rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble

rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble
rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble
rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble

I grew up only a sea away from a country rich in flavors and spices. Some traditional recipes made their way onto our table but not nearly enough given the proximity.

My mom would frequently travel to Turkey for work and would come back baring delicious foods that we’d never dream of having access to in Romania. One of them was halva. Funny because I’d had it my whole life but Romanians always made it with pressed sunflowers and never tahini.

That was my very first introduction to a flavor I would come to revere as an adult. It is unmistakable - an ingredient used in Middle Eastern and Asian dishes alike. Truthfully one that can’t be substituted.

So a few moths ago while stocking up on tahini I had a burning desire to make a quick sauce. The only problem was, I now had a tasty sauce on my hands but hadn’t quite thought about what I’d do with it. Sure, roasted carrots or sweet potatoes would always be good options for dipping but I was in the mood for something new. Something that would wake up my taste buds.

Rutabaga already had its moment in a previous post where I gushed about its versatility and distinctive taste, but I feel the need to reiterate just how delightful this unassuming root is. While raw it tastes somewhere between a turnip and cabbage, when cooked its essence is revealed. Everything that’s been hidden beneath the waxy surface comes to life when this noble root has just a few minutes in the heat.

To top it all off, I wanted something to complete the taste I was after - something intense but not overpowering. A sprinkling of cashew crumble is exactly what this dish needed. It is one of the simplest and most delicious ones I’ve had. Flavorful, intense and satisfying.

rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble
rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble
rutabaga noodles with tahini sauce and cashew crumble

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prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 5 minutes
makes: 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 large rutabaga, peeled and spiralized

  • 1/2 cup runny tahini

  • 1/2 cup roasted unsalted cashews

  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided

  • 1/4 tsp sesame oil

  • 2 tsp coconut aminos

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 2 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • a handful of very thinly sliced carrots

  • handful of very thinly sliced cucumber

  • 1 tbsp finely chopped cilantro (optional)

  • 1 green onion, green parts only (optional)

Equipment:

  • blender

  • large mixing bowl

  • small mixing bowl

  • spiralizer

  • large non stick frying pan

Directions:

Combine tahini, water, lemon juice, coconut aminos, salt and sesame oil in large bowl and set aside.

In blender finely grind cashews until they’re fine. In small bowl, combine them with 1 tsp olive oil and a pinch of salt and mix well with your fingers by pinching the mixture until it becomes crumbly - set aside.

Preheat pan on medium heat. Add 1 tsp olive oil and rutabaga noodles and toss frequently for 5 minutes until they begin to soften but are not mushy.

Remove from heat and add to bowl with tahini sauce. Toss to combine.

Place noodles on plates and add carrot and cucumber slices along with as much cashew crumble as you wish. Top with cilantro and green onion and serve.

If you’re looking for a flavorful noodle bowl but are following a grain free lifestyle, look no further than this tasty rutabaga recipe with tahini sauce and cashew crumble. It’s a satisfying, creamy and you won’t miss the pasta. #veganrecipes #vegan #tahini #rutabaga #paleorecipes #paleo #plantabased #whole30recipes #whole30 #paleonoodles #whole30noodles #cashews #tahinisauce #calmeats #veganfood #rutabaganoodles

cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water

white flowers
flowers in hand
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water

Every once in a while, life throws us the most unexpected and marvelous things, maybe even life changing. Okay, okay perhaps not life changing but certainly unexpected and most definitely marvelous. I speak of none other than orange blossom water.

I first read about orange blossom water in Mimi Thorisson’s books A Kitchen In France and French Country Cooking. At first glance it hardly impressed me but over time I kept going back to those pages, intrigued by the role of this mysterious water in sweet dishes. What could be so impressive about it? Of course I imagined it would simply be orange flavor which is fine but I certainly wouldn’t attach the adjective unexpected to it.

So this orange blossom water sat in my Amazon cart for some time until I decided that I had nothing to lose and would just order it and see if I’d ever use it. Well, the moment it arrived and I unscrewed the cap, put a bit on my finger and dabbed it behind my ears and wrists and just sat with the scent for a while.

It was unlike anything I had smelled before - sweet, warm, deeply intense. I knew that I would this smell and flavor in my life often. And so it occurred to me - I would add it to paleo pancakes, which I eat every day. And to go along with the orange blossom water, another ingredient that’s deserving of praise and that’s cardamom.

And so these cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water have been my staple morning companions for the last 2 months. Truth be told, I’m not adventurous when it comes to breakfast. I know what I like and I stick with it so when I find something new, I’m usually ecstatic. And since I prefer sweet to savory in the morning, these pancakes topped with almond butter, a pinch of salt, drizzle of honey and chia seeds, became a perfect match for my morning coffee. I look forward to breakfast every morning.

I like making a big batch of pancakes and storing them in the refrigerator all week. All they need is just a minute in the micro, if you like them warm. If you’re not a micro person, toaster oven will work just fine to warm them through.

cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water
cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water

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cardamom pancakes with orange blossom water

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 20-25 minutes

  • makes: 12-15 pancakes

Ingredients:

Equipment:

  • large mixing bowl

  • large cast iron or non-stick skillet

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl and whisk well. Let batter sit for 5 minutes.

Preheat skillet on medium heat and add a little bit of coconut oil. Add roughly a 1/4 cup of batter to skillet (I can usually fit 3 pancakes at once) and cook until pancakes start to bubble (about 1-2 minutes), then flip and repeat. Continue with the rest of the batter.

Serve with suggestions: peanut or almond butter and honey or keep it classic with just maple syrup.

Pancakes can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week and reheated as needed. (I do 1 minute in micro for 3 of them)


If you want to take your paleo pancakes to a new level, try adding cardamom and orange blossom water to them! The combination is incredibly flavorful, creating a delicious unexpected pancake. Try it for yourself! #paleopancakes #paleobreakfast #paleo #glutenfreepancakes #grainfreepancakes #glutenfreebreakfast #glutenfree #grainfreepancakes #grainfree #vegetarian #breakfast #brunch #orangeblossomwater #orangeflowerwater #calmeats




roasted artichokes with lemon aioli

roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli

I’m no stranger to life’s dark moods, to anxious thoughts, doubts, fears and unmet expectations. I’m no more or less human than anyone else. But I believe in pleasure too and love and the beauty of small things. Like watching a bee burrow itself into a flower, drinking the sweet nectar only to happily make its way out and buzz about to the next one. Small, beautiful, unnoticed.

Then there is the artichoke, maybe not necessarily small, but beautiful and previously unnoticed by my eyes. In my far too frequent trips to the market, I never stopped to pay much attention to it. I found it intimidating; those pointy leaves, a little closed off - perhaps a defense mechanism? After all, the goal is to just get to the very best part - the heart and the only way to do that is to peel layer after rough layer.

But one day, while making my typical rounds I suddenly stopped short when spotting the artichoke bin. I had one thought and one thought only. I want to photograph it! I never thought beyond that, like maybe I’d actually eat it? And like it…a lot?

I returned home, dropped my shopping and got to work. Nothing else mattered, just the beautiful artichokes. And so it began; one thing led to another and then next thing I know, I’m siting at my kitchen counter with a plate of artichokes, about to eat them for the first time. So I sat, mesmerized and sucked into the moment, enjoying bite after bite, slowly, meditatively even, dipping, and biting, dipping and biting until I got to the very best part, the essence of the choke.

As for the dip, since mayo and aioli are staples in my house, it wasn’t a difficult decision. And a simple lemony aioli was the ideal companion for these mysterious, divine leaves.

I’ve eaten many things in my life, but I don’t believe anything has brought me quite as much pleasure as photographing, preparing and eating an artichoke has. A true delight for the senses, a celebration of life’s small pleasures all in one small, green, rough and yet so delicate vegetable.

roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli
roasted artichokes with lemon aioli

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roasted artichokes with lemon aioli

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 35-40 minutes

  • makes: 2 artichokes

Ingredients:

  • 2 artichokes

  • 1/4 tsp lemon zest

  • 1/4 cup good mayo (for vegan option use egg free mayo)

  • 1/4 tsp finely minced garlic

  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice

  • 1/2 lemon

  • 1/2 tsp dijon mustard

  • 1/2 tsp salt divided

  • 2 tbsp olive oil


Equipment:

  • roasting sheet

  • parchment paper

  • small mixing bowl

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Trim artichoke leaves by snipping just the tops with scissors. Cut stem and leave about 1-2”. Cut artichokes in half and rub with lemon half and squeeze juice all over the artichoke halves. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil.

Lay artichokes face down on parchment paper lined roasting sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes until tender.

Meanwhile, combine mayo, mustard, pinch of salt, garlic, lemon zest and lemon juice in small mixing bowl and stir well to combine.

When artichokes have finished cooking, remove one leaf at a time and dip bottoms in aioli and enjoy!


Roasting artichokes is one of the easiest way to enjoy them, especially when paired with a tasty lemon aioli. Check out this delicious and simple recipe. #artichokes #roastedartichokes #vegan #calmeats #paleo #whole30 #dairyfree #appetizerrecipe #appetizer #glutenfree #grainfree #lemonaioli #starters






asparagus sausage scramble with egg

asparagus
red onion, asparagus, scallions
tray with mixed vegetables
asparagus sausage scramble with egg

Perhaps I’m getting ahead of myself here, considering that we’re only a few days into spring, but I can’t help but already celebrate asparagus season. I’ve had a fascination with asparagus since first discovering this green beauty upon moving to the States.

Asparagus feels memorable every time it ends up on my plate. Despite its year long availability, it is a pricier vegetable and I reserve it for special meals. But in spring, when the farmers markets explode with the green spears, I take full advantage and gorge on it.

Even though asparagus at first glance seems robust and sturdy, it can easily be wrecked in the cooking process. It needs to merely kiss the heat for a few minutes in order to come into its full, glorious potential. I guess I never really thought about vegetables making out with heat but okay…I guess this is where we are now.

But let’s get back to today’s recipe. I wanted a versatile enough dish that could easily make for a simple breakfast lunch or dinner. I also wanted it allergy friendly and first and foremost, tasty, with earthy yet bright flavors to celebrate all that spring has to offer.

Red onion and sausage create a flavorful base and are tossed with cauliflower rice, sweet bell pepper and asparagus. Ginger and coconut aminos, add depth and the whole thing is finished with some bright lemon zest. Now, you could certainly stop there, but if you want to take it a step further, you could add an an over-easy egg and take this dish to another level.

asparagus sausage scramble with egg
asparagus sausage scramble with egg
asparagus sausage scramble with egg

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asparagus sausage scramble with egg

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 25

  • makes: 4 servings


Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive or avocado oil

  • 2 sweet Italian sausage links, casings removed

  • 1/2 red onion, chopped

  • 1lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2” pieces

  • 1 yellow, red or orange bell pepper, chopped

  • 4 cups cooked cauliflower rice (follow package instructions) or make your own here

  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos

  • 1” knob grated ginger

  • zest of 1/2 lemon

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper

  • 4 eggs

  • optional: 1 green onion sliced, green parts only


Equipment:

  • large cast iron or heavy bottom skilled

  • medium frying pan


Directions:

Heat cast iron skilled over medium heat. Add oil and sausage. Cook sausage breaking it up with a wooden spoon until it’s cooked through - about 10 minutes. Remove sausage and set aside.

In the same pan, if needed, add a little more oil, onion and a pinch of salt. Cook onion stirring regularly for 5 minutes until translucent. Add bell pepper and asparagus and cook for another 5 minutes until vegetables have softened a little.

Return sausage to pan, add cauliflower rice, sausage, grated ginger, coconut aminos, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Cook for 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until all ingredients have combined.

In a separate pan, cook eggs to your preference and serve along with asparagus scramble.

Optional, top with green onion and serve right away.


A 30 minute recipe that can make for a simple breakfast, lunch or dinner. A delicious combination of asparagus, red onion, sausage and cauliflower rice are tossed together with ginger and coconut aminos to create this speedy dish. It’s low carb, paleo, gluten free and whole 30 too. #paleodinner #30minuterecipes #whole30dinner #glutenfreedinner #quickmeals #glutenfree #dairyfree #whole30 #calmeats #paleo #realfoodrecipes #cleaneatingrecipes #speedydinner

paleo chocolate crepes with salted caramel

egg shells, cocoa and almond flour
chocolate paleo crepes
chocolate paleo crepes
chocolate paleo crepes

I believe in the timing of things. My impatience often being put in its place by the realization that things happen when they’re supposed to - in their own time.

I toyed around with caramel sauce two years ago and for one reason or another abandoned the endeavor. But a few weeks ago I woke up on a blustery Friday morning determined to make caramel. I’m not exactly sure why this strong need, but I’m not one to question inspiration so I listened.

Typical caramel requires cream and sugar and since none of those are part of my diet, I set up camp around the stove determined to find the right substitutes to make my caramel dreams come true. I wanted a sticky, luscious consistency; sweet, salty, with a certain depth. I have to admit it’s not a bad job sitting near the stove with a spoon continuously adjusting and tasting, lips sticky from the concoction.

Then to my utter surprise, the caramel sauce I had dreamed of was becoming a reality before my eyes. Something so simple, with so few ingredients, yet so velvety and rich. A sprinkle of flaked salt and there it was, caramel sauce in all its glory.

With a jar of caramel sauce on my hands, I wondered what I could put it on. Sure, I could use my finger as a spoon and slowly make my way through the jar over the coming days, but I thought a more appropriate vehicle would be in oder and one that everyone could enjoy. Chocolate crepes were an obvious choice.

And so a little French paleo magic happened in my kitchen when chocolate crepes and salted caramel sauce met. I could go into detail about how delicious the combination is but I’ll let you try it for yourself…

chocolate paleo crepes
chocolate paleo crepes
chocolate paleo crepes
chocolate paleo crepes

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paleo chocolate crepes with salted caramel

  • prep time: 5 minutes

  • cooking time: 25 minutes

  • makes: 10 crepes

Ingredients:

For chocolate crepes

For salted caramel sauce

Equipment:

  • small sauce pan

  • large mixing bowl

  • crepe pan or small stick frying pan

  • large whisk

Directions:

In a small sauce pan, add coconut sugar, coconut cream and vanilla and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer caramel for 25 minutes, stirring regularly.

When caramel has thickened, add a pinch of sea salt (or to taste) and pour into glass jar. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

In large bowl combine all ingredients under crepes and whisk well.

On medium heat coat crepe pan with a little coconut oil. Add 1/4 cup of crepe batter and tilting pan, distribute evenly until you have the desired thickness. Cook for 1-2 minutes per side or until you start to see bubbles.

Continue with with the rest of the batter.

Serve with salted caramel sauce and optional, add banana slices as well.

You can store leftover crepes in the fridge for up to a week and re-heat for a few seconds in the micro or dry frying pan.


These chocolate crepes with salted caramel are a delicious treat if you’re looking for something special. They’re paleo, gluten free and vegetarian and are incredibly easy to make. So check out this delicious sweet and salty dessert. #paleodessert #paleo #glutenfree #grainfree #vegetarian #calmeats #sweets #chocolate #caramel #saltedcaramel #dairyfree #vegancaramel