The Blissful Blueberry

a journey into mindful living and wellness

Category: Paleo

Rustic, Spanish-Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

I made rabbit. It was delicious. End of story…or is it?

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Besides being 37 weeks pregnant (see above), I am also apparently a butcher. 

Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

It all started with the Rome Farmers Market. I knew I wanted some local meat, but, when I saw a sign for rabbit, I might have had ambitions that were too big for lil’ me. Not a quick, easy meal could be found using rabbit, so I had to plan accordingly. Which meant that this rabbit hung out in my freezer for a few weeks. 

At least I didn’t have to skin it. Ick. But I did some minor butchering. And, just like a turkey, it came with all of its giblets! Freeze for bone broth? Yes, please. 

Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

Not much meat on this little guy, but still some worthwhile pieces to be enjoyed! The smell was odd. I tried to ignore it. Sweet almost. With a hint of musk and spice. Quite odd for uncooked flesh. :) 
Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

On to normal things! Onion slices! Easy. 
Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

And the rest! Some garlic, crushed tomatoes, celery, spices, wine and parsley. Not a lot of prep involved luckily after the adventures in butchering. 

Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

Get those succulent cute little rabbit pieces into the pan with some olive oil or coconut oil (for Paleo!). Brown ’em up! Then set ’em aside. 

Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

Next up? Veggies and spices. Pile them into the pan and go at it!

Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

It will begin to look quite lovely after a few minutes. 
Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

Can I eat it now?

Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

While that was cooking, I chopped some red potatoes and carefully selected a nice rustic cheese that I grabbed from the farmers market as well. Aged sheep’s milk. Oh so good. Musky. Smelly. Perfection. 

Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

Accouterments! 
Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

Delicious hand-picked garden parsley!

Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

And it’s done. Just shove the mixture over the roasted potatoes (I microwaved them – then stuck them in the toaster oven with some coconut oil.) Add the cheese and parsley and yum, yum, done, done. 

Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

Can I eat it again now? No. :( I have no idea when I’ll buy rabbit again. Fate will decide!

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Until then, I’ll just keep swimming. :) Good puppy watches over me in the pedalboat. I don’t want summer to end! (Pouty face.)

 

Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)
Serves 4
A Paleo-friendly rustic version of rabbit stewed in tomatoes. What makes it rustic? The fact that I ripped apart the rabbit and gathered ingredients from my garden. :0
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr 45 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
2 hr 30 min
Total Time
2 hr 45 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 whole rabbit
  2. 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  3. 2 onions, sliced or diced to your liking (I did thick slices.)
  4. 1 pound of hand-crushed garden-fresh tomatoes (or 16 oz. can)
  5. 1 bay leaf
  6. 1 tbs. tarragon (or fresh if you have it)
  7. 1 sprig thyme (or dried if you don’t have fresh)
  8. 2 large stalks celery, chopped
  9. 1 cup non-cooking wine (red or white) – or cooking wine if you’re not a snob. 
  10. 1/2 cup water
  11. salt and pepper to taste
  12. 1 sprig fresh-parsley
  13. extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil if full Paleo)
Instructions
  1. Cut rabbit in small pieces (approximately 12-15 pieces). Chop onions, garlic and celery.
  2. Pour enough olive oil into the bottom of large, heavy frying pan and heat on medium high. When hot enough, place rabbit in pan and brown the pieces on all sides.
  3. Remove and set aside.
  4. Using the same pan, sauté the garlic, onion and crushed tomatoes for about 5 minutes
  5. Add the bay leaf, tarragon, thyme and chopped celery.
  6. Return the rabbit to the frying pan. Add the wine and stir. Turn the heat up to bring to a boil and reduce the liquid by a half or two-thirds. Then, add the water and stir.
  7. Reduce heat. Cover the pan and simmer gently until cooked – two hours-ish.
  8. While the meat is simmering, chop parsley.
  9. Adjust salt and pepper.
  10. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and serve hot in bowls with steamed/roasted potatoes with sheep’s milk cheese. Rustic bread if you’re not Paleo!
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/
Rustic, Spanish Style Rabbit Stew (Paleo)

Sweet potato, avocado ice cream (dairy-free and processed-sugar free)

Sweet potato avocado ice cream. A dairy-free and sugar-free delight!

I was challenged by a co-worker to make this recipe! They are doing the NoSugarTODAY challenge from the Today Show and saw this ice cream featured. 

Everyone knew I had previously made those delightful avocado cocoa bomb cookies, so they knew I was up for making a non-traditional item. I’m not sure she thought I’d actually do it though. :) Friends know I don’t turn down a dare – even not in dare form. 

I tried to find a recipe that was sugar-free, dairy-free and all-natural, but still would taste not (too) healthy. That proved difficult. So I created a hodge-podge of ones already out there. 

Sweet potato avocado ice cream. A dairy-free and sugar-free delight!

And only 5 ingredients – plus extracts for a little extra flavor! 

Sweet potato avocado ice cream. A dairy-free and sugar-free delight!

A really important step? Don’t forget to de-pit and soak your dates. I bought pitted because – ease. 

Sweet potato avocado ice cream. A dairy-free and sugar-free delight!

My favorite ingredient? The avocado, the all-time best ingredient to add to ANYTHING! Healthy fat…which helps stop baby brain (Babies suck out your fat cells in your brain to create their own healthy bodies.), and an easy creaminess factor without dairy. 

Sweet potato avocado ice cream. A dairy-free and sugar-free delight!

Shove it all in a blender. I use a Ninja. 😉

Sweet potato avocado ice cream. A dairy-free and sugar-free delight!

Finished product! Easy, healthy and it works for those who are detoxing and following a no-sugar diet. Even the cat loved it!

Here’s the coverage on air! 

Sweet potato avocado ice cream
 

 

Sweet potato, avocado ice cream
Serves 10
A sugar-free, dairy-free delightful frozen dessert
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Total Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup mashed sweet potato flesh
  2. 1 can full fat unsweetened coconut milk
  3. 1/2 medium avocado
  4. 6-8 dates, pitted and soaked until plump
  5. 1/4 cup almond milk
  6. 1 tbs. vanilla extract (make sure they are all-natural and sugar-free)
  7. 1 tsp. raspberry extract
  8. 1 tbs. maple extract
  9. Optional mint garnish
Instructions
  1. Remove pits from dates. Soak in water.
  2. Blend all ingredients in blender until smooth and creamy.
  3. Refrigerate overnight.
  4. Add mixture to ice cream maker and freeze according to its directions. (I did 40 minutes' worth of blending)
  5. Serve immediately with fresh mint garnish. (I used my own garden mint!)
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/

 

Thai-inspired spicy chicken slowcooker stew

Delicious and easy Thai spiced chicken slowcooker stew

Couldn’t be easier. Those are the magic words when it comes to dinner lately. 

6 months preggos and feeling great, but the sleepiness holds. As does the 9 1/2 hour work day at the new gig. All of this -and more!- makes for a difficult dinner process. 

 

baby

But I must keep up with eating in general – even without time for it! This guy needs to grow!

doggie

But this guy wants to play, so I must make time for him, too! I even had time to give him a bath. He looks adorable and shaggy afterward. 

But, lo! The power of the crockpot. :) Fanciful magic in a tiny pot. No oven. No extra heat in the kitchen on these increasingly warmer spring days. No waiting for a preheat to ding. No making sure you’re home so the house doesn’t burn down. No slaving over a hot stove.

None of that. Why? Because you have a $25 crockpot, duh. And you use it. 

This particular meal I decided to use for my Sunday batch of cooking that suffices for my weekly lunch-at-my-desk food. Some comfort of a warm meal while typing away for the masses. 

Delicious and easy Thai spiced chicken slowcooker stew

Prepping veggies is the most time-consuming part, so I did that the night before. Some po-tay-toes. 

Delicious and easy Thai spiced chicken slowcooker stew

Some pretty big onions. (Note the use of “some.” I don’t measure. I just look into the larder and cupboards and cull.)

Delicious and easy Thai spiced chicken slowcooker stew

Some carrots. 

Delicious and easy Thai spiced chicken slowcooker stew

Presto.

Delicious and easy Thai spiced chicken slowcooker stew

Change-o. Chopped. 

Delicious and easy Thai spiced chicken slowcooker stew

The fun stuff was up next. All-natural peanut butter. Can do almond butter if full-on Paleo. I had run out at this point, so I pilfered from the husband’s supply of Peter Pan. 

I added some red pepper flakes and some chili pepper flakes. The “some” can be to your liking. :)

Delicious and easy Thai spiced chicken slowcooker stew

And the rest. Sriracha hot sauce. Thai fish sauce. Sesame seed oil. Tomato sauce. Coconut milk. Ginger! The best umami in the my fridge at that moment! :) 

Delicious and easy Thai spiced chicken slowcooker stew

With the luscious boneless (skinless optional) chicken thighs on the bottom, I added the chopped veggies from last night and the umami cocktail from the morning.  

Delicious and easy Thai spiced chicken slowcooker stew

Simmering divinity after 5 hours.  It’s not even the work week yet, but I want to eat it all! Well, of course it needing sampling before being packed away into 5 little glass containers. 

Delicious and easy Thai spiced chicken slowcooker stew

Sample size. I still got 5 little containers out of the rest, so this wasn’t a bad sample choice. :) 

If you need something to soak up the flavor and don’t mind adding in more carbs, you could put it over rice. Or if you want more vegetables to soak up the flavor, you could vegetti a squash and put it over that, too!

For non-gluten-free-ers, you could soak it up with some flax seed pitas or naan bread. But I just ate it as is, though, and was thoroughly full. 

Thai-inspired spicy slowcooker chicken stew
Serves 6
An easy way to have dinner ready on the table or meals for a whole week without slaving over a hot oven or stove this summer. Lots of ways to add vegetables from the garden, too! Spicy and creamy all at once!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 large chicken thighs (I used boneless, skinless frozen thighs that were almost all-the-way thawed upon adding them to the crock.)
  2. 6 small carrots
  3. 2 potatoes
  4. 1 onion
  5. 3 tbs nut butter
  6. 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  7. 1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes
  8. 1 cube (1/2 tsp) ginger (not ground)
  9. 2 tsp sriracha
  10. 1 tbs fish sauce
  11. 3 tbs sauce or tomato paste
  12. 1/2 cup coconut milk
  13. 1 tbs sesame seed oil
  14. salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Thaw or prep chicken. Add to bottom of crockpot.
  2. Cut up veggies. Add on top of chicken.
  3. Combine rest of ingredients in bowl. Make a saucy paste. Add on top of veggies.
  4. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. Enjoy!
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/
Delicious and easy Thai-inspired spicy chicken slowcooker stew

 

 

 

Battle of the breads: Which Paleo bread will rise to the top?

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

I’ve been on a hunt.  A hunt for the most gluten-y tasting sandwich bread that is actually Paleo. Darn near impossible, I know.

Up until now I’ve been happy with the store-bought gluten-free version of bread. But, now that I’m trying to avoid preservatives and almost all grain, it just wasn’t cutting it. 

The problem: recipes on Pinterest don’t always work and Paleo ingredients aren’t cheap.

So, I decided to be judicious and try four different recipes that weren’t  too expensive to make. All four actually worked out to be less than the store-bought loaves I usually grab, so a step in the right direction!

I had to pull myself away from this guy to start the day and start the baking…

Shelties have the best smiles

I know, tough, right? :)

First up: a recipe from Purely Twins.  The only ingredients are plantains and eggs, so I thought I would start with the easiest one. 

The photos on the website looked spongy, but normal. 

Eh. I’m not sure what went wrong, but mine came out gritty. Perhaps it’s the fact that it calls for 7-8 oz of plantains, and mine were just cut up really small but not smushed? It didn’t specify how to cut or measure them exactly. 😉

There’s also a video on the page, but I hate watching video tutorials. Who has the time? 

Still edible though! Just really thin. Perhaps they’re meant to be put on a cookie sheet and not in a bread pan? 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

Well, looky here. Look what tastes great with some maple cream. :) You really could put maple cream on anything and it would work miracles. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

The butter we will save for another one. :)

Next up: a recipe from Paleo Grubs

This one is a more traditional recipe. Flaxseed meal, almond butter and coconut flour. I’m a bit hesitant of coconut flour-based recipes though because they can be overpowering and sweet. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

It’s thicker than the last one and without a weird texture. Moving in the right direction! :)

It is a little on the sweet side though and it didn’t rise very high and it had  a  crackly surface. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

Looks like a turkey, doesn’t it? Weird. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

How about some Irish butter to offset that sweetness? Worked like a charm! It’s tangy-ness is the perfect balance. (Nosh nosh)

Still, not worth the hassle to make it all of the time. I can’t ALWAYS douse it with butter. 

Third on the docket: a recipe from Guilty Kitchen.  It’s pretty much the same as the last one. But different. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

Not as cracked top. A little firmer and a little less sweet.

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

It rose a little higher, too!

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

Here’s how the first three stack up in a row. You can tell that the third one definitely has an edge on looks and size. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

This one calls for some homemade strawberry chia jam! Yum! Divine! This one has top points. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

One for me, one for the hubs.

And last on the list: a recipe from The Seasoned Homemaker.  Again, very similar ingredients, but this one required a little more leg work with whipped egg whites and a pan of water.   (Oh, how very long it took to fill a pan with water and stick in the oven.) :)

It also used milk kefir, which I’d never bought before–because of the whole trying-to-cut-back-on-dairy thing. But, it’s fermented so I bought some. So tart!

A little darker than the others. 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

It was a little sweet, so I thought I should add some goat cheese and level it off. Divine! 

I think this one would work for non-sandwiches just fine!

But, the third one wins for overall flavor, texture and usability! 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will rise to the top?

I might attempt, on another weekend, a rice flour-based bread to get even more into the sandwich-like realm, but then I’d be putting a grain in my mouth. :) Naughty! Perhaps necessary, though, for sandwich sanity. 

These four (now in the freezer!) will keep me busy for a while though. I’ll be using one of them this week for sure with some tuna salad for my lunches! Yay!

Now, I’m hungry. Maybe I’ll make an extra one for me as a treat for getting my lunches ready. :)

Anyone have some healthful sandwich bread recipes that don’t call for corn or wheat? Please feel free to share! 

Battle of the Breads: Which Paleo recipe will "rise to the top"?

 

 

From frozen to oven: Easy delicious turkey!

 
From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

Considering this bird wasn’t brined first, it was probably one of the moistest I have ever made–and for sure the easiest. 

Hannaford had turkey on sale for only 77 cents a pound or something ridiculous like that so I had to buy it. But, it was Sunday and I can’t cook anything Monday through Friday because of my work schedule. I need to do EVERYTHING on Sundays. 

Dilemma? How to thaw the bird. 

I Googled how to rapidly thaw a turkey. Of course, it would take all day even in the sink and plop on cook time and this thing wouldn’t be ready until midnight.

So, I know I’ve cooked chicken straight from frozen–why not a giant turkey, too? 

Thanks, Google! Many articles suddenly appeared on how to do this life-saving task.

There’s even some weird science about how the breast takes longer to thaw because it has greater mass, which levels out the varied cooking times because it will then take the same amount of time to cook as the the legs. So, the breast is not overcooked and dry like it usually is (because usually you have to wait for the legs to finish cooking.)They’re all cooked and tender and moist and done at the same time!

Science!

Besides avoiding the raw juice pathogens, you also get science. 

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

Step One: Find a pan. 

Step Two: Preheat oven to 325. 

Step Three: Plop frozen bird in pan breast side down. (Don’t worry if you have a thermometer on the breast–it will get flipped later.)
From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

After three and a half hours in the oven, pull out the giblets. I was actually amazed how not hot, yet also not messy, this was. 

I’m so used to disgusting thawed turkey juice and grime going everywhere that this is the cleanest my hands and my counters have ever been while making a turkey dinner. Phew! 

Now, flip that bird!

This is when you can add any seasonings to both sides–pre-flip and post-flip. I didn’t add anything at all to it. Purity for a first test of a recipe…

Next time I’ll probably do some rubbing at this point or throw some citrus and herbs inside, but it tasted delicious on its own!

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

There’s that thermometer! I usually cook whole chicken and turkey breast side down so all of the fat juices go into it, but, when a thermometer is involved, I change the rules. 

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

Now, the wait. Total time? 4 1/2 hours for a 12-pound bird. Not bad, not bad. I thought it would take forever, but it was quite quick. 

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

Did I mention how moist it was? Crisp skin? Ugh. I need it again. 

Our least favorite part is carving because we haven’t mastered that yet. Some day! Maybe I will learn it and do a tutorial! Pshhh. Wishful thinking. 

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

Oh, and I almost forgot to plan for sides dishes because I was so turkey focused. So, while the hub was carving, I scrubbed two sweet potatoes, stabbed them with forks and popped them in the microwave for ten minutes. 

Squish them, add some ghee and cinnamon and you’re good to eat!

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

I might have stacked the plates a little too high with meat, but we were starving. :) Don’t try to eat this much at home, kiddies. 

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

That’s it! Enjoy! Now, no more worries about where to  keep the thawing turkey in the fridge or gross germs getting everywhere on your counter. The lazy man’s turkey!

From frozen to oven: deliciously easy turkey

From frozen to oven: Easy delicious turkey
How to cook a frozen turkey
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Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr
Ingredients
  1. Turkey
  2. Desired seasonings (rosemary, thyme, sage, lemons, salt and pepper are good bets)
  3. 2 sweet potatoes
  4. Ghee and cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Place turkey breast side down in low-sided roasting pan (if you have one).
  3. Cook for 3 1/2 hours.
  4. Remove giblets. Season. Flip bird breast side up. Season.
  5. Place back in the oven for an addition 1, 1 1/2, or 2 hours depending on the size of your turkey. (Mine was 10-12 lbs-ish)
  6. While carving, place scrubbed and stabbed sweet potatoes in the microwave for 10-15 minutes.
  7. Season with butter or ghee and cinnamon.
Adapted from About Food
Adapted from About Food
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy breakfast)



Spicy and healthy eggs a diavolo

Oh.my.word. this is good. The original recipe is from Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans, which is by far my favorite Paleo cookbook. Really imaginative and out-of-my-comfort-zone recipes. Worth it! 

So, I already had breakfast when I decided to make this because I was binge photo taking for my blog. But, I ate it all–and wanted more. :) 

If you are in a breakfast rut, MAKE THIS NOW! You could modify it to make it even easier, but it was over and done with in under 20  minutes and most of the time wasn’t active, so you can sip your coffee and pet your menagerie like I did while it’s in the oven. 

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

Even the dog was jealous of this meal. He’s intense. 

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

For your mise en place, gather some chopped onions. 

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

Then just add some ghee to a skillet. Start those onions sizzling! 

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)When the onions are soft, add in a protein. I used a local gluten-free sausage (Dino’s). Right about now, the smell will kill you with hunger pangs. The kitchen was heavenly.

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

Add in some pasta sauce. We had some Newman’s Own in the larder that needed using, so I did that, but if you want a sugar-free, Paleo-fied one, you can always just mix some tomato paste, tomato sauce and spices in a little bowl and pour that in. 

If you’re like me and like things hot, this is where you add in the red pepper flakes. Lots and lots! Any other spices you want to add in can go in here. I know a lot of people enjoy nutmeg in saucy items–or nutmeg in everything. I’m a big fan of smoked paprika, but this dish doesn’t need any of that. Its simplicity is beauty.

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

Once it’s good and cooked down, put it in an oven-safe bowl and create a little bowl in the meat mixture. If you add a lot of sauce, this could be difficult, but delicious. It doesn’t necessarily have to be in a pocket, but it looks cute. Just plop an egg on top if you need to. 

Pop it into the oven for a bit. 10-15 minutes. 

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

It comes out looking like this. Oooh yeah. A little runny center. Ahhhh, as I type this, I’m ready to make it again. 

Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

You can eat it like a purist and not scramble it all up, but that delicious yolk demands some spreading.

Then chow down and try not to make everyone else in the house jealous. Or you can make them some, too, I guess. Sharing is caring.

But if you wake up 3 hours before a husband–and don’t have children–breakfast doesn’t need to be shared. :) Spicy, lovely eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy)

Eggs a diavolo (quick and healthy breakfast)
Serves 4
A quick and healthy breakfast that you can make for yourself or for the whole family. This recipe feeds 4, but you can modify it to only feed yourself! :)
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Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
17 min
Prep Time
2 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
17 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 tbs. ghee (or any fat)
  2. 1 onion (diced)
  3. 1 pound sausage (or any protein)
  4. 2 cups pasta or marinara sauce
  5. 1 tbs. red pepper flakes
  6. 4 large free-range eggs
  7. pepper and salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Melt the ghee in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add onions and saute for about 5 minutes or until soft and translucent.
  4. Add the sausage, breaking it up. Cook until no pink is left.
  5. Season with red pepper flakes and salt and pepper.
  6. Add the sauce. Cook until simmers.
  7. Divide the mixture into oven-safe bowls or ramekins.
  8. Make a well in the center of each. Crack an egg into them. Sprinkle more salt and pepper on top.
  9. Place in the oven and bake until the yoke is cooked to your liking. Approximately 10-15 minutes.
Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo
Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/

Slow-cooker Cocoa & Carrot Chili

 

Slowcooker Cocoa and Carrot Chili

The snow is falling fiercely today. The day before Thanksgiving–apparently Mother Nature wants to make sure everything looks festive for us! 😛 Looking out my window I can see no more grass. Luckily, I had this one garden project to finish this morning, which I did, just before the snow started falling. (I’m attempting a garden compost project I pinned on Pinterest forever ago.)

Snow bird

In spirit of this cold snap here in lovely Herkimer, I decided to make some chili. I had discovered a recipe in Practical Paleo that I wanted to make, but it needed some serious modifications to account for my budget, items in my fridge, and my low-FODMAP needs. But, it was a solid foundation. Not even the title will be recognizable though!

Thankfully, I am a traitor vegetarian because low-FODMAP calls for no beans. I lived on beans as a vegetarian; now, frozen chicken. Slightly more expensive. But less damaging gut-wise for sure. This recipe omits the beans and adds in plenty of veggies and lean meat to keep the health benefits high.

Ground-beef-for-the-chili

In the original recipe, it called for bison. I’m not sure even where to buy bison, but I wanted to keep it red meat, so I went with lean ground beef. I decided to keep it clumpy so it could turn out like little meat chunks when it was done. Mmm…meat chunks.

Carrots-for-health!

My carrots were starting to go a little south in the fridge, so I knew I needed to use them up quickly. The original recipe called for butternut squash and onions (high-FODMAP), so in went carrots, trusty ol’ spinach, and red pepper (hiding under the spinach).

Spice-blend-prep

Boy, do I love making spice mixes. I’ll sniff and sniff and sniff until I feel a little dizzy. So pretty. So fun. This was a mix of smoked paprika, chili powder, cumin (original called for chipotle powder [didn’t have it]), cinnamon, cocoa powder, sea salt and pepper. The original also called for garlic (high-FODMAP), so I omitted it. But, as most people love garlic, if you have it, add it (3 smashed cloves).

All of this lovely spice was added to a big can of crushed tomatoes. The original called for diced, but I was all out. That seems like it might hold up better in a slowcooker, but I really enjoyed the texture of mine, so go with what’s in your cupboard. In 6 hours, I’m sure it all looks like crushed tomatoes.

Pre-cooked-cocoa-chili

Plop it all into the slowcooker. And set it and forget it–or whatever that infomercial says! 😛 While it cooked, I tossed the frisbee with the dog, watched the kitties try to jump off of things, and watched the news. And probably a lot of other things because I let it go for 6 hours–although if doing ground beef (instead of cubed meat) and crushed tomatoes, you could probably do less time. I just got antsy to get it going.

Cocoa-Chili

Voila! Delicious and smoky (with a bit of heat) chili. My husband said it’s his favorite chili I’ve made so far. High compliments! Flourish with a cinnamon stick for prettiness and tortilla chips for crunch.

And to melt your heart with your mouth: here’s a kitty mouth! And kitty cuddle!

kitty-mouth

Kitties at rest-ish.

Slow Cooker Cocoa and Carrot Chili
Serves 4
A bean-free healthy, smoky, spicy chili that can't be beat!
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Ingredients
  1. 1 tbs smoked paprika
  2. 2 tbs chili powder
  3. 1 tbs cumin powder
  4. 1 tbs cinnamon
  5. 1 tbs cocoa powder
  6. 1 1/2 tbs sea salt
  7. 2 tsp black pepper
  8. 28 oz. crushed tomatoes (or cubed or fresh [4 cups])
  9. 1 1lb. lean ground beef (or bison)
  10. 1 small package baby carrots (or 4 large, cut into smaller pieces)
  11. 2 cups spinach (instead of carrots and spinach, try sweet potatoes, zucchini--or anything yummy)
  12. 1 red bell pepper, diced
  13. Crushed tortilla chips (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a bowl, mix all of the spices.
  2. After mixed, add in the tomatoes.
  3. Place the beef and vegetables in the slowcooker, and cover with the tomato mixture.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.
  5. Serve with crushed tortilla chips.
Adapted from Practical Paleo
Adapted from Practical Paleo
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/

Sweet Potato Mania: Sweet Potato & Blue Cheese Frittata

Sweet Potato and Blue Cheese Frittata

The sweet potato-ness continues! Mostly because I had some leftover potatoes from the salmon recipe. :) Also, I needed a recipe that I could make rather quickly–as we have a new addition to the household…

Hobo takes a whiff of the rescued kitties

We found these two crying under our neighbor’s shed that backs into our yard. One had come out and was crying loudly enough for us to hear as we were out playing with the pup. My husband was about to take off for an overnight work trip, so it all happened very quickly. His ride shows up, I grab kitties, he puts them in a tote, and off he goes. With me, the kitties, and the puppy staring off into a long day.

I had no idea what to do with them so I started calling local shelters and posting the dilemma on Facebook. Apparently, Central New York is in a “Kitten Crisis,” so every place was too full to take them and Animal Control told me right up front that they would have to “get rid of them.” :( Oh, no. I will not take part in that.

Kitten formula

I realized I would quickly need to help them survive  on my own, then, and went to the store and picked up replacment milk for them and a mini bottle. Freakin’ cute.

Hobo isn't sure what to do other than  run

Armed with a heating pad, some old blankets, and the faux-mother’s milk, I followed the directions carefully and went about practicing for motherhood. Exhausted, but amused. The puppy isn’t quite sure what to make of them still–although he does enjoy licking the spilled milk off of them. Great! Replacement mothering! He does seem to want to paw at them and knock them over though–gently, he knocks them over gently…just to see what happens. I watch him like a hawk.

So, yeah. That happened and when the husband came home the next night, I needed a quick way to feed the hard-working boy. Hence, this quick frittata.

After reading the book, The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet: A Revolutionary Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders, by Shepherd and Gibson, and, after doing some preliminary research, I decided that this could be the answer to my stomach and skin issues. Fingers crossed! Another reassuring part? Beer and cheese came back on the table. Phew! Yes! Score! Woot woot! Goodbye gluten- and dairy-free diet, and hello gluten-free (except beer) and lactose-free life! Low-FODMAP living, here I come! I think the most difficult part will be no onions, garlic or avocados. Eep. They’re my favorites. And they’re in everything.

Hobo watches over the kitties

With the dog acting as kitten guardian, I went to work on this delicious and easy meal from Shepherd’s book. It’s the first recipe in the casserole section. Oh, how I missed casseroles. Gooey, yummy squishiness of heaven.

Start off with the delicious mix of eggs and cheese

About halfway through prepping the meal, I had to check on the kitties to make sure Hobo hadn’t tipped over the tote and devoured them. Safe. And he was sleeping by the side of the tote. Adorable! Also, odd. He usually stays near my feet as I cook in case he can catch some drippings. :)

I added more spinach than the recipe called for

Difficult to mix spinach.

So obsessed with sweet potatoes

Too much spinach?

I don’t think it has too much spinach but, goodness, me! I can’t even see the rest of the meal in there. :) If I didn’t need to cook the sweet potatoes first, I think I would have liked to cook down the spinach just a tad to get it wilted and less offensively overtaking the meal. But, less cooking means more nutrients!

Sweet Potato & Blue Cheese Frittata

With just a little wiggle check. It was ready for consumption! I missed cheese. Now, I want nothing but cheese. And blue cheese offers the perfect amount of sassiness in a meal.

I will definitely make this again. It’s a sure winner. Fast and easy. I might even play around with the ingredients. Sweet peppers instead of sweet potatoes. Sharp local cheddar instead of blue cheese. Kale from the garden instead of spinach. We always have plenty of eggs in the house because I have two sources of farm eggs at work. The bright-yellow yolk and extra thick shells are unbeatable in local farm eggs. Makes you think you are being extra healthy–and I love supporting the local community.

My husband might have said he really loved this, or he might have asked how the kitties were doing, or we might have devolved into Jeopardy watching. Not sure. I just know I love it. I hope you will, too!

Sweet potato, spinach and blue cheese frittata

Sweet Potato & Blue Cheese Frittata
Serves 4
A quick and easy meal that is great for any time of the day.
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Total Time
40 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil (or fat of your own preference)
  2. 2 small sweet potatoes, diced
  3. 2 overflowing cups of baby spinach leaves
  4. 1 cup lower fat crumbly blue cheese
  5. 8 eggs
  6. coarse sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt coconut oil in a 7-inch skillet (needs to be ovenproof!) over medium heat. Add the diced sweet potatoes and cook for approximately ten minutes, or until tender.
  3. Whisk the eggs and cheese in a medium bowl. Add the spinach. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Pour into the pan with the sweet potatoes and bake for 20 minutes (or until the center firms up--give it a wiggle test).
  5. Remove from the oven. Let it stand a few minutes while preparing plates and drinks. Serve and enjoy!
Adapted from The Complete Low-FODAMP Diet by Shepherd and Gibson
Adapted from The Complete Low-FODAMP Diet by Shepherd and Gibson
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/

Lemon Rosemary Salmon and Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Broiled Salmon Recipe

I hate the cold. But I do like comfort food and I’ve started craving mashed potatoes lately, so I thought I would whip something up. I always have various recipes lying around whose ingredients I actually have on hand, so I rifled through the pile and saw: Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Shallots. Couldn’t wait! I had ripped out a page from Cooking Light magazine’s November 2014 edition. (Original recipe found here.)

Now, what to pair with it? Rifle, rifle, rifle. Lemon Rosemary Broiled Salmon! This one is from the book Practical Paleo by Diane Sanfilippo. (Book found here. Online recipe found here.) 

Now, both of these items don’t actually take all that much time to cook, so I waited until my husband gave the “I’m coming!” text to start the heat, but the prep work I did before.Sugary onions. Yum!

I heated 4 teaspoons oil (I used coconut, but the original recipe called for EVOO.) in a medium skillet over low heat. Then I added in one whole onion (You can use a different vegetable for low-FODMAP–try red peppers!) sliced into little slivers. (The original recipe called for shallots, but I didn’t have those on hand–too fancy.) I cooked the onions for about 10 minutes, stirring whenever I stopped looking at my phone. Grabbed a heaping teaspoon (1 1/2-ish) of brown sugar and tossed it in, cooking and stirring for about 15 minutes. Once done, I put them in a bowl and let them wait, too, until I was ready for those delicious suckers. Sweet potatoes looking beautiful in a blue bowl.

The sweet potatoes were tackled while working on the onions. I peeled and diced two large sweet potatoes.(Recipe calls for 1 1/3 pounds but I hate weighing.) I put them in a medium saucepan covered with a bit of water in the bottom and let them wait on the stove until I was ready. 
Prepped salmon with butter, lemons and rosemary salt

Then, I prepped the salmon. I used frozen salmon (Isn’t it all frozen first anyway?), so I thawed it quickly in some warm water in a bowl in the sink. Snipped off the little packages, patted dry, and placed them on a plate. I took my Pampered Chef stoneware casserole dish out and added some coconut oil to the bottom to coat it (approximately 2 tbs.). I put the salmon down and little pats of vegan butter on top of them with lemon half slices.

How to dry herbs in style.I then sprinkled on rosemary salt (rosemary from the garden I had hanging under a skull in the kitchen and coarse sea salt). I didn’t measure–just sprinkled some in a bowl and stirred. Use your judgment for how much salt you want. Plenty of rosemary allowed though! Ready to pop under the broiler!

I just let that sit to the side and waited for the text message from the hubby. Ran outside with the pup for a few minutes and then back in. Text arrived!

Now for the finishing parts. I brought the potatoes to a boil; cooked them 6 minutes longer (or until tender depending on how small you cut them). Drained in a colander and placed them back in the original pot with the lid on.

I turned the broiler to low (or “lo” as the oven says. :) ) and popped the salmon in. I turned the light on in the oven, so I could peak in on occasion, but I set the timer for 10 minutes. 

I grabbed two plates, two cups, silverware and napkins. Filled the water glasses with lemon-infused water and set the table. (I lie. I set up tray tables and turned on Jeopardy.) Yummy mashed sweet potatoes with rosemary and sea salt (and caramelized onions).

Back to the sweet potatoes! I plopped in the onions, some rosemary, salt and pepper to taste, and a dib dab of olive oil. Then I used my emulsion blender to make them all nice and creamy. I put the lid back on the pot and waited. If your timing is a bit off,  you can turn the burner on simmer and stir before serving. Rosemary and lemon broiled salmon

Husband walked in! Oven timer went off! Puppy excited! I pulled the salmon out, gave my husband a chance to settle down, and then I plated the meal.  I try to put a bed of greens underneath most meals so that I don’t feel like I’m forcing a salad down, but I eat a lot of the greens with mouthfuls of delicious food. Lemon and rosemary roasted salmonSpinach under everything!

He said the sweet potatoes are totally going in the make-again book. :) He said they were surprisingly savory. Oh! I thought the salmon was great, too, with just the right amount of lemon and rosemary. Next time, maybe I’ll get fancy and use thicker pieces–they happen to not dry out as easily. But…frugality wins!

So great! Super easy and delicious. And don’t forget healthy! :)           Lemon and rosemary broiled salmon with mashed sweet potatoes 

 

 

Lemon Rosemary Broiled Salmon with Rosemary Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Serves 3
A delicious low-calorie Paleo dinner.
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Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
For the mashed sweet potatoes
  1. 5 1/2 teaspoons coconut oil
  2. 1/2 cup thinly sliced onions (1 small--or omit if low-FODMAP)
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
  4. 1 1/3 pounds sweet potatoes (or 2 large), peeled and diced
  5. 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
  6. 1/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
  7. 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the salmon
  1. 2 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
  2. 1 pound salmon
  3. 1 lemon
  4. 1 heaping teaspoon rosemary salt
For the mashed sweet potatoes
  1. Heat 4 teaspoons oil in a medium skillet over low heat. Add onions to pan, cooking 10 minutes or so. Sprinkle with sugar, cook for 15 minutes more until golden, stirring occasionally.
  2. Place potatoes in a medium saucepan; cover with water. Bring to a boil; cook 8 minutes or until tender. Drain. Place potatoes back into pot; mix with an emulsion blender until creamy. Add remaining ingredients; mix again. Top with the onions and a drizzle of the remaining oil.
For the salmon
  1. Preheat oven to a low broil setting.
  2. Spread coconut oil over the bottom of a baking dish. Place salmon in the dish and sprinkle with rosemary salt. Add pats of butter and slices of lemon.
  3. Broil on low for approximately 10-12 minutes or until the salmon is cooked to your liking.
Adapted from from Practical Paleo and Cooking Light
Adapted from from Practical Paleo and Cooking Light
The Blissful Blueberry http://blissfulblueberry.com/