Friday, October 25, 2013

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer (Paleo)

  One of the hardest things I’ve ever done for my health was changing how I took my morning coffee.  I was a teaspoon of white sugar plus half and half kind of girl.  I was also a big fan of Coffeemate creamer – you know, Irish Cream, French Vanilla, Hazelnut – the good stuff. Unfortunately, white sugar first thing in the morning creates a huge insulin spike, setting you up for inflammation, sugar cravings, energy crashes – the list goes on.  And I dare you to pick up a bottle of flavored coffee creamer at the store and tell me what half of those ingredients are. Chemical city!  So I decided to surf the web and find something to jazz up my coffee (because a splash of almond milk just isn’t making magic in my cup.)  After some experimentation, I present to you:  Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer!
This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, and processed sugar-free.  I used maple syrup for a little sweetness, but you can use honey or stevia if you prefer.  This recipe calls for an egg.  Try to find organic, best-quality eggs – hopefully you can find a farmer’s market that carries local eggs, because that really lowers any salmonella risk.  If it freaks you out, you can skip the egg, but it really does add body and substance to the creamer.  I keep this in a mason jar in my fridge.  I go through it in about a week and that seems to work well.  It may get solid, and that’s fine – just scoop out a ball of creamer with a tablespoon and it will melt immediately in your coffee.  If you want to make a fall treat for the kids, heat up some milk in a pan on the stove, stir in a quarter cup of the Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer, and garnish with whipped cream and a little extra cinnamon!
Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer
(makes about 16 ounces)
  • 1 can (13.5 ounces) full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (or 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or try half vanilla and half almond extract!)
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (optional, but I like it!)
  1. Add all ingredients to the blender and mix for 30 seconds.  That’s it!  Pour into a jar with a lid and store in the fridge for up to one week.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Baked Fish with Cilantro Sauce

Baked Fish with Cilantro Sauce
Monday I went to Costco and found some really beautiful fish.  It was so yummy-looking, I couldn’t pass it up, even though I didn’t know what I was going to do with it.  Google to the rescue!  I went to a site called that I’ve had luck with before, and found a recipe for halibut, but it said you could use any firm-fleshed white fish.  Bingo!  I changed a few things, and now I’m calling it Baked Fish with Cilantro Sauce!
Use whatever firm-fleshed white fish you have.  I used rockfish, which is like red snapper.  You can also use halibut, cod, and probably even tilapia.   And if you’re not really a fan of fish, I bet you could even get super crazy and make this with thin-sliced chicken breast (though you’ll probably want to cook it a little longer.)  The cilantro sauce is phenomenal!  The original recipe called for shitake mushrooms.  I didn’t have any, so I used regular button mushrooms.  But I really liked the mushroom flavor in the recipe and wished it was stronger.  I would suggest a wild mushroom mix, or maybe portobello mushrooms if you can find them.  Regular button mushrooms will work fine, but if you like mushrooms, maybe use more than the recipe calls for.  And if you can find shitakes, by all means use them!
Full disclosure:  My girls didn’t really like this.  I think this is maybe more of a grown-up dinner.  So make this for you and your adult diners, and maybe throw some fish sticks in the oven for the kids.  That meant I had leftovers.  I ate them yesterday for breakfast … and finished the rest off at lunch!  (Can you tell I really liked it?)

Baked Fish with Cilantro Sauce

(Serves 4)
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, ends trimmed off (but use the stems too, not just the leaves!)
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1-inch piece ginger, peeled
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 small squirt Sriracha chili sauce, or other hot pepper sauce of choice
  • juice of one large lemon
  • 1 1/2 pounds filets of rockfish, halibut, cod, or other firm white fish
  • 1 pound green beans, trimmed
  • 1 bunch mizuna or arugula
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 450*F. Combine first 7 ingredients (through the lemon juice) in a food processor and blend until mostly smooth.  If you’d like it a little smoother, you can add more olive oil.  Taste and add salt if desired.  Set the sauce aside.
  2. Wash and trim the green beans, and cut into bite-sized pieces.  Place in a covered bowl and add a tablespoon of water.  Microwave for 2 minutes.  You just want to help them along so they can bake in the oven and not still be crunchy when the fish is done.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the mizuna or arugula, sliced mushrooms, sliced garlic,and green beans.  Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  Place in the bottom of a very large casserole dish (like one you would use for lasagna.)  Place the fish filets on top, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.
  4. Bake for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your fish filets.  Divide fish and vegetables among 4 plates, and serve with the cilantro sauce.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Creamed Kale

Creamed Kale
My favorite side dish in restaurants is creamed spinach.  There’s just something about it that I crave.  And lucky for me, it’s not hard to make at home.  But spinach is a little fussy – it goes mushy in the fridge really quickly, so I don’t have it on hand unless I’m cooking it that day.  But kale on the other hand … that hearty veggie will hang out in your fridge for a few days without appreciable loss of texture or taste.  So I had 2 bunches of curly kale hogging space in my fridge and decided to see if I could cream it.  In short, yes I did!  Creamed Kale for dinner!
Use whatever hearty green you have – kale, chard, or spinach.  If you are using spinach, just wash and blanch it quickly.  Kale and chard need more time in the pot to soften up, so plan accordingly.  I made this with one part whole milk and one part half-and-half, but I think next time I can just use whole milk.  If you like a richer flavor, use all half-and-half.  As for the onion, I used just a regular brown onion.  I think a sweet variety would be even better, so if you see Vidalias or Walla Wallas, pick one up!  Also, I left it out, but you can certainly add a little (or a lot, your choice) grated parmesan cheese to garnish.  Ready to check it out?  Let’s go!
Creamed Kale
(serves 2 as a side dish)
  • 2 bunches kale, any kind, or chard, or spinach (see note above if using spinach)
  • 1 onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup half-and-half
  • 1 teaspoon corn starch
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  1. Set a large pot of water to boil.  Prepare the kale:  tear out the tough center stem, and tear the leaves into bite-sized pieces.  Wash well.
  2. Slice the onion as fine as possible – you want thin strings.  In a large pan, cook the onions in 2 tablespoons of butter, stirring to make sure they don’t burn.
  3. Boil the kale for about 3 or 4 minutes.  You don’t want it too soft – a little chew is nice.  Remove to an ice bath.  When cool enough to handle, squeeze out as much water as possible from the kale.
  4. When the onions are soft and browning, add the kale to the pan.  In a bowl, whisk together the milk, half-and-half, and cornstarch.  Pour over kale and onions and stir to incorporate.  Turn the heat down to medium low and simmer for 3 minutes until thick and creamy.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Stir in last tablespoon of butter, then serve hot.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Basic Meatloaf (Paleo)

This Meatloaf started out following one of Martha Stewart’s recipes, but over the years I’ve kind of made it my own.  I think what makes this a great meatloaf is that it’s not actually baked in a loaf pan.  It’s a freeform meat sculpture!  But making it on a sheet pan instead of in a loaf pan lets the fat drain away, and all the sides get nice and crusty.  It’s easy, it’s a crowd pleaser, and it doesn’t take long to put together.  If you make your own ketchup, this recipe is Paleo.  (I haven't taken that step yet, but I'll get there eventually.)  Let’s get into it!


  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 carrot
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried Italian herbs, or oregano
  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • a big squirt of ketchup (maybe 2 tablespoons)
  • a big squirt of yellow mustard (maybe 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot sauce, your choice (Sriracha or Tabasco, whatever you have)
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour (you could use 1/2 cup bread crumbs if you like, or even ground oats)
  • salt and pepper
  • 4 tablespoons ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar

Let's bake this bad boy!
Let’s bake this bad boy!
  1. Preheat oven to 400*F.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.
  2. Add the onion, garlic, celery, and carrot to the food processor and blend until combined and kind of pureed.  You don’t want any big chunks.  Empty the veggie puree into a very large mixing bowl, then add the bacon to the food processor.  Blend until ground and add to the veggie puree.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients—up through the salt and pepper—to the mixing bowl.  Mix with your hands until combined.  Dump out the meatloaf mix onto the baking sheet and form a loaf with your hands.  You want it to be long and flat, kind of like a loaf of French bread.  Smooth it out and make it even.
  4. In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ketchup, mustard, and brown sugar.  Frost the top of the meatloaf with the ketchup mixture.
  5. Bake for one hour, or until internal temperature reaches 165*F.  My kids eat this with lots of additional ketchup!