SIBO-Friendly Sous Vide Egg Bites

If you’ve walked into Starbucks at any point in 2017, you might have noticed that they’re now serving Sous Vide Egg Bites. They come in two varieties: Bacon Gruyère and Roasted Red Pepper. As a gluten-free girl, I was excited to see these, and when I actually tried them, I FLIPPED. I began to crave them every day and proclaimed to Loren that our next kitchen gadget would have to be a sous vide. Here’s a pic from my instagram where I celebrate the gloriousness of the Starbucks version. (I’ll admit that I’m not generally the biggest Starbucks fan. When I go in there, it’s usually because I’m in an airport, which is why it took me a while to learn about these egg bites — but I started going out of my way to go there once I found these!!)

sous vide egg bites

This year started out a bit hectic — I quit my full-time job at the hospital and stepped down from a leadership role at my start-up, resolving to completely dive into my self-employed endeavor. The whole first half of the year flew by so quickly, and then suddenly it was July, and I’d never followed through on my vow to buy a sous vide machine and replicate these little yummy bites! I’d even been talking with the talented Nicole Ruiz Hudson over at Nibbling Gypsy about all of her gorgeous sous vide recipes, but I just wasn’t pulling the trigger to get my own. Luckily, just in time for the beginning of ‘funemployment’ kitchen experimentation, Amazon had a flash sale that highlighted the Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker. It revitalized my egg bite-creating dreams, and I finally got my hands on one. 

Sous Vide

First things first: what does sous vide mean? Sous vide is a form of cooking that involves submerging a contained food item into a water bath and cooking it at a precise temperature for a set period of time. The ability to maintain a consistent SIBO-friendly Sous Vide Egg bitestemperature allows for even cooking and splendid results, especially for protein dishes. Eggs, in particular, are pretty finicky if you’re hoping for a very specific texture or level of ‘doneness’. The magic wand, of sorts, sits clamped to the edge of the bath (I used my big stock pot) and heats the water to the precise temperature you need.

What do I mean by ‘contained food’? I mean that you’re not dunking a steak directly into a water bath and boiling it to death — that would be gross. Rather, the food you’re cooking is contained in either jars (as we’ll demonstrate today with the sous vide egg bites), BPA-free cook safe plastic bags like these, or silicone bags like these. Today, it’s all about single-serving breakfast and replicating the silky consistency of the Starbucks creation — all within the guidelines of the SIBO diet.

SIBO-friendly

Next question: what makes these sous vide egg bites SIBO-friendly? SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth) requires quite a few dietary restrictions, including very limited dairy. Specifically, only cheese that’s been aged for at least one month is permissible (along with only homemade, plain yogurt), and in limited quantities. (If you’re unfamiliar with my SIBO saga, check out this post, which explains what SIBO is, how I think I got it, and the signs and symptoms — which include a lot of overlap with IBS).

I did a little googling to see if I could find some recipes to serve as my jumping off point, and what I found was a whole lot of cream cheese, cottage cheese, and heavy cream. None of these could go into my version of sous vide egg bites, so I had to get creative. As I’ve done with other egg recipes like my Easy Veggie Frittata and my Paleo Bacon Veggie Muffins, I substituted full fat coconut milk for the heavy cream.

frittata

Kitchen Alchemy: Guesswork in ‘Substitution Land’

In considering what to exchange for the cottage cheese and cream cheese, I was kind of at a loss. No aged cheese has that same creamy consistency, so I was worried about how my bites would match up. I decided to try something weird: avocado oil mayonnaise. I say weird, because one of the two main ingredients in mayonnaise is egg, which kind of makes including it a little repetitive. I was unsure when I decided to try it, so I only included 2 tbs for the whole batch. I love how they turned out, but I’m honestly not sure if adding the mayo really had a substantial impact. In my next batch, I’m going to test it out — half the batch with mayo, half without, and I’ll report back my findings with an addendum to this post. 

Intuitive Cooking

I love recipes where there’s little to no measuring, and where creativity can take the dish in any direction. I like to call this kind of cooking intuitive cooking, because you’re trusting yourself in the kitchen, rather than chaining yourself to every tiny detail in a recipe that doesn’t require it. This is a perfect example of a recipe that allows for lots of variation. Include the bacon, or don’t. Add in cooked shrimp or shredded pork instead. Choose whatever cheese floats your boat. Or leave out the cheese entirely. Chop up some veggies for a quick sauté, and throw them in. Add fresh herbs, dried spices, salsa, or hot sauce to the egg mixture. Anything that suits your fancy!

Here are some regional flavor combinations to try out: 

  • Mexican: add cumin, cilantro, cotija cheese (use anejo if you’re sticking to SIBO rules), and a few tablespoons of salsa (only green onion if you’re sticking to SIBO rules). Grease the jars with avocado oil.
  • Italian: add fresh chopped parsley and oregano, parmesan and/or Romano, and few squeezes of tomato paste. Grease the jars with garlic-infused EVOO.
  • French: add bleu cheese, bacon, and green onion. Grease the jars with butter or ghee.
  • Persian: (borrowed from a fellow experimenter) add boiled shrimp, chopped dates, and turmeric. (skip the dates if you’re sticking to SIBO rules). 
  • ‘MERICA: add aged cheddar cheese, bacon, and breakfast sausage (use ground pork and spices if you’re sticking to SIBO rules).

The flavor experiments could continue forever! In my first go at this, I wanted to try to get as close to my original muse (the Gruyère bacon bites at Starbucks) as possible. But I couldn’t resist trying a couple of different cheeses, since I wasn’t sure how long Gruyère is aged, and I didn’t want to take the chance. I also greased half of the jars with bacon grease and the other half with garlic infused EVOO. Both were delicious, but I think I preferred the EVOO.

SIBO-friendly sous vide egg bites

Important Sous Vide Cooking Tips:

  1. Do not tighten the lids too much (do a “two-finger tighten”). Pressure builds as the eggs cook, and if the jars are too tightly sealed, you might have an exploded glass mess on your hands.
  2. Blend the egg mixture in a blender or food processor. Hand mixing won’t get you the silky, uniform consistency you want.
  3. Depending on the size of your jars and how much room you leave at the top, they might float in your water bath. If you find that your jars are floating, place a heavy plate or a big pot on top of them in the water to weigh them down. You can also try stacking them to keep them in place. Another option is to put something at the bottom of the pot (I saw a suggestion for inverted coffee mugs) and placing your jars atop them, so that they’re higher up in the bath and slightly breaching the surface.
  4. Grease the jars for your egg bites. It will make clean up much easier.

Supplies needed: 

  1. Anova Sous Vide Precision Cooker
  2. 10-12 4 oz mason jars (you could also use bigger jars and only fill partially — that will definitely cause floating)
  3. A pot or tub large enough to fit the wand and all of the jars (I used a 2 gallon stock pot but only filled the liquid to the “min” line on my wand cooker)
  4. Food processor or blender
  5. Cheese grater (if using cheese)
SIBO-friendly Sous Vide Egg Bites
Serves 10
Set the sous vide to 172° F before beginning your prep. It takes longer for the machine to get to temperature than it does to get this recipe ready to go.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 pack cooked bacon (7-10 pieces)
  2. 12 pastured eggs
  3. 2/3 cup coconut milk
  4. 2 tbs avocado oil mayonnaise
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/2 tsp pepper
  7. EITHER 1 cup grated parmesan or Romano
  8. OR 1/2 cup aged bleu cheese
Instructions
  1. Set the Anova to 172° F in the water bath
  2. Place the bacon on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and broil in the oven until crispy (usually 10 minutes, but keep an eye on it so you don't burn it)
  3. Add the eggs, coconut milk, salt, and pepper to a food processor or blender and mix on low until it's smooth and homogenous
  4. Grease 10-12 4 oz jars with either bacon grease or an oil of your choosing (I did half with garlic infused EVOO).
  5. Evenly distribute crumbled bacon in each jar
  6. Evenly distribute the cheese of your choosing in each jar
  7. If your blender or food processor doesn't have a pitcher spout, transfer the egg mixture to a spouted measuring cup and evenly distribute among all of the jars
  8. Screw on the lids (but not too tightly, see the cooking tips above this recipe for more detail)
  9. Once the water bath is up to the proper temperature, use tongs to carefully submerge your jars into the water bath
  10. Set the Anova timer for 50 minutes
  11. Remove using the tongs
  12. Use either a dish towel or oven mits to open if the jars are hot
  13. If not eating right away, allow the jars to cool before refrigerating
  14. Eat them right from the jar or slide a butter knife around the perimeter and turn over onto a plate to slide out your egg bite
Notes
  1. Cook the bacon to a pretty full crisp. On my first try, I cooked it exactly how I like to eat it on its own, and I found that it was too chewy in the recipe. On my second round, I cooked it longer and crumbled it into smaller pieces instead of using half pieces as Starbucks does. I liked it this way best.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

To reheat your egg bites, either:

  • Microwave for 30-45 seconds
  • Get a 140° F bath going with your Anova wand and submerge for 15 minute
  • Toast in the oven broiler for 5 minutes (ovens vary, keep your eye on it for this method to avoid burning)

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

SIBO-Friendly Ratatouille [RECIPE]

One of the perks of getting to attend the Biocodex Foundation Kickoff event was experiencing the amazing food in Paris. On our second night, we were treated to a beautiful meal at Les Deux Magots, an iconic Parisian treat with an up close and personal view of the oldest cathedral in Paris. (When I told my friend who lives in Paris that we were going there for dinner, his response was, “Fancy pants.” I’ll take it!)Sibo-friendly ratatouilleMy last course of the evening — lamb saddle on a bed of house made ratatouille — is what inspired today’s recipe. I’ll go ahead and say up front that virtually nothing in this multi-course meal was “SIBO-friendly” — especially the dessert platter — but this dish was pretty close. I worked around the onions, but I know I ate a lot of garlic. That being said, I put my entire protocol on hiatus for the week that I was in France. I won’t say I went completely nuts — I did what I could to choose wisely — but there was no way that I was going to be there and not enjoy fresh baked goods or the amazing cultural delicacies this beautiful country has to offer. To be honest, I didn’t experience any digestive consequences until the very last full day. And I view that as a testament to how diligent I’d been before going. BUT, I digress…

Here’s the main course, paired with a perfect Rhone from Chateau La Borie:

Sibo-friendly ratatouille

Why is this a SIBO-Friendly Recipe?

This is a SIBO-friendly recipe because it features vegetables that are allowable in “unlimited” quantities: eggplant, peppers, yellow squash, tomatoes, capers, and olives. I also left out the major offenders: garlic and onions, which are traditionally included. I chose to use yellow squash instead of zucchini, because while zucchini is allowable in certain quantities, I wanted this to be a recipe that those dealing with SIBO could enjoy without measuring anything. And also because I just picked those glorious yellow delights from my backyard garden and wanted to use them! That being said, if you prefer zucchini, feel free to switch it out, bearing in mind that a serving is 3/4 cups.  Check out my SIBO Diet Short List for a list of other veggies you can eat “unlimited” on the SIBO Diet, along with some helpful cooking guidelines and a list of resources from experts in the field.

The trick with converting a garlic or onion-heavy dish to a SIBO-friendly version is to make smart substitutions. To do this, I employed lots of green onions (allowable without the white part) and then topped the dish off with garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil, which is SIBO-legal. And I added them both at the end of the cooking process to ensure that the they retained as much of their flavor as possible. 

SIBO-friendly Cheese

If you don’t have dairy allergies, hard cheeses that have been aged for at least one month are acceptable on the SIBO Diet. I was thrilled to find an adorable cheese shop in Bordeaux that vacuum-sealed customer purchases so that they would remain fresh and in-tact on a transatlantic flight. They were also kind enough to let me hang out and take some pictures of the goods. It was very very difficult to narrow down my purchases, but I did end up with a truffle-infused Pecorino that I grated on top of my SIBO-friendly Ratatouille to add double the umami. It was truly a divine addition.

Sibo-friendly ratatouille

Cooking on High Heat

I cooked my SIBO-friendly Ratatouille mostly on high heat, because I started the process a little later than I’d intended, and I wanted to get dinner on the table at a decent hour. It turned out great and ended up becoming a 30-minute meal, which works out for all of us, but it’s important that you use the right cooking oil if you plan to follow my lead. I used avocado oil, which is able to withstand high temperatures much better than EVOO.

These days, if I want an olive oil flavor, I usually cook with something else (like water, avocado oil, or ghee) and then add in some EVOO as a topper once I turn off the fire. This way, I get the flavor and nutrients without risking burning the oil and turning it from healthful to carcinogenic. Consider practicing that in your next few meals and see how it goes. It might take a little bit of an adjustment, but it will be worth the health benefits. And if you have a really good olive oil, you’ll likely notice that you taste more of the olive oil flavor while using less of it in your food.

More Food Pics!

I thought about using this post to share more exciting food pics from my trip to France, but then I realized that since most of them aren’t SIBO-friendly, that would kind of be cruel. SO, if you’d like to check out some of the glorious treats that I enjoyed (or at least enjoyed photographing), head over to my Instagram and flip your way through. There are some real works of art from Bordeaux in particular that you should check out.Sibo-friendly ratatouille

SIBO Friendly Ratatouille
Serves 4
This recipe is a mix of all SIBO Diet-approved veggies and spices, while still remaining delicious and satisfying. It also includes gut-supportive bone broth and nutrient-dense fresh herbs.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 tbs avocado oil [Buy avocado oil]
  2. 1 large eggplant
  3. 1 large yellow squash or zucchini (the one I used was so big I had to core it -- if yours are smaller, consider adding 2 or 3)
  4. 1 bell pepper (I used orange)
  5. 1/2 cup bone broth (Mine was homemade and pre-salted. You can adjust your salt based on how salty your own broth is)
  6. 2 cups POMI strained or chopped tomatoes [Buy POMI]
  7. 2 tbs capers
  8. 8-10 black olives
  9. 1 full bunch scallions (green part only)
  10. 1 cup loose fresh chopped herbs (I used fresh oregano, sage, and parsley from the CWB garden)
  11. 1-2 tsp Real Salt or pink salt
  12. 2 tbs garlic-infused EVOO [Buy garlic-infused EVOO]
Instructions
  1. Cube all the veggies
  2. Chop scallions and fresh herbs (and set aside)
  3. Heat a very large frypan before adding avocado oil on medium heat
  4. Add cubed eggplant, squash, and pepper
  5. Stir to ensure that all veggies are exposed to the heated oil and turn up the heat to high
  6. Stir in bone broth and cover for 5 minutes
  7. Uncover and stir in tomatoes
  8. Cook on high, stirring regularly for another 15 minutes (reducing things down)
  9. Coarsely chop the olives while everything is cooking
  10. Add in capers and olives
  11. Once all veggies are softened, turn off the heat and add in the freshly chopped scallions and herbs)
  12. Finish with 2 tbs garlic-infused EVOO (or drizzle on individual servings)
Notes
  1. This dish is amazing served warm as a side dish or as a base for 1/2 a cup of white rice or quinoa and a delicious cut of meat. You can also eat it cold as a Sicilian-style caponata with SIBO-approved rice crackers once you reach that phase of your protocol.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

Flashback: Icelandic Pesto is the Best Thing Ever

Last August, Loren and I drove the Ring Road exploring the wonders of Iceland for 9 days. We enjoyed amazing food (mostly food we cooked on a single burner camping stove at campgrounds and stops along the way) and gazed upon some of the most spectacular features of planet earth. 

The food part was particularly memorable, because I had zero issues eating the baked goods we found at an amazing bakery called Brauð & Co in Reykjavik. Zero stomach cramps or digestive issues, zero discomfort. I’m guessing it has something to do with the strain of wheat they use or a nice, slow leavening … all I know is that we couldn’t get enough of this place for the short two days we spent in Reykjavik before hitting the road. And I certainly enjoyed my consequence-free glutinous vacation.

Icelandic Pesto

Brauð & Co: Baked Goods and Pesto from Heaven 

This bakery was truly a thing to behold: a tiny room that could hold no more than 7 or 8 customers, with 4 bakers and two cashiers behind the counter — and a line down the block. You could smell this place from a block away, following your nose to the long line of Icelanders patiently awaiting baked goods from heaven. 

Icelandic Pesto

They had staggeringly delicious, warm loaves of sourdough bread and the most incredible house-made pesto I’d ever tasted. I have never experienced pesto like this anywhere else, and I LOVED it. On our way to pick up our camper van and hit the Ring Road, we stopped and grabbed a fresh loaf of bread and a container of pesto, so we wouldn’t be without on our road trip. We made some pretty amazing sandwiches using those two ingredients. 

Icelandic Pesto Mission: The Translation

As I slowly grew more and more obsessed with this unfamiliar pesto, I decided that I needed to have the option of eating it forever. To do that, I’d have to find out what was in it. I took a picture of the label (all in Icelandic PestoIcelandic) and made plans to sit with Google Translate once I was stateside and figure out exactly how to replicate it at home. Then I had the chance to ask a couple of Icelandic natives to translate it for me. I wrote down their translations and deleted the picture.

Then I lost the piece of paper. That’s right. TRAGEDY. 

That being said, I do remember a few key ingredients from the translation, so I used those as my jumping of point and combined them with the circumstances of my refrigerator and cupboard to bring you today’s recipe.

The ingredients that I know overlap between my version and theirs are: arugula (which they called rocket), sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil, and sunflower seeds. Everything else is a guess. And I’d say I made a pretty darn good approximation of what this stuff was all about. I’d love to have a side-by-side comparison, so if anyone is planning a trip to Iceland soon, please stop by Brauð and get yourself some pesto. I’d love to know how mine measures up. And also get a loaf of bread and a cinnamon roll. And then mail them to me. Thanks.

Icelandic Adventures

I’d be remiss if I didn’t say more about our amazing trip in this flashback post — after all, flashing back is all about reliving the glory of a wonderful experience.

icelandic pesto

Highlights (in no particular order):

  • We experienced some of the most majestic natural hot springs on earth, including a hot river. Almost the entire country is geothermally active, and there are areas where water and steam just pour out of the earth. It’s magical.
    Icelandic Pesto
  • I had my first experience using cramp-ons when we hiked the Svínafellsjökull glacier.Icelandic Pesto
  • We saw enough waterfalls and rainbows to satisfy the imagination of every child with magic in her heart.
    Icelandic pesto
  • We did a spontaneous beach clean up while waiting for a cave tour in Snaefellsbaer.Icelandic pesto
  • We got a unique view of Kirkjufell by hopping a fence and taking an unofficial waterfall tour into the mountains at Snæfellsnes.icelandic pestoicelandic pesto
  • We picked wild blueberries with the aid of two locals stocking up for winter (literally filling three giant buckets) at the beginning and end of a beautiful hike that required no trail to find our way.Icelandic pestoicelandic pesto
  • I learned how to drive a stick shift (but not really in a city, and definitely not to parallel park).
  • A tour guide in Reykjavik told us that we were too late to see the puffins, but in fact, we arrived at Black Beach just in time to see pretty much every puffin on earth preparing to leave for the winter. (They were too high up for a good photo without a better camera.) 

You Should Go to Iceland!

All of this, and we barely made it halfway around the country before having to turn back. Iceland is absolutely magnificent (and very tourist-friendly), and there are a lot of ways to stop through if you’re planning a trip with a European destination. We will definitely go back there in the not too distant future. It was just stunningly beautiful — so much so that it was difficult to take it all in. 

So with that, here’s the Icelandic pesto recipe — I recommend using it however you’d use regular pesto, including scrambling into eggs, dipping bread or crackers, stirring into veggies, pasta, or veggie pasta, and even cooking with shrimp or chicken. 

Icelandic Pesto
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Ingredients
  1. 3 cups raw baby arugula
  2. 1/4 cup blanched carrot tops
  3. 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  4. 1/4 cup cashew pieces
  5. 1/4 cup pine nuts
  6. 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
  7. zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
  8. 1/2 cup garlic-infused extra virgin olive oil (split into 1/4 cups) OR 1 clove garlic + EVOO
Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients (except 1/4 cup EVOO) in food processor and process until a choppy but incorporated mix is achieved. You can decide how chunky you want it to be.
  2. Once ingredients are mixed to your liking, stir in remaining 1/4 cup of EVOO.
  3. And you're ready to serve!
Adapted from Inspired by Brauð & Co Bakery in Reykjavik, Iceland
Adapted from Inspired by Brauð & Co Bakery in Reykjavik, Iceland
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

Homemade Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

I’m officially well into my new life of “funemployment,” and the first recipe I’m going to share is nothing short of a celebration. That’s right folks, it’s chocolate time. You may have noticed an increase in references to #sibo on the old IG account lately, but in case you haven’t, I’ve had a recent, unfortunate diagnosis of SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth), which has rendered my food choices quite limited as of late. (I could use this space to rant about the medical insurance racket and how insanely long it’s taking me to get the antibiotic I need, but I’ll spare you the details.) One of the interesting things about the SIBO diet is that you can have raw honey and certain fruits, but no other sugar whatsoever. I’ll get more into SIBO in a separate post, but I just couldn’t wait to share this recipe.

Because I am absolutely addicted to chocolate, and because most store-bought chocolates are not sweetened with honey, I’ve taken matters into my own hands. Join me for the next few minutes on my chocolate making adventure, and then venture out on your own chocolate journey and let me know how it goes!

I’ve tried a few different things so far, but the one I’m most excited to share is the Almond Butter Cups. Like most things on CWB, this is simply a chocolate roadmap with one example of how it could end. You have the power to make your chocolate dreams come true — I’m just here to help. 🙂 

chocolate almond butter cups

Recipe Lab: Refrigerator Chocolate

You might recall that I experimented with some freezer chocolate back at Christmastime. (Side note, I just realized this was TWO Christmases ago — 2016 was the fastest year of my life, by FAR. Anyone else feel me on this?) Anyway, in the spirit of homemade holiday gifts and attempting to include some healthy sweets in our holiday celebrations, I made Paleo-ish Peppermint Bark. The main ingredients were coconut oil, raw cacao powder, and maple syrup. It turned out great, but it absolutely HAD to stay in the freezer or it would become a big melty mess. And since I can’t include my favorite sweetener for the time being (maple syrup), I’m moving forward from here with raw honey. 

To avoid the melty mess this time, I decided to experiment with raw cacao butter to achieve a more stable finished product. And guess what … it was the right choice. I have successfully upgraded my chocolate-making skills from freezer chocolate to refrigerator chocolate!

Is this chocolate raw?

The ingredients in my refrigerator chocolate are raw, but I did melt everything on the stove. I read a bit about raw chocolate and learned that the hottest temps allowable for raw chocolate to remain raw are between 118 and 120F. I didn’t use a double boiler or check the temperature, but I’d imagine that if you did those things and kept the temps in range, you could make exactly what I made and be able to call it raw chocolate.

The Chocolate Journey

Since my main chocolate-making experience was in making the peppermint bark for the holidays, I decided to stick to that in round one of my chocolatey adventure. More bark. But instead of going for the peppermint variety, I kept it simple, sprinkling raw cacao nibs and pumpkin seeds on top and calling it a day. It turned out pretty great actually.

homemade chocolate barkRound 2: Almond Butter Cups

In round 2, I decided to get more creative. I’d bought a few silicone molds a while back, and most of them had just been collecting dust in my cabinet. The only ones I’d used were these adorable little hearts when I experimented with homemade lotion bars (I think it was also that crafty Christmas back in 2015). So I pulled out the mold that looked like peanut butter cups and went to work on my version of almond butter cups. This was a delicious decision and turned out to be the inspiration for today’s post.

chocolate almond butter cups

The Almond Butter Cup Filling

The filling consists of equal parts raw almond butter to raw honey, stirred aggressively with a fork. Very simple and delicious. In my first attempt at almond butter cups, I used about a dime-sized ball of filling, which made for a high chocolate-to-filling ratio. They were delicious, but I knew I wanted more almond butter in every bite. I went to work again, this time using these really cute flower molds that were much deeper (so they could fit more filling). 

chocolate almond butter cups

chocolate almond butter cups

I love how these turned out, but as you might see from the pictures, some of the filling snuck out of the sides, so they aren’t quite perfect to look at. Considering that they taste amazing, and that I’m a novice at this whole chocolate-making endeavor, I’m still giving myself an A for effort and believe that I’ve earned bragging rights as a wannabe chocolatier. (I’m sure real chocolatiers are rolling their eyes at this simpleton, but I do what I want.)

What will I come up with next?

Also featured in one of these pictures are my first attempts at a “peppermint patty.” I didn’t love how they turned out, so I’m going to go back to the drawing board before I share that recipe with you. I already have an idea of how I’ll improve these for the next round. I’m also going to try my hand at an “Almond Joy”-style bite-size morsel. So stay tuned for both of those. And if you decide that you want to beat me to the punch in figuring those two out, please be my guest and let me know about it! I’d be happy to share your version with everyone!

Chocolate Almond Butter Cups (Sweetened with Honey)
Chocolate prepared with all raw ingredients, sweetened with raw honey for those with food restrictions (especially those related to SIBO)
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 cup coconut oil
  2. 1/3 cup raw cacao butter (or 5 cubes of the Big Tree Farms brand)
  3. 3/4 cup raw raw cacao powder
  4. 2 tbs raw honey
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. pinch of salt
  7. OPTIONAL: raw maca powder
  8. OPTIONAL: raw cacao nibs and coarse sea salt for topping
  9. FOR THE FILLING: If using shallow, buttercup-like molds, 2 tbs raw honey + 2 tbs raw almond butter. If using deeper molds, 3 tbs raw honey + 3 tbs raw almond butter (I used creamy)
Instructions
  1. in a small saucepan, melt the raw cacao butter on very low heat (optional to use a double boiler to avoid scorching)
  2. once it starts to become liquid, add in the coconut oil
  3. turn off the fire when both oils are fully liquified
  4. whisk in raw cacao powder, raw honey, vanilla, salt, and maca until the chocolate liquid is completely uniform
  5. place your mold onto a rigid surface (like a cutting board or cookie sheet) for easy transport
  6. pour a thin layer of chocolate into the bottom of each mold
  7. freeze for 10 minutes
  8. immediately thoroughly mix the honey and almond butter in a small mixing bowl and freeze for the remaining few minutes until it's time to take out the chocolate
  9. remove the molds and filling from the freezer
  10. using a small spoon and clean fingers, form a ball of filling to place inside each mold (for shallower molds, you want a dime-size ball. For the deeper molds, about a silver dollar-size ball.)
  11. once you've distributed the filling, give the remaining chocolate a good stir with the whisk before spooning out the rest of it to fill the molds
  12. If your filling is visible, use a spoon to gently press it down and hide it under the chocolate
  13. (Optional to sprinkle the nib and sea salt toppings at this time)
  14. freeze for another 20 minutes (or overnight)
  15. pop your chocolates out of their molds and store in a non-porous covered container in the refrigerator
Notes
  1. You can use this same chocolate recipe without the filling to make chocolate bark, chocolate bars, or even dipping chocolate.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

Sweet Potato Leek Soup [RECIPE]

I have no idea what came over me when I made the decision to make soup on what was likely the hottest day so far in 2017 (last week). But for some reason, I felt inspired to invent a new version of potato leek soup using the sweet potatoes sitting on my counter. I knew I needed to use them, but I just couldn’t bring myself to turn on the oven in my un-air conditioned kitchen. And since I’d just pulled three beautiful leeks from the front yard garden, the idea came to me in a stroke of genius. Loren came home and informed me that soup on a hot day was less genius than I’d originally thought, but I was pretty much finished making it, so we went with it!

Sweet potato leek soup, paleo soup

Sweet Potato Leek Soup Recipe

This recipe was an experiment, and while there’s one thing* I’d do differently the next time I make it (I explain it in the recipe), I’d say it turned out pretty darn delicious. Loren and I brought our soup outside that night to eat at our back yard dining table —  it was much cooler out there than inside our little sweat box of a house, so all in all it was a beautiful evening. We enjoyed the dusk and some candle light, and Dexter hung out on the gravel until we were ready to go back in. That’s success in my book!

*What’s the one thing I’d do differently? The next time I make this soup, I’m going to pull out half the sweet potato chunks from the pot before fully puréeing the rest into a thick, creamy base. Then I’ll add the pieces back in for texture. What I did this time was just do a half-way blend, leaving some larger and smaller chunks, but not achieving a thick base. It was perfectly fine to eat the way I did it, but I think it would be a prettier soup to do it the other way the next time. And the texture would be better.

I did the blending with an immersion blender like this. It’s a great tool to have on hand, but if you don’t have one, just use a blender. It makes for a little more  clean up but works just as well. 

Sweet Potato and Leek Soup
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Ingredients
  1. 2 medium sweet potatoes, cleaned, peeled, and cubed
  2. 3 leeks
  3. 3 sprigs fresh rosemary (discard stems and mince leaves as desired)
  4. 6 cups chicken broth/bone broth/vegetable stock
  5. 3 tbs avocado oil
  6. 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  7. 1 tsp salt
  8. OPTIONAL: 1/2 to 1 cup coconut milk
Instructions
  1. Make sure you've cleaned the leeks really well (dirt can hide between the leaves) before separating the green part from the white part
  2. Chop both the white part and the green part into 1/4 inch pieces, keeping them separate for different parts of the process
  3. Melt 2 tbs avocado oil in a medium stock pot and add in white part of leeks
  4. Saute until translucent (about 5 minutes)
  5. Add in the cubed sweet potatoes and rosemary, and cook for another 5-7 minutes
  6. Add in the broth/stock, vinegar, and salt, and bring to a boil for about 10 minutes
  7. Once the sweet potatoes are soft, turn the stove down to low, use a slotted spoon to remove about half from the pot and set aside
  8. Use an immersion blender to blend the contents of the stock pot until smooth and uniform
  9. (At this point, turn off the fire and taste to see if you'd like to add in your coconut milk. If so, stir it in)
  10. Stir the sweet potato cubes back into the mix and cover the pot
  11. In a separate sauce pan, heat the last tbs of avocado oil on medium heat
  12. Toss in the chopped leek greens and saute until softened
  13. Add these to the top of the salad or use as the base of a stir fry (see notes for more details)
  14. Serve soup piping hot
Notes
  1. I love the green parts of leeks and always think it's a shame to see recipes that direct you to discard the greens. They're actually really delicious and contain most of the nutrients you find in leeks, so I encourage you to use them either as a topping for your soup, or as a stir fry ingredient (as pictured here). Simply warm up some ghee or your favorite cooking oil and saute them in a frying pan before adding in a protein, or just on their own. They're also wonderful in the oven -- I just spread the entire chopped leek (both white and green parts) on a cookie sheet, drizzle with oil and a touch of salt, and roast them as I would any other veggie. They're pictured here sauteed with kale and shrimp.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

Paleo Tropical Coconut Chicken – Bringing Home Aloha

paleo tropical coconut chicken

It’s been about two weeks since I returned home from 10 days in Hawaii, and I’m happy to report that I’ve managed to completely avoid the usual “post-vacation blues” that I sometimes get after a long break. This trip was absolute perfection, and I’ve brought the aloha back with me in the form of a renewed (although never completely abandoned) coconut obsession. I’ll share a super quick and easy Tropical Coconut Chicken recipe today that features shredded coconut that I brought home with me from Oahu. And stay tuned for more coconut-themed awesomeness inspired by the trip in the next few posts!

Quick Coconut Story

Loren and I did not randomly select Oahu as a destination.paleo tropical coconut chicken One of our good friends (and one of my favorite people) moved there a few years ago, and we’ve been meaning to make a trip out ever since. We finally made it happen, and we had the pleasure of experiencing full immersion into the lives of two local dudes making a living climbing up into coconut trees and removing the nuts for folks all over the island — and making awesome stuff with their spoils. I’m actually planning on dedicating a full post to the two of them and their business (Roots and Branches if you want a sneak peek), but suffice it to say that Al Smith and Hans Heinz — R & B founders — know their coconuts. 

One of the projects Hans was working on during our visit was to supply shredded coconut to a local brewery for a coconut porter, and I got to sit in on initial sample production — and take home the winnings! In my carry-on luggage, I brought home a zip-lock bag full of fresh Hawaiian shredded coconut, which will be featured in today’s recipe! 

I have so much more to share about all things coconut I learned from Hans, but for now, this recipe will have to suffice. It’s super easy and pretty quick too. And as always, it’s just the baseline for your own intuitive cooking. I encourage you to switch up the herbs and spices or to add in some heat if you want (my body doesn’t love spicy lately, but this recipe lends itself really well to spice). Whatever flavors suit your fancy will work with this simple starting point.

paleo tropical coconut chicken

You better believe I drank that coconut creme right up too! Some went in my coffee, some went into smoothies, and some went right in my belly on its own.

Quick Chicken Story

If you’ve ever been to Hawaii, you know that chickens wander freely the way pigeons do on the mainland. I wouldn’t say they’re present in enormous flocks, but there are LOTS of chickens EVERYWHERE. paleo tropical coconut chickenDespite having been to Kauai back in the late 90’s, I hadn’t known about the chicken situation, so seeing them roam freely on roadways, in parking lots, on the hillsides, along the beach, and even passing through our outdoor seating at a restaurant was pretty amusing to me.

We had a whole family of come through as we enjoyed our signature margaritas at Cholo’s Homestyle Mexican after our Sunday beach cleanup with Hawaii Ocean Ambassadors. The babies were so cute that Loren couldn’t resist picking one up mid-meal. I was a little nervous that he might be bringing chicken germs a little too close to our meal, but the little chicky was so cute that it didn’t matter.

Seeing these little guys and gals running around everywhere gave new meaning to the classic joke about chickens crossing roads — which wasn’t lost on one of my travel buddies who is obsessed with puns and dad jokes. So going forward, chickens will make me think of Hawaii. That’s why I chose to make this coconut recipe with chicken. 

Paleo Tropical Coconut Chicken
Serves 2
super easy recipe, adaptable to every palate by switching up the spices and/or adding some heat to it with cayenne or habanero.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 oz chicken tenders (about 8 tenders)
  2. 1.5 cups shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1/2 cup coconut oil
  5. Seasonings - I used Simply Organic Lemon Pepper and Real Season Salt
Instructions
  1. Crack eggs into a shallow bowl and beat until completely uniform
  2. Spread shredded coconut out on a large flat plate
  3. Heat coconut oil in a shallow cast iron skillet at medium-high heat
  4. When oil is hot (test by dropping a piece of coconut in and seeing if it sizzles)
  5. dip chicken tenders into egg on both sides then into shredded coconut on both sides until coated
  6. Place coated chicken into pan and cook on both sides until done in the middle (a few minutes each -- the coconut should brown a little)
  7. Cover a large flat plate with 3-4 paper towels and place cooked chicken on paper towels to absorb some of the oil
  8. Season immediately on both sides (make sure at least one of the seasonings you choose has some salt in it, otherwise they'll be a bit bland)
  9. Repeat until all chicken is done
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

Amazing Salad Dressing: Coconut Lemon Vinaigrette with Bitter Greens

Every once in a while I have a stroke of inspiration in the form of an amazing salad — and an amazing salad dressing to go right along with it. It might sound weird that I find inspiration in a bowl of lettuce, but my passion for creating great salad truly runs deep. (Almost as deep as my passion for creating a great soup, but not quite — maybe in the warmer months the salad wins … )

As a great friend of mine once said, “a good salad is the gateway to healthy eating.” Once you master something simple like a truly scrumptious salad, there’s no limit to the vegetables you can consume!

Really, you can  put pretty-much anything into a salad if you’re thoughtful about how the ingredients will talk to each other — including warm ingredients, which happen to be one of my favorite things to use to make a salad interesting. I sautéed some shrimp in coconut oil to toss into this salad, but roasted chicken or grilled lamb could also work with these flavors — or skip the meat and use this salad as a side dish for a larger spread. 

amazing salad dressing

Requirement: Homemade Salad Dressing

The most important ingredient in any salad is the dressing. You can ruin perfectly beautiful produce with crappy dressing, so don’t skimp on quality — make your own. I have a pretty strong opinion about store-bought salad dressing,  and also some really simple tips on how to make your own at home, so don’t get overwhelmed. I promise, it’s not hard, and you’ll thank me when you taste the difference.

In fact, the jewel of today’s recipe is actually the dressing. The whole salad is delicious, but rest assured, this dressing takes the ingredients from good to great. I served this salad at a dinner with friends, and the next morning I got a text asking for the amazing salad dressing recipe. It’s that good!

Amazing Salad Inspiration: the Mighty Kumquat

I found my starting point at the fancy natural foods market by my house. They had a basket full of beautiful kumquats right in the middle of the produce section, and I just knew I had to find a way to use them.amazing salad dressing

Unlike just about every other citrus fruit, the meat of the kumquat is sour, while the rind is relatively sweet.  Tiny enough to pop right into your mouth, the kumquat is meant to be eaten in its entirety, skin, seeds and all. And honestly, so much of what’s healthful about citrus fruit goes into the compost bucket — the rind and seeds take kumquats to new nutritional heights!

High concentrations of vitamins A and C, tons of fiber, riboflavin (part of the B complex), and antioxidants like beta carotene make kumquats a pretty fantastic source of goodness for your body.  I can’t get enough of them when they’re in season.

Palate Balance

Once I had my kumquats, I needed to offset the tart with some bitter, sweet, and umami. I went with frisée and red radicchio for the leafy bits (bitter). Then I remembered that I had leftover beets at home from a killer smoothie I made for work (sweet). Hint: You can get the pre-boiled beets at most grocery stores to make this step simpler.

I topped the salad with fresh-grated Pecorino Romano, an ingredient that’s good on just about everything (umami). 

And now the long-awaited amazing salad dressing … 

Coconut Lemon Vinaigrette
I promised easy for homemade dressing, but this particular one I'd say is one step up from beginner, only because it requires a special tool: an immersion blender. BUT, because we're going for a thinner consistency than homemade mayonnaise (the main reason to use the tool), I think it would work just fine to use a food processor or blender instead. It's only three steps, still pretty easy!
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Prep Time
3 min
Prep Time
3 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 egg (needs to be high-quality, because you'll be consuming it raw)
  2. the juice of 3 Meyer lemons and the zest of 1 of them
  3. 1/2 cup(ish) extra virgin olive oil
  4. 1/2 cup(ish) avocado oil (this is my favorite)
  5. splash of apple cider vinegar (I use this one )
  6. 1/2 tbs coconut milk (best coconut milk ever)
Instructions
  1. In a jar large enough to fit the immersion blender inside, add 1 raw egg , the juice of 3 lemons, and all of the oil
  2. Blend these ingredients in the jar to make a thinned out mayo
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients in and give another quick pulse of the blender
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/
That’s it, you’re done. Toss this creamy goodness into your salad, and you’ll be off to the races. Give it a try and let me know what you think!


FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. I only link to products that I USE and LOVE. All opinions are my own.

Seafood Stew: CWB-style Cioppino [RECIPE]

Soup might be my favorite thing ever. My more-than-mild obsession with soup has become a running joke between me and Loren — I say, “I love soup. Did you know that about me?” and he says, “No! I had no idea.” This week’s Seafood Stew with White Wine Reduction is a combination of an Italian-style cioppino and a “put whatever’s in your fridge into the pot” soup. It turned out amazing, and I made enough to last us all week for dinner. 

Cold weather brings out the soup-lover in me like nothing else, and I’ve gone as long as a week straight eating it for every meal (including breakfast!) more than once this season already. I love how instantly warming it is to lap up the steaming broth — and I hate being cold, so it’s truly a winning combination.

Soup is also a vehicle for my daily dose of bone broth, so it saves me a bit of time and an extra coffee mug to just eat it for breakfast.

seafood stew

Seafood Stew for Breakfast? No! (Sneak peek) 

I mentioned eating soup for breakfast, but this particular recipe isn’t one of the ones I’ve adapted for breakfast. While I’m definitely a person who will eat non-breakfast food for breakfast, I didn’t find myself wanting to eat seafood first thing in the morning. (If you’re into it, by all means, go for it! It just wasn’t calling to me in the morning hours.) I’ll share a “souper” simple breakfast soup with you soon, so get excited for that! There’s my big “sneak peek”!

In the meantime, enjoy this deliciousness, which can be served with rice, tiny pasta, a big hunk of crusty bread, or none of the above — I included a few sunchokes from the garden in this recipe, so that’s a small amount of starch if you’re trying to stay low(-ish) carb.

Intuitive Cooking

As usual, I did minimal measuring. That’s the beauty of soup — it doesn’t have to be exact. It also doesn’t have to have these EXACT ingredients. I opted for all wild-caught, fresh seafood. Clams are usually included in seafood stew. If you like them, knock yourself out. I don’t love them so they aren’t included. Crab is another delicious option that wasn’t available when I made this. You could also opt for larger shrimp or prawns, again not available when I made this.

Be creative! Have fun, and enjoy being in your kitchen! This one takes a while, but it’s worth it to have something awesome waiting for you when you get home on these cold winter days!

Seafood Stew with White Wine Reduction
Serves 6
an easy take on Italian cioppino with a few extra ingredients
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb squid
  2. 1 lb white fish (I chose wild cod)
  3. 1 lb bay shrimp (also called "salad shrimp")
  4. 1 lb mussels
  5. 2 cups (or a large jar) seafood stock -- chicken or veggie stock works too if you don't have seafood stock
  6. 1 (26 oz) box POMI Strained Tomatoes
  7. 3 cloves garlic -- chopped or pressed*
  8. 2 lemons (finely zest one, largely grate the zest of the other, slice for garnish)
  9. 4-5 sunchokes, diced
  10. 2 large carrots, chopped
  11. 3-4 ribs celery, chopped
  12. 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  13. 2 tbs tomato paste
  14. 1 cup dry white wine (like a chardonnay)
  15. fresh herbs, chopped* (oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, or a combination)
  16. 2 tbs avocado oil or EVOO
  17. Real Salt
  18. Black pepper
  19. OPTIONAL: cracked red pepper, Pecorino Romano
Instructions
  1. Mince the garlic and set aside
  2. Clean the squid and chop them into 1-inch rings
  3. Clean mussels if needed
  4. Cut fish filets into 2-inch pieces
  5. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat
  6. Add chopped onion, carrot, and sunchoke to the oil and saute until tender
  7. Add garlic and stir until garlic becomes fragrant and golden brown
  8. Add the squid in and reduce the heat -- you want them to cook slowly over about 10 minutes to avoid them turning rubbery
  9. Add in the white wine and the large strips of lemon zest, raise heat again and cook for about 5 minutes
  10. Add the strained tomatoes, the tomato paste and the chopped fresh herbs (leaving a bit of parsley for garnish at the end)
  11. Raise the heat for a few minutes to get things boiling and then reduce down to a simmer and cover for another 15-20 minutes
  12. Add a generous pinch of salt and as much black pepper as you want (I used about a teaspoon) before covering
  13. Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into the pot taking care not to allow any seeds in
  14. Add in the rest of the seafood and cook for another 5 minutes or until the mussels open and the cod is opaque
  15. Remove the large slices of lemon zest
  16. Serve over your choice of starch (or without one at all) and top with more fresh parsley, the finely grated lemon zest, and grated Pecorino Romano cheese.
Notes
  1. *I often have my garlic herb salt on hand to create short cuts in recipes like this. I included the garlic and herbs separately for those who don't have this wonderful blend on hand, but if you have it or something like it, feel free to use it instead of doing all the garlic and fresh herb chopping. I will often still add more fresh herbs to increase the green quota in a dish, but this blend will save you so much time in the kitchen. Just a word to the wise!
Adapted from Epicurious
Adapted from Epicurious
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

Cook-Ahead Meal: Italian Turkey Meatball Recipe

turkey meatball recipe

It’s been a while since I shared a recipe, and this Italian turkey meatball recipe has been on the docket for literally months at this point. It actually took me a while to dig up the pictures I took. Life has been BANANAS lately in the way of making time for CWB, which makes me simultaneously sad for the blog but excited for all the things that are happening in life outside of this project. I hope you haven’t forgotten about me in my infrequent posting lately! I hope to get back to at least weekly posting now that I’ve gotten a better handle on my routine. Now, on with the show!

turkey meatball recipe

Kitchen Hack: Cook-Ahead Recipes

Speaking of life being bananas, making time to cook every night has become increasingly challenging, so in an effort to continue to eat at home (and at a decent hour) while still getting everything else done, I’ve started making bigger pots of food and eating them for many meals — including lunch the next day. This is not a new concept by any stretch, but sometimes it’s hard to actually carry out in the CWB household. Sometimes, we plan to eat the same thing for a couple of nights and then we gobble it all up at once (not a great plan for me, zero consequences for the tapeworm I live with). 

Still other times, I intend to make enough food to eat for a few nights and then freeze the rest for next week, but then I forget about it and it goes bad in the fridge. And I really REALLY hate wasting food. Not good.

All this is to say that making meatballs can be the answer to a lot of these problems. So today’s kitchen hack is really just MEATBALLS. I mean, obviously this can apply to lots of different foods, but meatballs are SUCH an easy thing to make and freeze, and they’re small enough that they’ll cool while you’re eating dinner and be ready for the freezer by the time you’re done (no forgetting about them!) In fact, if you feel as strongly as I do about having a few meals for now and a few for the freezer, you might even double this recipe (depending on how many people you’re feeding at home). 

turkey meatball recipe

Cook-Ahead Italian Turkey Meatball Recipe

This recipe fed us for a night or two, me for lunch a few days, and we even invited a couple of friends over for dinner and finished them off with them. Depending on how hungry you are, 2 or 3 will do the trick.

Each time we ate them, we did something different — that’s the beauty of a really tasty meatball. It isn’t limited to just pasta and tomato sauce. It can work as a meat dish all its own with whatever sides you want; it belongs in Italian Wedding Soup (or any broth-based soup); it can sit on a bed of greens for a salad; you can even eat one with your eggs and greens in the morning. They’re a lot more versatile than you think. And the dirty dishes for this project include 1 cutting board, 1 chef’s knife, 1 cookie sheet, and 1 bowl. That’s it. 

Enjoy!

Cook-Ahead Italian Turkey Meatballs
Yields 18
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Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Prep Time
30 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
45 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs turkey (1/2 light, 1/2 dark)
  2. 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 large egg
  4. 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley (stems removed)
  5. 1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese
  6. 1/2 tsp REAL salt
  7. 2 cloves garlic, minced
  8. 1/4 tsp red pepper flake
  9. 1/2 tsp lemon pepper
  10. avocado oil for greasing the pan
Instructions
  1. preheat oven to 375
  2. add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix gently by hand
  3. form meat balls about 1.5 inches in diameter (slightly bigger than a golf ball) and place them about 1/5 inches apart on a greased cookie sheet
  4. bake for 15 minutes
Notes
  1. makes 18 to 20 meatballs
  2. great for freezing for later
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

Salvadoran Guacamole: Avocado Egg Salad Boats [RECIPE]

Today’s avocado egg salad recipe is one of those things that should have occurred to me a long time ago. For some reason, it required a rushed morning of grabbing some hard-boiled eggs from the coffee shop and needing to use a nearly expired avocado for me to think about combining these two glorious foods. And why not really?

Eggs are delicious and quite possibly one of the most nourishing foods on earth. By design, they exist to support and build life, right? And avocados — they’re creamy, they’re rich, they’re full of healthy fat (namely monounsaturated fat) and fiber, and they NEED to get eaten or they turn to brown mush. Honestly, I know a few people who don’t like avocado, and I’m really not sure how to cure them of their wrong-ness on this topic. It’s sad really. 

Her’s my fancy equation for those of you who enjoy a good visual from time to time.  

Eggs: nature’s perfect food + Avocado: nature’s perfect fat = Toni’s perfect snack

avocado egg salad

A Recipe’s Evolution

Call me late to the game on this recipe all you want. I know. When I googled “avocado egg salad,” I realized that this was not an original idea in any way, but I’m still sharing my own version of it with you today, because my recipe is awesome, and it makes me happy to share awesome things with you. It’s also simple with only a few ingredients, and that makes me happy too. Prepare as I walk you through my experience of innovating something that I wasn’t aware was already a “thing.”

Eggs and Avocado Mash: Beta test 

I started out that first morning just mashing the two things together with a fork and adding a pinch of salt: 2 eggs, 1/2 a decent-sized avocado. When I took a bite, I wondered why I hadn’t been doing this for years. I also knew there would be more iterations of this heavenly combination of foods on the horizon. It was delicious, but I knew I had some ideas on how to kick it up a notch.

Avocado Egg Salad: Version 1.0

Next I tried adding some of my homemade salad dressing and chopped scallions to the mix. The dressing I used was pretty much identical to the linked recipe, except no orange and a little apple cider vinegar added. This version was divine, but I hesitated to share it, because I though that asking you to make a salad dressing before you made the egg salad was asking too much. Granted, it’d be awesome if you just made a batch of dressing and jarred it in your fridge all week, but in the event that you didn’t do that, I didn’t want to confuse things with too many steps and prep. This iteration was already creeping too far away from my mission of SIMPLE.  

Leftovers: Version 2.0

Believe it or not, I was able to eat leftover salad the next day without it being a gross brown blob of mush. It wasn’t quite enough for breakfast though, so I added another egg, a bit more avocado, and a squeeze of lemon. I tossed it my tote to go to work and as I dug in at my desk, a coworker said, “What are you eating?” When I answered with “avocado egg salad,” another coworker said, “Hey, that’s Salvadoran Guacamole!” I had no idea just now unoriginal this idea really was.

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Salvadoran Guacamole, CWB-Style: Ready for Launch

After a lovely morning of gardening, Loren and I needed a snack, and I decided that this was my chance to perfect this recipe for sharing with you! In the spirit of how this whole thing started, I pulled out some romaine lettuce that needed to get eaten and spread the leaves out on a plate to make boats for holding the goodies. And then I got to work on the recipe I’m sharing with you today. 

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CWB-Style Salvadoran Guacamole: Avocado Egg Salad Boats with Smoked Paprika
Serves 2
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Prep Time
5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 hard boiled eggs, peeled
  2. 1 avocado
  3. 1 stalk celery, chopped
  4. juice from 1 lemon
  5. 1 chopped scallion
  6. 4 or 5 springs fresh cilantro, chopped
  7. Salt and pepper to taste
  8. OPTIONAL: smoked paprika
  9. 4 large leaves romaine lettuce
Instructions
  1. Scoop avocado and eggs into a mixing bowl
  2. Mash the two together with a fork (you might need to start off cutting up the egg, depending on how easily it comes apart with your fork)
  3. Add all chopped veggies, herbs, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to mixing bowl and continue mixing with a fork
  4. Divide the mixture between the 4 lettuce boats and sprinkle each with smoked paprika
Notes
  1. Prep time doesn't include the time it takes to hard-boil and peel the eggs. Cook times depends on how you like your eggs, but can be anywhere from 10 to 15 minutes. Then if you want to let them cool in an ice bath, that takes a little more time. If you're me, peeling an egg can take anywhere from 10 seconds to 10 minutes, so I chose to leave this whole process out of the prep time.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/
 Salvadoran Guacamole AKA: Avocado Egg Salad

Sweet and Savory Spaghetti Squash Waffles [RECIPE]

Today’s spaghetti squash waffles recipe was born out of a need to use an incredible surplus of spaghetti squash, which landed in my kitchen after my first experiment with a grocery delivery service. It’s the kind of service where you go online and select your items and then someone goes to the grocery store of your choice and shops for you. I had never done this before. It was fun going through the online list of items and picking out the foods I wanted delivered. It took surprisingly longer than I thought it would, but most definitely less time than going to the store myself would have. So I was excited at this new-found extra time I’d have because of this convenient service …

Womp Womp 

While I won’t say that I was entirely satisfied with the service (or that it’s worth the up-charge on every item, the tip for the shopper, AND the delivery fee), I will say that it was definitely a learning experience as far as “being specific” is concerned. There are elements of grocery shopping that you take for granted when you do it for yourself — things you don’t necessarily think about, because they’re inherent to you and your family. You know what you’re shopping for. You know how many people you’re shopping for, and how quickly these people will eat the food you buy/cook.

I have two people in my household, and I added one spaghetti squash to the list. When I saw my bags of groceries sitting on my doorstep, I was shocked to see that one of the grocery bags was almost entirely filled with one.gigantic.spaghetti squash. It was literally the biggest spaghetti squash I’ve ever seen. As an aside, I also ordered a few root veggies, thinking I’d do a nice roasted root side for dinner one day that week. I ordered one parsnip as part of that combo, and got the saddest, tiniest little parsnip I’ve ever seen. Here’s a size comparison:

sweet and savory spaghetti squash waffles

Anyway, this post wasn’t meant to be a bashing of home-shopping services. I know many people find them useful. And if it weren’t for this incredibly sized spaghetti squash, I never would have thought to come up with this kitchen hack or recipe. So there’s a silver lining, per usual.

Leftovers + Waffle Iron = New Creative Meal! It works for a lot more than just squash. In fact, I saw some pretty cool ideas right after Thanksgiving using leftover cornbread stuffing, veggies, and all kinds of other goodies. Start experimenting!

Size Matters

Apparently, in the world of spaghetti squash, size really does matter. I baked this thing using my favorite, super simple method for making winter squash. Stick it in the oven whole. I’ve done this many times with many different types of winter squash, and spaghetti squash in particular has come out great in the past. I could use a fork to fluff out the “spaghetti” strands and top it with my favorite paleo sauces. This time, with this gargantuan, the fluff yielded big chunks rather than “spaghetti.” I thought maybe I hadn’t cooked it long enough, but the flesh was definitely cooked.

Still as delicious as any other spaghetti squash would be, I decided to get creative with my chunky squash, as I knew we’d be eating it for days. And these beautiful waffles were born!

Sweet and Savory Spaghetti Squash Waffles

I have slight variations on this waffle to make one sweet and one savory. Neither has a particularly strong leaning either way, but one is perfect for savory toppings (like avocado, some homemade salad dressing or even as the bottom of an open-faced sandwich), while the other is better suited for a sweeter topping like almond butter and bananas, pumpkin butter, or maple syrup and butter. Basically all butters!

All the other ingredients are the same. 
sweet and savory spaghetti squash waffles

sweet and savory spaghetti squash waffles

A Word on Maca Powder

I’ve added maca powder to this recipe for my own personal reasons, not because it adds much in the way of flavor to these recipes. But I wanted to include it here, because I thought it’d be a good chance to tell you about this awesome super food.

“What are my personal reasons?” you might be wondering. I’ve been feeling somewhat drained lately, and I’m concerned that my adrenals are taking a hit from all the work I’m doing (three jobs right now). As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’ve also recently decided to go off of birth control after 11+ years of use, and as a result, I’m experiencing some wonky hormonal side-effects. 

While I don’t think I’ve reached the point of full-on adrenal fatigue, I’d like to prevent it before I get there, so I’m taking precautions. If you’re unfamiliar with adrenal fatigue and are curious to learn more, this is a great place to start for some basic info and links to more in-depth explanations. I haven’t yet been tested, but I’ve been super burnt out and exhausted lately, so I’d like to get ahead of my energy to avoid hitting the bottom.

After all, this blog is all about self-care, so I sure as heck better be taking care of myself, right?! My course of action so far has been to supplement with maca powder and another potent adaptogen formula (affiliate link) every day, and I can say with certainty that I’ve noticed a positive difference in my energy levels and ability to focus. I’ll share more about adaptogens in a future post. 

What’s Maca Powder?

sweet and savory spaghetti squash waffles

click to purchase through my affiliate link

Straight from WebMD: “Maca is a plant that grows in central Peru in the high plateaus of the Andes mountains. It has been cultivated as a vegetable crop in Peru for at least 3000 years. Maca is a relative of the radish and has an odor similar to butterscotch. Its root is used to make medicine. 

Maca is used for “tired blood” (anemia); chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS); and enhancing energy, stamina, athletic performance, memory, and fertility. Women use maca for female hormone imbalance, menstrual problems, and symptoms of menopause. Maca is also used for weak bones (osteoporosis), depression, stomach cancer, leukemia, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, erectile dysfunction (ED), to arouse sexual desire, and to boost the immune system.”

I’ve used maca on and off for years but this is the first time I’ve included it in a consistent daily routine. An occasional teaspoon added to a smoothie here and there never yielded any noticeable changes, but daily use has benefited me these last few weeks. The caveat, of course, is that I didn’t go about my change very scientifically. Desperate to feel better, I added my adaptogen formula and the maca at the same time, so I can’t say for sure if my better state of health is due to one, the other, or both. I plan to keep using the maca when the adaptogen formula runs out and see how I feel after a few weeks. On with the recipe!

  —> Pin this Recipe <—

Sweet and Savory Spaghetti Squash Waffles
Yields 6
Season one way for sweet and one way for savory, and use these waffles for any meal of the day! This recipe yields 6 regular, square waffles.
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Prep Time
6 min
Prep Time
6 min
Ingredients
  1. 6 eggs
  2. 1.5 cups cooked spaghetti squash
  3. 1/2 cup almond meal
  4. 3 tbs coconut flour
  5. 1/2 tsp salt
  6. 1/4 tsp baking soda
  7. OPTIONAL: 2 tsp maca powder
  8. For savory waffles: 1 tsp lemon pepper
  9. For sweet waffles: 1 tsp cinnamon
  10. Avocado spray for the waffle iron
Instructions
  1. Heat your waffle iron before you start mixing
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large mixing bowl until well-incorporated
  3. Spray waffle iron with avocado spray
  4. Pour mixture over waffle iron
  5. Cook in waffle iron until browned and crispy (or less crispy if that's how you like them!)
Notes
  1. I included the time to cook the spaghetti squash in the "cook time" area above. If you've already cooked and scooped the spaghetti squash, this recipe takes only as long as it takes you to mix the ingredients and cook in the waffle iron. These waffles keep well in the fridge for up to 3 days and can be reheated in the oven when you're ready to use them.
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

 

Make the Most out of Your Slow-Cooked Meal + Lamb Shank RECIPE

It’s that time of year — the time when we dust off our slow-cookers to make hearty stews, chilies, soups, and braises. It might be my favorite culinary time of year, because I LOVE SOUP!!! It’s kind of an obsession. When it’s cold outside, I could eat soup at every meal, including breakfast. I never get sick of it. Ever! And once you bust out the slow-cooker, you step up the game with a ready-to-eat, home cooked meal waiting for you when you get home. What’s better than that on a cold winter evening? 

Here in the Bay, it’s been raining and cold — a weather recipe for feeling chilled to the bone. In both Ayurveda and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, a cold, damp winter calls for warming, grounding foods like soups, stews, hearty slow-cooked meats, and root veggies. This simple, slow-cooked lamb shank hits a home run in all of these categories.

make the most of your slow-cooked meal

Prepping your Lamb Shanks and Veggies

I love starting something in the morning and coming home to the aromas of dinner already made and waiting for me in the kitchen. I will say though, that when I first dipped my toe into the slow-cooker experience, I was surprised to learn that there can sometimes be a bit more prep than you’d expect if you want the best possible outcome.

Sure, you can throw everything into the slow-cooker raw and hope for the best, but you likely won’t get it. You could get something good, but not the best. The best is when you use time-honored cooking methods that bring out the most mouth-watering flavors in the foods you’re planning to toss into the slow-cooker. If you must toss everything in raw, I recommend sticking to vegetarian dishes, but even those are made better with a quick trip to the stove top before ending up in the slow-cooker. For meat recipes — especially red meats like lamb, beef, pork, and wild game — browning the meat first is an important part of the process.

Is it optional? Technically, yes. Do I recommend skipping it? No. Why? 

Make the Most out of your Slow-Cooked Meal

1. The Maillard Reaction

The Maillard reaction is a chemical process that takes place on the surface of the meat when you sear it on high heat (without burning it). It’s kind of like caramelizing, but it’s also a bit different. The Maillard reaction is what imparts that rich, nutty, meaty flavor to the cut you’re cooking. It alters the amino acids and sugars on the surface of the meat and melds them together for that beautiful, rich flavor we expect when we bite into a steak or a pork chop. Caramelizing involves sugar only, no aminos.

make the most of your slow-cooked meal

Common lore is that searing will seal in the juices, but that’s actually not true. Searing does not magically plasticize your meat into an impermeable surface. But that doesn’t mean that searing isn’t important. Even when you plan to toss your cut into the slow-cooker and immerse it in cooking liquid, starting with a good, hot, dry sear to brown the outside of the cut is crucial for achieving the rich flavor you’re expecting from the finished product. 

Skipping this step will result in a sad, grey-looking finished product that won’t be as flavorful as you’d hoped. And being disappointed in a slow-cooked meal (at least for me) is a much bigger bummer than being disappointed in something you threw together in a few minutes (even if the slow-cook prep took the same amount of time). I’ve made the mistake of skipping the browning step and ended up with a pot full of very bland, disappointing chili (yes, you should even brown ground meat).

2. Sauteing the Veggies

This step, while (again) technically optional, will ensure that your veggies impart the most flavor to your  slow-cooked meal. I remember the first time I saw a recipe that told me to saute all my veggies first, and I was like, “Whaaaat??? I can’t just throw it all in?? WTF?? I’m not doing that.” I’ve since learned my lesson (reference disappointing chili above). Sauteeing doesn’t take as long as caramelizing — you just need to cook everything for a few minutes to unlock the glory — it’s worth it. I wouldn’t skip it.make the most of your slow-cooked meal

Kitchen Hack: Timing Your Slow-Cooked Meal Prep

All this is to say that it does take a little bit of time to get your ingredients into the pot, but if you can give yourself 20 extra minutes in the morning to get this meal started before you rush out the door, you’ll thank yourself. All I ask is that you pull your meat out of the fridge before you do anything else so that it has time to warm to room temperature (or as close to it as you have time for) before you brown it. I recommend you take the meat out, do your whole morning routine (shower, make up, hair, walk the dog, whatever), and then get everything ready for the slow-cooker. 

Rosemary Citrus Slow-Cooked Lamb Shank
Serves 2
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
8 hr
Ingredients
  1. 2 lamb shanks
  2. 5 ribs celery, finely chopped
  3. 2 large carrots, finely chopped
  4. 1 large red onion, finely chopped
  5. 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  6. 1 large root veggie of your choosing (potato, celery root, parsnip, sweet potato), coarsely chopped
  7. 1 naval orange, thinly sliced
  8. 1 cup bone broth or veggie broth
  9. 1 cup red wine (I used cabernet)
  10. 2 tsp salt
  11. 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
  12. 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  13. 1 tbs coconut oil
  14. 1 tbs avocado oil
  15. 1 tbs tomato paste
Instructions
  1. If possible, pull lamb out of the fridge and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes (preferably 45 minutes to an hour) before browning
  2. Heat the skillet and brown all sides of the lamb shanks
  3. Move shanks to the slow cooker (leave the cooker off for now)
  4. Toss coarsely chopped root veggies on top of the lamb
  5. Melt coconut oil on the heated skillet
  6. Add finely chopped red onions, carrots, and celery
  7. Allow to soften and sauté for at least 5 minutes
  8. Stir in finely chopped garlic and avocado oil, and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, taking care not to let anything burn
  9. Pour sautéed veggies over lamb inside slow cooker
  10. Add tomato paste, wine, broth, salt, rosemary, and thyme to slow cooker
  11. Top with sliced oranges
  12. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours
  13. Enjoy a nice, warm, home-cooked meal after a long day's work!
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

Homemade Gift Ideas: Paleo(ish) Peppermint Bark

And, as promised, I’m sharing this absolutely delicious, rich, Paleo(ish) Peppermint Bark today. I say “ish” because there are candy canes in it. And candy canes, as far as I can tell, do not fall into the paleo diet. This recipe, however, is worth the minor cheat (if you’re a strict paleo eater, which I’m not), as the vast majority of what you’ll be biting into is pure, healthy, whole food decadence. I think you’ll love it. Everyone I’ve shared it with so far loves it, and I’ll be giving away 5 more boxes of it this afternoon. Crossing my fingers that it will be as big a hit today as it has been this last week.

As for packaging and decorating, I found these cute little glass boxes at a Japanese store called DAISO (it’s kind of like a dollar store) for $1.50 each. They’re microwave safe glass containers, and of course I busted out the paint pens again to make them festive for the season. You really can make awesome gifts on the cheap if you know where to look! And the contents inside are far from skimpy — believe me, this is a sweet, rich treat!

homemade paleo peppermint bark

For more ideas on homemade gifts for the holidays, check out my homemade flourless rum balls, my homemade garlic herb salt, my homemade foot scrub, and my homemade lotion bars and hand salve. You’ll love them all! And just in time — one weekend left to get it all done guys!

Special Chocolate Care

I’ll be honest, this chocolate is somewhat high-maintenance. It needs to stay in the fridge or freezer, because coconut oil, while mostly solid at room temperature, is in no way hard like chocolate should be at room temperature. And coconut oil is the main ingredient. In chocolate you buy at the store, cacao butter is the main ingredient, and while using cacao butter was originally part of my plan (I have a big block if it at home and everything!), I chickened out on using it when I read that the temperature had to be monitored more closely during the heating and cooling process than it did with the coconut oil (read: SHORT CUT) chocolate that I ended up making. I’m fine with the special needs of this chocolate. It forces me to pick a piece and walk away from the refrigerator, which is a good thing for me when it comes to peppermint bark (it’s one of my favorite holiday things!).

But I do plan to experiment with the cacao butter after the holidays when I have more time for trial and error. This way, I can figure it out and perfect it in time to make a shelf-stable version next year. Then again, Christmas isn’t the only time for chocolate eating, so maybe chocolate-making will become a regular thing for me. After all, I am stocking up on silicone molds. My next chocolate project to tackle will be some sort of nut butter chocolate. I haven’t quite worked out how I want to do it, but the wheels are turning, so I’ll keep you posted!

Paleo(ish) Peppermint Bark

homemade paleo peppermint bark homemade gift idea

Paleo(ish) Peppermint Bark
This is my take on the traditional peppermint bark. There's no white chocolate in this one, but that's ok. It's an almost-paleo treat that you can feel good about indulging in!
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
1 hr 10 min
Ingredients
  1. 1 cup organic unsweetened cocoa powder or raw cacao powder (CWB Favorite Pick)
  2. 1 cup organic extra virgin coconut oil (CWB Favorite Pick)
  3. 8 tbs pure maple syrup
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 3 tsp peppermint oil (CWB Favorite Pick)
  6. 4 standard candy canes
Instructions
  1. Melt coconut oil on the stove in a saucepan until completely melted
  2. Add in the cocoa/cacao and stir or whisk until it's fully mixed into a homogeneous liquid
  3. Turn off the heat and add the other three ingredients
  4. Pour about 1/4 inch thick into a cookie sheet or a silicone tray like this one
  5. On a non-breakable surface, unwrap the candy canes and crush them. (I used the bottom of a thick glass cup and crushed them on a cutting board) You can decide how big you want the pieces to be
  6. Place the tray in the refrigerator for at least one hour
  7. When the bark is completely solid, remove tray from the refrigerator
  8. If using a hard, non-pliable cookie sheet, turn the tray upside down on a cutting board and bang on the back of it to release the bark. You might need to use a thin spatula to get underneath it to release it
  9. If using a silicone tray, simply peel it back and either break or cut the pieces as desired
  10. Store in the fridge or freezer
Adapted from AllRecipes
Adapted from AllRecipes
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links (CWB Favorite Picks), which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

 

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Pot Pie [RECIPE]

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Potpie

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Pot Pie 

We had a big crowd for Thanksgiving this year. But apparently we had an even bigger turkey, as it was the only thing leftover by the time we all packed up to head home from our Thanksgiving trip to Bend, OR — our unexpectedly epic, snowy adventure.
 
I’d intended to experiment with a few different ways to use the Thanksgiving leftovers, but alas, turkey was the lone-leftover. Everything else got gobbled up, but don’t be too upset, because I’m about to share with you the most outrageously delicious paleo pot pie you’ll ever sink your teeth into.
Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Potpie

Smith Rock State Park, OR 

 
It’s completely free of corn starch and wheat flour, and the only dairy in it is the butter in the crust. You’ll never believe what makes the filling creamy! (Don’t worry, I’ll get to that in a minute.) The crazy part is, you’d never even know it was missing anything! I would be willing to wager that if I handed you this dish in a blind taste test, you would have absolutely no idea that I’ve used only wholesome, healthy ingredients, OR that it’s both gluten-free and grain-free. I’m so excited for you to try it!
 
Disclosure
But first, full disclosure. I like to give credit where credit is due. Before this experiment, I had never made a pot pie in my life, so I scoured the web for grain-free, gluten-free pot pie recipes that didn’t seem too complicated. I ended up landing on this one from Every Day Maven, and I took a page out of her book to concoct my own version of this paleo treat. I pretty-much use her exact method for the crust. I just changed some of the seasonings to fit my own palate. I suggest you check hers out and see which one sounds better to you. She also has some great step-by-step pictures, which I’m not going to include here.
 
As far as not being too complicated — this recipe has a lot of steps and it does take a while, but it’s very straight forward, and I’ve laid it out in the simplest way possible, so just about anyone can follow along. Which leads me to my next point … 

A Kitchen Helper

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey PotpieI’m lucky enough to have a helping hand in Loren when I make multi-step recipes like this (at least most of the time). This recipe has a lot of moving parts, and although it’s certainly possible to get it done solo, it’s more fun to have someone in the kitchen with you to share tasks — or at the very least to wash some dishes so you don’t have a mound a mile high waiting for you when you’re done.

That being said, there are some “cooling periods” in this recipe — you stick the dough in the freezer twice for large chunks of time — so you can chop and prepare other things while you wait. I’ve laid out the tasks in the order that makes the most sense for a solo home cook.

This recipe in total takes well over 2 hours — not quite sure where the Maven’s math came from at an hour and 50 minutes — so if you’re anything like the skinny man I live with and need dinner right away, have a snack. Or make this on the weekend. I’ll be honest, it’s one of the more labor-intensive recipes at CWB, but it’s SO worth it. Even the skinny, hungry man agreed!

Coconut Cauliflower Puree

This is my little not-so-secret, secret ingredient for this masterpiece. Your average pot pie recipe calls for either white flour or cornstarch + either milk or heavy cream to create the thick, creamy, saucy consistency of the filling underneath the dough. Everyday Maven chose to replace those ingredients with russet potatoes and coconut milk. I took it a step further and replaced the potatoes with steamed cauliflower for a lower-carb option. I like to pack in the phytonutrients wherever I can, and not being a fan of eating too much potato, I decided to give a nod to some of my other creamy cauliflower recipes (Creamy Vegan Cauliflower Soup and Cauli-freddo Sauce) and make the swap. It turned out FANTASTIC. It took some doing not to just start spooning out the puree and eating it before it ever made its way into the frying pan. And since I eliminated the potato chunks as well, I added some umami to the mix with diced cremini mushrooms, which I sautéed with the onions and carrots. Yum! 

Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Potpie

Note #1:

You need your butter to be rock-solid cold for the crust in this recipe. I happen to buy lots of butter at a time and keep the extras in the freezer, so it worked out for me to be able to make this recipe on the spot, but you will be sad if your butter isn’t frozen when you start this recipe. Just giving you a heads up.

Note #2: 

Getting everything done in the right order is the best way to ensure a timely dinner. 
  1. Start with the dough and get it into the freezer as quickly as possible. 
  2. Then get to steaming your cauliflower (don’t forget to add a pinch of salt!)
  3. Then start chopping. 
  4. Then preheat the oven.
  5. Then start sautéing the veggies.
  6. Then get the dough worked out flat and stick it back in the freezer.
  7. Then start blending.
  8. Then get everything else into the pot.
  9. Then grease your dish.
  10. When the dough is ready, you’re ready for the oven. 
Step by step details are below in the actual recipe, but I wanted to give you an outline first.
 
Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey Pot Pie
Serves 6
I'm including the time freezing the dough as prep time and assuming that's when you'll be doing your chopping and simmering. If you do the dough on another day and freeze it to use later, the prep time will be shorter because you won't be waiting for the dough.
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Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Prep Time
1 hr 30 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
2 hr 30 min
Crust Ingredients
  1. 1 cup blanched almond flour (CWB Favorite Pick)
  2. ¾ cup tapioca starch (CWB Favorite Pick)
  3. ½ tsp garlic powder
  4. ½ tsp lemon pepper
  5. ½ tsp Real salt (CWB Favorite Pick)
  6. ¼ tsp baking powder
  7. ¼ cup frozen butter (I use Kerrygold pastured butter)
  8. 1 large egg
  9. 3 tbs ice cold water
Pot Pie Ingredients
  1. 1 tbs butter or ghee for sautéing (CWB Favorite Pick)
  2. Avocado oil for greasing (butter or ghee works too, but I sprayed with my Misto Sprayer to make it easier)
  3. 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  4. ½ cup full fat coconut milk (CWB Favorite Pick)
  5. 3 medium carrots, diced
  6. 8 cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  7. 1 head cauliflower
  8. 1 pound leftover turkey meat, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  9. ⅔ cup frozen peas
  10. 1 tbs finely chopped fresh rosemary
  11. 1 cup bone broth (CWB Favorite Pick)
  12. Dash of apple cider vinegar (CWB Favorite Pick)
  13. Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. Place almond flour, tapioca starch, garlic powder, lemon pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, and baking powder into a food processor and pulse a few times
  2. Shred your frozen butter right into the flour mixture using a cheese grater
  3. Add in the egg
  4. Gently pulse just enough to incorporate the egg without over-mixing
  5. Stir in the cold water with a spatula or spoon
  6. Spread a sheet of parchment or wax paper over a cookie sheet or cutting board and dump your dough -- it should be a lump of dough, not liquidy
  7. Place dough in the freezer for 30 minutes
  8. While the dough is freezing, chop up your cauliflower and start steaming it on the stove with a dash of salt
  9. Chop your onions, carrots, and mushrooms, and cube your turkey
  10. On a very large skillet, heat about a tablespoon of ghee and add in the onions
  11. Sauté onions until translucent
  12. Add in carrots, mushrooms, and the bone broth, and turn down the temp to a simmer
  13. Pull the dough out of the freezer and place another piece of parchment or wax paper on top before rolling out or shaping with your fingers to fit your dish (I used 6 personal pie dishes, but it was too hard to make perfect circles to top each pie. I ended up cutting the dough into 6 pieces with a pizza cutter after the final freeze and just placing "squares" on top instead of fitting the dough completely around the top of the pie. If you fit your dough around one larger pie, cute some slits into it to let the heat out as it bakes)
  14. Place rolled out dough back in the freezer for another 30 minutes
  15. Once the cauliflower is steamed, transfer it to the blender and add the coconut milk and a dash of apple cider vinegar
  16. Blend until completely smooth and set aside
  17. Add turkey, frozen peas, and rosemary to your veggies on the stove and turn up the heat
  18. Cook for another 2 or 3 minutes until the peas have thawed and all the veggies are cooked
  19. Turn off the stove and stir the cauliflower/coconut mixture into the meat and veggies
  20. Grease your baking dish(es) -- I sprayed avocado oil to keep it simple
  21. Transfer your filling into your baking dish(es)
  22. Pull the dough out of the freezer, remove the top piece of parchment paper, and either flip over directly onto the one dish or use a pizza cutter to cut into equal pieces to top your individual pies.
  23. Bake at 350 -- 1 hour and 10 minutes for one big pie or 50 minutes for little ones
Adapted from Every Day Maven
Adapted from Every Day Maven
Cultivated Wellbeing http://cultivatedwellbeing.com/

FTC DISCLOSURE: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog. All opinions are my own.

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