scallops with butternut squash and snow peas

Scallops with butternut squash puree and snow peas
Scallops with butternut squash puree and snow peas

I try to use the word perfect carefully. It's an absolute and my absolutes most certainly won't match up with your absolutes. But when it comes to scallops, I will drop that word left and freaking right. They are perfect - a utopian food. I mean that so much so that I'd even capitalize, bold and italicize the word for emphasis. 

I wish I had some grand story to take you back to the first time I had them but truth be told, it wasn't love at first taste. Scallops are a scrupulous food. Pair them with the wrong ingredients and the whole dish flops. My first encounter with scallops was mehhh. I liked them fine, but it wasn't a divine experience by any means.

But over the years as I've taken it in my own hands to make them at home, I realized that scallops are goddess like. They need to stand on their own and every other ingredient paired with them has to in some way compliment but not take anything away otherwise you'll be sorry. 

Evidently I'm in a mythological mood but scallops do that to me. They really hold eminence over other food. They are on the expensive side and unquestionably not an every day food. But on those occasions when I make them, I appreciate every step of the cooking and eating process. 

For this dish, in order to not take anything nothing away from the scallops but compliment or even elevate them, I decided to go with a butternut squash puree and snow peas. The combination is euphoric! If you want to take this whole dish to an orgasmic level, I recommend pairing it with a Picpoul, Dry Riesling, Chablis or Sancerre. You are welcome! 

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  • prep time: 10

  • cooking time: 30

  • makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 large butternut squash peeled and cubed

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract

  • 4 tbsp unsweetened cashew or almond milk

  • 1/2 salt plus additional for scallops

  • 1/4 tsp pepper plus additional for scallops

  • 4-6 scallops per person

  • 1 tbsp ghee

  • 1/2 lb snow peas

  • 1/2 cup water

Equipment:

  • large baking sheet

  • large cast iron or non stick frying pan

  • parchment paper

  • medium sauce pan

  • food processor

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper and spread cut squash into an even layer. Combine with extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mix well and roast for 25-30 minutes ensuring that you toss the squash from time to time.

Rinse scallops and pat dry with paper towels (This step is important otherwise you'll end up with excess water in the pan). Season both sides pf the scallops with salt and pepper and set aside.

Once butternut squash is fork tender, transfer to a food processor along with vanilla, almond or cashew milk and a pinch of salt and puree until creamy.

Meanwhile, trim your snow peas and add them to sauce pan along with water. Steam for about 5 minutes, drain and return to pan along with 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and cover keep warm.

Pre-heat cast iron pan over medium-high heat, add ghee and scallops and cook for 3-4 minutes per side, depending how well you like your scallops cooked. Near the end, add lemon juice and cook for another minute.

To assemble, layer the snow peas, squash puree and scallops. You can top with micro greens if you want it extra pretty.

Scallops with butternut squash and snow peas is a delicious and quick to do dinner you can whip up for any occasion or on any weeknight. It's paleo as well as whole 30. #paleodinner, #scallops, #butternutsquash, #calmeats, #whole30dinner, #whole30entree, #glutenfreedinner, #dairyfree

tuna cakes with blackberry peach salsa

tuna cakes with blackberry peach salsa
tuna cakes with blackberry peach salsa
tuna cakes with blackberry peach salsa

Fresh blades of green popping up through the decaying remnant of last year's grass.  The rocky soil peppered with sticks hurt my feet. It didn't matter. Being barefoot outside is what I've been dreaming of for months. I felt acutely aware of every step, every stick, every soft blade as I made my way to the hammock. Concious of how unusual 84 degrees was in April, I wanted to take it all in. There was an appreciation and connection to the moment that I don't often experience with such intensity. 

Everything felt just a little bit simpler dangling suspended above the ground, face to the sun. A lawnmower hummed in the distance, mingled with lively sound of chirping birds. The rustling of budding branches swaying in the wind felt cleansing, restorative even. 

The wonderful thing about living in a place with seasons is getting to experience them to the fullest until ultimately wishing for the next one. Admittedly, I'm not a winter person. I don't much care for snow and limited daylight while being stuck inside feels emotionally crippling. But - but, it's transient, no matter how long it may seem in the moment. And the anticipation of steady warm weather had me thinking about spring and summer food. 

When I think of spring and summer food, inevitably fresh fruit comes to mind. Local peaches, blackberries etc. Those would make ideal companion for tuna cakes, which I had been itching to make. 

Now tuna cakes are easy to throw together and even easier to eat. But I have to say, not all tuna is created equal. I prefer canned to fresh when making tuna cakes and a brand that truly makes me swoon is St. Jude Tuna. Besides the fact that it's the best canned tuna I've had, I appreciate the owner's passion for only using sustainably caught tuna that's dolphin free. I was immediately drawn to their philosophy and dedication. 

So aside from the several cans I've devoured on their own, I decided to make this simple recipe that's packed with flavor. Making tuna cakes is impossibly easy. I use almond flour, eggs, dill, lemon and their Mediterranean style tuna in olive oil. For a topping, I decided to stick to fresh flavors and make a blackberry peach salsa with red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro in a lemony dressing. I honestly flipped over the combination. The synergy between the ingredients is beautiful and a dish hasn't brought me this much joy in a long time. You'll be able to put dinner on the table in 20 minutes from start to finish. These tuna cakes will not disappoint!

tuna cakes with blackberry peach salsa
tuna cakes with blackberry peach salsa

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  • prep time: 10 minutes

  • cooking time: 8 minutes

  • makes: 6 tuna cakes

Ingredients: 

For tuna cakes

For blackberry peach salsa

  • 1 peeled organic peach (look for somewhat firm) chopped

  • 6 oz blackberries (one container) cut into 2 or 4 pieces

  • 1 tbsp very finely chopped red onion

  • 1 tsp lemon juice

  • 1 organic red bell pepper chopped

  • 1 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Equipment: 

  • large cast iron frying pan

  • large mixing bowl

  • medium mixning bowl

  • whisk

Directions

In medium bowl, add lemon juice, 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and whisk well until the dressing is thick. Add peach pieces, pepper, onion and cilantro and stir well. Last, add the blackberries but gently toss them around. They will discolor the peaches a bit but don't stress, it's supposed to happen. Once all the ingredients are mixed well, cover the bowl and set aside. 

Combine all ingredients under tuna cakes in large bowl and form into 6 patties. Preheat frying pan over medium high heat. Add olive oil to pan and slowly add tuna cakes in one layer. 

Cook tuna cakes for 3-4 minutes per side until golden. 

Once tuna cakes are done, you can let them rest of a paper towel lined plate for a minute then serve with blackberry peach salsa. 


Tuna cakes with blackberry peach salsa is a quick meal you can whip up in just minutes. A few cans of tuna and some summer fruit and you’re set! #whole30, #paleo #glutenfree #grainfree #tunacakes #seafood #whole30recipes #balckberries #peaches

This post is sponsored by St. Jude Tuna.

zoodles with avocado pesto and egg

zoodles with avocado pesto and egg
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The good thing about eating a mostly paleo diet is that I feel pretty great these days. The trouble with eating a mostly paleo diet is the planning. I like to delude myself into believing I'm a relatively organized person. I try for the most part. But since there are so many moving parts in my day, from time to time I slip. (Okay often).

Onion. This among several other ingredients is what I had to get to make my vegan chili on this snowy Friday night. Daughter in tow, I picked up all that I needed and came home with a bunch of random items only to find myself standing in my kitchen yelling the word: "Oniooooon!" Yes, I had forgotten a vital ingredient. 

The snow was coming down hard and I was in no way going back to the store. Pizza sounded like a good idea for everyone but then I'd be starving. What to do? 

I've been here before. Standing in my kitchen, panic setting in as the clock draws nearer to dinner time, desperately searching the fridge for something I could assemble and call it dinner. And there they were! Eggs - so obvious. They always come through for me. I cannot imagine a day without them. I used to think avocado was the one food I couldn't live without but I'm thinking it may have just slipped into second place. 

For a moment I toyed around with perhaps making breakfast for dinner, which can be fun and all but it just didn't quite do it for me. And all of a sudden it all became clear, zucchini noodles with avocado sauce and an egg on top. Problem solved! 

Here's the thing about this dish. You can use regular pasta, though I find it works remarkably better when made with zoodles. It's better on your gut health, but since zoodles tend to be a bit on the wet side, which is not always a good thing, this sauce absorbs some of the moisture balancing them perfectly. Oh and did I mention it takes about 10 minutes to make this whole thing? Yeah, it's a win in my book. 

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avocado sauce egg (7 of 14).jpg

zoodles with avocado pesto and egg

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 5 minutes

  • makes: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 4 tbsp olive oil divided

  • 2 tbsp chopped raw walnuts

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp pepper

  • 2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro

  • 3 tbsp water

  • 2 large zucchini

  • 4 eggs

Equipment

  • food processor

  • 2 frying pans

Directions

For pesto, combine 2 tbsp olive oil and all ingredients aside from zucchini and eggs in food processor and puree until fully incorporated. Set aside. 

Use spiralizer to spiral zoodles. Preheat pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil along with zucchini noodles and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 2 minutes stirring continuously until softened a little. 

Meanwhile in a separate pan over medium heat, add remaining 1 tbsp olive oil and fry eggs. I like my eggs slightly on the runny side but this is up to you. 

Once zoodles are cooked, add pesto to pan and combine well. 

To plate, add zoodles with pesto and top with fried egg. You can add extra olive oil if you wish. 


If you have 10 minutes, you can have dinner on the table! This paleo, whole 30 and vegetarian quick zoodles with avocado pesto and egg, is a great option for when you haven’t gotten a lot in the house and are still looking to eat a nutritious meal. #egg, #paleo, #whole30, #vegetarian, #zoodles, #zucchininoodles, #avocadopesto, #calmeats, #pesto, #quickmeals, #10minuterecipe

sausage and apple stuffed acorn squash

sausage and apple stuffed acorn squash

This weekend I doubted myself on many levels. I've been giving more of myself to this blog and everything that comes along with it than I ever thought I would. Along the way, I've met, incredible bloggers, whose work I admire, who keep me inspired and motivated. But the inevitable comparison trap does get me from time to time.

Despite the fact that a lot of these bloggers are far more experienced and have been doing this longer than I have, my mind likes to take me down the "you're not good enough" path. Have you experienced this kind of thinking? Not just in blogging but in most areas of life, comparison can be quite dangerous.  Even as I write this, part of me recoils and thinks: "How can you put this out there? What will people think?" But it's okay, I'm accepting whatever judgement comes my way as I would rather be honest and truthful about what this journey looks like for me. The ups, the downs, the doubts, the successes, the hours upon hours poured into it. 

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salmon cakes with lemon dill sauce

salmon cakes with lemon dill sauce

Have you ever walked by the canned fish isle and thought, "oh my god, that looks amazing"? Yeah me neither. But I have figured out a way to make a can of salmon pretty damn delicious. Salmon cakes are one of the simplest dishes you can make with a can of salmon and a few other ingredients. 

Once upon a time, I used to make these cakes with breadcrumbs and saltines. But when I completely overhauled my diet, I had to find a way to make them taste great without all the added gluten. Admittedly it took a few tries to nail the recipe down.

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