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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

 

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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 

 

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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

 

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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

 

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
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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

 

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

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

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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

River Cottage Veg Every Day

cookbook, reads, recipes

There are a lot of things I can spend my money on and a few things that I should spend money on and books always prove to be a good investment. This series called Weekend Read, will include posts about my favorite reads and resources related to cooking, healthy nutrition and tips for well-being.

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When we decided to move to the UK, our suitcase space was limited and a lot of things just didn’t make the cut. I ended up having to do things the old fashioned way and hand-write my favorite recipes from my family binder and personal cookbook collection. Pinterest, Instagram and food blogs are just about my favorite way to find recipe inspiration these days but there is something nostalgic and endearing about a shelf full of cookbooks in the kitchen including hand written recipe cards from generations past and friends present.

This cookbook by River Cottage is definitely worth checking out. River Cottage is known for easy and healthy recipes that incorporate the best of British larder. A dear friend recommended Veg Every Day right after moving to Scotland. Yes, I bought it. Yes, I broke the pact I had with my husband about accumulating things. And no, I don’t feel bad because it’s a book!

I turn to this book when I need inspiration for something quick, healthy, in season and creative. Everything we have tried, has been delicious. The recipes are funky and get my taste buds dancing… peanut butter + lime + chili in a Sweet Potato + Peanut Gratin? Oh yes, ma’am. Since we are approaching the pot-luck, bring your own side dish, holiday season, here are two recipes that I tried recently and will definitely be sharing with friends this year.

Seasonal produce: beetroot, parsnips, and red cabbage

Both of these salads can be served warm or cold. They are bright, crunchy, flavorful and packed with nutrients!

Beetroot Salad with Walnuts + Cumin 

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INGREDIENTS – serves 4

75g walnuts
2 tsp cumin seeds
About 400g beetroot
2 tbsp chopped parsley
Juice of 1 small orange
Squeeze of lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
Sea salt and ground black pepper
A pinch of hot smoked paprika

METHOD

Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and add the walnuts. Toast gently for a few minutes, tossing often, until they smell toasted and are browning in a few places, put aside. Put the cumin seeds into the frying pan and toast gently for a minute or two, tossing a few times, just until they start to release their scent. Tip on to a plate to stop them cooking further.

Peel the beetroot, grate it coarsely and put it in a bowl. (If you have fresh baby beetroot, just slice it very thin.) Add the parsley, orange juice, a squeeze of lemon and a tablespoon of rapeseed oil, and season. Stir, adjust the seasoning to taste and, if possible, leave for 20 minutes or so, during which time the dressing will marinate and soften the beetroot.

Spread the beetroot in a dish. Crumble the walnuts and scatter with cumin over the beets. For a delish finish, add a few drops of olive oil and dot with a couple spoonfuls of plain yogurt. Sprinkle on the remaining cumin and the paprika.

Red Cabbage, Parsnip + Orange Salad with Dates 

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INGREDIENTS- serves 2

1 orange, ¼ small red cabbage, core removed and finely shredded
1 parsnip, peeled and grated, 1 small handful dates, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil, ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves

METHOD

Cut the top and bottom off the orange and stand it on one of the cut ends on a chopping board. Work your way around it, cutting off the skin, pith and membrane, then cut out the segments. Squeeze the juice from the segmented orange into a small bowl.

Arrange the cabbage on a large plate, or two smaller plates, along with the orange segments, parsnip and dates. Trickle over the reserved juice and olive oil, then sprinkle on the thyme leaves. Serve at once.

Click here to view recipes from Veg Every Day! on the River Cottage website where you can find an index of many of their recipes.

What are your favorite go-to cookbooks?

x

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

 

 

 

 

 

summer peach oven cake

breakfast, recipes, treats

August and festivals, they just go together.

Here in Edinburgh we are celebrating the start of the Fringe Festival, International Festival and the  International Book Festival. The population is said to triple and it is just about impossible to find an available room in the city. It is one big party around here.

August is also one of my favorite times of year in our dear ‘ol Colorado. It has become a family tradition to pack up the car and head to the Palisade Peach Festival to celebrate all things peaches. Attendees sample peach ice cream, peach pie, peach cobbler, peach liquor, peach pancakes, peach jam, peach smoothies and Dad’s favorite, peach salsa. The festival is complete with a peach eating contest, peach cuisine demonstrations, a full parade down main street and one lucky gal is crowned Peach Queen.

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One of the highlights of the trip is to return home with crates of the fuzzy fruit. We would bring back dozens upon dozens of freshly picked peaches for friends and family. This juicy fruit was a part of my growing up and using them in this easy peach oven cake recipe brought back some sweet memories!

I got the idea to try an oven-baked pancake after a post about Swedish Fat Almond Cake from Green Kitchen Stories. This baked pancake called ugnspannkaka or tjockpannkaka, means oven baked pancake or thick pancake. It tastes like a huge pancake and is perfect for sharing. I wanted to try a version of my own, because I think we can all appreciate the simplicity of the recipe and not having to stand at the stove and flip pancakes.

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Sweet: This recipe is sweetened naturally by the warm, juicy peaches, with a hint of nuttiness from the almonds and coconut. We like to top with butter and agave nectar.

Simple: It couldn’t be easier. Whip the ingredients together and throw into the oven.

The pancake will rise during baking, it should be fluffy with a golden outer crust and a soft peachy inside- the perfect summer comfort food.

INGREDIENTS

4 servings

3 peaches, cut into thin slices

1/2 cup milk *your preference, I used coconut milk

1/2 cup gluten free all-purpose flour

3 eggs

2 tbs coconut flour

2 tbs almond meal

1 tbs butter

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 drop vanilla extract

1 pinch salt

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1 tbs optional sweetener

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METHOD

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C)

Melt butter in a cast-iron skillet in the preheating oven

Combine peach slices, sweetener, nutmeg and cinnamon in a bowl; gently toss to coat the peaches well. Cut the peaches into bite sized pieces. Set aside.

Beat eggs, milk, flours, almond meal, vanilla extract, salt together in a bowl until batter well-combined but a little lumpy. Pour into skillet.

Top batter with the peach mixture. Place the peaches into the top of the cake. They can be nicely arranged, but feel free to get as many peaches you can into the oven cake.

Bake in preheated oven until set in the middle, about 25 minutes.

Whatever you decide, breakfast, lunch, dessert… Enjoy!

x

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Palisade Peach Festival 2014

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