roasted garlic cauliflower hummus

appetizer, dips, recipes

Before going paleo, we were vegetarians. I know, quite a transition…

For a long time, beans were our go-to. Oh how I still sometimes long for a pack of falafel, a hearty black bean burger, or a creamy bowl of lentil soup. It has surprised me, but one of the hardest cravings is for hummus! I love a good dip with something crunchy.

This roasted garlic hummus ticks all the boxes.
It is bean-free and AIP compliant.
I am loving the texture. flavour. simplicity. creaminess.
It is quick. healthy. deliciously snacky.

Ingredients

  • 1 head of garlic
  • ½ tsp coconut oil
  • 1 head of cauliflower, roasted
  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp water
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • fresh parsley or preferred mixed herbs

img_4836

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400°F / 200 °C
  2. Cut the very top off of the head of garlic, making sure to expose the tip of every clove.
  3. Cut the stalk from the head of cauliflower.
  4. Place the coconut oil on the top of the garlic and cauliflower. Wrap each separately in foil.
  5. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes, or until soft and lightly browned.
  6. When both are finished roasting, remove the cloves and sections of the cauliflower and place in a food processor with the olive oil, lemon juice, water, and sea salt.
  7. Pulse for a minute or two, until a thick puree forms.
  8. Top with fresh or mixed dried herbs
  9. Share with your people and enjoy!

img_4840

img_4841

Notes

-Try experimenting with a garlic or lemon infused oil: check your labels

-Turn it into a salad dressing. Simply, thin it out with a little extra lemon juice + avocado oil.

-Take a generous scoop over a salad, top grilled chicken or layer it in a lettuce wrap burger. My all-time favourite is alongside homemade plantain chips! Options are endless, really.

img_4839

img_4846

What are your favourite healthy snack recipes? Any suggestions for modifying your favourites on the AIP?

Have a delicious weekend!

x

toasted coconut + persimmon salad with cranberries

appetizer, dressing, mains, recipes, salads

Weekends are the best.

Weekends for us mean that we get to slow down. We look forward to long brunches and multiple cups of coffee. I like getting my apron a little messy and experimenting with new recipes. There are a gazillion more reasons that I love weekends, but high up on the list is just being in the kitchen.

After a long and wonderful holiday visit in the States, let’s just say that my body has been craving/demanding/needing some very colourful and nutrient dense food as we indulged/celebrated/feasted on all the delicious comforts from home.

This recipe was not on my meal plan for the week. It came together, because I just started grabbing for things I had on hand. I felt like a true (salad) artist. A little bit of this… a little bit of that… mixing in this…I even had to google if it was okay to eat raw cranberries. Have you ever had a raw cranberry?!

photo-jan-21-12-38-25

Alone, a raw cranberry is super tart. I definitely made a baby eating a lemon face, for sure. But… I tried it and I liked it. I liked it even more after reading about all the health benefits: an antioxidant powerhouse, a low-calorie flavour booster, UTI preventer, full of vitamin C, high in fiber and loaded with phytonutrients!  I was so pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the combination of flavours when I topped them on the salad.

Coconut is also all the rage in the paleo world. It adds a healthy fat and nice crunch along with a good dose of fiber. The dark leafy greens have loads of vitamins and minerals and paired with healthy fats from the dressing your body will actually absorb more of their nutrients.

In addition to the cranberries, the persimmon gives this salad the most amazing flavour explosion on your tastebuds. Persimmon, also known as sharon fruit, are a winter fruit and in season October – February. They are the perfect way to boost the immune system and aid in digestion.

My love for salads is intense, as you probably know by now, and I love how much there is going on in this bowl.

tart + sweet
filling + flavourful
super healthy + crunchy
loaded with super foods+ fiber

The dressing is simple: apple cider vinegar, olive oil, ginger, cinnamon, and any sweetener of your choice with a little sea salt….simple, but oh so delicious.

photo-jan-21-12-40-47

photo-jan-21-12-42-08

 

Toasted Coconut + Persimmon Salad with Cranberries

Prep time: 15 minutes // Serves: 2 mains // 4 sides 

Salad Ingredients

  • 6 cups mixed greens, I also through in some kale
  • 2 persimmons, quartered and cut into chunks
  • 1/2 cup fresh cranberries
  • 1/2 cup organic dried coconut chips
  • Optional protein: grilled chicken breast, green lentils, tofu/tempeh

Dressing Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar (Go with Braggs!)
  • 1/2 cup quality olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger
  • sea salt to taste
  • Optional sweetener: honey, coconut crystals or agave nectar

You can serve this salad cold or at room temperature, but I really enjoyed the greens and persimmons cold and everything else warm. It is oddly the perfect balance.

This would make the perfect weeknight meal when you are craving something quick and healthy. Bonus? I think this would please vegans and non-vegans alike as it is easy to toss some lean protein on board and the leftovers make a great lunch for the next day.

photo-jan-21-12-39-48

photo-jan-21-12-42-55

What recipes have you accidentally made and loved? Do you have any advice for unique flavour combos?

Have a delicious week! x

where to sip: Leo’s Beanery

coffee, lifestyle, where to sip

I do not miss job hunting. It took me 3+ months to find work when we moved to Scotland.

It was a discouraging season. We had all the excitement and anticipation of moving but we were blowing through our savings at a rapid rate. My primary job was to look for a job. We decided to combat our discouragement with a little remedy. A nice latte on Friday mornings was our cure for the week.

This was our ritual. For three months. Leo’s Beanery on Friday mornings. Leo’s was our safe place. It was and still is the place that we leave our worries at the door and focus on the good things.

Perhaps you too, have a coffee shop that is more than a coffee shop.

image

image

image

image

 

We LOVE this shop because it is:

  • Cozy
  • Woody + warm
  • Friendly staff
  • Antiquey
  • “Hygge”

I now work on Friday mornings but Leo’s will always be at the top of our day-off list. We cannot get enough of their coffee, GF bagel sandwiches and home-baking. Being in Leo’s cozy basement shop is like the feeling you get while enjoying a relaxing chat and cuppa in someone’s home.

Popular menu picks:

  • Lattes (go vegan with the oat milk, so delicious!)
  • Wide range of loose leaf teas
  • Homemade granola (my mother-in-law was obsessed)
  • Award-winning GF brownies
  • Homemade fruit + savoury scones
  • GF Bagel sandwiches (from the Bearded Baker)
  • Local Scottish produce

Their location on Howe street is wonderfully warm. There are black and white family photos on the walls and glass jars adorning their pantry shelves.  It is hygee, a Danish way of life,  the perfect retreat from the winter blues and the hustle and bustle.

img_5003

img_1637_1024

img_5240_1024

 

img_5014

Locations: The first location is a charming, basement level shop in New Town located at23A Howe St, Edinburgh EH3 6TF.

They have two more locations (posts to follow). A quaint shop with a beautiful rustic/Restoration Hardwood feel at Leo + Teds in Tollcross and the airy and artsy location, Leo’s at Dovecot Studios in Old Town.

Hours: Monday – Friday [8am – 5pm] Saturday  [9-5] + Sunday [10 -6]

If you are staying in or visiting Edinburgh, visit this welcoming family-run cafe. You will not regret it.

Have a great weekend and happy sipping!

x

winter fruit + watercress salad

mains, recipes, salads

As we enter the new year there is a lot of talk/goals/resolutions around healthy eating, detoxing, eating ‘clean’ and getting back on the wagon.

I am not a resolution maker, I do not like short-term detoxes and I do not believe you are on or off a wagon. I think every day is a new day. Every day we can make choices about how to fuel or not fuel or bodies and guilt belongs nowhere near our dinner tables. Amen?

Sometimes making a choice that you will feel good about just needs to be the easy choice. Quick. Healthy. Seasonal. Simple. This recipe will surely jazz up your winter with each sweet + flavour bursting bite.

Serves [1-2 mains] or [3–4  sides] / Prep time: 10 minutes

Salad Ingredients 

1 bunch watercress
1 large or 2 small apples
1 cup pomegranate seeds
handful of hazelnuts, or nut of your choice

Dressing Ingredients 

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup high-quality olive or walnut oil
1-2 tablespoons maple syrup or sweetener of your choice

 

thumb_IMG_3250_1024

Instructions: 

  1. Cut apple into quarters and core. Slice thinly into bite-sized pieces
  2. Trim and compost the thick stems from the watercress, carefully wash leaves and thinner upper stems well in cold water, then gently pat or spin dry.
  3. Mix together oil, vinegar, mustard and sweetener in a small jar, and shake to mix.
  4. Divide greens onto 3 or 4 plates, and top with equal amounts of sliced apple.
  5. Drizzle with enough dressing to lightly coat (or more if desired), and sprinkle with pomegranate and seeds.

 

What are some of your favourite healthy winter fruits or salad go-tos? Happy new year and have a delicious week!

x

 

thumb_IMG_3251_1024

 

travel: Lake Geneva, Switzerland

budget trips, holidays, lifestyle, travel

Geneva, the capital of fondue, chocolate, luxury watches, Swiss Army Knives, and world peace.

They all sounds great. But an $8 coffee, not so great. We are budget travelers and our friends lovingly warned us about the prices.

Telling others that you are going to Switzerland on “a budget” just before Christmas, gets you some sympathetic head-nods and half grins. Switzerland is rated the most expensive country in the world to visit, with Geneva being one of the ten most expensive cities in the world to live in!

We really did not want to skip over Switzerland until we were older (aka retired with more money). To our surprise, we found it doable and we were able to enjoy it’s many Christmas charms and festivities.

 

thumb_img_8025_1024

Do + See

Lake Geneva: Geneva is located on the shores of Western Europe’s largest lake, and surrounded by the magnificent Alps. Unfortunately, the weekend we visited, fog and light rain followed us from Edinburgh. We had lovely views of the Alps from our plane, but not from the shores of the Lake. Glaciers in the French Alps are bright turquoise and flow directly into the deep blue waters of the Rhone River, which is fed by the lake. The two colors mix together and give the lake an extraordinary marbled look!Bike/Jog/Walk/Snack on a bench. Take advantage of the paths surrounding the lake.

photo-dec-21-13-17-19

thumb_img_7933_1024

Mount Blanc: From Geneva you can usually see Mount Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps. The combined views of lake and alpine mountains, yes please! We opted for a more affordable train ride through the villages that line the shores of Lake Geneva. However, a rental car to Blanc would be the perfect day trip from Geneva, as it is only an hour away.

photo-dec-22-00-59-12

 

St. Peter’s Cathedral: It was here, where John Calvin lead the Protestant Reformation. Inside the church there is still a wooden chair once used by Calvin (yep, Ryan got a picture with it). Get a workout by climbing the towers of the Cathédrale Saint Pierre, where you can enjoy the best view of Geneva. Only 157 steps of the north tower to experience one of the city’s most breathtaking (and oldest) views. Be sure to go to the north tower so you can go outside for an unrestricted view for nice panoramic pictures of the city and Jet d’Eau.

Jet d’Eau (Water Jet) Fountain: Geneva’s most famous landmark shooting water 140m into the air. It is Europe’s tallest fountain, which blasts 132 gallons of water. The jet is a prominent feature in Geneva’s skyline. It is taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Statue of Liberty, and Big Ben! We even learned that is turned on by hand every morning by a jet caretaker at exactly 9am, according to a precise Swiss watch, of course.

thumb_img_8068_1024

photo-dec-22-00-56-19

thumb_img_8008_1024

Old Town + City Centre : The Old Town should be next on any visitors itinerary. A patchwork of pavement cafés, museums, designer retail and art galleries. Geneva’s most famous shopping district is full of designer retail + Switzerland’s famous watchmakers like Rolex and Cartier. Not part of our budget trip, but still really interesting to learn more about the birthplace of watchmaking, the industry + the luxurious window displays.

thumb_img_7848_1024

thumb_img_7843_1024

photo-dec-22-00-56-33

photo-dec-21-13-17-05

photo-dec-21-13-18-15

Afternoon in Carouge: Carouge is a quiet neighborhood in Geneva with colorful buildings, local cafes, and charming boutiques.It was actually spell-bounding, walking along the streets, the Mediterranean-style houses, a number of gardens and the small artists’ workshops.

Carouge takes you back in time. Many locals would introduce Carouge to you as a “small Italy”. It is one of those areas which immediately stands out from all the rest, absolutely incomparable to the rest of the city. Cool architecture. Cozy cafes. Variety of bistros. Unique antique shops and vendors. We cannot recommend it enough- an afternoon or evening stroll, go for a café or dinner here for sure.

thumb_img_8009_1024

thumb_img_8066_1024

thumb_img_8010_1024

photo-dec-22-00-54-42

thumb_img_8067_1024

thumb_img_7961_1024

 

Montreux Christmas Market:  Christkindlmarkt. Marché de Noël. Weihnachtsmarkt. I am obsessed with them and a bit of a Christmas market ‘junkie’. Most are full of wooden huts, homemade delicious treats, stunning decorations and unique gifts. I love to embrace the festive atmosphere. Slowly strolling. Amazing scents. Herds of jolly market-goers. Regional specialities- completely overwhelmed by auras of waffles, fondue and spices.

We spent a good half day in Montreux. As daylight gently turned to night, Montreux started to sparkle. Before roaming the market we sat on a bench looking at the lake, people watching and soaking it all it. Each little cabin, boutique and restaurant glowing with lights, gave us that warm Christmassy feeling despite the cold weather. We loved indulging in the fragrant cocktail of cinnamon, fruit and spiced wine, treating ourselves to a warming mug of Glühwein. Vin Chaud. Glögg. Mulled Wine … delicious!

The Christmas market at Montreux was highly recommended as an absolute must see. A touch of class and a whole lotta sophistication. If you like dramatic scenery and Christmas ambience mixed with some light shows, pots of fondue + music, then you will love it too!

thumb_img_7924_1024

thumb_img_7925_1024

photo-dec-22-00-55-12

photo-dec-22-01-02-02

Day Trip to Vevey: A charming town on the north shore of Lake Geneva.  This French -speaking town created milk chocolate (1875) and was the final home of Charlie Chaplin. Vevey is known for its outdoor market  on Tuesday and Saturday mornings. Buy a glass of wine, listen to brass bands + Swiss folk music, and watch traditional craftsmen at work in the market.

thumb_img_7934_1024

photo-dec-22-01-02-54

photo-dec-22-01-00-43

thumb_img_7937_1024

thumb_img_7935_1024

thumb_img_7936_1024

thumb_img_7938_1024

 

Eats + Drinks

It is easy to indulge/overindulge in Switzerland. Everywhere you turn there are places to try raclette, fondue, truffles, sausages, chocolate of every variety, wine and pastries. We were surprised by all the international restaurants but I guess it makes sense with Geneva being such an international hub for the UN and where it is located geographically. Like always, we relied on Happy Cow to find good gluten-free options and local coffee joints.

thumb_img_8026_1024

photo-dec-22-00-59-56

photo-dec-22-00-58-44

photo-dec-22-00-57-51

thumb_img_7849_1024

Geneva was such an unexpected surprise.

There were so many fun things to see and history to learn. We brought home the best souvenirs — fine Swiss chocolates, an antique clock for our mantle and Santa mugs from our mulled wine at the Christmas market.

Have you traveled to other countries during the holidays?

We hope you are enjoying a lovely holiday season celebrating with friends and loved ones, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Blessings and peace as you begin 2017!

x

 

 

travel: Lisbon, Portugal

budget trips, holidays, lifestyle, travel

For my husband’s birthday, I surprised him with a trip to Lisbon, Portugal.

Lucky for us, our wedding anniversary, birthdays and Christmas are within weeks of one another. So, taking a trip is a good way to pack in all of the celebrating.

We thought that anywhere in the world might be dryer, a little brighter and warmer than Edinburgh in December. We were kind of right… Portugal in the winter is still a little brisk

We had some rainy days, soaked socks, but we absolutely made the most of it. We had to buy umbrellas one day, funny joke to us visiting from the UK, but a little rain did not ruin our party!

Traveling to Europe in the summer is wonderful but we have learned that winter also has perks. Fewer tourists. Affordable airfare. Available accommodation. Quieter low seasons. And my favorite part, seeing what Christmas looks like in other countries!

img_2521

Our adventure started the moment we left the Lisbon airport. We were instructed by our Airbnb host to 1. board the tram to a bus stop 2. walk from the bus stop to the flat.

Directions were a bit vague and by tram we had no idea that she meant super-awesome and rickety-old-trolley. It was dark out, we could not see the street signs, so we got off where it “felt right” and got out our city map. Yep, looking like true tourists, no shame and totally embracing the paper map.

We eventually found our flat and were clueless about the view we would wake up to the next morning. The silver lining of arriving at night… we got a surprise the next morning.

image

image

image

image

image

image

We stayed in the Alfalma neighborhood. All you need is a short wander to realize how WOW it is.  There are several quaint spots for a romantic sit on a bench. These viewpoints, called miravistas, give you stunning views of the water and buildings stacked on the hills. It is easy to be out on foot for long days and nights exploring the many street-side cafes, live music at hidden bars and beautiful little squares with fairy lights and blankets.

image

If you plan on walking and wandering around, plan on bringing a comfortable pair of shoes. Those travel books are not lying when they say there are some good inclines. If you need a break, hop on the trolley system!

We spent our days wandering different neighborhoods, a walk down to the coast, popping into café’s for a coffee and baked good. The Pois Café was our favourite spot, books covering every nook and cranny and a healthy, organic range of food and snacks.

image

image

image

image

image

Eat + Drink

Seafood. Custard tarts. Cheese. Wine. That is all you really need to know.

Portugal has a rich tradition of cheese-making and different regions have their own types, much like Portuguese wine. Portuguese food combines a variety of fresh seafood with the flavours from the hillside. There is a lot to discover in both food and wine.

Frango Piri Piri  (Chicken Piri Piri)

Grilled to perfection with a secret blend of spices, this is one of the most popular dishes for visitors and has to be tried at least once. Served with a fresh salad and home-made chips, affordable dinner winner!

Bacalhau (Salted Cod Fish)

Cod is a staple of Portuguese cuisine and they say there is a different cod recipe for every day of the year. Cod is a very versatile fish and is usually the star of the show on Portugese Christmas dinner tables.

Caldeirada  (Fish Stew)

A mixed fish stew usually containing some shellfish and white fish with potato, tomatoes, peppers and onions as the base. White wine and lots of herbs completes the recipe. They say that the secret to a good Caldeirada, apart from the fish, is the correct layering of the various ingredients so that the flavours mix properly. I would love to make a version of this at home.

Pastel de Nata (Custard pastry)

Portugal’s favorite sweet treat. Small open pastries with a sweet custard filling and a caramelised sugar topping, you can find Pastel de Nata is every coffee shop in the city. They say the pastry should be flakey and light, the filling creamy, eggy and sweet. This was our birthday cake abroad.

image

Do + See

Lisbon, Portugal is a cool city.  Artsy. Quaint. Windy roads. Hills. White buildings. Red roofs. Colorful tiles. Cobblestone. Churches. Street art. Seafood. Produce. Vintage markets. Trollies. Cathedrals. Tuk-Tuks. Alleyways. Motorbikes. Street artists and antique vendors. Like I said, cool.

Campo de Santa. Be sure to visit Campo de Santa, a lovely flea market in the old city. Take good carrier bags to stock up on amazing vintage Portuguese kitchenware, decor, and ceramics on sale in little shops for great prices.

Trollies. The trams that trundle up and down the streets are charming. Tram 28 is said to be the best. Begin at Largo Martim Moniz to get a seat in the wood panelled carriage.

Souvenir. One thing everyone will notice about Lisbon are the beautiful ceramic tiles that cover literally every wall, café’s, flats, storefronts, park benches and city fountains. There are brand new varieties you can pick up in a tourist shops but even more charming are the antique and funky varieties you can find in flea markets and vendors. We chose a green and white one from the 1950s, easy to get back home and a totally memorable part about Lisbon.

image

image

The waterfront and Praça do Comércio square was home to the Royal Ribeira Palace before it was destroyed in 1755. Lots of locals like come out for a stroll, especially in the early evening and lots of Christmas decorations and a small Christmas market to enjoy.

image

image

image

Day Trip to Sintra. We decided to spend one day on a train going outside of the city. A friend recommended that we visit the nearby village of Sintra. I am so glad we took her advice. Sintra is normally buzzing with tourists, but thanks to the rain, we were two of ten people up there that day. We were soaked but it was well worth it. We visitied the grotto gardens of the Quinta da Regaleira Palace, a 19th century gothic mansion that is surrounded with some of the most elaborate gardens we have ever seen.

image

image

Have you taken a special birthday trip? And what has your experience been traveling in the winter months?

Have a lovely weekend, friends!

peace + grace

paleo pumpkin bars

breakfast, holidays, snacks, treats

They started off as a weekend treat. Then a quick breakfast option and onto an after-gym snack. They are pretty much just always around these days.

This pumpkin bar recipe from the Detoxinista has been a weekly staple for us this season. Canned pumpkin is hard to come by in this city but we had some generous visitors come through Edinburgh and they brought us canned pumpkin from the States… they know me too well!

They are moist. Pumpkiny. Warm. Comforting. And the closest thing I got to pumpkin pie, that is GF, DF, and refined sugar-free this year. They have been the perfect alternative and great with a morning cup of joe.

I have successfully reintroduced a couple of key spices here after following the AIP. If you have yet to incorporate nutmeg and clove into your diet, look at the link here for a vegan and AIP-friendly recipe for pumpkin bars from Cook It Up Paleo.

photo-nov-06-21-24-50

Paleo Pumpkin Bars

Makes 12 bars

Ingredients:

15 oz. pumpkin puree (about 1 1/2 cups)
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs

Coconut oil, for greasing the pan

Instructions: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C
  2. Grease a 9×9 baking tray well with coconut oil.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and stir well.
  4. Transfer batter to the greased baking tray, smooth the top.
  5. Bake at for 40-45 minutes, or until the edges are golden and the center is firm.
  6. Allow to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve.
  7. Share with your people, enjoy!

photo-nov-06-21-21-51

Notes

  • Coconut flour is a unique GF flour to use in baking. This recipe relies on using coconut flour and a substitution is not as straight forward as you might think. If you would like to use a different flour substitute look here for an almond flour recipe from Elana’s Pantry.
  • These bars will store well in the fridge for a few days (if they last that long!)
  • Try a pumpkin pie spice blend for ease and perfect ratios.

photo-oct-15-23-47-19

What healthy treats do you or your families make every year? The past few years my mom makes delicious crust-less pies for the holidays. Instead of a traditional pie crust, she makes the most delicious base of ground nuts, coconut oil and agave nectar or maple syrup. See a similar recipe here

I can attest that this recipe is a delicious addition while you are putting up your Christmas decorations. I hope you are having a lovely start to your December and Advent season.

Have a delicious week, x!

 

 

 

 

harvest salad with roasted winter squash

dressing, mains, salads

I am always on Team Salad. Warm months. Snowy months. Year-round.

Sometimes when we transition from summer to fall, we need a warm hug and that is what this harvest bowl is all about- sweet and savoury – warm and crunchy – light yet satiating and full of seasonal goodness.

This harvest bowl is ridiculously healthy as it is  loaded with four kinds of fiber-rich and nutrient dense vegetables.  The maple-balsamic dressing adds a sweet kick and so dang good. I am wanting to put it on everything right now.

This time of year is the height of gourd (such a funny word) and root vegetable season. I find these vegetables to be incredibly warm, comforting and that they satisfy my hunger in these darker winter months. Why not enjoy the best of what the season has to offer? This harvest bowl brings so many great autumn flavours together.

 

img_2222

This salad is simple. While the squash is baking, simply sauté your seeds or nuts to crunchy perfection and blend up the super simple dressing. After the squash is roasted, assemble the salad and get ready for the flavor disco!

Harvest Salad with Roasted Winter Squash

Serves 4 small / 2 mains

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 acorn squash
  • 1/2 butternut squash, diced
  • 1 1/2 Tbs olive oil or melted coconut oil
  • ground sea salt
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 2 cups mixed greens
  • 1 cup kale
  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

 Dressing Ingredients

  • 4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp maple syrup
  • 4 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F / 200C
  2. Cut the acorn squash into quarters and the butternut squash in half (longways) scoop out seeds and press the flesh a few times with a fork.
  3. Cut the acorn squash into 1/2 inch slices and dice the butternut squash into bite size chunks.
  4. Drizzle the squash with the oil and rub it around to coat, being sure to fully coat.
  5. Lay squash on a baking tray, sprinkle with sea salt and bake for about 35-45 minutes. * Test readiness by outer crispy edges and easy to pierce flesh. Be sure to occasionally stir the tray to prevent burning.
  6. Set aside to cool
  7. In a small food processor, blend all dressing ingredients until smooth and combined.
  8. Combine all the salad ingredients,  in a large bowl and toss with desired amount of dressing.
  9. Share with your people and enjoy! notes below 

 

photo-nov-06-21-16-44

Notes

  • Toppings: For a festive addition, use pomegranate, baked apples, or stewed cranberries.
  • Top with any nut or seed of your choice for a little extra crunch. Feeling like a creamy or tangy option? A soft cheese like goat or feta should do the trick!
  • Rubbing the raw kale with olive oil for a few minutes leaves it tender and takes away the bitterness (also easier to digest, read more here from Nutrition Stripped)
  • The dressing can be prepared ahead of time and will keep up to 3 days

 

photo-nov-06-14-55-15

 

As always, I would love to hear if you try the recipe!  What are your favorite ways to use winter vegetables this time of year?

 

Have a delicious week!

x

 

a healthy thanksgiving roundup

holidays, mains, recipes, sides

I eagerly collect recipes starting in what seems like, July… clipping things from food magazines and adding all the beautiful and inspiring food images to my Pinterest boards (drool). This year, we are celebrating Thanksgiving in Belfast, Northern Island and we are really looking forward to gathering around a table with dear friends and some of our favorite comfort foods that this season has to offer.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, just a few days away, it is time for the big feast!

As anyone who follows an AIP lifestyle or any restrictive diet knows, the holidays can be a tough time. Finding delicious holiday recipes made of whole foods that do not use any dairy, gluten or grains, and nightshades this time of year can be a struggle. It can make social situations feel a bit awkward at times but there is no reason why it cannot be a celebration that includes all of us, and deliciously so, with recipes that do not sacrifice on taste or ‘specialness’. I found this article from the gals at autoimmune-paleo.com to be really helpful for this time of year, a wee guide on how to navigate the holidays and social situations when managing your disease through diet and lifestyle.

We do not have to give up on a holiday feast just because do or do not eat certain foods. In fact, many of the food most commonly enjoyed on Thanksgiving Day are perfectly fine, and just require an attention to quality, the removal of a few ingredients, and creative substitutions of others.

Here is a roundup of Thanksgiving recipes that can help make this year the most delicious, and nutritious, yet. These dishes are so tasty, you and your fellow diners may not even notice they are eating healthier a variation of their favorites!

______________

Bring on the Stuffing: Rather than relying on expensive gluten-free breads or flours, these two types of grain-free stuffing are made with a bounty of fresh vegetables, fruit and herbs. They feature all of the flavors you love in traditional stuffing, without leaving you feeling too “stuffed” afterward.

Grain-Free Stuffing

Cranberry Holiday Stuffing

stuffing-1024x682

This recipe uses cauliflower rice as the base and includes fresh green apples, cranberries, bacon, sweet potatoes, mushrooms and celery, spiced with cinnamon and rosemary. The texture of this stuffing is great, and it has the perfect blend of sweet holiday spice and tart flavors.

__________________

Bring on the Mash:  It is hard to beat a bowl of creamy, buttery, mashed potatoes. I have found that lots of mashed vegetables can be oh-so-delicious and great addition to a properly combined Thanksgiving dinner.  Over the years, mashed cauliflower has become a popular low-carb/ Paleo alternative, but it has not been high on my list. I prefer mashed carrot and parsnip, or mashed sweet potato. Have fun experimenting with different root vegetables.

Roasted Garlic Vegetable Mash

tumblr_inline_mweb581cbr1qdei8m

Mashed Cauliflower “Potatoes”

Celeriac Mash

celeriac-mash-main

______________

 

Bring on the Sauce: Because sometimes you need to give all those sides a bit-o sauce love and get your plate a spot at the flavour disco. And unlike many of the canned cranberry sauce options, these two recipes below are naturally sweetened with honey and bursting with Fall spices. They are quite the upgrade and will make a delicious addition to your feast.

Starch-Free Gravy 

aipgravy-2761

Basil Vinaigrette Dressing 

IMG_2538 (1)

Cranberry and Orange Relish

best-homemade-cranberry-sauce

Paleo Cran-Cherry Sauce – Cranberries, cherries, ginger: it is a delicious high-five of powerful antioxidants that happens to go well with roasted turkey.

cranberry-cherry-sauce-6216

__________________

Bring on the Veg: If there are sides that I get seconds…  okay, thirds of, they are the veg. I love all the seasonal sides our family contributes. These are healthy alternatives to certain casserole dishes and there is no limit on how many to include. The amazing thing about veg, especially autumn harvests, is the variety. The colors, the flavors, the nutrient-density and deliciousness we can get from plant-based sources is something to be grateful for.

Clean Green Bean Casserole

This fresh green beans and caramelized onions from The Dextoxinista is just about as clean as it gets. Rather than relying on a cream-based soup, it is held together by a creamy puree of parsnips and mushrooms.

Green Bean Almondine

green-bean-almondine

 

Holiday Slaw with Roasted Shallot Dressing

holiday_slaw_04

 

Balsamic Roasted Brussel Sprouts

brussels-sprouts-33-700x1050

Brussels sprouts can be a bit intimidating on their own, but when roasted with a splash of balsamic vinegar, they become a delectable treat! Tender on the inside, and crispy on the outside, these veggies are a quick and easy addition to any Fall meal.

 

Oven Roasted Sweet Potato, Butternut Squash with Cranberries

22348890876_5695b8dde2_c

Cabbage, Orange + Date Salad 

IMG_7336

 

Roasted Root Vegetables 

Why limit yourself to one or two vegetable varieties? Treat your guests to the full spread of fall veggies, simply roasted and allowed to succeed on their own merits.

image

 

Roasted Squash, Pecan + Pomegranate Salad

Sweet-Spicy-Roasted-Squash-Salad-with-Cinnamon-Sugar-Pecans-and-Pomegranate-Molasses-vegan-glutenfree-thanksgiving-recipe-salad.jpg

 

_________________

Bring on the Dessert: With all of the work involved in preparing Thanksgiving dinner, we could all use simple dessert recipes that do not involve to much work or have so much sugar it feels impossible to enjoy them after a hearty meal like Thanksgiving dinner. These following recipes are all easy to prepare, and taste so decadent– with surprising amounts of nutrients and no refined sugars or unhealthy oils.

No-Bake Pecan Pie Bars

 

Pumpkin is my favorite. Always. The textures, flavors and overall satisfaction of this collection of pumpkin recipes is over. the. top. so. good. They all have the taste and texture similar to pumpkin pie, but better for you! Whether you prefer almond butter or coconut flour recipes, these have got you covered!

Grain-free Pumpkin Bars

 

Pumpkin Spice Muffins 

coconut-flour-pumpkin-muffins

Creamy Vegan Pumpkin Pie Bars

easy-pumpkin-pie-bars-with-10-ingredients-naturally-sweetenedvegan-recipe-pumpkin-glutenfree-dessert

No-Bake Pumpkin Tarts

SONY DSC

This recipe features a sweet pumpkin filling and a grain-free crust. These mini tarts are a quick and easy seasonal dessert. Naturally sweetened with fiber-rich dates, they can be whipped up in a blender in minutes.

I have also included some additional recipes for those that would like to incorporate some seasonal fruit into the holiday mix.

Honey Roasted Pears with Sea Salt + Rosemary Cream 

honey-roasted-pears-with-sea-salt-and-rosemary-whipped-cream-3

 

Paleo Apple Crisp

paleo-apple-crisp

Citrus + Pomegranate Mint Salad 

image

 

 

__________________

I wish that Thanksgiving did not come only once a year. Not just for the food (but close…) but also for the spirit of gratitude and thankfulness that spreads through the season. I am thankful for this season of our life. I am grateful for a God that is faithful when I am less than worthy. I am thankful for supportive family and friends that continue to pray for us and give of themselves generously. I am thankful for my job and the young people I work with. I am thankful for the Autoimmune Protocol community. I am thankful for better health, especially when I compare it to how awful I felt one year ago. I am especially thankful for my husband who supports me wholeheartedly on this healing journey and who I get to share life with everyday.

Whatever you choose to serve this Thanksgiving, I hope you and your family have a wonderful holiday celebrating good food and all the things you are grateful for.

As always, let me know what your favorite holiday recipes are?  Will you be making any modifications this year?

Happy Thanksgiving, x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

roasted beet + blackberry salad with balsamic dressing

appetizer, dressing, mains, salads

 

I have a wildly delicious food spectrum this time of year.

My favourite thing to eat is a big, warm, bowl of comfort food from the slow cooker. My second favourite, on the other end of the spectrum, is a huge fall harvest salad.

Harvest salads are full of foods that are sweet and earthy, like beets, mushrooms, varieties of squash, pumpkin and root vegetables… If you are not a beet fan, I think that this salad could possibly change your mind. Roasting beets brings out their stunning colour and a natural sweetness that is hard to resist.

img_5722

What I love about this recipe is the mix of earthy beetroot with sweet blackberries – a flavour pairing that is gorgeous, not just visually (look at those deep gemlike colours!) but also in the way they balance each other. There is a lot of room for texture pairing here as well. A crunchy seed or nut with the softness of crumbled cheese or the soft roasted beets tastes right on.

But really, the fusion of blackberry and the balsamic dressing is truly where the tastebud disco takes place.  This dressing is so easy and we always keep a jar of it handy.

As I become more passionate about eating seasonally, we save money and it makes meal planning easier because I know what produce to expect at the store, and they’re usually on sale (one of the beautiful things about buying seasonal/local is that the item is usually in surplus!)

img_5720

ROASTED BEET + BLACKBERRY SALAD WITH BALSAMIC DRESSING

Ingredients

Serves 2 Main or 4 sides | Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 50 minutes

For the salad:

  • 6 cups of fresh greens (your pick, I had kale and spinach on hand)
  • 2 shredded fennel (watch this YouTube clip)
  • 1 1/2 cups roasted beets (approx 4 large)
  • 1 cup blackberries
  • 4 tablespoons crumbled cheese (if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, or toasted seeds

For the dressing:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoon honey
  • Pinch of sea salt

 

Instructions

1. Roast the beets: Preheat your oven to 425°F /220 °C. With a sharp vegetable peeler, remove the skin from the beets and chop them into small pieces, about 1/2 inch in size. In an oven safe dish, cover tightly with aluminum foil. Roast them in their packet for 45-60 minutes, or until soft. Allow the beets to cool.

2. While the beets are cooking prepare the fennel. I found this YouTube video most helpful because this was the first time I cooked fennel. Be sure you put the ‘furry stuff’, aka dill, to the side, you can garnish your salad with it.

3. The dressing is super easy.  In a small jar, or other glass container, whisk all the ingredients together. Tighten lid + shake the dressing together.

4.The presentation and assembly of your salad- my favorite part. Divide the greens between two plates. Sprinkle each plate with half the beets, half the blueberries, half the fennel, half the cheese (if you are going for it), and top with half the crunchy seeds or nut. Drizzle the salad with the dressing or serve on the side.

5. Enjoy the tastebud disco!

As always, I hope you have a delicious week. Let me know if you try the salad and what your favourite fall recipes are! x

 

img_5721

img_5723

month in review

devotionals, lifestyle

Autumn is crisp evenings, a mantle with lit candles, dressing in layers and, best of all, comfort food.

After the trips and activities of summer, I crave the serenity and quiet of fall. We are going into this season incredibly grateful for the friends and family that visited us this summer. Our sweet parents all made the journey to Edinburgh and being able to share our second home with them was more than sweet. There was something so special about taking them to our favourite benches, walking in gardens, tucking into museums and drinking coffee at our kitchen table. A blog post on their trips is to come, but we go into the next months with super full + warm hearts from their visits.

img_0685

As the days turn cooler and darker we tend to indulge in lots of reading, catching up with Netflix (on all seven of the shows we have going on…) and entertaining friends with homemade dinners. A simple after-dinner walk along the Water of Leith and smelling that campfirey smell of fall (you know the smell, right?) is delightful.

Latley, I am noticing the vivid changes that occur this time of year. The leaves change color, the sky is darker, the wind a bit chillier. Autumn is a good time to reflect on what was and what will be. This time of year encourages us to sit back and remind ourselves of the simple pleasures in life and to prepare for what is ahead.

img_2228_1024

img_2222

thumb_img_6997_1024

There is beauty in passing from the green and fruitful days of summer into the shadowy hues fall. All things change, somehow. There are lessons to be learned from our times of activity but I have found that I can only find what God is attempting to show us by taking a step back and being still.

img_2051

Our lives can be a reflection of the season both secular and sacred. We experience many autumns, physically, spiritually and emotionally. I slide my feet through crunching leaves, small piles of them on my walk to work and take a break from my headphones to listen to the sound. The trees shed their leaves, but only for a time. They rest and wait with hope for what is ahead, preparing for a deeper time of hibernation – winter.  Our lives are like this too and we can take advantage of the season of hibernation as one of contemplation.

img_2166

God allows the spiritual seasons of our lives to coincide with the physical seasons. And in that I find great comfort. Autumn brings wisdom, reflection and time to repair and plan. The hope of new chances and life renewed. A time of rest. To plan (or not plan) and letting go of what was. I am encouraged by the words in Ecclesiastes 3:1, ‘To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven.’

img_2219

thumb_img_6544_1024

What is your life yielding this autumn? Can you recognise what you have planted and what you have reaped? We need this period of fall – of gathering + remembering – to see where we are and where we are going and to be reminded that God is in all seasons.

________________________________________

We pray that you are enjoying your start to the season and find time to enjoy the simple things.

With love,

A+R

P.S. Canned pumpkin is very hard to find here + I am eager to use it in every recipe from now until Christmas. If you feel inclined, book a trip to come see us and bring some with you, #jokingnotjoking.

 

 

 

 

 

garlic+ herb turkey sausage

breakfast, recipes, sides

I love breakfast and I am such a crank if I skip it or do not get enough to eat in the morning.

One of my biggest challenges since going Auto-Immune Protocol [AIP] in February of this year are breakfasts. Egg-free breakfasts can be difficult in the paleo world and many store bought sausages are heavily processed, full of sugar and usually not gluten free.

Thankfully, there are loads of amazing AIP cookbooks and resources out there, so finding all kinds of breakfast inspiration is easy as toast (well, not toast, but you know what I mean).

This recipe for turkey sausage is easy to make in bulk, can be frozen and are quick to reheat in the morning. I usually eat them along with a big bowl of sautéed breakfast greens,- kale, cabbage, broccoli, sweet potato hash, whatever is on hand- and a side of some delicious, heaping scoop of fermented food like sauerkraut or kimchi. At lunch, they are perfect on top of salad or between two thin slices of roasted sweet potato with avocado mash, whoa!

Makes 16, 1 oz. patties or 8, 2 oz. patties 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb (approx 500g) ground lean turkey breast
  • 1 tbs chopped garlic
  • 3 chopped green onions
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tbs lime juice
  • 1-2 tbs mixed dry herbs (or something similar)
  • coconut oil (optional, for cooking)

 

Directions

It is this easy.

  1. In large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until it reaches an even consistency
  2. Knead with hands or wooden spoon
  3. Heat skillet to medium heat
  4. Mold 1-2 oz (smaller than a golf ball) patties with hands and place in skillet
  5. Turn every 5 minutes, until both sides are brownish/goldish and fully cooked, the middle should no longer be pink
  6.  Repeat until the mix is done

Notes

– I did not add any oil to my pan to cook these. I found that adding a little water to the pan (because they are lean, not a lot of fat to cook in) when they were sticking did the trick. But if you prefer oil, just add bit of coconut oil to the pan before adding patties.

-The mixed herbs + fresh garlic add a burst of flavour but feel free to experiment.

-You can also play with the patty size to pre-ration how much you want to be eating.  When I batch-cook, I make them on the small side so that I can be flexible about portions and use them with other meals for a couple of days.

 

IMG_4432.jpg

 

I would love to hear what your delicious and quick go-to breakfast items are. As always, have a delicious day!

x

travel: Paris, France

budget trips, lifestyle, travel

When your best friend/soul sister asks you to go see Beyonce and Jay Z, you do it.

After we moved to Scotland, I needed a familiar face and some much needed girl time. Megan was in England studying abroad for university.  I was job searching and adjusting to new life in Scotland. Beyonce and Jay Z were on tour in Europe. So, we made it happen, obviously.

It was the ultimate girls trip and every time I think of it, my grin goes ear to ear.

If I were a scrap-booker this trip would have its very own album. It would have a bright pink cover with a little leopard print, covered with glittery stickers and have all our tickets, receipts, and random momentos tucked inside the pages.

img_0980_1024

img_0977_1024

img_0958_1024

Paris is a magical place.

Paris, France was on my travel ‘bucket list’. Like the movies, I pictured myself strolling the streets, gawking over the Eiffel Tower, getting sick from too many macaroons and trying my best to pronounce “merci” and “bonjour”. 

As first time visitors, we were super touristy and not ashamed. I definitely had the camera out all day (may or may not have hung around my neck), I probably clogged up the sidewalk as we marvelled at all the famous landmarks, and of course, we did not hold back with the food, indulging in all of the Parisian cuisine possible.

img_0789_1024

img_0792_1024

img_0795_1024

img_0978_1024

img_0796_1024

img_0814_1024

img_0859_1024

What we did: We hit all the tourist spots. A walk through Notre Dame Cathedral, The Louvre Museum, walked to Pont Alexandre III bridge, viewed the Arc de Triomphe, the home of Victor Hugo, a picnic in Jardin de Luxembourg, a morning at The Eiffel Tower and … danced the night away at Beyonce! [crepes + coffee weaving throughout]

 

img_0860_1024

img_1069_1024

img_0861_1024

img_0863_1024

Where we stayed: We chose to stay in an Airbnb in the Bastille neighborhood. Bastille represents Parisian romance—a very stylish + historical neighbourhood. Its streets are lined with with theatres, cafes, antiques, green spaces + gardens. A great location and easy to navigate.

What we ate: Most people know that France puts out more Michelin starred restaurants and chefs than anywhere in the world. Although we were not able to wine and dine on the five-star cuisine we did have some delicious grub. I was over the moon, taste-buds dancing, the entire trip. No gluten-free croissants, but we DID find the most glorious crepe shop. The BEST red wines, and Megan was thrilled to have a fresh baked baguette and traditional French onion soup. A stop (or two) in LADURÉE proved to be a good choice with their wild selection of macaroons. And we routinely picked up fresh fruit + cheese from outdoor markets and followed the example of Parisians around us: picnic time!

img_1068_1024

img_0979_1024

img_0959_1024

img_1025_1024

img_1067_1024

img_1014_1024

 

img_1071_1024

img_0862_1024

 

Trip of a lifetime and September proved to be a lovely time to visit Paris. Have you ever visited? Where have you spent time with your dearest friends?

 

Traveling mercies, friends!

x

healthy pumpkin spice latte

food & drink, snacks, treats

Hi friends, it is the first day of fall! Yay!

Leaves. The clock rolls back. Scarves. Sweaters. Boots. Scented candles. And all things pumpkin!

This week I have been experimenting with a homemade, healthy version of the classic Pumpkin Spice latte from Starbucks. There is nothing wrong with a little treat yo’self, especially if you look forward to this fall treat year-round. But I would like to drink them all fall (and winter for that matter), so I had to find a healthier way to do that without a growing waistline or dwindling checking account. I will definitely be sipping on this as the mornings are darker and the weather just a bit cooler.

Serves 1- 2

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup full fat coconut milk (or your dairy preference)
  • 2 tbs pumpkin puree
  • 1 tbs maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup brewed coffee or espresso
  • ground cinnamon

 

Directions 

  1. Combine all ingredients (minus the coffee) in a small pan over low heat on stovetop. Stir slowly until the milk is hot.
  2. Whisk the mixture to get a frothy texture for 30-45 seconds.
  3. Pour coffee or espresso in a mug and top with coconut milk mixture. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon
  4. Sip and savour fall in a mug!

img_5575

Notes 

  • Extra mixture will keep in glass jar up to two days
  • You can freeze any leftover mixture in ice trays for another day or to blend in a morning smoothie or cook into your oatmeal

img_5577

Let me know if you give this recipe a try, as always! What are the fall recipes that you look forward to most?

Happy autumn! x

endless summer fruit + nut crumble

breakfast, dessert, recipes, treats

Summer officially ends this week. Slow teardrop down my cheek… 

Here in Edinburgh, we have been experiencing unseasonably warm weather leading up to autumn. All of August we enjoyed the seasons best berries, peaches + plums. We had a big bowl on the table and it felt a bit more summery around here. We are topping off our oatmeals, yogurt bowls and leafy salads with delicious additions like grilled peaches and figs and we will continue to do so through the fall with some stewed apples and pears.

For this particular recipe, I was unsure whether to call it a cobbler, a crisp or a crumble because it fits the bill for all. What I love about this recipe is the versatility. You can add whatever fruit you have on hand or is in season.

You can have it for breakfast paired with coffee or topped with a protein-rich Greek yogurt. As a leftover, it can serve as a great on-the-go option as school and work schedules get a bit busier this time of year.

It also makes for a fantastic, and not-too-sweet dessert option. We consistently bring this over to friends with vanilla ice-cream and it is always a hit!

After two rounds of strict AIP since February, I have successfully re-introduced a couple of key foods like eggs, various nuts + gluten-free oats. Win! It makes baking a bit easier and enjoyable. I can have these foods in moderation without feeling crummy. And one tasty way to keep from feeling crummy, is to make this crumble… [nice segue there, eh?]

img_5226

Serves: 4-5 Servings

Ingredients

For the topping:
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or dairy alternative)
  • 1 tbs maple syrup or honey
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 large egg
  • sliced almonds
For the filling:
  • 3 ripe peaches, cut into slices
  • 2 ripe plums, cut into slices
  • 2 ripe greengage, cut into slices (or extra peach/plum)
  • 1 cup berries of choice (blackberries and blueberries are nice)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
  • lemon juice
 img_5250

Directions

Prep Time:  10 Mins/ Cook Time:  35 Mins / Total Time:  45 Mins

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F / 170 C.
  2. To prepare the filling, toss the fruit, sweetener, vanilla, and salt together in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle the mixture with lemon juice.
  3. Transfer the fruit filling to a lightly oiled 8 x 8 square baking dish or a glass pie plate.
  4. To make the topping, add all ingredients to a medium sized mixing bowl and mix them together, until you have a clumpy, well-mixed topping.
  5. Dollop (I love that word) all of the topping over the fruit.
  6. If you fancy, sprinkle sliced almonds and/or extra gluten-free on top of crumble.
  7. Bake the crisp for 35 minutes, until fruit is bubbling + the crumble topping is golden.
  8. Serve with yogurt, coconut whipped cream, vanilla ice-cream, or anything you like!

img_5232

Notes

  • Leftovers will keep for up to 4 days in an airtight container in the fridge
  • Short on time? Easy to prep ahead of time. Cover in the fridge and pop in the oven before serving

 

img_5237
img_5243
This month, I am looking forward to a similar version with some apple, pears + figs. It is also my favourite time of year to get those pumpkin recipes out! Tell me, what are your fall favourites?
Have a delicious week, x!

travel: Dubrovnik, Croatia

budget trips, lifestyle, travel

Have you visited a place that makes your jaw drop? Dubrovnik was this place for us.

Dubrovnik was the final destination on our train trip this summer. We started in Munich, Germany and traveled through Austria, Slovenia and worked our way to the very southern tip of Croatia. It was a grande finale and the perfect way to end the journey. It has taken me a few months to put this post together for a few reasons. Wrapping my mind around it, figuring out how to document it and what to write here is no small task!

We were in awe of the marble streets, baroque buildings, endless shimmer of the Adriatic Sea, and totally inspired as we walked the ancient city walls. We ate. We drank. And our pale Scottish skin got a long awaited sunburn. It. Was. Awesome.

IMG_1641

IMG_1637

IMG_1633

IMG_4723

IMG_4726

IMG_4730

IMG_4738

 

Do + See

Relax and swim in the Adriatic: When we booked our accommodation, we wanted to stay on a section of beach, or close to it. Swimming in the Adriatic is its own reward. On our first morning in Dubrovnik, Ryan and I woke up at 7am to swim at Banje Beach. Ryan grew up visiting his grandma on the New Jersey shore and is his happiest when he is by the water, or in the water. It was a completely refreshing way to start the day as this beach gets really crowded on a hot summer afternoon.

IMG_4740

IMG_4742

IMG_4724

 

Get on the water: Go kayaking or take a boat trip. Lots of people seemed to be enjoying a kayak trip around Lycrum Island. We opted for a boat tour, which is a really great way to spend a morning or afternoon and see the old city from a different perspective.

IMG_4729

We had some lunch at a nearby lagoon and then chose a boat tour at the pier. Oma chose the ‘Pirate-theme’ ship, which was hilarious. But it really was lovely, it took us on a loop around Lycrum Island. There were pockets of white rock cliffs and caverns. People in kayaks, swimmers and sunbathers at a nude beach  (don’t say we didn’t warn ya). I was happy to get off the boat with a sunburn on my shoulders and salty skin.

thumb_IMG_4275_1024

IMG_4727

 

Get some views: If you are staying anywhere near the Old City it is only a short walk to the base of the cable car going up Mount Srd. You might want to get up early for sunrise or get up there later for sunset. Round-trip tickets for adults cost 100 kuna ($15 bucks). From the top, we took in the shining sun on red rooftops and the deep blue waters of the Adriatic. The panoramic views from the deck of the cafe were top notch.

thumb_IMG_4249_1024

Walking the city walls — A must for every Dubrovnik visitor! Walking the walls costs 100 kuna ($15 USD) and close at 7:00 PM. Our Airbnb host recommended we go at 6:00PM to avoid the crowds and the hot sun.  He was right, this is Dubrovnik’s ‘Golden Hour’. The light was golden, hitting the rooftops and the walls. The city was less crowded as most of the cruise ship visitors were back on the ships. This allowed us to walk at a nice pace and really take in the views. Oma had her knee replaced 8-weeks before the trip, and she walked the entire length of the city walls. She is incredible.

IMG_1640

IMG_4731

IMG_1638

thumb_IMG_4349_1024

 

After 4pm: Dubrovnik is growing in popularity and it will never be tourist-free. Most cruise ships dock for a single day and have the same routine: arrive in the old town in the morning and stay until the afternoon. However, in the evening, Dubrovnik becomes a bit quieter. We walked the city walls, ate nice dinners, found charming places for a drink and enjoyed the scene from inviting benches at the pier.

IMG_4739

IMG_4737

Eats + Drinks 

A vacation is basically just eating food in new places, am I right? Our favourite part of travel is trying local cuisine and drinks, and Dubrovnik provided that and more! One reason that Croatia is gaining popularity among tourists is that it is considered to be a more affordable alternative to its neighbor, Italy. Croatia and Italy are separated only by the Adriatic Sea and this has created a robust tradition of Italian cuisine and influence in Croatia.

IMG_0946

Gelato— There are loads of places to choose from. But some of our favourite flavours were lavender (very common in this region) and vegan espresso!

Seafood—Fish and seafood is an important part of the Croatian culinary world, particularly along the coast. Although there were plenty of non-fishy options, fresh seafood was everywhere!  We ate seafood everyday. Delicious dinners of grilled sea bass was my highlight and Oma sampled a few seafood risottos.

IMG_1612

Pasta– Pasta is one of the most popular food items in Croatian cuisine, especially in the region of Dalmatia. The other popular sauces include creamy mushroom sauce with truffle and minced meat sauce. Also, potato dough is popular, not only for making njoki (gnocchi), but also for making plum or cheese dumplings which are boiled, and then fried in breadcrumbs and butter. I had gluten envy but Ryan got his fill of delicious pastas.

IMG_4745

IMG_4744

 

Wine— My favourite. Croatia has two main wine regions: Continental (Kontinetalna) and Coastal (Primorska), which includes the islands. We learned that there are more than 300 geographically-defined wine-producing areas in Croatia!  The D’vino Wine Bar had a fabulous selection of Croatian wines and they were really happy to help you find the right local wine.

Burek – Ryan indulged in some homemade burek (spinach + gooey feta cheese pastry puff), lovingly made by our host family.

Karbona Nava– We had a very special dinner at Karbona Nava, our AirBnb host made us a reservation. We ate: shrimp risotto, spaghetti carbonara, grilled sea bass and drank local wines and indulged in blueberry cheesecake. The cook came to our table to check on us and even served us with three glasses of Rajika – a traditional Croatian plum brandy, a gift from the restaurant owner. It was the best authentic dining experience we had on the trip.

The Soul Caffe.– A charming cafe we spent time our last night and I loved the outdoor seating tucked between the old stone walls.There was candlelight, a guitarist playing soft music, a screen showing clips from old black and white films and we sipped on mint and chamomile tea. This vintage-chic cafe and Rajika bar is hidden within the backstreets of the Old City. The musically inspired dim atmosphere offers a great environment for a low-key night out on the town.

IMG_1642

Part of my inspiration for starting a blog when we moved was to document trips. I guess it has become an online journal of sorts for us. If you stuck with me for the entirety of this post, well done, it was a long one. It is just impossible to narrow down the amount of pictures or things to say about a place as wonderful as Dubrovnik.

I would love to hear where you have been in this world and the places you love!

Peace, grace and happy travels!

x

where to sip: Cairngorm Coffee Co

coffee, food & drink, lifestyle, travel

 

I still remember the first time I walked into a coffee shop as a complete newbie. I remember feeling totally dumbfounded as to what to order.

I was a senior in high-school, coffee seemed intimidating, so I ordered hot chocolate and tucked myself into a leathery corner with my latest copy of Seventeen magazine. I continued to order hot-chocolate until my college roommate introduced me to coffeeeeeeeee.

Enter: my love for delicious coffee and aesthetically pleasing spaces: a new series about where to sip in Edinburgh.

image

image

Cairngorm is the least pretentious coffee shop around and you will not feel like 17-year old me. The concept at Cairngorm is simple.

We LOVE this shop because it is:

  • Bright + Airy
  • Scandi-decor
  • Friendly
  • Fun menu
  • Bold in flavour
  • You can count on a fab playlist
  • Seriously delicious

We cannot get enough of their coffee, treats, perfect work spaces and natural light. This shop has everything to love, including avocado toast and their famous grilled cheese sandwiches.

 

Popular menu picks:

  • Guest filter coffee
  • Craft espresso
  • V60
  • Iced brew
  • Homemade granola
  • Grilled Cheese – [I.J. Mellis cheese + chilli jam]
  • Avocado Toast

The space is versatile. It can be a place for boss-lady business or a coffee date with someone dear. The set up makes for a productive environment to spread out that morning paper or linger with a novel. It is our special weekend retreat and really any moment we are not at work.

 

image

image

image

thumb_IMG_9085_1024

image

 

Locations: The first location is a cosy, basement level shop in New Town located at 41A Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 1EP. The second shop is in Edinburgh’s West End at 1 Melville Place, Edinburgh, EH3 7PR.

Hours: Monday – Friday [8am – 6pm] Saturday + Sunday [9am -6pm]

If you are staying in or visiting Edinburgh, visit this gem. You won’t regret it.

Have a great weekend!

x

 

month in review

devotionals, lifestyle

Summer is the best. Ryan being home from Tubingen is the best.

We’ve been making up our lost time in cafes, hill walking, playing tennis and going for bike rides. If the weather is dry in Scotland, we better take advantage of it and get outside. The dark/windy/rainy days are ahead.

We are approaching our two year mark in Edinburgh.

Hard to believe. I talk about it a lot, but I remember leaving Colorado and it was heartbreaking but really dang exciting to do something new. And again, we find ourselves in a similar situation.  As we start our third year here, there is a cloud of sadness already setting in as we think of approaching the ‘end’. But we are also met with great anticipation for what lies ahead.

The challenges of moving half-way around the world–visas, jobs, a place to live, not knowing anyone, away from all things familiar–were all stacked against us. At the time, there were three solid options on the table:  freak out, ignore it or pray for it. Well, those are generally my three reactions, and maybe you can relate. Most of the time I do not know what to ask for in prayer. But the beauty of it is that God knows. He knows what we need before we ask.

He knows what we need better than we ever could. The Holy Spirit comforts us in our weakness.  Our prayers are not powerful because we ourselves are powerful. The power of prayer lies in the power of God.

“Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7

Our flat. Our jobs. Our community. Our friends. Our new familiar. God surprised us (and continues to do so) because He provides for us in ways that we did not even know were possible.

He provided us with a flat that is a retreat. We find comfort, rest and healing under its roof. He turned the faces of strangers into a reliable community. We break bread, we pray, we let our guard down with our friends.  He transformed our ‘foreignness’ into quiet confidence. We started off lonely but now we find solidarity with other New College students and families. Our joy in Edinburgh now has deeper roots than the day we moved.

I pray that we can be intentional about the way we do this year, as it could be our last. We want to wholeheartedly invest in the people, the spaces and the communities that have made our time here so full and encouraging. To travel and experience places and cultures that will be soon too far away to see. To finish our work strong, to be diligent and do well.

But for now, August is here. Here’s to enjoying the long daylight, fresh fruit and all the many festivals + street performers here this month! I hope your summer is all you hoped it would be.

Love to you. Peace in your heart. And the grace to live fully, today.

x

image

superfood blueberry + quinoa salad

mains, salads, sides

Blueberries and summer – they just go together.

This time of year we all seem a bit more interested in fresh salads and light meals. This recipe is one I tried last summer from The Minimalist Baker (before going AIP) but I absolutely loved it and think it is worth passing along! This salad is perfect for summer and will give you an excuse to pick up some fresh blueberries at a farmer’s market near you. This salad is in season, full of flavour and packed with superfoods!

The dressing really brings all the flavours alive and dancing on your tastebuds: olive oil, balsamic vinegar, a little sweetener and a good amount of pureed blueberries! It is a perfect vegetarian option, packed with plant-strong goodness. It is sweet yet subtle. It is quick but well constructed. A perfect option for a summery, crunchy lunch or dinner!

 

Serves: 2 entries / 4 sides 

Ingredients

SALAD
DRESSING
  • 1/3 cup (80 ml) balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp (15 ml) maple syrup (honey or date syrup)
  • 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) olive oil
  • Pinch each salt and pepper
  • 1/3 cup (approx 50 g) blueberries
IMG_2872

Instructions

  1. Prepare quinoa (easy guide here) or use ready-to-go version.
  2. In a food processor or small blender, add balsamic vinegar, olive oil, blueberries, maple syrup, and a pinch each salt and pepper. Blend until pureed, scraping down sides as needed. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  3. On a plate, or low large bowl, arrange mixed greens and top with cooked quinoa blueberries, nuts and avocado. Serve with dressing. It’s that easy!

 Notes

  • If you are following the AIP lifestyle, toasted coconut chips make a great substitution for the grain and nuts.
  • I used pre-cooked quinoa for convenience, by all the means cook your own, read here for easy instructions.
  • I have used hazelnuts and sliced almonds in the recipe but my favourite is pistachio and pecan mix. Use your favourite!
  • A crumbled goat cheese or feta would be a nice addition if you tolerate dairy

 

IMG_2870

IMG_2858

 

What are you favourite recipes that use seasonal fruits or ingredients? I hope you have a delicious weekend!

x

travel: Split, Croatia

budget trips, lifestyle, travel

Croatia is the place to vacation in Europe these days.

 It is gaining popularity because…

  1. It is beautiful/amazing/warm/ and full of history 
  2. Affordable alternative to Italy: the Adriatic Sea, islands + strong exchange rate
  3. For all of you fans, Game of Thrones is filmed here  
  4. The list goes on and on 

The train ride into Split was very scenic. I spent time reading about the 1991 Yugoslavia War and independence of Croatia. Evidence of the war still lingers in the tiny villages along the train tracks but it is easy to see how resilient the people are here, how communities have been restored and that the area is thriving. The landscape was absolutely breathtaking in parts- rivers that we could see from the train going through Plitvice Lakes National Park  were absolutely crystal clear and bright turquoise. Green, lush, jungly trees. White cliffs. Stone bridges. Rolling hills. Tree covered mountains.

thumb_IMG_0084_1024
Arriving into Split, we were ready to explore and indulge. Old town is full of romantic outdoor cafes. We found a beautiful garden restaurant in an old white building, with ivy growing up the walls, garden lights and green shutters on the windows. The currency exchange is almost 9:1 [Croatian Kuna to British Pound]. This made it affordable for us to eat out and treat ourselves to wines, seafood, and I even splurged on trying mussels for the first time!

IMG_4704

Our first morning in Split, we woke up extra early and went for a walk along the promenade (the ‘Riva’) curious to check out a hill on the other side of old town. We walked to the top of Marajan Hill  where we stood in awe for quite some time. What struck me was the change of scenery from the dear UK. The leaves of the palm trees, looking up and seeing them on a backdrop of clear blue, bright skies. Not a cloud to be seen.

IMG_4708

IMG_4150

IMG_4711

IMG_4709

IMG_4710

The morning sun was shining on the Roman ruins walking back through Old Town. Split is lovely with all its alleyways, hidden courtyards and ivy covered walls. It was early yet, so the streets were quiet. On our way back to the flat, we picked up coffees (note: coffee and cream is coffee and ice-cream, fun little surprise) and fresh juices. Ryan picked up a delicious smelling apple-baklava-filo-pastry goodie from a street vendor called, strudel od jakuba. Most places in this region have their own variation of a strudel, and Ryan was happy to try each one in search of ‘the best.’

IMG_4147

 

thumb_IMG_0051_1024

We enjoyed our goodies on the steps of Diocletian’s Palace, definitely the number one thing to see in Split. The ruins of the Roman Emperor Diocletian, date back to the late 3rd to early 4th century A.D. I love history and this was making my head spin a little because I think it is the oldest place that I have physically been in. There is a sphinx here that Diocletian himself had built and is part of the original palace, 2,000 years old! 
thumb_IMG_0055_1024
____________
IMG_4706
____________
IMG_4705
 ____________
IMG_4712
The outdoor open market was another highlight for me – it was full of fruit, cheese, antiques, dried fruits, nuts, fresh lavender and flower vendors. Such a cultural experience! We bought some fresh goat cheese, dried apricots, almonds and juicy peaches. 
We finished our day in good style – enjoying life’s simple pleasures (gelato and coffee) in a city that does such a wonder job of  weaving the past and present.
IMG_4707
____________
thumb_IMG_0061_1024

 

If we had a bit more time it would have been fun to swim at the beach or take a boat trip out to one of the nearby islands. Our time was lovely in Split and we eagerly boarded our bus for the our next stop, Dubrovnik!

Currently, there is also no train line between Split and Dubrovnik so this meant the end of our Eurail pass. This might change as Dubrovnik is becoming such a popular travel destination. For now, buses are the best way to get there. The journey to Dubrovnik is 4 hours with some fun along the way. We saw an incredible place called Fortress of Klis, baby donkeys (yes, baby donkeys!), more turquoise rivers and even made a rest stop in Bosnia – one of my favourite stamps in the passport because it is so random.

 

thumb_IMG_0079_1024

 

______________________________________

 Up next: Dubrovnik, Croatia 

 

x

travel: Zagreb, Croatia

budget trips, lifestyle, travel

 

The landlocked capital of Croatia is, quite possibly, the country’s most underrated destination.

According to Rick Steves, you cannot get a complete picture of modern Croatia without a visit here. Zagreb is away from the coastal villages and touristy resorts. Off the map a bit but a great way to experience some culture, in the “lively and livable” city that is home to one out of every six Croatians.

Our afternoon layover in Zagreb was a nice opportunity to stretch our legs, take in the city and get a bite to eat. We were sure to see the Zagreb Cathedral, Jelačić Square and Tkalciceva Road, such a thriving cafe culture and streets lined with rows and rows of places to sip and eat.

IMG_5300

IMG_8071

thumb_P1070821_1024

We had a delicious lunch at ‘Trattoria Leonardo’s’. There is a big Italian influence in the cuisine here, which is good for Ryan because pizza is his favorite food group.  Oma and Ryan also indulged in their favorite beer, Radler lemon (lemon beer) and I had plenty of chilled white wine!

IMG_1283
IMG_1284
There were not many tourist here which was a nice way to see the local culture and artistic enthusiasm of residents. The central park, located across from the train station, was hosting a large festival. There were food vendors, games for kids, live music and street artists that were covering the sidewalks in beautiful-vibrant chalk murals.

Ryan found some Croatian-donut ball-treasures, Najbolje Fritule, drizzled with Nutella and powdered sugar! I talk about gluten-envy a lot but that was over the top. So, before getting on the train,  I bought a small crate of strawberries from a sweet vendor outside of the train station and imagined they were donut balls. A girl can dream.

IMG_4713

Inline image

IMG_1285

IMG_1286

Inline image

 

Inline image

We feel like we made the most of our afternoon in Zagreb and would definitely recommend putting it on your Croatia itinerary. If we had more time I would have liked to check out some of their museums and art galleries.
Up next: Split, Croatia
x

travel : Ljubljana, Slovenia

budget trips, lifestyle, travel

We got off our train in Slovenia and did not have access to wifi.

I thought this might happen. We had to go old-school and use the travel books that I checked out from the library in Edinburgh. We played the tourist part well. Picture us and our huge fold out map trying to read street signs and all three of us pointing in different directions. ☝🏼👇🏼👉🏼

Ljubljana (pronounce it how you wish, here is some assistance… [ljuˈbljàːna]…. ) is a very walkable city and I was confident that we would find our listing.  With the help of a sweet old woman, she looked at our address and led us to our straight to our apartment. We dedicated a couple of days to Ljubljana and I am so grateful that we did. Slovenia, and it’s capital city, is a gem. After arriving, we walked along the Ljubljanica River, a river that winds through the middle of old town. The clouds were radiant. All different colours and it was the first sign of warmer weather since leaving the UK.  The bridges were lit up at sunset and people sipped on their drinks or licked their gelato along the waterfront.

One of my favorite activites in Ljubljana was walking the central open-air market. Row after row of of vendors selling fruit, vegetables, street food and flowers. The berries and cherries were so sweet and juicy and there was table after table of bright flowers and fresh herbs. 

 

thumb_IMG_9995_1024

thumb_IMG_9900_1024

thumb_IMG_9963_1024

thumb_IMG_9965_1024

thumb_IMG_9961_1024

Ryan, excited to get some street food, found a HUGE sausage pita meal. It was honestly the most sausage I have seen in one sitting. I lucked out as the market was closing and scored a huge bag of… sauerkraut! A very kind lady insisted that I take it at no cost as she was getting ready to leave. So delicious. So obviously, we paired with the huge sausage platter.

thumb_P1070796_1024

One of the many unique architectural wonders in Ljubljana is ‘Triple Bridge’, it connects new town with the old and is quite the feat for being constructed in 1931. Another bridge worth seeing a few blocks down is called the ‘Cobblers Bridge’, the oldest bridge in Ljubljana.

We spent the afternoon strolling through the old town as there are so many cool cafes with outdoor tables and shops. Keep your eye out for dragons. I had too much fun counting them and laughing at all the random nooks and crannies they hide in. True story, Ljubljana has a long history of dragons (read more here).

thumb_IMG_9988_1024

thumb_IMG_9969_1024

thumb_P1070784_1024

thumb_P1070777_1024

thumb_P1070787_1024

thumb_IMG_9978_1024
IMG_4086

Want to read more about this diamond city? Read 11 reasons to visit LjubljanaWhat cities have you been to that exceeded your expectations? 

Up next: Zagreb, Croatia 

x  

 

 

travel: Munich, Germany

budget trips, lifestyle, travel
Our taxi picked us up for the airport at 4.30am.

I would usually need some caffeine pumped straight into my veins at this hour, but the adrenaline, the excitement of meeting up with Ryan and this train trip in Europe with Oma had me well jazzed.

It was Oma’s maiden voyage in a British black cabbie and the driver tried every pick up line that he could muster up (she is a thing of beauty though, let’s be honest). We laughed and quickly grabbed a coffee before the terminal. The last time we were on a plane together, I was in high-school. I was filled with giddy excitement reminiscent of my teenager years as we walked the tarmac to our plane.

We kept ourselves entertained on the flight with Rick Steve’s guide to Croatia and playing  21 Questions. Her answers made me laugh, tear up, and see her a little differently as she shared her heart and told me stories of her childhood and past. Things I had to note down that I just don’t want to forget. Side note: She once dreamed of joining a traveling circus from Peru, Indiana. It’s never too late, Oma.

thumb_IMG_9761_1024

thumb_IMG_9763_1024

After landing in Stuttgart, Germany we met up with Ryan. Being happy to see him is an understatement. We could not stop holding hands. I held him tight. Kissed him every 3 minutes. Talked his ear off. And my joy meter was off the charts. My normal was back.

thumb_IMG_0074_1024
The first train leg of our big adventure was Munich but the Scottish weather followed us. We were shocked to get off the train and be hit with wind and rain , 42F / 5C.
Munich is chic and elegant even in crummy weather. I will remember: copper and turquoise rooftops. Rathaus tower views in Munich city centre.  Strolling the main street with wind in our faces. Oma warming my hand in her pocket.  Devouring sausage + sauerkraut rolls. And of course, Ryan’s pretzel, the size of his face.

Inline image

thumb_IMG_9802_1024

thumb_IMG_9804_1024

thumb_IMG_9837_1024

We definitely enjoyed our unseasonably cold time in Munich but found ourselves daydreaming of our final destination along the Adriatic Sea. I would love to see more of Germany, but this quick layover was a nice connection option before boarding our next train.

We found the Eurail passes easy to order and train timetables easy to navigate with their smart app for iPhone and Android. Have you ever planned a trip with Eurail? I would love to hear your stories or suggestions for smooth train travel in Europe.

Up next: Salzburg, Austria

x

 

menu plan monday

breakfast, food, mains, recipes, salads

It has been awhile since I created a Meal Plan Monday post! 

I guess there are few reasons – while Ryan is away, I am only cooking for one,  and I have been doing a lot more experiential cooking with the things I have on hand or finding random inspiration on a Wednesday night via Pinterest. I am also getting through items in our freezer + pantry and picking up seasonal produce on my walks home from work. Although the actual planning process has been a little unpredictable, I have still been putting together delicious, healthy and affordable AIP meals.

This week will be slowing down a bit, which helps with planning and returning to my well-planned grocery shop haul. The plan… is to plan when I can, not stress when I can’t, and to be reminded of why I love to cook. Having any kind of chronic illness related to diet and nutrition has the potential of causing added stress in the kitchen. But this healing journey through AIP has truly made it more enjoyable.

BREAKFAST

Does anyone else feel like you might be breaking the law if you opt for vegetables for breakfast? It definitely feels like some rule is being broken if you get out of the sweet-baked-smoothie, egg-box, doesn’t it? Growing up, I would watch my granddad eat green peppers, tomatoes, sauerkraut and rye bread every morning. I though he was crazy and reached for my Cinnamon Toast Crunch.

Veggies are a great way to start the day. I have been experimenting with this and I actually feel fuller longer, and I have noticed that my body handles a warm savoury breakfast much better than a sweet or cold breakfast. Don’t know why but if anyone does… enlighten me! Although I do love a good pancake or creamy fruit smoothie bowl, I have enjoyed this new routine. For the recipes below, I will be adding shredded chicken or homemade turkey sausage,egg yolks and a heaping cup of probiotic-full sauerkraut (thanks Grandpa) to really maximise my first meal of the day with nutrient density.

AIP Veggie Hash

breakfast_hash_4_words1

AIP Spring Vegetable Breakfast Soup

breakfast_soup_portrait_1edited

Fennel, Apple + Pomegranate Salad

tsl-fennel-celery-apple-pomegranate-salad-4

LUNCH + DINNERS

Interesting side note… this week I read that a third of office workers eat exactly the same lunch, every day, for an average of four and a half years! Whoa! I am definitely guilty of weeks like this, but I am learning that it is so SO important for our gut-health to provide variety and not rely too heavily on the same foods over and over. I typically bring huge amounts of dark leafy greens and lettuce and to put together a massive salad at work. The toppings depend on what I have on hand, but it’s usually shredded chicken, cucumbers, beets, avocados, celery, shredded carrot, … really any vegetable. If I have leftovers from dinner, I dollop that on top of my salad. These selections feature a recipes that would be easy to batch-cook for dinners at the beginning of the week and top up my lunch bowls.

AIP Turmeric Chicken Salad

Avocado_Turmeric_Chicken_Salad-3-1-681x1024

Cucumber, Carrot + Avocado Salad

Carrot Mash

Cilantro-Carrot-Mash-AIP

Mayo-free Chicken Salad

Zucchini-Chicken-Salad-2-WM-640x919

Roasted Beet, Pear + Walnut Salad

beetpearsalad1-loveandlemons

Roasted Spring Vegetables 

395451_roasted-spring-vegetables_1x1

Sweet Potato Picnic Salad

sweet potato aip recipe

Wha-la. Here is to a week of nutrient-dense and low stress cooking! 

I am really interested in seasonal eating and buy as much local/seasonal produce + meat/seafood as we can. There is a great website, Eat the Seasons, where you can look up what is in season every week of the year. The recipes that I will be trying out this week include many ‘July’ produce items – which keeps the diet varied, but also means you save a bit a money, invest in the local economy and eat fresh food. Win!

I would love to know how you prepare for the week and what meal planning tips you have. 

Have a delicious Monday.

x

lemon + coconut cake

dessert, recipes, treats

[This recipe has been edited since it was originally posted. I appreciate your feedback about my initial recommendation of coconut flour. I have reworked a few ingredients and hope this variation proves to be more successful for you as it requires less coconut flour! Keep the feedback coming y’all]

Grain-free and sugar-free baking can be intimidating, crumbly and expensive. But it can also be easy, delicious, affordable and make a restrictive diet fun again. Yep, I love fun that you can eat.

When it comes to basic GF/DF/SF/Paleo baking, we do not have to reinvent the wheel. Thanks to all the wonderful blogs, cookbook authors, Pinterest and friends with Celiac and Hashimoto’s, or individuals following the auto-immune protocol, it is easier than ever to modify and experiment with any recipe imaginable.

I first made a version of this cake at the beginning of the year and what a difference a few months make in learning how to make vegan, grain-free, naturally-sweetened baked goods all that you want them to be. Patience wins again!

I started my ‘cake experiment’ with a very basic vanilla pound cake recipe from Elana’s Pantry.  I have used this recipe as a base to experiment with banana bread, blueberry morning loaf, cinnamon raisin pumpkin loaf and chunky zucchini bread. I am really excited about this batch of lemon cake because it is super moist, dense yet light, not too sweet, and this case, deliciously lemony! I have to omit eggs from baking and find that banana, applesauce and arrowroot flour bind nicely. This cake is good naked and can also be topped a layer of coconut creme.

Ingredients
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup arrowroot flour (can sub tapioca or almond flour)
2 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 coconut milk (or dairy alternative of your choice)
1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
lemon juice from 2 lemons
zest of 2 lemons

Heartbeet Kitchen’s | Ingredients for whipped coconut cream 

1/2 can very cold full fat coconut milk (refrigerated overnight)

2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup (omit for AIP)

½ cup unsweetened toasted coconut flakes

 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F / 175C
  2. Coat a 9″ loaf pan with light layer of coconut oil and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients: flours, salt, and baking soda.
  4. In a mixer or a small processor, combine the bananas, milk, applesauce, vanilla + lemon juice
  5. Pour the wet mixture into the dry and stir to combine. Add lemon zest.  Then pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth the top into an even layer.
  6. Top with sliced almonds, omit for AIP. 
  7. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden brown, then tent with foil and bake for another 30-35 minutes until a toothpick or knife comes out clean.
  8. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack before topping with coconut cream and serving your people!

image

image

Coconut cream:

  1. Open the refrigerated coconut milk, being careful to keep it level. Scoop out all the hard cream that has come to the surface, until you hit the liquid. Leave the liquid in the can, do not add.
  2. Put the coconut cream in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a mixer or handheld mixer on high speed – whip the coconut cream for 3 to 5 minutes until it becomes fluffy and light, with soft peaks.
  3. Stir in the honey and frost cake. Best stored in refrigerator, then let it come to room temperature before serving.

 

 Notes

  • Store leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days
  • I recommend Meyer lemons if you can find them
  • I recommend using a food processor to blend the batter nice and smooth, like an eggy consistency
  • Try letting the cake sit for a bit before eating – the texture improves a bit and the middle should firm up

Enjoy! x

IMG_2936

strawberry + mixed greens salad with toasted nuts

mains, recipes, salads, sides

The bright and beautiful strawberries used in this recipe were picked at Craigie’s Farm. This pick-your-own farm and cafe is one of Edinburgh’s treasures and it is easy to see why city folk like myself flock to the farm on weekends. We wandered up and down the greenhouses and fields filling our baskets with strawberries, raspberries and cherries. This proved to be highly addicting. My baskets were full but I just couldn’t stop looking for deep, red, ripe fruit. I would find one and say, “okay, this is the last one” but it would turn into another fifteen minutes of foraging. Needless to say, the entire experience made me rethink the times I have sat and plowed through a carton of raspberries in 1.5 minutes. This week when I looked at my berries, I thought more about the colors, the textures, the hands that picked them and the joy of finding them- but I still ate them rather quickly. 

image

One of the best parts about summer? Salads! And tossing fruit into our salads! Hooray! I love salads because they are customizable and can be easily experimented with. Putting in the stuff you like and picking out the stuff you decide you are not crazy about is easy peasy. The idea of strawberries on salad is not a new concept. There are many wonderful strawberry salad recipes out there, two of my favorites that you can view here are from the wonderfully talented The Minimalist Baker and Oh She Glows.

This strawberry salad is fresh, satisfying and super… super easy to make.  I always prefer a little crunch in my salad, so tossing in some unsweetened coconut flakes and toasted nuts are delightful additions. They also provide important healthy fats and a protein boost, win-win.
image
INGREDIENTS
DRESSING

3 tbs olive oil

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

1-2 tsp date syrup (or sweetener of choice)

Mix all ingredients in small jar, set aside

SALAD

1-2 c (150-200g) quartered strawberries

200g arugula + watercress mix

200g spinach

3 tbs unsweetened shredded coconut

3 tbs raw hazelnut + almond (or nuts of choice)

METHOD

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 C) and place nuts on lined baking sheet. Toast for 5-8 minutes then set aside

Add mixed greens, strawberries, coconut and toasted nuts in a large mixing bowl

Drizzle 2-3 tbsp of balsamic dressing and toss gently

Notes
*Serve additional dressing, nuts and coconut on the side
*Best when fresh. Share it for 2 entrees or 4 small salads
image