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. 


 

 

 

 

coconut crusted chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce

 coconut crusted chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce
 coconut crusted chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce
 coconut crusted chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce

When I was pregnant with my son, I read a lot about parenting and I mean a lot. I know, this is not a mommy blog but stick with me. One of my favorite books was "French Children Don't Throw Food". I've always had a thing for French culture, this book was about kids and food so it sounded like I could get something out of it. And I did. I devoured it in days. 

Once finished, I felt like I would be able to raise my child just like the French. I would be a master at it. Well I was wrong about the master part - a novice at best. But what I did take away is something that has always stuck with me and that's doing away with the term "kid food". I know some people swear by kid food and that's cool - do what works but I've never used it and don't believe that food needs to be anything other than "food".

After all children are not sub-human. They're just little versions of the adults they will some day become. Pains in the ass at times sure, but nonetheless just the same as you and me. So I feel like referring to something as kid food is drippy, isolationist, inflexible...whatever you want to call it.  So I'm proposing we get rid of the term and raise kids to simply eat food...all food. 

And why did I go on this tirade? Well chicken tenders are generally considered to be kid food but that's so not the case in my house. We all love them just as much without there needing to be an assigned term to them. Just plain chicken tenders.

But the trouble with the traditional chicken tenders is that they're typically made with flour and breadcrumbs. And while I make them for my family all the time, I decided this time, I want in and I'm changing things up. It was a last minute decision where I literally just traded out almond flour for regular and coconut flakes for breadcrumbs. I was hesitant thinking the change wouldn't necessarily fly, but to my surprise, my husband dug right into one the second it was out of the frying pan. And once the kids were on board, I knew I had something. 

It's a pretty good substitution when you still want that familiar taste but without the familiar bloating and pain. So check out this quick coconut crusted chicken tender recipe you could easily use for meal prep too. And since it needed a little something extra, I whipped up a quick honey mustard sauce for dipping. 

 coconut crusted chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce
 coconut crusted chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce

coconut crusted chicken tenders with honey mustard sauce

  • prep time: 5 minutes
  • cooking time: 10 minutes
  • makes: 6-8 pieces

Ingredients: 

Equipment

Directions: 

For honey mustard sauce: In small mixing bowl, combine mayo, mustard, vinegar, honey salt and optional, cayenne. Set aside. 

Next, lay chicken in one layer on top of plastic wrap and lay another layer of wrap on top of the chicken. Beat chicken with tenderizer until it's about 1/4" thick. Season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. 

Pour almond flour and coconut flakes in separate plates. Beat eggs until thoroughly incorporated. 

Create an assembly line of chicken, almond flour, egg and coconut flakes. Dredge chicken through each respectively and set on plate. 

Preheat frying pan on medium, add oil and cook chicken on each side for 3-4 minutes until brown and cooked through. You may need to work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. 


paleo no churn ice cream

 paleo no churn ice cream
 paleo no churn ice cream 
 paleo no churn ice cream
 paleo no churn ice cream

I would like to dedicate this post to my food processor. Funny as that may sound, out of all the kitchen gadgets, besides my trusted knife and cast iron pan, this one holds a lot of weight in my kitchen. Some of my favorite recipes involve the food processor and yes, you can certainly achieve the same texture by chopping your vegetables, but when it's time to create silky smooth soups, a perfect mayo or ice cream of any kind, nothing can take the place of a food processor. 

It took a bit to convert me. I was stubborn and couldn't quite comprehend why a food processor would be life changing. After all, I had a mediocre blender that could do some mediocre blending in times of need. This was years ago, until I heard that you could make no churn ice-cream in a food processor. What? How? Sold! That's all it took and I became a convert. But not just a convert - I preach the food processor's glory wherever I go. I even hand out leaflets in public places trying to get people to get on board the food processor train. Speaking of, Cuisinart really should have picked me up as a spokesperson. Oh well. 

All joking aside though, it's summer time and strawberries and raspberries are in their peak season. Right now is the time to gorge on them, make some delicious dishes and freeze whatever you can't eat. 

So now that I've warmed you up a bit and you know my true feelings about the food processor, let's talk about this ice cream. I don't think there needs to be much convincing when I say that ice cream is amazing, right? Kind of obvious. But ice cream was one of those things that I would eat with such fervor only to be left in pain a half hour later. And I did it summer after summer. But I learned.

For this ice cream, I use full fat coconut milk, strawberries, raspberries, honey and vanilla extract. The process is absurdly easy. Everything pretty much just gets dumped in the food processor and you sit back and watch the magic happen. Then store it in a loaf pan and freeze. There you have it - paleo no churn ice cream. It really is that simple. 

My recommendation is that once frozen, you actually let it sit out for a bit until it gets slightly soft, is easier to scoop out and that creamy goodness just melts in your mouth. 

 strawberries
 paleo no churn ice cream
 paleo no churn ice cream
 paleo no churn ice cream

paleo no churn ice cream 

  • prep time: 5 minutes
  • freeze time: 4+ hours
  • yields: 6-8 servings

Ingredients: 

  • 10 oz organic frozen strawberries (or 1 bag)
  • 1/4 cup organic frozen raspberries divided
  • 1/4 thawed organic raspberries
  • 3-4 tbsp raw organic honey  + 1 tsp
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 can full fat organic coconut milk

Equipment

Directions

Combine frozen strwaberries, 1/4 cup frozen raspberries, 3-4 tbsp honey (depending on how sweet you like it), 1 tsp vanilla and coconut milk in food processor and turn on. Let it run until everything is purred smooth. 

Pour mixture into loaf pan and set aside. 

Add thawed raspberries and 1 tsp honey to food processor. Puree until you it becomes a sweet sauce. Add to ice cream mixture and swirl throughout. 

Cover with cling wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours. 

*Again, my recommendation is to let the ice cream sit out and soften for a bit before serving. 


tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado

 tomatoes 
 tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado
 tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado

Today is my daughter's birthday - her second to be exact. My son's is in 2 days. A mix of crippling fear and excitement tends to pulse through me around birthdays. It's a celebration but also a reminder of the inevitable impermanence of life. It may be a rather pessimistic way of looking at things but it tends to simultaneously be a reminder of how fleeting life is and how appreciating the small things can go a long way.

Yesterday we celebrated. Our children are born only 2 days apart and while still young, we take full advantage of the combined birthday party. We kept it small - family only. Everyone travelled from their respective locations and we congregated on a steamy afternoon for food, chats and a good amount of sweating. 

My mom, who inevitably shows up loaded with food of various kinds, arrived with a pound of mixed baby tomatoes. Their lovely colors made them look a bit like little jewels and on the spot I decided they had to make their way into the day's menu. And with just hours left before the party, I had to quickly come up with something everyone would enjoy. It had to be easy to throw together yet filling enough to act as a companion to burgers and pulled pork. 

A quick look in the pantry and I had my recipe. I wanted a tomato salad but with a bit of a twist. A can of black beans, a can of corn along with red onion, a cumin honey lime vinaigrette, plenty of cilantro and some creamy avocado would do. 

To my surprise it was one of those recipes that needed little retesting. Everything just worked and after I decided to make another batch and eat if for every meal today, it was time for it to make its way onto the blog. 

It's an ideal tomato salad with ingredients that scream summertime. 

 tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado
 tomatoes
 tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado

tomato salad with black beans, corn and avocado

  • prep time: 10 minutes
  • cooking time: 10 minutes
  • yields: 8-10 servings

Ingredients: 

  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 can organic sweet corn 
  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped red onion
  • 1 lb baby tomatoes of your choice cut in half or quarters 
  • juice of one lime
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp fresh cilantro
  • 1 avocado cut into chunks 
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Equipment

  • cast iron frying pan or regular
  • large bowl

Directions

Drain and rinse corn very well. Shake off excess water. 

In large bowl, add 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, honey, lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper and whisk well. Set aside. 

Preheat frying pan and add 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add corn and cook stirring regularly until all the liquid is drained and the corn starts to get some color - about 10 minutes. 

Add finely chopped red onion and cook for 1 minute. Remove corn and onion from pan and add to bowl. Add beans, tomatoes, cilantro and combine everything well until the salad is coated with dressing. You can refrigerate until ready to serve. 

Right before serving, add avocado and top with additional cilantro if you wish. 

* Note, don't add the avocado right away as it will oxidize and turn brown. 


fermented vegetable medley

 Cauliflower, carrots and beans
 carrots
 carrots, beans and cauliflower 

I'm on a serious gut health kick this week. And for good reason. Admittedly I've been slacking a bit the last few weeks. Work became stressful, keeping up with everything felt overwhelming and I mindlessly gravitated towards, for lack of a better word, shit food. It had gluten free plastered all over it but just because it was gluten free doesn't mean it was good for me. 

It's easy getting trapped in the "it's only a few" mentality but the truth is, if you have gut issues, a few every day is just enough to bring all the symptoms back and make you feel like garbage. I felt a bit hypocritical because here I am, a big proponent of real food stuffing my face with gluten and dairy free food like stuff. 

Without much fanfare and self loathing, I decided to just get back to eating real and minimally processed food. And sure enough it's made a big difference. I've mentioned before that I don't like being overly strict because it feels suffocating but it's important to remind ourselves that a lot of what we see on store shelves is not providing any nutrients or any benefit aside from sheer pleasure because it does taste so damn good. 

So what to do when you've gotten off track? Start by getting back to the good stuff. For me that always includes nature's probiotics in the form of fermented vegetables. I mean yes, you can go and buy a bottle of expensive probiotics but why when you can just get them through food! Truly one of my favorite ways of undoing some damage is by eating fermented vegetables. 

Do you feel intimidated by the idea of making your own ferments? Don't! It's surprisingly simple and versatile and your little gut bugs will be very happy to say the least. 

As far as vegetables, you can use whatever you'd like but I find certain combinations work better than others. This assortment is one that my grandparents often made and it's simply cauliflower, green beans and carrots. You can eat fermented vegetables on their own, as a side or chop them up and add them to your favorite dishes. 

All you need is a large jar, filtered water, salt and vegetables. 

 fermented vegetable medley 
 fermented vegetable medley 
 fermented vegetable medley 

fermented vegetable medley 

  • prep time: 5 minutes
  • fermenting time: 2 weeks +
  • yields: 1 half gallon jar

Ingredients:

  • 1 small head organic cauliflower 
  • a good handful of green beans
  • bunch heirloom or regular carrots
  • 2 tbsp sea salt or pink salt
  • 4 cups warm filtered water
  • 1 clove garlic sliced
  • 1/2 tsp whole peppercorns
  • a few springs of fresh dill

Equipment: 

Directions: 

Combine warm water with salt and stir until salt is fully dissolved. Let cool.

Break cauliflower by hand into desired size pieces. Chop carrots in whatever shape you wish, either strips or rounds. You can leave the beans whole or cut them in half. 

Add all vegetables, garlic and dill to the jar and add saltwater until vegetables are fully submerged. Twist on lid and keep away from any places with temperature fluctuation such as stoves or dishwashers. 

Let ferment for 14 or more days. You can "burp" your ferment daily if you want to release some pressure but it's not mandatory. That just means twisting the lid off and back on.