Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Veggie french fry platter

Bailey, the cat, and Nika, the 100-pound malamute, get their beauty sleep side by side.
 Happy New Year from me and the fur kids! We'll be all cozy snoozing together long before midnight tonight.
Veggie french fries, including delicata squash, golden beet and carrot
 Welcome the New Year with a healthy platter of veggie french fries.
 Here's what you need for 1 serving:

1 small delicata squash, peeled and seeded
1 zucchini
1 golden beet
1/2 yellow onion
1 medium carrot, peeled
1 avocado
1 steamed broccoli crown, broken into florets
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper
olive oil
2 handfuls mixed greens
 Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper. Set aside and prep your veggies. Peel and seed 1 small delicata squash. Slice squash into french fries. Repeat with zucchini and carrot. Scrub your beet and slice into rounds. Slice 1/4 onion.

Spread all of these veggies onto your baking sheets. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss with your hands to distribute. Place baking sheets in the oven. Roast veggies for about 20-30 minutes. Remove veggies as they get crispy.
While veggies are roasting, make your guacamole. Into your food processor, put broccoli you steamed earlier, avocado meat, other 1/4 onion, lime juice and salt and pepper. Process until guac is thick but creamy.

Put greens on a plate. Arrange fries all over the top and ladle on a generous portion of guac.

Enjoy this New Year's meal knowing you're starting the new year with a healthy meal.

Misha gets all cozy to welcome in the New Year!
The fur kids keep telling me they would love to hear how cute you all think they are. I promise it won't go to their heads.

Recipe contributed to:  http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2014/01/01/paleo-aip-recipe-roundtable-8/#more-8387



Saturday, December 28, 2013

Holiday stuffed acorn squash

Bailey, the cat, redecorates the tree.
The best part of my Christmas tree has been watching my cat, Bailey, entertain himself with all the ornaments. We don't put anything fancy on our tree because we know Bailey will be up to his tricks of batting down ornaments and carrying them off. It's worth it to retrieve an ornament or two because Bailey has so much fun!
Holiday stuffed acorn squash
Christmas dinner is a little different around our house because I am on the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) which means lots of foods are off my menu. The rest of the clan can eat whatever they want. 

This year, I made an amazing stuffed acorn squash. It was filled with all kinds of colorful veggies, which are important to healing on the AIP.

Here's what you need for 2 servings:

1 acorn squash, halved
1 beet, washed, scrubbed and sliced (I used a golden beet.)
8 brussel sprouts, cleaned, trimmed and halved
handful of fresh or frozen cranberries
1 zucchini, sliced into rounds
1 broccoli crown, separated into florets
2-3 chard stalks
1 cup cabbage
1/4 yellow onion, sliced
2 stalks celery, diced
baby greens
olive oil
salt and pepper

Here's what you do:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Use roast setting if available. Line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Halve and seed acorn squash. Drizzle each half with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in a pan filled with 1 cup water, and put into the oven. Squash will take approximately 30 minutes to cook.

Prepare the broccoli, beet, brussel sprouts and zucchini for roasting in the oven. Distribute all of these on the baking sheets. Spray with olive oil, season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 20-30 minutes.

While these veggies are roasting, prepare your squash stuffing from the onion, chard, celery and cabbage. Roughly chop all of these veggies and place in a large skillet with olive oil. Saute until tender. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

About 10 minutes before the veggies in the oven are done, add your cranberries to one of the baking sheets. Roast until the cranberries pop.

Once everything is done, assemble your bountiful veggie stuffed squash. Place the acorn squash on top of a bed of greens. Scoop a generous portion of veggie squash stuffing into the acorn squash. Arrange one half of the other  veggies on top and dot with a few cranberries. Season with more salt and pepper, and drizzle with olive oil, if desired.

"Hey, I was here first!"
Recipe contributed to: http://www.rickiheller.com/2013/12/wellness-weekend-december-26-30-2013/

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Holiday squash boats with cauliflower rice

Holiday squash boats with cauliflower rice
The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol diet (AIP) can appear to be pretty boring to someone who can eat whatever they want. After all, you have to eliminate many foods, including dairy, grains, legumes, nightshade vegetables, eggs, nuts and seeds.

This past week, I went on a business trip that required 14 hours of driving over the course of two days. Past trips of this kind left me in crippling pain and digestive distress for weeks afterwards. I stuck to the AIP and carried along all my own food. Bottom line, the trip didn't set me back one bit.

One of our associates on the trip remarked that eating like I do must be "pretty boring." I thought to myself, "Yes, it may be boring but look who's soaring" in terms of recovering from formerly debilitating symptoms.

I did exist on soup and butternut squash pudding I packed along in an ice chest while I was away from home. But I'll trade boring food any day for having reduced pain.

Once back in my kitchen, I whipped up a festive, colorful and anything-but-boring dish, called Holiday Squash Boats with Cauliflower Rice.

Here's what you need for two servngs:

1 delicata squash or other winter squash
1/2 medium cauliflower
2 stalks celery
1/4 yellow onion
1 small carrot
olive oil
salt and pepper
small handful of fresh cranberries
1 beet, sliced
2 hand fulls of baby greens
1/2 avocado
Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Use "roast" setting if available. Gather 2 baking sheets and line them with parchment paper.

Prepare your veggies. Cut delicata squash in half and scoop out seeds. Peel and dice carrot. Dice and slice onion and celery. Rice your cauliflower in your food processor. Scrub the beet and cut into slices.

Place squash face down on one baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Put into the oven for about 30 minutes or until tender.

Spread the beets out on another baking sheet. Sprinkle the cranberries on this sheet as well. Spritz with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Place in the oven. Roast until tender, about 25-30 minutes for the beets, and 10 minutes for the cranberries.

In the meantime, saute the onion, carrot and celery in olive oil in a large skillet. Once the veggies are tender, add the riced cauliflower and continue cooking.

Dice up the avocado and set aside.

"Mom, your food's not boring but then again, I think this drippy water faucet is fascinating!"
For serving, peel the skin from the squash. Lay each squash boat on a bed of greens and spoon cauliflower pilaf into the cavity of the squash.Sprinkle on avocado, cranberries and beets, cut into matchsticks. I hope you'll agree this is anything but boring food!

Recipe contributed to:  http://www.rickiheller.com/2013/12/wellness-weekend-december-19-23-2013/#more-21512



Friday, December 13, 2013

Chimi-chimi roasted veggies

"Mom told us to share."
The Paleo Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) and anti-candida diet (ACD) have many similarities. However, switching to AIP has made all the difference for me.

Here is a quick comparison.


No grains                                                                             

No legumes                                                                        

No refined sugar                                                                 
(honey okay)                                                                        

No dairy                                                                              

No eggs                                                                               

Cultured veggies in abundance                                               

No nightshade veggies                                                           

No soy                                                                                   

No nuts, seeds                                                                       

Veggies and fruit, good                                                             


Grains allowed in moderation after phase 1

Legumes allowed in moderation after phase 1

No refined sugars (low-glycemic sweeteners such as coconut sugar after phase 1)

No dairy, unless lactose-free yogurt

Eggs okay

Cultured veggies good

Veggies with limited fruit

Soy okay

Nuts and seeds okay in moderation
Roasted veggies with chimichurri sauce

 Making the additional eliminations on the AIP have helped me heal. Of course, I still avoid most fruit, with the exception of berries. Adding cultured veggies which are rich in good bacteria has aided my recovery as well. Here is a recipe I have been using to make sauerkraut. http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/05/08fail-no-pound-sauerkraut/ 

The bulk of my diet is veggies which offer tons of healing properties. Here is one of my favorite veggie-full recipes: Chimi-Chimi roasted veggies, AKA roasted veggies with chimichurri sauce.

Here's what you need for the roasted veggies:

1 carrot, peeled, cut in half lengthwise
2 zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
1 red or yellow onion, cut into large chunks
2 handfuls of mixed greens
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
parchment paper-lined baking sheet

Here's what you need for the chimichurri sauce:

1 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup + olive oil
1/4 tsp. garlic granules
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped green onion

Here's what you do for the roasted veggies:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Set to roast setting, if available. Place cut veggies on a large parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for about 20+ minutes or until fork tender.

Here's what you do for the chimichurri sauce:

Put all your ingredients in your food processor and puree until  blended. 

To serve, cut veggies into bite-sized pieces and toss with chimichurri sauce in a bowl. Serve on a bed of greens.

"Is this your idea of sharing?"

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas parfaits, paleo

"We love this fluffy white stuff."
Really cold temperatures ought to come with snow, don't you think? That's what I've been thinking for about two weeks of below normal temperatures and no snow. Be careful what you wish for! Today, we received three inches of snow.
The snow pups were about as excited as I've seen them. Nika, the malamute, raced around the house at 6 a.m. and jumped on everyone's closed bedroom door to wake them up and share the good news!

Paleo Christmas Parfaits
Misha and Nika wanted us to share in the fun of romping in the snow. Freezing cold temps and snow can really help work up an appetite. Good thing I had made some Christmas Parfaits. Yes, I realize it's a little early for Christmas but the tri-color parfaits remind me of Christmas.

Here's what you need:

1 can full-fat coconut, divided (I used Natural Value with no added starches or thickeners, and comes in a BPA-free can.)
1 ripe avocado
Juice of 1 lime
1 T. gelatin from grassfed cows
vanilla stevia, to taste
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
homemade cranberry sauce

Tri-color parfaits
 Here's what you do:

Pour the coconut milk into a small saucepan.Sprinkle the coconut milk in the saucepan with 1 T. of gelatin. Allow to set for about one minute. Then, heat the coconut milk to a boil while whisking constantly to dissolve the gelatin. Allow the mixture to cool slightly. Pour off half of the coconut milk into a small bowl. Pour the remainder of the milk into your food processor and blend with the avocado, lime juice, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, pinch of sea salt and stevia, to taste.

Divide the avocado-coconut milk mixture among 3-4 parfait cups to make the green layer. Put the cups into the fridge to firm up the green layer.
In the meantime, prepare the white layer. Use the remaining coconut milk-gelatin mixture. Stir in 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and stevia, to taste. When the the green layer is somewhat firm, spoon this white-layer mixture on top. Return the cups to the fridge.

Now, prepare your cranberry sauce. I use one package of fresh cranberries, 1/4 cup water and stevia, to taste. In a small saucepan, boil the uncovered cranberries in water until they are popped, soft and thickened. Remove from heat and stir in stevia. Scoop the cranberry sauce into a container and place in the fridge to chill.

To serve the parfaits, spoon on cranberry sauce to create the red layer in your Christmas parfaits.

Recipe contributed to:


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Spaghetti squash a la Brussel Sprouts

"Hey, Mom, need some help eating these groceries?"
 Misha, my husky, loves to ride in the car. He also loves to sample my culinary creations. Ha!Ha! Like I'm going to share my Spaghetti Squash a la Brussel Sprouts.
Spaghetti squash a la Brussel Sprouts
 Spaghetti squash is one my favorites because it's versatile, full of flavor and low starch. I used it as the base for my pile-up of many of my other favorite veggies, including brussel sprouts, zucchini and spinach.You choose the accompanying protein. Don't forget a dollop of tart cranberries on top. This veggie dish is so colorful! Doesn't it kind of have a Christmas-color theme?
 Here's what you need for one serving:

1 spaghetti squash
2 handfuls of baby spinach
8 brussel sprouts
1 zucchini
1 beet
1/4 yellow onion
olive oil
salt and pepper
Optional: homemade cranberry sauce
 Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Choose oven "roast" setting if available. I like to cook my spaghetti squash in the oven because they come out more flavorful. But the microwave works too and is much faster. For the oven method, half your squash lengthwise down the middle. Scoop out the seeds. Place the two halves face down in a large baking dish filled with water. Spritz the spaghetti squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, if desired, before placing in the baking dish. Bake for about 45 minutes or until tender. Optional oven method: prick the spaghetti squash with a knife and roast it whole. This takes longer--probably about 60+ minutes. For the microwave method, prick the whole squash and place in a microwave container. Microwave for about 12+ minutes. Check doneness by inserting a fork.

Let the spaghetti squash cool and scoop out the squash. Set aside.

Prepare the other veggies. Wash and halve brussel sprouts. Cut zucchini diagonally into slices. Scrub beet and cut into slices. (Your choice to leave skin on or peel.) Distribute veggies on a large baking sheet, covered with parchment paper. Spritz veggies with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Roast until tender, approximately 15-20 minutes. Keep a eye on the veggies because some may get done before others.

While the veggies are roasting, slice your onion. Saute in a large skillet with olive oil. Once tender, add in the spaghetti squash and spinach. Continue cooking until the squash is heated and spinach wilted. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, place the squash/spinach mixture on a plate. Arrange your other veggies on top. If desired, crown the pile up with a dollop of homemade cranberry sauce. Make this by cooking one bag of fresh cranberries with 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Cook the cranberries until they are soft. Sweeten with stevia, to taste. Put the cooked cranberries in the fridge to chill.

Recipe contributed to:  http://www.rickiheller.com/2013/12/wellness-weekend-december-5-9-2013/#more-21394


Saturday, November 30, 2013

Yuletide veggies

Yuletide veggies
 Are you a Christmas person? Or are you someone who slowly warms up to the idea of the holidays? I guess I fit into the later category. But for some reason, even my food is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Chard, green beans, cauliflower mash and beets provide the perfect combination for a colorful holiday meal. Add your choice of protein to yuletide veggies  to make a complete meal or serve as a side dish. I guarantee you'll start warming up to the idea of the holiday season when you eat this meal!
 Here's what you need for 1 main dish or 2 side dish servings:

1/2 head of  small cauliflower
12 green beans, trimmed
1 beet, peeled and sliced
1 head of Swiss chard
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
salt and pepper
olive oil 
1/4 cup coconut milk or other milk

 Here's what you do:

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare your veggies. Cut cauliflower into small pieces. Trim green beans. Peel and slice beet. Wash and chop Swiss chard. Thinly slice the onion.

Roast the cauliflower, green beans, 1/4 onion and beet in your oven for about 15+ minutes. Green beans will be ready first, followed by cauliflower and then beets. 

Make the cauliflower mash by transferring roasted cauliflower and onion slices to food processor. Add salt and pepper, to taste, and coconut milk. Pulse until cauliflower is pureed. Add additional liquid, if needed. Set aside.

In a large skillet, heat drizzle of olive oil. Add remaining onion slices and saute until tender. Next, add chopped chard and continue to saute until chard is tender. Season with salt and pepper. 

To serve, put a generous portion of chard on your plate. Next, spoon on the cauliflower mash. Arrange green beans and beets, sliced into matchsticks, on top.

Am I cute or what?
Recipe contributed to: http://www.rickiheller.com/2013/11/wellness-weekend-november-28-december-2-2013/



Sunday, November 24, 2013

Avocado joy bars

Feline/canine buddies
Thanksgiving is just four days away but right now, I'll have to admit I am more focused on just trying to find things I can eat on a day-to-day basis while following the Paleo Autoimmune Protocol. This elimination diet for individuals with autoimmune disorders can be quite limiting but especially if you throw in the candida/bacterial overgrowth factor.

Avocado JOY bars
Avocado JOY bars are something I can eat right now and not feel overwhelmingly limited by my low starch/low carb/paleo diet. They are patterned after my Lemon Bars http://catsinthekitchen.blogspot.com/2013/11/lemon-bars-no-seeds-nuts-grain.html 

Both recipes have lots of good stuff but this latest one has a full avocado added. Avocadoes are great nutrition for anyone but make a nutritious staple for anyone on the anti-candida diet  or autoimmune protocol.

Here's what you need for the crust:

(makes about 6 bars)

3 T. coconut flour
3 T. finely shredded coconut flakes
3 T. coconut oil or coconut oil/coconut butter blend (softened)

Here's what you need for the filling:

1 ripe avocado
2 T. coconut butter (softened)
2-3 T. coconut milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
liquid vanilla stevia, to taste
juice of 1 lemon
1-2 T. coconut flakes (any size, you pick)
extra coconut butter for drizzling on top

 Here's what you do:

Press the filling ingredients into a 5 X 7 loaf pan (silicone works best). Put the loaf pan into the freezer to harden up the crust. In the meantime, blend the avocado, lemon juice, stevia, vanilla, coconut milk and coconut butter in a food processor.

Remove the pan with crust from the freezer. Spread the filling on top of the crust. Sprinkle on coconut flakes and drizzle on additional softened coconut butter. Just as easy as the original lemon bars and no seeds, grains, nuts but with the additional nutrition and flavor of an avocado. You will need to place them in the freezer for a few minutes before cutting into bars.

Recipe contributed to: http://www.rickiheller.com/2013/11/wellness-weekend-november-21-25-2013/



Friday, November 22, 2013

Winter veggie pile-up for Thanksgiving

 Bailey, the cat, spent hours trying to figure out how to "catch" a leaf that was plastered to the outside of the window by a rain and wind storm. Once again, this proves that cats have dogged determination, just like their dog buddies, who in this case, provided the moral support.

 While Bailey and canine sidekick kept busy with the leaf project, I was whipping up a delicious dish that would be perfect for Thanksgiving or anytime. It was not only tasty, but visually appealing and chocked with nutrition. Add your protein of choice to make a complete meal.

Here's what you need for 2 servings:

1 delicata squash or similar small squash
6 brussel sprouts
1 beet
6 or more large kale leaves
1/2 small yellow onion
salt and pepper
olive oil

Here's what you do:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line several baking sheets with parchment paper. Wash, trim and cut brussel sprouts in half. Cut squash in half and remove seeds. Peel and cut beet into slices. Toss all veggies with olive oil and salt and pepper. Spread veggies on baking sheets and roast until golden and tender. Times vary but brussel sprouts will take about 15 minutes, squash 20-30 minutes and beets 20+ minutes.

In the meantime, slice onion and cut kale into small pieces. Saute the kale with onions until tender. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, pile half of kale on a plate. Top with half a squash. Cut beet slices into small pieces. Arrange remaining veggies on top.

Recipe contributed to:


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Eat-your-broccoli cupcakes with carrot-coconut frosting, AIP-friendly

Mom makes yummy cupcakes, AIP-friendly! Even I can eat them!
I never thought I could make cupcakes or muffins without being able to use one of the traditional binders, such as eggs, or chia or flax seed. But I did it! Now, I've been enjoying muffins for breakfast, snacks or dinner. Want to know the secret ingredient?

Eat-your-broccoli cupcakes with carrot-coconut frosting

 The secret is using gelatin eggs. Make the equivalent of various quantities of  eggs by mixing gelatin from grassfed cows with water.

I love broccoli but it tastes even more delicious when transformed into a cupcake.

Here's what you need for the cupcakes:

1 gelatin egg (directions below) Note: if not following the AIP diet, you may use 1 organic egg or 2 flax or chia eggs instead.
1 cup steamed broccoli
2 T. coconut flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 avocado
Drizzle of coconut milk if needed to thin out batter
Drop of stevia

Here's what you need for the carrot-coconut frosting:

1 tsp. gelatin (For a vegan, non-AIP version, use 1/4 tsp. xanthum gum.)
1 can full-fat coconut milk
2 carrots, peeled and steamed
stevia, to taste
1 tsp. vanilla extract, no alcohol

 Here's what you do:

For the cupcakes:

Mix up your gelatin egg. Take 1 tsp. gelatin and sprinkle it on 3 T. cold water. Mix the gelatin and water with a spoon. Add 7 tsp. boiling water and stir until gelatin dissolved. Place this mixture in the freezer until thickened.

Take steamed broccoli, coconut flour, avocado and stevia, thickened gelatin mixture, and place in a food processor. Blend until mixed into your cupcake batter. Add a drizzle of coconut milk if needed to get everything to blend. Spoon the dough into 3-4 sections of a silicone cupcake pan. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until tops become slightly browned and firm. Remove from the oven and allow to completely cool before attempting to remove the cupcakes. If you try to remove the cupcakes too soon, they will fall apart. Place in the fridge to hasten the cooling.

In the meantime, make your carrot frosting. Place steamed, cooled carrots in a food processor with a can of coconut milk, 1 tsp. gelatin, stevia and vanilla. Blend until mixture is thickened. Place in a small container and put in the fridge where the frosting will continue to thicken.

Once everything is chilled, frost the cupcakes.

Recipe contributed to: http://www.phoenixhelix.com/2013/11/20/paleo-aip-recipe-roundtable-4/#more-7585