Monday, May 27, 2013

The BEST Dairy Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust!

Alright, alright, here it is! The best dairy free cauliflower pizza crust! You've hoped, you've dreamed, and you've begged for it (really you've just left a few comments on my BEST Cauliflower Pizza Crust Recipe, but same thing) and I have finally delivered!

Since posting my Best Cauliflower Crust Pizza Recipe you guys have left so many nice comments saying how much you've enjoyed the recipe! I especially love when I get tagged in Instagram pics of the cauliflower crust pizzas that you've made and I get to see the amazing toppings you all have come up with. There are some beautiful cauliflower crust pizzas out there! But there is one question that keeps popping up in the comments, and that is how to make the crust without cheese. Fear not, my friends! It's easy and just as delicious to make a cauliflower pizza crust with no cheese! And guess what? No cheese, no flour, no grains means it pretty much perfectly paleo. A yummy delicious paleo pizza crust, it's a dream come true. And yes, it does still hold up to being picked up like a regular slice of pizza, just like my other cauliflower crust. Although, this piece was a little weighed down by the sheer amount of deliciousness I threw on top. More on that later.

The keys to this cheese-less cauliflower crust are pretty much the same as my regular cauliflower pizza crust. Preheat your pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven first, wring the water out of the cauliflower, and cook your pizza on oiled parchment or tinfoil. But here's some more deets on how I did it without the cheese. I followed my normal method of using the food processor to make cauliflower "snow," or "rice" as some people call it, but I think "snow" is so much more fun to say. I microwaved it for 4 minutes, I don't know exactly why 4 minutes, but this number seems to work for me. Three minutes would probably work also. A few of you commented that you don't microwave your food. Some have had luck squeezing the water out without microwaving it or cooking it a pan instead. Once the cauliflower was cool enough to handle, I placed in a tea towel and wringed the water out. You could go crazy with this step, one commentor even said they ripped their tea towel! But honestly you don't have to get every single last drop of water out. Just give it a few good wrings to get most of the water out. The cauliflower will now look more like powder, almost like grainy flour. Next I added my other ingredients - minus the cheese of course! I added my spices, 2 tablespoons almond flour, some nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor, but not a lot since I'm still on the fence about how I feel about nutritional yeast (I'm new to using it), an egg, and a tablespoon of olive oil to help with the binding in lieu of the cheese. I shaped my crust on an oiled sheet of parchment paper and slid it into the oven and onto the hot pizza stone using a thin plastic cutting board, a pizza peel would work also if you are fancy and own one of those! One note about the cooking time, I pre-baked the crust longer than I did with my cauliflower crust that uses cheese. I wanted this crust to get crispy and golden brown and without the cheese in it, it needed a longer cooking time. I also knew that my second cooking time would be less since I wouldn't be melting cheese and I would be using toppings that I already heated up before placing them on the pizza.

Now about those toppings! I went heavy on my toppings to make up for the lack of cheese on the pizza, although you will see a light dusting of freshly grated Parmesan on my pizza. I'm sorry. I couldn't help it. It was like a cheese loving robot took over my body and grabbed the mircroplane and wedge of parm and kept repeating "MUST HAVE CHEESE" very loudly while I mentally protested, "No, you can't! It's supposed to be a cheese free pizza!" Damn cheese-loving-body-taking-over-robot. But basically, you can top your cheese free cauliflower pizza crust with whatever you want, assuming you don't have a cheese-loving-body-taking-over-robot lurking in your kitchen somewhere, but I will include my recipe for this delicious BBQ pork pizza, because it was damn delicious and I think you should make it. The cheese loving robot also thinks you should make it, even if you make it with no cheese on top. Any leftover shredded meat would be good on this pizza, but I recommend my pulled pork with homemade BBQ sauce.

But before I give you the recipe, the cheese loving robot would like to add, "MAKE THIS CRUST NOW. TOP IT WITH WHATEVER YOU LIKE, EVEN IF YOU DON'T LIKE CHEESE, WEIRDO."
Geez, cheese loving robot, there is no need to yell! And some people just can't eat cheese. Have a heart. 

Ok, this is getting weird. Recipe here.....

The BEST Dairy Free Cauliflower Pizza Crust 

Makes approx. 1 - 10 inch pizza crust 

1 medium sized head of cauliflower - should yield close to 3 cups once processed
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon dried basil (crush it even more between your fingers)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (crust it even more between you fingers)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
optional a few shakes of crushed red pepper
2 tablespoons almond meal
1 tablespoon (or more if desired) nutritional yeast (you could also omit this entirely if you like)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 egg

nonstick cooking oil

Place a pizza stone in the oven, or baking sheet if you don't have a pizza stone. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. On a cutting board, place a large piece of parchment paper and spray it with nonstick cooking oil or brush the parchment with olive oil. 

Wash and throughly dry a small head of cauliflower. Don't get one the size of your head unless you are planning on making 2 pizzas. Cut off the florets, you don't need much stem. Just stick with the florets. Pulse in your food processor for about 30 seconds, until you get powdery snow like cauliflower. See above photo. You should end up with about 3 cups cauliflower "snow". Place the cauliflower in a microwave safe bowl and cover. Microwave for 4 minutes. Dump cooked cauliflower onto a clean tea towel and allow to cool for a bit before attempting the next step.

Once cauliflower is cool enough to handle, wrap it up in the dish towel and wring the water out of it. You want to squeeze out as much water as possible. This will ensure you get a chewy pizza like crust instead of a crumbly mess. 

Dumped cauliflower into a bowl. Now add all your spices, your almond meal, your nutritional yeast (if using), and your olive oil. Mix the mixture to incorporate all the ingredients. Now add your egg and mix away again. Hands tend to work best. 

Once mixed together, use your hands to form the dough into a crust on your oiled parchment paper. Pat it down thoroughly, you want it nice and tightly formed together. Don't make it too thick or thin either.

Using a cutting board slide the parchment paper onto your hot pizza stone or baking sheet in the oven. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until it starts to turn golden brown and the edges crisp up. Remove from oven.

***UPDATE - My new oven requires that I pre-cook the crust for closer to 15 to 20 minutes to get it a nice golden brown. Go off of looks rather than time! You want the edges to start to be crispy brown but not too much so that when you cook it again after adding toppings it will burn. 

Add your toppings (I recommend already cooked toppings, like shredded meat or sautéed veggies) and slide parchment with topped pizza back in the hot oven and cook for another 5 minutes until the toppings are warm. If using cheese for a topping, you can pop the pizza under the broiler to get the cheese melted fast without burning the crust. 

Test your patience and allow it to cool for a minute or two. Probably closer to two. Then using a pizza cutter and a spatula serve up your delicious grain and dairy cauliflower crust pizza!

To top the pizza you can make your own 30 minute pizza sauce using my recipe! Or to make the pizza in these pictures, caramelize half a sliced up onion on the stove in olive oil for about 30 minutes. Tip: I add chicken broth or sometimes even just water to my caramelized onions to keep them from burning and to reduce the amount of oil I need to use. Once your onions are caramelized, add any cooked shredded meat you have to the onions to reheat the meat. My pulled pork would be amazing!  Then, simply top your cauliflower crust with desired amount of BBQ sauce, I recommend using the cooked version of my homemade BBQ sauce, and the meat and onion mix. Add 1 diced up roasted red pepper, and a dusting of parmesan if desired. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and top with 1 diced up avocado. 


P.S. Remember my story about not having an egg when I made this cauliflower crust for you before? Yeah, well that happened again. Luckily it was on a weekend and not the morning before a work day and I made my husband run out and get me eggs. He also came back with beer. Perfect lunch? I think so. 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Strawberry Basil Vodka Spritzer

Happy Memorial Day and happy three day weekend to you! 


Wow, it's been a long ride. I mentioned in my Almond Joy Smoothie post that we were buying a house. (By the way, if you haven't, you really should try that smoothie.) But what I didn't mention was that it wasn't a done deal by no means. In fact, we had to rent the house for 3 months since the seller had already moved out, but wanted income from the home, but couldn't sell until the early termination penalty on their loan ran out. Complicated! And not the way I wanted to do the whole buying a house thing. I've been itching for 3 months to rip out cabinets, paint walls, take vertical blinds out, replace light fixtures... I could keep going but it would take up this whole blog post! So basically we have been living in the house not entirely sure that it would become ours... until this day! YAY. BIG SIGH. It all worked out, just like everyone told me it would, but it still gave me anxiety 95% of the time.

Which is why I deserve a drink. To alleviate 3 months of stress, to celebrate, and to kick off Memorial Day weekend, which is one of my favorite weekends. I had to put that in writing since my husband didn't believe me that Memorial Day Weekend was one of my favorite weekends. He says every weekend is my favorite weekend which is pretty much true, but I especially like Memorial Day Weekend because it kicks off summer, is my Mom's birthday, is the anniversary of getting Penny and therefore also her birthday, is the weekend I make my annual strawberry dessert for Mom's birthday, and now is the weekend we officially own a house! Phew... run on sentence galore here today. Excuse me, I'm excited.

So let's get to this drink. This Strawberry Basil Vodka Spritzer is so refreshing and delicious with just the tiniest hint of sweetness coming from strawberries and honey. It's the perfect summer cocktail to sip in my backyard this summer. And it's the perfect summer cocktail for you to enjoy this Memorial Day weekend!

Strawberry Basil Vodka Spritzer

makes 1 drink

4 medium ripe strawberries
3 basil leaves
1.5 ounces vodka
1 teaspoon honey (I use raw honey)
1 tablespoon lime juice
6 ounces soda water

Roll up basil leaves and slice into thin strips. Cut tops off strawberries. Slice strawberries into small pieces. Using a mortar and pestle muddle strawberries and basil together, squishing strawberries to release the juices. Alternately, you could take the strawberries for a quick spin in a blender without the basil. 

Add muddled strawberries and basil to a large glass (I actually used a mason jar), add vodka, honey, lime juice, and soda water. Stir with a spoon and pour into a glass with ice. Enjoy!

P.S. Amazing Memorial Day Food...

Have a happy three day weekend. See you next week with my annual strawberry dessert!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book Review: The Paleo Slow Cooker

I'm very excited to share this recipe and book review with you! It's been a long time coming, as I've been making recipes from this book and eating them up before I could even snap some photos! But lucky for you, I did finally get around to taking some photos of this delicious Cambodian Chicken from Arsy's new book. Arsy Vartanian from Rubies and Radishes has become a blogger friend of mine. I even guest posted my delicious recipe for Crispy Chicken Thighs and Kale in Clementine Sauce on her blog. So, I was thrilled when she asked me to review her new book The Paleo Slow Cooker. First off, I love when food bloggers get the recognition they deserve and land a cook book deal. I hope one day I could be so lucky. Secondly, the slow cooker is like a secret weapon in the kitchen. I only have a handful of slow cooker recipes, so I was happy to test out quite a few from a book dedicated to slow cooking. This book is great for people like me, who sometimes just can't figure the whole slow cooking thing out. (The timing and the amount of liquid always get me!) But it is also a great book for adept slow cooker chefs who are looking for some variety in their slow cooker repertoire. 

I mean she's got recipes for delicious items like Chicken Mole, Beef Bulgogi, and Spicy Duck Curry. I made the bulgogi and enjoyed with a big spoonful of garlic chili paste. Unfortunately that was one of the dishes that ended up in my stomach before my brain could say 'get the camera!'

But I was determined to get some pictures and share the recipe for this Cambodian Chicken with you because it was so simple and was packed with so much flavor for a relatively small ingredient list. I really love how it turned out and my husband enjoyed it cold for his lunch the next day. I made a few minor tweaks, adjusting the cooking time to 2 1/2 hours on high since I only defrosted 3 small chicken thighs and started cooking at 7pm and wanted the meal done before I went to bed so I could pack it up for lunch. I also added in a nice big handful of kale leaves to make it a well rounded one pot meal. 

Thanks to Arsy for letting me share her delicious recipe with you. And if you like coming home to a delicious dinner that requires minimal effort, I recommend getting The Paleo Slow Cooker, it will expand the way you think about slow cooking.

Cambodian Chicken
Serves 6

3 lbs skinless chicken thighs, bone in
1 tablespoon coconut oil
3 - 5 garlic cloves, minced (I went heavy on the garlic)
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
3 tablespoons fish sauce
3 tablespoons lime juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup coconut aminos or gluten-free soy sauce
salt and pepper before serving

Melt the coconut oil in a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat. Before browning I sprinkled my chicken lightly with salt and pepper, even though Arsy recommends seasoning after cooking. I would go light on the salt as the cooking liquid has a lot of flavor. Brown chicken in hot coconut oil on all sides, do so in batches if needed. About 5 minutes a batch. Transfer to the slow cooker. 

In a small bowl, mix all your other ingredients and pour over chicken. 

Cook on low for 6 hours.

Salt and pepper to taste before serving. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pulled Pork with No Sugar Added BBQ Sauce [Paleo and Gluten-Free]

We had a 30th birthday party for Adam a few weeks ago and I made some bomb pulled pork in the crock pot. Like seriously good. It's going to be my go to party recipe and is probably my favorite crock pot recipe. I really wanted to make it again because I obviously wanted to eat it again, but also to share that recipe with you lovelies. But unfortunately because I'm doing my whole 30 I can't. Why? Because the FIRST ingredient in most barbecue sauces is sugar or corn syrup. Yep, you're just pouring delicious sugar all over your meat. And don't get me wrong, I'm all about the BBQ yo (I really don't know why I inserted the "yo"), but if I'm gonna eat a bunch of sugar I prefer it to be in my desserts.

BUT! I was not about to let this little ol' whole 30 thing and eating less sugar deprive me of my pulled pork. And I was not about to let you guys be deprived of this fabulous recipe for making pulled pork in the crock pot with a nice healthy no sugar added paleo bbq sauce recipe. This sauce will turn you into a hero amongst your pulled pork eating peers. How? Read on my friends, read on.

So, picture this, you bring pulled pork to a BBQ, pic-nic, party, whatever. Everyone scarfs it down, licks their fingers, and begs to know what you put in that pork. Crack?  You respond - Nope, just my homemade no sugar added BBQ sauce, NBD. Oh by the way I saved you from maxing out your sugar intake for the day with that sauce, so you can eat that cake without the guilt, also that jello salad if you're in to that kind of thing. Yeah, you're welcome. Now you pretty much become a hero, maybe even a legend.

But if you are stilling feeling iffy, I understand. I was skeptical about this sauce as well. I did my research, read the back of BBQ sauce labels, wondered how I was going to do this without sugar, molasses, honey, maple syrup, brown sugar or any other form of sugar. Then I found, Civilized Caveman's Beasty BBQ Sauce, I liked it. Pineapple as the sweetening agent. Genius. Sugar from fruit does not count as added sugar in my book. But of course, I could not just MAKE the recipe, I had to tweak it. My main hang up with the recipe was the hour long simmer time for the sauce. I figured, since this stuff is going in the slowcooker, it could do it's simmering thing in there with the meat, effectively saving myself an hour of cooking time. Good decision. The only downfall is, if you have extra sauce, it will need to be used with a slowcooker recipe or you will need to cook it down before using it to baste or grill meat. The sauce does need to be cooked for an extended amount of time to get the flavors to develop, so I highly recommend using it for a slowcooker recipe.

Some other adjustments I made included tweaking the amounts of some ingredients, lost others, and I  added liquid smoke. I highly recommend you do so as well. I'm not entirely sure where liquid smoke falls in the wide variety of paleo beliefs, but it's only ingredient is smoke, so I'm going for it. It adds unbeatable depth and flavor to this BBQ sauce recipe.

I honestly can't gush enough about this recipe, there is something addictive about it. The flavors really hit your palate hard at the end and make you want to keep eating bite after bite. This is without a doubt my favorite pulled pork recipe, better than bottled sauce, and way healthier. Plus, how cool is it say you made your own homemade BBQ sauce?! Remember the scenario above. Yeah, it's pretty cool.

I also recommend eating this with sliced tomatoes and avocado with salt and pepper if you are doing the whole paleo thing and skipping the bun. So freaking good. Serve up some roasted sweet potato rounds and you've got yourself a mighty fine dinner of champions.

Now, let's do this thing! You know you want to become a legend!
(Also scroll down, for my non-paleo easy party pulled pork version.)

Pulled Pork with No Sugar Added BBQ Sauce

Makes 4 1/2 cups uncooked BBQ sauce and a whole lotta pulled pork. 



4 - 5 pound pork roast, shoulder or Boston butt
32 oz (one carton) of veggie broth, chicken broth, or beef broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1/2 white or brown onion sliced

No Sugar Added Paleo BBQ Sauce:

14.5 oz can no salt diced tomatoes in juice
1 white or brown onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on how much of a kick you want it to have)
2 teaspoons KOSHER salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional, but highly recommended)
1 cup drained pineapple chunks from a can (save the juice!!)
3/4 cup pineapple juice from the can

To make the pork. I often buy pork when it is on sale and toss it in the freezer. When I'm ready to make pulled pork, I'll take the pork out and put it in the fridge to defrost for a half a day or so. The night before I want to eat the pulled pork, I'll put the partially defrosted pork in the slow cooker. No need to worry about it being fully defrosted. In fact, it could be basically frozen. Add the broth to the  slow cooker. Season top of pork with salt, pepper, and garlic. Set slow cooker on low and cook for 10 - 12 hours (overnight works best). If your pork is not frozen reduce cooking time to about 8 hours.

In the morning, or after the pork is done cooking, carefully remove the pork from the slow cooker and set it in a dish. Remove the fat, it should be pretty easy to find. Discard fat. Shred remaining pork. Drain the slow cooker of liquid and discard liquid. Add the shredded pork back to the slow cooker.

Homemade No Sugar Added BBQ Sauce:

Sauce can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge.

In a food processor or blender combine all ingredients for BBQ sauce. Blend until smooth. Taste. (It won't taste quite right because it hasn't been cooked yet, but you should be able to tell if you need more seasonings.) Adjust seasonings. The flavor will develop once it cooks with the pork, but I do recommend you taste it before cooking.

Cook pork as described above -  overnight with broth and seasonings, shred and discard fat and cooking juices. Return shredded pork to the slow cooker. Add sliced onions and desired amount of homemade BBQ sauce. I used 4 cups for 4 lbs of pork. It was saucy (the way I like it) but not too saucy. The BBQ sauce will cook down some during cooking time. Stir well. Cook on low for 4 1/2 - 6 hours.


Reminder: Any leftover homemade BBQ sauce will need to be used in a slow cooker recipe so that it has time to cook or will need to be simmered on the stove to cook for 30 minutes to an hour depending on how much sauce you have left. Add beef or chicken broth as needed while simmering to keep the desired consistency.

To Cook the Sauce on the Stove for Homemade BBQ you can add to meat that you grill or to use as a dipping sauce:

Make sauce as described, simmer on medium low heat for 45 minutes to an hour, checking and stirring often and adding either chicken or beef broth as it cooks to get the desired consistency you want. You will need the broth as the sauce will continue to thicken up as it cooks and it is already thick to begin with. I would have a cup of broth on hand and add as needed throughout the cooking time. 


Easy Party Pulled Pork (not paleo) 

This is the recipe I used for Adam's 30th birthday and it was a big hit! It would be a disservice not to share it, so if you are in a rush, not paleo, or just really don't want to make your own sauce (no problem there!) use this recipe!

Whether you are using the homemade paleo BBQ sauce, or using a bottle of BBQ (no judgements here!) I recommend following the double cooking method below. I really think that is the key to successful pulled pork in the slow cooker.

4 - 5 pound pork roast, shoulder or Boston butt
32 oz (one carton) of veggie broth, chicken broth, or beef broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3-4 garlic cloves minced
1/2 white or brown onion sliced

1 bottle of favorite BBQ sauce
1 - 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes
your choice size and flavor Bush's baked beans

To make the pork. I often buy pork when it is on sale and toss it in the freezer. When I'm ready to make pulled pork, I'll take the pork out and put it in the fridge to defrost for a half a day or so. The night before I want to eat the pulled pork, I'll put the partially defrosted pork in the slow cooker. No need to worry about it being fully defrosted. In fact, it could be basically frozen. Add the broth to the  slow cooker. Season top of pork with salt, pepper, and garlic. Set slow cooker on low and cook for 10 - 12 hours (overnight works best). If your pork is not frozen reduce cooking time to about 8 hours.

In the morning, or after the pork is done cooking, carefully remove the pork from the slow cooker and set it in a dish. Remove the fat, it should be pretty easy to find. Discard fat. Shred remaining pork. Drain the slow cooker of liquid and discard liquid. Add the shredded pork back to the slow cooker.

Add 1/2 a brown or white onion sliced. Add your sauce, crushed tomatoes, and Bush's baked beans. Cook on low for at least 2 hours, but you could cook  it for longer if you wish.

Love, Luck, and Happiness!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats! - Guest Post from So... Let's Hang Out

The lovely Gina from So... Let's Hang Out is graciously bringing her cooking skills and wit to my blog today. The recipe she is sharing is making me drool.... Read on for amazing food and overall awesomeness.
Love, Luck, and Happiness - Michelle

Good morning, Lucky Pennies!
You are probably wondering where Michelle is...
Don’t panic. She’s a super busy lady. She is probably dreaming up more amazing recipes for you, while simultaneously unpacking her house, working her day job, and attempting to not eat sugar and carbs for 30 days. No big deal, right? Seriously, this girl is major… but, you all knew that. She totally deserves high fives for days.
So, who is this stranger in your midst?
My name is Gina and Michelle graciously let me take over her space for the day. I’m really happy to be here! When I’m not barging in on other people’s blogs, preaching the gospel of a game-changing enchilada recipe, you can find me at So…Let’s Hang Out. Yup, that’s my blog. You should come and visit me sometime. There are plenty of gluten-free recipes, a good deal of Paleo options, a dose of humor, and the occasional drawing of a bear in a sensible pants suit. Totally normal.
Here are a few fun facts about Michelle and I:
  1. We went to the same college.
  2. We were in the same sorority (Yup, you heard that correctly; stop looking at us weird).
  3. We have never actually hung out in person (HOW?! A series of missed connections).
  4. We both really like steak.  A LOT.
  5. We would look really cool in matching track suits. Okay, I did not run this one by Michelle, but I think she would agree. Especially if we wore said track suits out to a steak dinner. It’s a game changer.
  6. Our dogs would also have matching track suits in this scenario. I can’t stop.
  7. We would like to get together for dinner, but we happen to live six hours apart. This makes things complicated, so, we have decided to go virtual.
Welcome to our virtual dinner party. Throw on your track suit and head on over. Enchiladas are on the menu by the request of our lovely hostess. Ok, maybe they aren’t traditional enchiladas. Corn tortillas have been replaced by hollowed-out zucchini boats. This means we can have at least one two of these Watermelon Margaritas, right? Right. This recipe is dang near Paleo, with the exception of a little cheddar cheese. I believe this is referred to as Paleo-ish. I like to refer to it as Paleo-con-queso.  Shall we get started?

First things first, you’re going to make up some Chili and Lime Shredded Chicken in your crock pot.  You can put it all together in the morning before you head off to work, turn on your crock pot, and dinner will be pretty much ready to assemble when you get home. I love letting my crock pot do the heavy lifting. Plus, your house will smell like an amazing fiesta.

Once your chicken is cooked up and shredded, you’re going to slice your zucchinis in half and scoop out their contents in order to create little boats. Don’t discard the scooped out zucchini guts, as we’re going to cook that up with our onions. Why waste all that veggie goodness?
Once we have all our ingredients set to go, we’re going to stuff our enchilada ingredients into our zucchini boats, cover them with foil, pop them in the oven and let the magic happen.  Get ready for a mind blowing Paleo-con-queso moment.

What we’re left with is a total fiesta! Look at those pretty little things. They are surprisingly filling, even without the corn tortillas. I bet you these would even be a good way to trick your kiddos into eating their veggies!

For the adults, PLEASE do not refrain from serving these up with a cocktail. I insist. You are my guests, after all. Don’t be shy.  
Thanks so much, Michelle, for letting me host this virtual dinner party. I would love to see all of you again. Come visit me anytime!! Xox

Chicken Enchilada Zucchini Boats

Serves 4-6

Chili & Lime Chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs chili powder
2 tsp cumin
½ tsp cayenne pepper (you can omit this if you don’t like it spicy)
Four cloves of garlic, minced
Juice of 4 medium limes
Chicken Enchilada Boats
6 medium zucchinis
Olive oil to coat the pan
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium sized onion, chopped
1 tsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
1 tbs tomato paste
3 tbs chicken broth
1 can of gluten-free enchilada sauce (28 oz)
Chili & Lime Chicken
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Chopped scallions & cilantro, for garnish
In a crock pot, combine all of the ingredients for your Chili & Lime Chicken. Start by coating the bottom of the crock pot with your tablespoon of olive oil and layering your chicken on top of that. Cover your chicken with a layer of salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Add in your lime juice, and then your spice blend. Allow to slow cook for at least six hours.
Once you chicken is done cooking, shred it using a couple of forks and set it aside.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Wash and cut your zucchini lengthwise in half. Using a melon baller or a small spoon, remove the seeds and part of the meat from your zucchini in order to hollow it out and make room for the filling. Set aside the discarded bits of scooped-out zucchini flesh.
In a sauce pan heat up your olive oil over medium heat and add in your onion and garlic. Sauté them until they’re translucent. Add in your tomato paste, cumin, chili powder, chicken broth and the scooped-out zucchini flesh. Stir together and allow it to cook down for two minutes.
At this point, transfer your Chili and Lime Chicken to the sauce pan. Depending on the size of your zucchinis, you might not use all of it. Assess before you add it all to the pan. For the portion you do not use, you can store and use it later. It’s a great salad topping.
Stir your chicken, zucchini and onion mixture together and allow it to cook together for a couple of minutes.
Cover the bottom of a large baking dish with a layer of enchilada sauce.
On top of the layer of enchilada sauce, arrange your zucchini boats, cut side up, to fit along the bottom of the baking dish.
Add your chicken mixture into your zucchini boat and press it down firmly with a spoon. On top of the chicken, add another layer of enchilada sauce, followed by a layer of cheddar cheese.
Cover your baking dish with tin foil, and allow to bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the zucchini has cooked through.
Serve them up garnished with chopped scallions and cilantro! Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Fruit Salad with Basil and Lime

Calling this a "recipe" really seems like a cop out. I mean I took four ingredients and combined them. Four ingredients that you've probably already thought of combining. But if you haven't thought about combining these four ingredients, then this recipe is for you.

This recipe is here because this fruit salad recipe made me eat fruit salad. Don't get me wrong I like fruit. But give me the choice of fruit and something else and I will most likely pick something else. Doesn't really matter what that something else is, unless maybe it's just raw veggies, then I might pick fruit. I know this may seem weird coming from a somewhat healthy food consumer like myself, but my real love for food comes in the form of cheesy fries, creamy mushrooms, well seasoned steaks, and things with bacon in it.

But alas, swimsuit season is looming dangerously near, and free lunches at work have taken their toll. I have issues with turning down free food... and my portion control when it comes to free mashed potatoes is not as good as it should be. And at weddings, I have bad portion control at weddings. (And I've got a lot of those to attend this year!) Over the weekend I had 3 mini pies at a wedding. One was eaten in my hotel bed. I woke up with crumbs on me. My husband affectionately called me Fatty. Things need to change over here. So I'm doing a Whole 30 again. It worked really well for me in January, and I was able to get back on track with healthy, happy eating that made me feel good. Until we moved, then everything fell apart. Life gets busy. People bring you pizza. So I'm gonna give it another go, and maybe try not to cheat so much this time. Enter fruit salad for snacks to ween me off my sugar cravings. Wish me luck with this whole thing! I feel like it is gonna be a long 30 days, but hopefully it will force me to get creative with my healthy eating. Some great recipes came out of my last attempt at Whole 30 - like my Kalua Pig and my wildly popular Cauliflower Pizza Crust (which is not Whole 30 approved, but a great way to eat pizza without wheat or other grains).

P.S. If you would like to follow my Whole 30 journey I will be tweeting what I eat everyday. (I need to hold myself accountable!) Follow me on Twitter here.

P.S.S! - We are having Claim Jumpers tomorrow at work for lunch. Like I said this is going to be a long 30 days. But hopefully by the end of it, I won't crave such unhealthy food that always ends up making me feel awful and slug like.

And now for the "recipe."

Fruit Salad with Basil and Lime

1 lb strawberries
1 medium cantaloupe
7 - 10 basil leaves
1 lime

Wash and cut strawberries into fourths.

Cut cantaloupe in half. Scoop out seeds. Using a melon baller, scoop out flesh of cantaloupe into melon balls.

Roll up basil leaves and cut into thin strips.

Combine strawberries, melon balls, and basil in a bowl. Squeeze lime juice all over fruit. Toss and enjoy.

Love, Luck, and Happiness!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Banana and Date Paleo Bread

The lights in my house flicker. I'm pretty sure they flicker. Adam says I'm crazy, but I'm pretty sure I'm not, at least not in this case. I'm pretty sure the lights didn't always flicker, but now they do. Anybody have any tips on how to get lights to stop flickering. Or rid a house of spirits? I really hope it's not spirits though, cause that would be weird and kind of scary.

Let's think about something else. How about banana date paleo bread? Yep, that's right banana. date. PALEO. Bread. Sometimes you really do just need bread. Especially when there could be spirits in the house, which I'm pretty sure there's not, because there is no such thing, right? RIGHT?

But there is such thing as paleo bread! This bread is like moist delicious banana bread. You won't even notice that there is no flour or refined sugar! Paleo bread might be my favorite kind of bread. Seriously if you ever have a hankering for some gluten-free bread - give this simple recipe a try. Just like my paleo brownie bites, I strongly believe you don't need to be paleo or even gluten-free to enjoy this bread. So give it a try! Meanwhile, I'll be simultaneously researching how to rewire electricity and rituals for ridding your house of spirits.

Banana and Date Paleo Bread
adapted from Elana's Pantry
Makes 1 -  8x8 pan of bread

1/2 cup creamy roasted almond butter
2 eggs
1 teaspoon raw honey
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 - 4 medium medjool dates, pitted
1/2 small to medium ripe banana, mashed
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 - 1 teaspoon cinnamon (depending on how much you like cinnamon)
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Place dates in a bowl of warm water to soften them up.

Place almond butter in the bowl of a Kitchenaid mixer with the paddle attachment. (Or you can use a hand mixer). Mix almond almond butter until creamy - about 1 minute.

Drain dates and place in a food processor. (I tried doing this in a little bullet like blender, and it worked ok, but I would recommend a food processor.) Process dates into small pieces.

Mash banana using a fork. Add banana, dates, eggs, honey, and vanilla to bowl with almond butter. Mix until everything is well incorporated. Add dry ingredients - salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Mix again until ingredients are combined.

Grease and 8 x 8 baking pan (I used coconut oil spray). Place batter in the dish. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of dish. Do NOT over bake or the bread will become dry. After 15 minutes, I check my bread every minute or two. My bread took 19 minutes. 

Allow to cool a little bit and enjoy!

 Love, Luck, and Happiness!