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Butternut Squash Harvest Hash

7 Nov

hashiconThis is a recipe that I’ve developed that is perfect for fall, but honestly I make it year-round. It’s super flexible and versatile. You can play around with all sorts of different ingredients, spices, or even herbs. You can even totally change it’s functionality by simply changing the size of the butternut squash chunks. Larger chunks make it more of a side dish, medium chunks make it more like a stuffing, and small chunks make it more like an actual “hash.”

It’s slightly different everytime I make it, but the recipe I share here today is the gist of the protocol I use. I don’t really give measurements because, honestly, I don’t even know them, and they will always change depending on the size of your squash or your personal taste. So please, go out and have fun with it!

WARNING: Your house WILL smell like you’re baking apple pie, which might leave some of your family disappointed (though hopefully, once they taste it, not for long).

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Gluten Free Tapioca Cheese Biscuits (Pao de Queijo)

18 Oct

A few weeks ago, I was lamenting the fact that my boyfriend still insists on ordering his burgers with a bun. I decided to look up options for gluten free buns to make for burgers at the house that would still give him the experience of a bun (since we all know how tiring lettuce wraps can get). While conducting this research, I accidentally stumbled across something that has changed the way my boyfriend looks at gluten free eating, and changed my world as well.

Pao de queijo is cheeserollicona traditional Brazilian recipe. They are little buns, similar to a popover, made from egg, cheese, milk, butter, tapioca flour, and salt. That’s it. No tricky combinations of specialty flours and arrowroot. Just whole foods. What’s interesting is that this is a “natural” gluten free recipe, so if you google it you will come up with many different recipe variations and techniques. Unfortunately, the vast majority of them recommend ingredients like canola oil and skim milk. When I saw those I was like, “PSSSSSH, EFF THAT!!” and starting playing around with the recipe by replacing such bullshit ingredients with the original, high fat ingredients they were meant to replace.

The recipe I am sharing with you today is one that I’ve been developing over the last couple weeks. I’ve started making these regularly for my weekly RPG game-night dinner and they are popular with gluten-free and non-gluten free people alike. Our GM absolutely adores them, which is I think one of the only reasons my character is still alive.

But be warned. These things really do need to come with a warning label because they are addictive. As. Balls.

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Fresh Ginger Tea With Lemon and Honey

23 Sep

ginger_tea_iconI’m still not sure what the disease I dealt with this weekend was. I felt run down, with a minor sore throat and a bit of a fever at a couple points (100.4ºF/38ºC was the highest spike), and had aches that corresponded to the spikes in temperature. But altogether it wasn’t that bad. During breaks of my impromptu Disney Movie Netflix Marathon, I had enough energy to get up to make myself food and keep the kitchen in reasonable order.

But this experience made me realize how over-sensitized we paleo people can get to sickness when we’re not getting sick all the time. My new standard is one, maybe two, colds a year, with symptoms on the medium-to-low range of things. I still want to rest and take care of myself, of course, but if something serious in my real life came up, I would still be able to pull myself together and deal with it. So when something comes along that gives me the first fever that I’ve had in three years, part of me couldn’t help but panic and think I was dying.

It’s basically the paleo version of “The Man Cold”:

During the worst part of it, I was texting my friends to say I was dying of brain amoebas, which I must have contracted while we were swimming in a river the week prior, and if I died Kara could have my Le Creuset pots but for the love of god don’t use metal utensils or wire scrubbing pads in them. They all told me I was fine and I should just STFU and watch more cartoons. I was like, “Okay 😦” and figured if I was dying I might as well watch Treasure Planet cause there wasn’t anything else left in my Netflix Disney queue that I hadn’t seen yet (and was shocked to discover that it’s actually really good, I don’t know why it’s gotten a bad rap over the years, it’s totally worth even a non-deathbed viewing).

AAAAAAANYWAY. The point I am leading to is that this weekend was an excuse to practice some of my sick-care routines earlier than normal. One of my favorite home remedies is fresh ginger tea with lemon and honey. It’s fabulous for sore throats and headaches. I also make it as a delightfully warming, caffeine-free drink even when I’m not sick. I post it as a “recipe” but it’s so simple it’s barely a recipe; more a basic protocol that you can adapt to your own liking.

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Gingerade Gelatin Gummies

16 Sep

gingeradeiconAs I have commented on before, I love gelatin-based gummies, but was growing rather tired of all of the purely fruity recipes out there. They are all very good, don’t get me wrong, but I have been enjoying experimenting with new combinations that are less sweet but still interesting.

I recently “stepped out of the cave,” so to speak, to indulge in some non-paleo ginger chew candies. I love ginger, and back before paleo I used to chow down on these things all the time, especially after I discovered that ginger helped mitigate some of my pre-menstrual migraine symptoms (although since going paleo I have had barely any migraine symptoms at all). I weaned myself off of them once I went paleo and absolved myself of excess sugar. I had almost forgotten about them until a friend offered me one a couple weeks ago. As I chewed it, enjoying the intense burst of ginger-y goodness, I wondered if there might be a way to get a similar experience from a gelatin-based treat.

What I came up with is not as chewy as those candies, but it still has a good burst of ginger flavor and—like my other recipe—is another less-sweet addition to the gelatin pantheon. My first batch of these was just ginger with some honey, but I found the flavor rather flat and unbalanced. I added the lemon/lime juice to help round out the flavor and evoke my favorite flavor of kombucha.

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Brined and Baked Pork Ribs

9 Sep

ribs_iconNow that we’re fully into September, much of the rest of North America is starting to think about the approach of fall. However, here in San Francisco, our “summer” is just beginning. For the next month, month-and-a-half if we’re lucky, the promise of sweltering-hot 85°F days leads to a brief flurry of outdoor concerts, festivals, and BBQs every weekend until the fog retakes us once again.

Of course, nothing says outdoor BBQ like a good rack of ribs, which is what brought today’s recipe to mind. Conveniently, though, this is a recipe that only uses the oven, so technically it can be done year-round. I am extremely proud of this recipe, since I came up with the protocol myself just by messing around in the kitchen. Everyone who has tried these ribs has raved about them, including a group of paleo people at a potluck a few months back. I’ve heard them called “delicious meat-candy” and “like bacon on a stick, only the stick is bone!”

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Chocolate Salty Paleo Balls

2 Sep

pballs_iconThis is definitely one of my go-to paleo recipes when I need to make something interesting for a potluck or other event, but it comes with disclaimers. First, it is not a recipe I invented out of whole cloth, but rather something that I have adapted from a recipe I first found on Dr. William Davis’s Wheat Belly Blog, and which he originally got from a gluten-free cookbook called The Pure Kitchen by Hallie Klecker. I have been playing around with this recipe a bit over the last couple years, though, and have added some tweaks to it that I would like to share.

The second disclaimer is that they aren’t actually salty, per se, but I have taken to calling them this because I am literally physically unable to pass up an opportunity to reference South Park when it presents itself. For those who don’t know what I’m talking about, please review the following:

In mixed company I sometimes refer to them as my “Nutty Paleo Balls,” but–depending on the company–that isn’t necessarily an improvement.

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Coconut Horchata Gummy Snacks

20 Aug

coconut_jello_icon)I love gummy things. No, check that; I’ve gone NUTS for gummy things my entire life. Gummy bears, gummy worms, pretty much any gummy [noun], but also jello, the more dense and jiggly the better. I love gummy things so much that when kids in my elementary school started freaking each other out by telling everyone that gummy things were made of boiled bones and hooves (which technically they are, props to my 4th grade peers for their accuracy) I just shrugged and went, “Meh, I’ll live with it.”

Over the years, I’ve realized that my addiction to gummy things might actually be an addiction to gelatin—the protein that forms a matrix and gives jello or candy its dense, chewy consistency—as opposed to the sugar of the candy. I base my hypothesis on two interesting points: 1) Gummy treats made with agar agar (a gelatin-like protein derived from kelp) are not as appealing to me, and 2) The first time I was exposed to Vietnamese pho that contained cooked tendon (which is almost pure gelatin and isn’t sugary at all) I went crazy for it. Another interesting fact is that I have dealt with stiff, creaking, cracking joints my entire life (and two of my cousins have as well). My theory is that something about my dietary history or genetics left me in need of proteins to support healthy connective tissue, which may have led to my cravings.

Since going paleo, I have automatically increased the amount of gelatin in my diet by eating more slow-cooked red meats–rich with connective tissue–and making my own stocks and bone broths. But I still love gummy things, so I decided to go with my instinct and try to get even more gelatin into my regular routine. Obviously I can’t be mainlining gummy bears every day, but luckily the paleo blog-o-sphere is overflowing with interesting homemade gummy recipes. Diane Sanfilippo of Balanced Bites seems to share my craving for all things gelatin and recently posted some recipes for lemon-lime and fresh berry gummy candies, as well as some links to some other fruity recipe ideas. I also stumbled across these recipes for “creamsicle” gummy candies, which I thought was a clever twist.

But while all these recipes look delicious, I wanted something that had less of a fruity punch (lol). Instead of juice, I started playing around with coconut milk and came up with a recipe that is still sweet, but is a lot more subtle and almost has a savory edge to it. I call it “horchata” because it tastes very similar to the sweet, Mexican rice-based drink (which is very much not-paleo but very much delicious). I hope that other people who are looking for less-sweet gummy recipes might find it interesting as well.

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