Category Archives: recipe

Skirt Steak Stir Fry.

Last week, I picked up a pound of grass fed skirt steak and knew exactly what I wanted to do with it. I had some coconut aminos in my fridge so a stir fry seemed like the obvious choice.

Stir Fry Ingredients:
1 pound grass-fed skirt steak
4 large carrots
1 red bell pepper
1 hot cherry pepper
6 mushrooms of choice
1 head baby bok choy
salt and pepper to taste
1-2 tbs. seasame oil, for frying

Sauce:
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 tbs. coconut aminos
2 tbs. almond butter
1 tbs. lemon juice
red pepper flakes
1 tbs. arrowroot powder to coat steak*

Garnish:
slivered almonds
chopped green onion

Directions:
1. Rinse steak and pat dry.  Cut steak into thin strips and coat with arrowroot powder. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. *Arrowroot powder is not necessary, but it does help to thicken the sauce and coat the meat.
2. Julienne four large carrots, bell pepper and hot cherry pepper. Sliced the mushrooms and baby bok choy. Place carrots and bell peppers in one bowl, mushrooms and bok choy in another. Chop green onions and set aside.
3. Heat a large skillet and add sesame oil. Add steak in two batches (or according to the size of your skillet), cooking until the steak is just browned. This should take from 3-5 minutes for each batch if your skillet it hot. Remove steak from pan and set aside.
4. Add carrots and bell peppers to skillet, adding more oil if necessary. Saute for about five minutes, until the carrots are starting to soften, and add the mushrooms and bok choy.
5. Add garlic, coconut aminos, almond butter, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes to the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper and stir until the vegetables are evenly coated.
6. Add steak to the vegetable mixture and cook another 2-3 minutes, until steak is cooked through. Remove the stir fry from the skillet and into serving bowls. Top with silvered almonds and green onions.
Serves 4.

Although I really enjoyed the flavor of this dish, the steak was seriously tough. As in, I kind of couldn’t even chew some pieces. I read after making this dish that skirt steak generally is tough but that the toughness can be reduced by marinating the steak. Next time, I will definitely do that. In the course of my research, I also happened upon this hilarious and extremely sexist website. Any tips on skirt steak that don’t play into the gender bias?

And of course, Happy Halloween! My little sisters had a trunk-or-treat last Saturday and I thought they looked awesome! Lady Gaga and a crazy creepy skeleton. Kara (the skeleton) even offered me her Starburst when she got back.

What will you be for Halloween? I’m being a cashier at Whole Foods Market 😉

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Filed under dinner, grain-free, paleo-friendly, recipe

Blackberry Crisp.

Now that I’m finally coming down from the craziness of this week and weekend, it’s time to share this little gem of a dessert that kept my sweet tooth satisfied throughout a stress-filled, overloaded week.

(Excuse the instagrammed photos; my phone is still having “storage” issues.)

When I was younger, my grandparents would take my sister and I blackberry and blueberry picking every summer when we came to visit them in Virginia. Out of the buckets and buckets of berries we collected, my grandmother would make pies for weeks, even months on end from the fresh and then frozen and thawed berries. Out of all the pies she makes, blackberry remains a favorite of mine for the sour, sweet burst of flavor it provides.

I decided to make two single serve blackberry crisps after I picked up two half pints of blackberries (for $2.99!) at a small Asian market last week. They were too sour to eat by themselves and they were going bad too quickly to keep in the refrigerator, so as I made and enjoyed the first blackberry crisp, I placed the second half pint of berries in the freezer.

This recipe occurred purely by coincidence, based on what I had in my pantry. I’d recently made a modified batch of Elana’s grain-free granola using dates, pepitas, sunflower seeds and cashews and figured it would make a great crumbly topping. I was right.

For this recipe, you will need:
at least a half-cup of grain-free granola
1 half pint blackberries
1/2-1 tbs. maple syrup, to taste
1.5 tbs. coconut oil, preferably melted
yogurt or ice cream, for serving

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Grease a small ramekin with a small amount of the coconut oil. I often try to melt coconut oil by putting it in a small dish and submerging in in a larger bowl filled with hot water, but I’m often not patient enough to let it melt entirely.
3. Place blackberries along the bottom of the greased ramekin, making a second layer as necessary.
4. Pour maple syrup over blackberries. You might not need sweetener if your blackberries are naturally sweet, but unfortunately mine were not.
5. Mix together granola and remaining coconut oil in a small bowl, and place over top of the blackberries. I had a bit of trouble getting all the granola I used to fit inside the ramekin, so it’s good to pat it down!
6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Make sure to check on the “crisp” part to make sure it’s not burning. You could potentially cover the crisp with tin foil but I was too lazy to do that and therefore got a few browned, but still completely edible spots.
7. Let cool for ten minutes. Serve with a dollop of plain yogurt or vanilla ice cream, and enjoy!

I got two servings out of this recipe, but could’ve easily eaten the whole ramekin in one sitting. I love how the heat really brings out the flavor and juiciness of these berries; it’s the perfect treat with which I say goodbye to summer.

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Filed under grain-free, nutritious treats, paleo-friendly, recipe

Garbage Dump Dinner.

Sometimes, like last night, I have lots of leftovers but no idea how to make a coherent meal out of them. Sometimes it’s best to forget conventionality and simply everything together in a pot. At least that’s what I told myself last night.

I had leftover chicken, roasted pee wee potatoes and some produce in the fridge that needed to be used. So I chopped up an orange bell pepper, an onion, two cloves of garlic and a bit of fresh rosemary and threw it all in a pan with olive oil. I sauteed this mix until the onions were translucent. Then I added the chicken and potatoes, adding more olive oil as necessary and stirring until the potatoes and chicken were warmed through. Dinner was served. And it was delicious.

I had leftovers of my leftovers for lunch today, which I topped with some fresh basil. For some reason, it tasted better today. The sweet onion taste really pulled through and the basil provided a nice bite. The flavors really melded together overnight. Weird how that happens.

Luckily, I have one more serving of this delicious bowl awaiting me tomorrow. Now I’m off to cook things for the rest of the week, as I’m looking at an extremely busy schedule. I literally will not have time to cook this week since school starts this Wednesday. I’ll have to balance that with a full schedule of work since I picked up an extra shift! I’m excited but overwhelmed at the same time. Enjoy your Monday!

P.S. Can you see me in the spoon? Gotta love the head popping in on the first picture. 🙂

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No Vacancy.

In in effort to use up the bone broth sitting in my freezer last week, I got to work on making some mushroom soup! I had cremini mushrooms sitting in my fridge from the farmer’s market, as well as tons of raw cashews that needed to be used. So I googled up mushroom soup and found that Against All Grain’s Cashew Cream of Mushroom Soup fit my needs exactly.

Making the cashew cream was a breeze in my Vitamix. Making the entire batch of soup was pretty easy, to be honest. All I really had to do was whip up the cashew cream, saute the mushrooms and spices together, add the bone broth, and blend. I had soup to last me for days.

Of course, I wouldn’t really recommend eating this soup on a hot summer day outside on the deck. But that’s what I did, and it still tasted good. I served this bowl up with some leftover roasted chicken and topped it with some fresh parsley.

I love that you can blend the soup to your desired consistency. I went for a bit of texture, so the soup had the tiniest bit of chew to it. Dare I say it was almost as good as White Dog Cafe’s wild mushroom soup? This batch was cheaper, at any rate. I think this soup will be perfect in late fall and winter, when I really need something to warm my bones.

On a completely unrelated note, I have finally reached my summertime goal of completely weaning off of my antidepressant. I can’t say that the transition has been seamless. I had a few periods of nausea/dizziness at work today and I also felt very out of it. I literally thought a customer was asking if we sold “budgeries,” and I told her that I didn’t know what they were. Then she held up at battery. Oh. Right. Batteries. Nope, we don’t sell them, but we do recycle them!

Really though, I’ve been feeling a bit on edge and very emotional. Everything I feel just seems to carry more weight. I’ve been playing Death Cab’s “I’ll Follow You Into The Dark” on repeat and crying every single time he sings, “If there’s no one beside you / When your soul embarks / Then I’ll follow you into the dark.” It’s just such a sweet, sad line.

I know that it will take some time for my body to adjust to the lack of false serotonin being pumped into my brain, but it’s a bit unsettling to be feeling so consistently down. I wonder if this is just what I’m really like. I wonder what the Celexa really did for me — did it just numb me? I’ve been listening to music and writing so much more these past few days. I feel more productive and just feel more in general. But I also experience more painful emotions, too. Maybe that’s only fair.

It’s only day four of being off my medication so I’ll have to keep track of how I continue to do from here. I really don’t want to go back on medication so hopefully things will start to settle down and even out soon.

And just because:

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Filed under paleo, recipe, recovery, vitamix

Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Meatballs.

Last week I put my Birchrun Hills Farm ground beef to the test by whipping up some meatballs. I had a few choice ingredients on hand — sun dried tomatoes and basil — both of which I figured would go perfectly with the classic Italian dish.

Ingredients:
1 lb. grass fed ground beef
1 pastured egg
1 clove garlic
5 sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil
5 fresh basil leaves
fresh ground sea salt and black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
2. Mince the garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and basil in a food processor. Set aside.
3. Empty ground beef into a bowl and add egg, garlic, tomatoes and basil. Stir until thoroughly combined.
4. Add desired amounts of salt and pepper and form the ground beef mixture into balls using a spoon or ice cream scoop. The mixture should make about 16-18 meatballs.
5. Place meatballs in oven for 10-15 minutes, checking at the ten minute mark for doneness.
6. Once the meatballs are cooked through, remove from oven, let cool, and serve with your favorite pasta dish! Or in my case, serve atop some zucchini pasta and parmesan cheese.

For my first time making meatballs, these were pretty good. Since I didn’t drain the sun-dried tomatoes before I added them to the mix, you can see that quite a bit of oil seeped out during cooking. Also, since these meatballs don’t have breadcrumbs they have more of a burger texture than your standard meatball. They still work just as well, and you can freeze them for later use! Especially if, like me, you’re only one person and cannot stand to eat meatballs for eight days straight!

Meatballs atop fresh zucchini pasta. Yum!

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Filed under paleo, primal, recipe

Very Berry Primal Ice Cream.

A few weeks ago, I picked up a pint of the most tart, unpalatable black raspberries known to man. They were extremely bitter and full of seeds, but I didn’t want them to go to waste. So I did what immediately came to mind; I made a makeshift primal black raspberry ice cream. Of course, if you have an ice cream maker you could certainly make a true, authentic ice cream, but in a pinch berries and cream are really all you need. And also, I don’t have an ice cream maker.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup grass fed heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup full fat greek yogurt (I used Fage)
1 cup berries of choice (I used 1/2 black raspberries, 1/2 strawberries)

If you want, you could add honey or maple syrup as a sweetener, but the sweetness of the strawberries was good enough for me. Also, depending on your preference, you could use more greek yogurt and less heavy cream, etc. Do what works for you and your taste buds.

First, I added everything to my blender in no specific order.

Then I blended everything together!

And out poured this shockingly-pink, creamy delicious mixture.

You could totally consume this right out of the bowl or in a glass as a smoothie, but for a more ice cream consistency I placed my mixture in the freezer for about thirty minutes.

And voila, I had a semi-frozen ice cream like treat. I garnished the ice cream with some honey roasted almonds. To be honest, I think I liked the non-frozen mixture better, but if you’re really in the mood for something icy, this will do! Serves 2-3, depending on your serving sizes.

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Filed under nutritious treats, primal, recipe

Summer Avocado Salad For One.

Since June hit, I’ve been relying on this beautiful avocado salad to add a punch of flavor and color to my diet. It’s extremely simple to make and deliciously refreshing.

All you need is:
1/2 ripe avocado
4-5 cherry tomatoes
1-2 tbs. red onion
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Simply dice the avocado into cubes by cutting lengthwise and then crosswise across the flesh of the avocado. Place the cubes in a small bowl. (I recommend splashing a bit of lemon juice onto the unused avocado half -pit intact- and sealing it tightly in a bit of plastic wrap to store in the refrigerator.) Next, slice your cherry tomatoes in half and add to the bowl. Chop your onion and place in the bowl as well. Add olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper. Stir lightly and enjoy!

This salad is great as an afternoon snack or paired with any protein. I like to serve it alongside eggs in the morning or with whatever meat protein I’m having at night.

This salad makes it extremely easy for me to eat a whole avocado in a day. I won’t judge you if you double the recipe and have the whole thing for lunch —  it’s that good!

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Filed under recipe, salad