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

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AIP Spring Vegetable Breakfast Soup

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Fennel, Apple + Pomegranate Salad

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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

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Cucumber, Carrot + Avocado Salad

Carrot Mash

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Mayo-free Chicken Salad

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Roasted Beet, Pear + Walnut Salad

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Roasted Spring Vegetables 

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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

coconut chicken + vegetable soup (AIP)

food, mains, recipes

Hands up if you think that coconut and curry are one of the most blissful combinations in THE world (🙌🏼).  I am obsessed with curry. Indian, Thai, African, you name it. Love it. Here is the problem though, AIP and those foods just do not go together very well and that has been a hard one for me to take.  Most dishes are full of nightshades or nightshade/seed based spices, peanuts, soy and . . . yadda yadda. 

My slow cooker is not something I use in the cold months, she is one of my bestie all year long. Honestly, the aroma when you walk in the door after a long day and dinner is done?.. Amazing. I decided to create a version of this soup that would meet AIP standards and still be very flavorful, despite missing that distinctive chili/curry/spice. This soup is super flavorful, and the closest thing to curry that you can have on the autoimmune protocol (AIP). This recipe is a weekly staple because it is quick to toss together in the crockpot, full of healing/nutritious/delicious ingredients and if there is enough for leftovers, the flavours become even more intense and is one of my favourite ways to start the day for breakfast.

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This loaded veg and chicken soup can be as light or hearty as you like – laddle over rice or gluten free noodles to bulk it up, or keep it light and pour over from freshly steamed broccoli and spinach. The vegetables that I use are AIP compliant but it is a versatile recipe that allows you to incorporate your favourite veggies.

Serves 4 

Ingredients

  • 3/4 slow cooker of water (based on 2.5L crock pot)
  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 2 yellow onion diced
  • 1 full celery stalk diced
  • 6-8 medium carrots
  • 2 heads of broccoli (steam and add just before serving)
  • 1 1/2 -2 tbs turmeric
  • 1 1/2 -2 tbs ginger
  • 1 1/2 tbs sea salt
  • 1 1/2 tbs mixed herbs
  • 2 tbs chopped garlic
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk (see notes)

 

Method

It doesn’t get easier. Ready?…

  1. First, add celery, carrot, onions, all spices, salt
  2. Then fill crock-pot (slow cooker) with 3/4 water
  3. Place chicken breasts on top
  4. Set on medium heat and leave for 5-6 hours
  5. Before serving, remove chicken breasts from the top and place in large bowl. Shred the chicken completely and add back to the slow cooker.
  6. Add the can of coconut milk to the slow cooker just before serving, stir in completely
  7. Steam two heads of broccoli (boil for 7ish minutes) and add to the slow cooker or use as a base in your bowl before you pour your soup.
  8. Before serving, taste broth. If you prefer more seasoning, this is the stage to do it. I generally like to keep my salt, turmeric and ginger at the same ratio, but feel free to experiment (see notes)
  9. Share with your people, enjoy! x

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Notes

  • Coconut milk – Fragrant and creamy, coconut milk adds just the perfect touch of delicious comfort to this soup. I prefer regular coconut milk over light, for its added creaminess and flavor, but feel free to substitute with light.
  • Seasoning – I almost always use more seasoning that this recipe calls for. But I thought I would start mild because it seemed like the crowd friendly thing to do. Feel free to go a little crazy and taste as you go. Also be careful with your turmeric powder, it stains surfaces and cloth easily!
  • Water in the crock –  this recipe is based on 2.5L crock pot adjust your recipe accordingly
  • Chicken- if for some reason you don’t want to shred the chicken at the end you can dice the chicken before hand if you prefer
  • Makes for delicious leftovers. Will keep two to three days in the fridge

 

If you love ethnic foods and this recipe meets your need for something exotic on the AIP, tell me about!  I’d love to know what you think of it.

Have a delicious week!

x

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warm turmeric roasted beet + sweet pea salad

mains, recipes, salads, sides

Salad is my favourite food and this time of year I am constantly tossing them together. There are so many creative and delicious ways to dress up leafy greens! They top my list because they are quick, nutrient-dense, budget-friendly and the toppings are endless. This recipe combines the anti-inflammatory spice of turmeric with warm roasted beetroot and sweet spring garden peas. Simply drizzle with a bit of balsamic and you are good to go.

Ingredients

3 red beets, roots and stems removed
1 tsp cider vinegar
3 tbs balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp turmeric + ginger powder
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 cups mixed greens
1/2 cup diced celery
1/3 cup chopped fresh spring onion
3/4 cup shelled fresh or frozen green peas, thawed

Method

1. Preheat oven to 375°F / 190°C

2. Wrap red beets loosely in foil. Place in a roasting pan; roast at 375° for 45 minutes or until just tender. Cool completely. Peel beets, and cut into quarters; sprinkle with garlic salt and tumeric powder, set aside.

3. In a small bowl, combine olive oil + vinegars stirring constantly with a whisk. Add beets; toss well to coat. Sprinkle with tumeric, ginger powder + garlic salt.

4. Prepare bowl(s) with lettuce mix and top with chopped celery, peas and marinated beets.

5. Share with your people, or enjoy solo. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Looking to add some protein? This salad will be fantastic with roast chicken or grilled salmon
  • If you tolerate dairy, some goat cheese would be the perfect compliment to the sweet beets and peas.
  • Add a little extra crunch with pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • This recipe inspired by an Ottolenghi recipe from his book Plenty More which is currently one of my favourite books to look through. Next time I make this, I will definitely be adding heaps of avocado.

 

Have a delicious week and let me know, what are your go-to spring inspired salads?

x

 

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warm mushroom + toasted hazelnut salad

appetizer, dressing, mains, recipes, salads

Most of us know that our tastebuds react to four tastes – sweet, sour, bitter and salty. But did you know there’s a fifth taste called ‘umami’?  Uuuuumami! (That’s oo-ma-mee.)

Umami has been translated from Japanese as ‘yummy, deliciousness’ or a ‘pleasant savoury taste’. It is the taste sensation we often associate with food items that are ‘meaty’ and have a slow-cooked taste. This is why Black Bean Burgers, Lentil Meatballs and Portobello Mushroom Pizzas exist and make perfect vegetarian and vegan alternatives- it’s the umami! Again, this is the stuff I nerd out on. Very interesting TED talk on the topic and all you have to do is google ‘what is umami?’ and you can go down my same rabbit trail.

I enjoy this mushroom salad because it’s warm, colourful, nutty, packed with flavour from the vinaigrette and makes a great light dinner option that is quick and inexpensive to make.

Ingredients

Serves 2-3

For the salad:

1/2 cup hazelnuts (or preferred nut)
2 tablespoons finely diced shallots

2 handfuls of small cherry tomatoes
2 pounds mushrooms (chestnut or button are delicious, cleaned and sliced)
6 ounces salad greens (kale, arugula, spinach or a mix of your choice)
1 cup mix of fresh herbs (optional) such as chives, tarragon

2 tbs coconut oil

 

For the dressing: 

3 tbs white wine vinegar or balsamic

9tbs extra-virgin olive oil

1 tsp fresh thyme + rosemary

salt+ pepper

 

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Method

Preheat the oven to 375°F/190C. Toast the nuts on a baking sheet for 8 to 10 minutes, rolling them around once or twice to make sure they toast evenly.

Chop the hazelnuts and mushrooms coarsely in a small food processor.

Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons coconut oil, add the mushrooms, thyme, salt + pepper.

Sauté the mushroom mix for about 5 minutes, softened but not limp (your cooking time will depend on the type of mushrooms you used). Add tomatoes, cook till soft not mushy.

Spread salad greens on a plate. Sprinkle fresh herbs on top. Spoon hot mushrooms + tomatoes over the salad greens.

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For the dressing: whisk the shallots, vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt together in a bowl and let sit for five minutes (this will soften and almost pickle the shallots), before whisking in 5 tablespoons olive oil. Drizzle dressing over salad  and toss

Adjust to taste — you may need more salt, pepper, vinaigrette or even more vinegar.

Share with your people. x

 Notes

  • If you tolerate dairy, add some freshly grated parmesan or crumbled goat cheese
  • Not a hazelnut fan? Use almonds or pumpkin seeds for a crunch
  • To be AIP compliant, omit nuts/seeds, dairy + tomato. Can substitute a roasted vegetable of your choice. Toasted shredded sweet potato or parsnip perhaps?

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Thanksgiving: herb roasted root vegetables

appetizer, holidays, mains, recipes, sides

It is time to celebrate our second Scottish Friendsgiving.

Thanksgiving is less than one week away and we are grateful to have friends to share the occasion with in Scotland. This time of year, many people find it impossible to eat healthy. This side dish is seasonal, festive, mouth-watering and it won’t break the bank or increase the waistline. This recipe is great for a crowd because you can easily double the quantity and roast baking sheets full of veggies.

This year I am contributing these delicious herb roasted root vegetables. The mix is a wonderfully colourful and comforting mix of roasted parsnip, butternut squash and sweet potato. You can use any combination of root veggies you like. If you don’t like sweet potato, you can substitute white or red potatoes. Not a fan of parsnip? Use carrots instead. It’s a great way to clear out your produce drawer, and the process could not be easier.

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Ingredients

Serves 4

1 large butternut squash, halved, seeded and cubed
3 large sweet potatoes/ yams, scrubbed and cubed
1 medium yellow onion
3 large parsnip, cubed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or coconut oil), plus more for drizzling
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, chopped garlic, mixed herbs + thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Top with 2 handfuls of pumpkin seeds

* Dairy options in notes below

Method

Place 2 baking sheets in the oven and preheat to 425 degrees F or 220 C/Gas Mark 7.

Cut all the vegetables into 1 1/2-inch pieces or cubes. Cut the onions through the base core to keep some of the layers in chunky pieces. Toss all the vegetables with garlic, oil, seasoning and salt in large bowl. Season generously with pepper.

Carefully remove the heated baking sheets from the oven, brush or drizzle with olive oil. Divide the vegetables evenly between the 2 pans, spreading them out to assure they don’t steam while roasting. Roast the vegetables until tender and golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

Notes
-If you tolerate dairy, some sprinkled feta, parmesan, or crumbled goat cheese would be a nice addition.
– Best to keep seasoning simple in this recipe.  Root veggies have such earthy and wonderful flavors. For more flavor, you could sprinkle them with rosemary, oregano, a little cumin, or fresh chopped parsley. Be creative as you want.

-If you use red beets in this recipe, keep in mind that the roasting will release a pinkish juice that will color the other vegetables. If you’d rather not have pinkish veggies, use golden beets or omit the beets completely.

For more inspiration click here to see several healthy vegetarian side dishes for Thanksgiving from Food Network and Delish.

What do you plan to cook this Thanksgiving? I hope your day is a special and delicious time with family, friends and the ones you hold dear. May peace and grace be yours abundantly!

 

x

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

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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.
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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
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grilled vegetable skewers with spicy tofu

mains, recipes

Warm weather is made for grilling. This weekend, as we celebrate the first official day of summer, we are definitely in the mood for grilling, even if the clouds and breeze are hanging out in Scotland today. I love to grill because basically, everything and anything you can imagine can be cooked on the grates of a grill – often times with amazing results. A summer salad gets a little crunch with a handful of grilled kale… delicious. Even desserts get a little more interesting when charred, grilled peaches on ice cream anyone?

Firm tofu and if you tolerate dairy, halloumi cheese, are great vegetarian options for grilling because they are firm enough to hold their shape as they cook. The spiciness and saltiness of the tofu (or hallolumi) in this recipe balance out the sweetness from the peppers, courgette and red onion.

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INGREDIENTS

For Vegetables

2 medium courgettes, cut crosswise into 3/4-inch-thick slices

2 medium red bell peppers, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

2 large red onion, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces

1/4 cup olive oil

1 tsp salt + pepper

metal or wooden skewers (soaked in warm water 30 minutes if wooden)

For Tofu

1 package (350g) firm tofu, diced into 1-inch cubes

1 tbs olive oil

1 tsp cumin + garlic salt

1/2 tsp red chili powder

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METHOD

Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas).

Place the zucchini, red onion and bell pepper in a large bowl. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle salt + pepper. Gently toss to combine.

In separate bowl, combine cubed tofu, olive oil, cumin, garlic salt and chili powder.

Arrange vegetables and tofu onto soaked bamboo skewers (keeps them from sticking too much). Grill kebabs on lightly oiled grill rack, covered only if using gas grill, turning over once, until vegetables are tender, 6 to 10 minutes (timing will vary among vegetables).

Serve with brown rice and spinach.

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NOTES

* Mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and squash would make great additions
* Skewers can be prepped 1 day ahead, chilled and covered
* If you aren’t able to grill outdoors, place skewers onto lightly greased tray and cook under the grill for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the tofu is golden and the veg are soft, turning halfway through.

zesty quinoa and black bean bowl

mains, recipes, salads

Quino-what? Quinoa might be hard to pronounce but don’t let that keep you from giving it a try. This ancient grain turned superfood has definitely grown in popularity and can be a great gluten free option. We enjoy this recipe as a weekly staple because it is so easy to toss together and great on a budget. I love the subtle crunch of the quinoa and pumpkin seeds, the bright vegetables, and satisfying plant-based protein along with healthy omega fats. Inspired by the flavors of the US southwest, this Tex-Mex recipe is a comfort away from home.

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INGREDIENTS

240g black beans

200g quinoa

2 bell peppers, diced

1 medium red onion, diced

cherry tomatoes, halved

2-3 small avocados, cubed

pumpkin seeds

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SEASONING

olive oil

garlic salt

lime juice

cumin

red chili powder

cilantro

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METHOD

Prepare quinoa on stovetop based on package directions

On medium heat, sauté diced bell pepper and red onion

In a bowl, combine cooked quinoa, beans, grilled onion and peppers, cherry tomatoes and cubed avocado

Toss the above mixture with tablespoon olive oil, juice from one lime, sprinkle desired amount of garlic salt, a tablespoon of cumin and a dash of red chili pepper and fresh cilantro. Top with pumpkin seeds.

NOTES

If you are using dried beans, soak them the night before so they will be easier to cook and can help with bloating and gas. In the UK it can be difficult to find black beans, red kidney beans would make a good substitute.

All ingredients for the seasoning can be adjusted for personal taste and spice levels.

Have a delicious weekend!

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