spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney

 spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney
 turkey burgers with peach chutney 
 spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney 

I rolled over and looked at my phone, 5:32. I quickly tossed the covers aside and stumbled around the room in search for a long sleeve and some shorts. It was quiet. I peaked out the window and a pang in my chest told me to rush. A quick scan of my surroundings and I determined it was clear - they were still sleeping. I made a beeline for the door, grabbing the key along the way. 

The air was thick and salty, seagulls happily announcing the morning's arrival and searching for whatever food was left from the previous evening. It was a welcoming symphony. I made my way down the steps, sleep still tugging at me or perhaps that extra glass of wine I'd had the night before, but no matter. 

Crossing the near empty street, aside from the occasional deterministic runner, I was alone making my way from the promenade on to the beach. The shift from asphalt to cool freshly combed morning sand, felt exhilarating. As I made the trek across the beach, the sound of crashing waves intensified. It never ceases to amaze me just how beautiful the beach is early in the morning. 

I climbed up the lifeguard stand, skimming the beach. A few surfers, hungry for good waves held my attention for a moment. So did the elderly man with his oversized hat and peach colored shirt, serenely and rhythmically moving his metal detector from side to side as he searched the beach for treasure. Were they as happy as I was at that moment? Few things feel as complete as this place. I felt a jolt of sadness trying to make its way into my head. This won't last, this won't last. I tried to chase it away and just observe what was in front of me. 

I held on to the moment for as long as I could before making my way back to the condo where my family would likely be buzzing with energy, ready to get outside and get the day started. 

A bike ride to our favorite farm was in order complete with lunch outside. Beach Plum Farm is one of the most beautiful places I've seen and a favorite in Cape May. The food is carefully prepared with local ingredients and offers some unusual pairings. As we sat in the shade of a big oak tree on a damp picnic bench, looking over the red cabbages, scallions and fresh herbs, I thought about the recipe I'd made shortly before we left. 

Turkey burgers with peach chutney, red cabbage, scallions and spicy mayo was maybe something I would be able to find on the menu here. I thought about what it would be like to live simply and work on a farm by the beach, growing and making food, being close to the ocean. I was quickly jolted out of my daydream when our food arrived but what did remain is this recipe. 

It's a delicious sweet and spicy combination with flavors and textures aplenty. Since turkey burgers can often be plain and boring, I wanted to give them life and infuse them with plenty of spices and top them with a fresh peach chutney and sliced cabbage. 

I may not get the chance to live at the beach anytime soon but at least I can sink my teeth into these delicious burgers while dreaming of the ocean. 

 spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney
turkey burger (15 of 19).jpg
 spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney

spiced turkey burgers with peach chutney 

  • prep time: 10 minutes
  • cooking time: 15 minutes
  • yields: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 3 semi-ripe peaches peeled and cut into cubes 
  • 1 scallion sliced (separate white and green part)
  • 1/2 cup purple cabbage sliced
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 lb ground turkey (I use 85/15)
  • 2 tbsp mayo
  • 2 tsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

    Optional though recommended toppings:
     
  • chipotle lime mayo (store bought or a speedy recipe)
  • sliced avocado
  • extra purple cabbage

Equipment

Directions:

Preheat grill or grill pan. In a mixing bowl, combine ground turkey with mayo, coconut flour, ground coriander, ground cumin, garlic and onion powder, salt and pepper. Mix well and form into 4 patties. Set aside. 

Preheat frying pan to medium. Add olive oil, scallion and a pinch of salt and cook for 2 minutes stirring regularly. Add chopped peaches along with purple cabbage and cook for another 3-5 minutes, stirring regularly. 

Grill turkey burgers for 3-5 minutes per side until fully cooked (internal temperature of 165 °F).

To assemble, place turkey burgers on plate and layer with chipotle lime mayo, sliced avocado, peach chutney and sprinkle with additional cut up scallion. 


paleo chocolate ice cream

 paleo chocolate ice cream
 paleo chocolate ice cream 
 paleo chocolate ice cream

I had to do another sweet post. I just had to. It's been about a bazillion degrees here for what seems like an eternity. It's too hot to go outside and even the idea of walking from house to car makes me want to lay down and take a long nap. But I said I wasn't going to complain about the heat so I guess I'm going to bite my tongue and eat me some ice cream. 

It's a relatively long ride, familiar and in many ways pleasurable. A trip I've been making for some years now. Going back to the small town where I spent my teens holds a certain kind of sweetness. I didn't appreciate its intricacies until some distance was placed between it and me, allowing for memories to replace the mundane, every day life. After all, this small town holds the little family I have here and some good friends, whom I see all too rarely.

So the idea for this post came as a result of this visit. I generally arrive with 1 or 2 bags and inevitably end up leaving with 4 or more, packed with stuff I didn't even know I needed but my mother insisting I should have. Example being - a body heat activated ice cream scoop. I know it's been around for a while, but it's not something I would go out of my way to purchase. So what do you do with a new ice cream scoop? Well, naturally you make some ice cream.

I spent most of the drive home thinking about new recipes and decided it was without a doubt going to be chocolate ice cream. But since I don't have an ice cream machine, it would have to be a no churn version and of course be dairy fee, vegan and paleo. No problem, bring on the coconut milk. 

Since my pms hormones strongly dictate my recipes, I decided it was also going to get another layer of chocolateness (is that a word?) by adding not just good cocoa powder but ground chocolate chips. Yes, desperate times call for more chocolate. 

You need nothing more than a food processor, maple syrup, cocoa powder, coconut milk, vanilla extract and chocolate chips, which you could technically leave out if you wanted - but why would you want to?

I know it's so much easier to just go out and buy a tub of ice cream but as I mentioned when it's this hot, I prefer to be indoors, pay homage to the inventor of the air conditioner while slowly licking a spoon full of paleo chocolate ice cream. 

 paleo chocolate ice cream
 paleo chocolate ice cream
 paleo chocolate ice cream
 paleo chocolate ice cream
 spoons and chocolate chips

  • prep time: 5 minutes
  • freeze time: 4+ hours
  • makes: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp allergy friendly chocolate chips
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup good cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

Equipment

Directions

Add chocolate chips to food processor and pulse a few times until the chips are broken up into smaller bits. Set aside.

Add remaining ingredients and puree until fully incorporated. Transfer mixture to ice cream container or loaf pan and sprinkle over with shredded chocolate chips. If not using an ice cream container, Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 3-4 hours. 

Let sit for 15 minutes before serving. 

* Alternatively if you have an ice cream maker, pour the mixture in and let it do the magic for you. 

vanilla collagen coconut bites

 vanilla collagen coconut bites
 vanilla collagen coconut bites
 vanilla collagen coconut bites 

Recently I've come to fully embrace my style of cooking as not fancy, not involved and certainly not time consuming because at this point in my life there just isn't enough room for those adjectives. I want food that's simple to prepare with good ingredients and relatively quick to make. I'd love to sit here and tell you that I can do it all but the truth is I can't.

I have to navigate the world of a 2 year old, a 5 year old and make food that adapts to all the nuances that go along with being a parent to the 2 of them, while also keeping myself on track, food wise and otherwise. Oh and I also have a full time job, so yeah fancy food, not on my to make list for the time being. This may change in a few years but for now, I have to adapt to my environment. So if you feel me on the quick, easy and delicious, high five! 

But while my style may be on the uncomplicated side, it nonetheless has to be gut friendly, contain real ingredients and above all taste good. So whenever possible, I try to sneak in superfoods that pack a nutritious punch. Enter collagen. 

If you haven't made the magical white powder your friend yet, you're missing out on serious goodness. Collagen is one of the most powerful supplements you can take. While I'm a big proponent of receiving nutrition from food, I'm absolutely on board with collagen. If you want an in-depth post on collagen, check this one out

While taking collagen is easy for me as I just add it to my tea or bone broth, it's not as easy to get my kids on to take it. So I decided to make these simple vanilla collagen coconut bites that ensure they'd easily get a dose of goodness in the form of a treat. I also wanted them lower in sugar so the only sweetness comes from 3 regular dates (not Medjool as they're bigger). 

They're also packed with good fats which keep you feeling fuller, longer and are excellent for combating the afternoon slump. The combination much reminds me of a healthy-fied version of Ferrero Raffaello, which I used to have quite the weakness for growing up.

All you need to make these happen is a food processor, a bunt cake pan and about 30 minutes of patience.  

 vanilla collagen coconut bites
 vanilla collagen coconut bites
 vanilla collagen coconut bites

vanilla collagen coconut bites

  • prep time: 5-10 minutes
  • chilling time: at least 30 minutes
  • makes: about 30 pieces

Ingredients

Equipment:

  • food processor
  • bunt cake pan

Directions: 

Add all ingredients to food processor and blend until ingredients are fully incorporated. 

Spread mixture evenly on the bottom of bunt cake pan and let chill for at least 30 minutes.

In pan, cut the hardened mixture into bite size pieces and coat with additional flaked coconut. 

Store in air-tight container for up to 2 weeks.


paleo fish taco bowl with mango salsa

 fish taco bowl with mango salsa
 paleo fish taco bowl with mango salsa
 cilantro, lime and avocado

I'm a sucker for tacos. At the time when I was living in Europe no one was eating them and I'm not even sure anyone had ever heard of them. So when I was introduced to tacos for the first time in the US, I was kind of blown away. But it was a progression. First, it was tacos with ground beef - all good. Delicious and flavorful with toppings galore.

Then came the pulled pork tacos which I randomly had in the parking lot of a Spanish specialty grocery store. It was one of those mind blowing experiences that made me grateful to be alive. I wanted to hug the woman running the truck and thank her for opening my eyes to something entirely new.  

But then another thing happened - fish tacos. 

Blazing hot sun, skin salty. A single bead of sweat traveled down the length of my spine depositing on my bathing suit bottom as we waited patiently for our names to be called. The space, too tiny for any actual tables and chairs, had only outdoor room for four picnic tables and umbrellas but it was wondrous. Unpretentious and mellow with Caribbean music playing in the background, I decided Key West Tacos was going to be my new favorite taco place without having even tried the tacos. I forgot to mention they were BYO so that probably added to the charm, but no matter, the food arrived. 

I had no words. No seriously, I didn't speak for about 10 minutes. I just wallowed in the moment and occasionally nodded to my husband in approval. My mind was racing, trying to compare it to something I'd had before but I couldn't. It was one of the single best experiences of my life. I couldn't figure out how to make it last. I made my husband go there 3 more times before vacation ended.

And that's how I started experimenting with fish tacos at home. The great thing about fish tacos is that they're easy to prepare, quick to cook and versatile. You can use whatever white flaky fish you can find that holds up well in the frying pan. You can experiment with flounder, mahi-mahi, halibut, grouper or tilapia. 

I found wild caught tilapia at my local store and went with that for this recipe. But again the you can play around. Also you can choose to keep everything in a bowl but if you're not paleo or whole 30, feel free to get some quality corn tacos. 

 paleo fish taco bowl with mango salsa
 paleo fish taco bowl with mango salsa
 fish taco toppings 
 lime slices, purple cabbage, avocado and cilantro 
 paleo fish taco bowl with mango salsa

paleo fish taco bowl with mango salsa

  • prep time: 10 minutes
  • cooking time: 10 minutes 
  • yields: 4 servings

Ingredients: 

Fish tacos

  • 2-3 wild caught tilapia, flounder, mahi-mahi, grouper, cod or halibut
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder

Mango salsa

  • 1 ripe mango, cubed
  • 1 ripe avocado. cubed
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1/2 lime juiced
  • 1/2 tsp honey (skip if whole 30)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • optional: scallions finely sliced

Toppings

  • purple cabbage
  • cilantro
  • greens of your choice
  • spicy mayo - get recipe here
  • radishes
  • optional: serve in corn tortillas 

Equipment

  • cast iron or regular frying pan
  • medium mixing bowl
  • small mixing bowl

Directions

In medium bowl, add lime, honey, olive oil and salt and whisk together. Add cubed avocado, mango, cilantro, and scallions if using (my kids haven't gotten around to loving them yet) and toss everything together. Set aside. 

Rinse and pat your fish with a towel. In small mixing bowl, add chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, salt and pepper and mix well. Rub the fish with the spice mix. 

Preheat pan to medium high and add olive oil and fish. Cook fish for 5 minutes per side, depending thickness. It should be fully cooked and white. Break up fish into desired size.

To assemble. Add greens to bowl and layer with fish, mango and avocado salsa and any toppings of your choice.   


honey lime grilled shrimp with pineapple

 honey lime grilled shrimp with pineapple 
 cutting board lime slices and cilantro 
 hone lime grilled shrimp with pineapple

Windows open, birds chirping. A cool breeze ever so slightly tickles my arm. It's early but bright. The symphony of my feathered companions and occasional hum of distant traffic cut through the silence of the morning.

June mornings are to be cherished. While the July and August heat is still at bay, I take full advantage of fresh air, intoxicatingly sweet bird songs and wallow in the feeling of early summer. There's a sense of possibility and lightness. Perhaps it's the connection to childhood when school would end and a liberating feeling would take over. Anything was possible. 

I try to carry this lightness through the season and it often spills over into the way I cook. As much as I love being in the kitchen, during summer I'd rather cook outside. I crave food that's uncomplicated, fresh, flavorful and easy to prepare. Naturally shrimp fits in this category.

Shrimp is versatile and holds up really well on the grill. The secret though is marinate, marinate, marinate! Shrimp itself is somewhat flavorful if properly seasoned but adding a honey lime marinade to it just takes it to another level. And sure, you can cook it in a frying pan and won't be dissapointed but there's something about the flavor of the grill that's unmatched. 

Unless you're lucky enough to find jumbo shrimp, I generally try and go for large ones and just add them on skewers. You can use the wooden kind, but I've actually invested in metal ones that can be reused. Less waste is always a plus. 

To go along with the shrimp, I've decided to throw some pineapple on the grill and add another level of sweetness. 

You can serve these over rice, quinoa or cauliflower rice or pick any other side you prefer. 

 hone lime grilled shrimp with pineapple
 hone lime grilled shrimp with pineapple
 hone lime grilled shrimp with pineapple
 hone lime grilled shrimp with pineapple

honey lime grilled shrimp with pineapple

  • prep time: 10 minutes
  • marinating time: at least 1 hour
  • grilling time: 12 minutes
  • yields: 4 servings

Ingredients: 

  • 1 lb large shrimp, peeled (tail on or off)
  • zest of 1 lime
  • 2 tsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 tsp honey (skip for Whole 30)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil + 1 extra tbsp
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 pineapple, peeled cored and sliced 

Equipment

  • grill
  • skewers
  • container with lid or Ziploc bag

Directions: 

Combine all ingredients except for 1 tbsp olive oil and pineapple in either a container or Ziploc bag and combine well. Let marinate for at least one hour. 

Preheat grill to medium-low. Peel and core pineapple and cut into slices. Brush both sides with olive oil and grill for 6 minutes per side. Add shrimp to skewers and grill for 3-4 minutes on each side. 

You can serve over rice or cauliflower rice.