks to this sweet treat, and here's how it went down.

Gajar Halwa Mithai 
Original recipe by My Heart Beets
Paleo and Gluten-Free

5 cups of grated organic carrots
2 cans of full-fat coconut milk
4 tablespoons ghee (or coconut oil)
2 tablespoons honey (the carrots are sweet, so you don't need much!)
1.25 teaspoons of ground cardamom
1/4 cup (or more) raisins
2 tablespoons of crushed pistachios

Using a big Dutch oven-style pot, sauté‎ the carrots in ghee over medium heat for about 10 minutes. Then add the coconut milk and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the cardamom, honey and raisins, and then continue simmering until the coconut milk cooks waaaaay down. This process takes quite a while, but it's mostly passive so I spent that time prepping dinner ingredients. Once it's cooked down, you can eat it as a hot pudding (that's what I preferred!) or cool it into fudgy bars.


Thoughts, ideas and other uses:
-My bars didn't stay in fudge-form for long out of the fridge, which is why I preferred the leftovers as a warm pudding.
-Adding the raisins earlier (vs. at the end, in the original recipe) ensures that they'll be re-plumped by the time you eat, which is delicious.
-You can also add chopped apple to this or datenpaste to cut down on the honey.
-You could substitute the cardamom for cinnamon, clove, ginger, etc. and create a totally different flavor of halwa.
-I served this at a party with Goan Fish Curry as the main course, plus a few other things I'll post soon!

Anybody have any other great Indian paleo recipes I should try?

Monday, June 23, 2014

Chimichurri Grilled Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower Rice

Monday, you sneaky beast.

This herby paleo chicken recipe is one to have in your pocket for weeknight dinners (like Mondays). I like that both the nutrition and the flavors are balanced (a little sweet, little savory and a little spicy). It's easy to make all the components in bulk ahead of time (I try to bake a bunch of sweet potatoes early in the week so I have them readily available). Then you can throw everything together in less than 10 minutes when you're ready to eat. One-pot meals and food piles are my favorite.

Now that we own the best grill ever and use it almost every day, I'm going to be making it OFTEN this summer.

Food pile!

Chimichurri Grilled Chicken with Sweet Potatoes and Cauliflower Rice
Paleo, Whole30, Gluten-Free-3 sweet potatoes
-1 head cauliflower, riced in the food processor or grated
-1-2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
-Sea salt to taste (for the cauliflower)
-3 lbs. chicken thighs
-Spice rub (just eyeball it): sea salt, black pepper, paprika, cayenne
-As much chimichurri as you like (I used about 1 tablespoon per chicken thigh)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Poke a couple of holes in the sweet potatoes with a fork, set on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake for about 40-60 minutes, depending on the size. Prep the cauliflower, toss it with coconut oil or ghee, lightly salt it and then spread in one layer on a lined baking sheet. Throw in the cauliflower rice to roast for 30 minutes. The cauliflower might need to be stirred up after 20 minutes. It's done when it's starting to brown.While the veggies and starches are baking, preheat the grill, prepare the chimichurri and set that aside. Rub the chicken with the spices and grill for about 6-8 minutes on one side, 3-4 minutes after flipping. When everything is fully cooked, cube the chicken and sweet potatoes and toss with the chimichurri and cauliflower. You can do this in a bowl or give it a quick sauté in a large pan if you need to reheat anything. Then EAT.Thoughts, Ideas and Other Uses:
-Again, the ease of this recipe comes from the make-ahead capability. Bake up lots of cauliflower rice and sweet potatoes early in the week to use for all sorts of quick dishes.
-If you can't tell, I love the just-add-cauliflower-rice method with leftovers. Use this formula to make all kinds of paleo fried rices and one-pot meals.
-This would be so good with strip steak too. SO GOOD.
-No more thoughts. It's Monday.

More new recipes coming your way in the next few weeks—I know I've been slacking a bit on that lately. :)

Friday, June 20, 2014

TGIF {Worthy Pause Of The Week}

Lil' Jon, despite the fact that I pulled all the muscles dancing to your song at my wedding, this weekend I will be turning it down... and it's gonna be fantastic. 

I'm a little late on this week's worthy pause, but it's been a busy one between my consulting work and the two cuddly greyhounds staying with us. Daisy and Barney are curled up next to me as I type, and Barney is definitely dream-chasing a rabbit.


I've never been so ready for the weekend. I have zero scheduled plans for the first time in weeks, maybe even months. The dogs are forcing an early-riser existence on us, so instead of about it whining (like I did this morning at 5:30 a.m.), I'm going to try my best to actually enjoy the extra hours in the day by (finally) working on our garden and doing some cooking for y'all this weekend.

What are you up do this weekend?
P.S. My pal Archana at my socal'd life asked me to share my rituals on her blog—check it (and her other awesome posts about life in San Diego) here! All of my rituals are also fit for an elderly person, unsurprisingly.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Goan Fish Curry

Helloooo, curry. Fish curry, to be precise.

I hosted an Indian feast a few weeks ago, and decided Goan fish curry would make a perfect main course (along with a few other dishes that I will share on WP too, in case you want to recreate this dinner party at your house... plz invite me). Unlike most recipes on this blog, this curry does require multiple steps and one or two not-so-typical ingredients, but the result is worth the extra trouble.


Goa is known for its fish curry in the same way that Minneapolis is known for Jucy Lucys and San Diego is known for fish tacos—it's THE dish. There are countless styles of curry around India, but this coastal version is unique thanks to the tangy tamarind. It winds up taking on a flavor that's bright and tropical.


Goan Fish Curry
Paleo, Gluten-Free + Whole30-approved
2 lbs firm white fish (I used hake loins from Costco, which come in the frozen section)
1 lemon
The masala below
1 jalapeño, chopped finely
2 cans of coconut milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil or ghee
Salt, to taste (cayenne to taste if you realize it's not as spicy as you think)
Optional: fresh chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons tamarind paste (I used the jarred concentrate from Whole Foods, but if you can find real tamarind paste at an Asian grocer, it will be a heck of a lot better)
1 onion
2 tomatoes
8 dried red chilies (I used arbol chilies)
3 large garlic cloves
2 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chili powder
Optional: 1/2 cup of shredded coconut

First, it's masala-making time. Masala is just "spice mix." You can even do this ahead of time if you want. Put the tamarind, onion, tomatoes, red chilies, garlic, ginger, shredded coconut, cumin, coriander, turmeric and chili powder into a food processor and mix until very smooth.

Marinate the fish for about 8 minutes in lemon juice with a sprinkle of salt. In a large pot (a stockpot is great), fry the masala and chopped jalapeño in coconut oil for 10 minutes. Add coconut milk and simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the fish and cook until the fish is cooked, about 4-8 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces. Serve immediately with cauliflower rice or regular rice or a bunch of vegetables.


Ideas, thoughts and other uses:
-You could easily make this with shrimp or another meat too.
-I was worried this was going to be too spicy, but it was actually rather mild. Goan curry is traditionally very spicy, so don't be afraid of the chilies. I suggest working your way up though since all chilies are different. As I noted above, have some cayenne on hand if you need to punch it up at the end.

Anyhoo, see you at your dinner party. I'll bring the wine.