HI! It's been a little quiet around here, eh? Good gracious, January is tough. Here's what's been happening: it's cold and dark and that is always hard. On top of that, my grandma and Dan's grandma both passed away in the last month, so we've had a lot of family gatherings and sadness and that's been hard. And, I don't know if you heard, we did get a new president on Friday and it was Donald Trump, so there's that. I went to the Women's March in St. Paul yesterday and it was actually one of the most wonderful experiences I've ever had, but this post isn't going to be about that, it's going to be about soup. This soup is the food equivalent of a hug, which is exactly what I've been needing. And there's vegetables but mostly it's got a silky, carb-y, salty-fatty feel to it and that is just what I've been wanting, but also cruciferous vegetables because we need to stay healthy around here. Let's discuss.
Cauliflower (I used two 10oz bags of florets, which I think was about the same as 1 head)
Potatoes (I used 20-25 red and gold baby potatoes and they were perfect)
One yellow onion, medium/large
Bacon fat or butter
Water or chicken/vegetable broth
Truffle oil for garnishing
1. Plop a spoonful of bacon fat or butter into a soup pot (I should apologize upfront, if you can't tell from the ingredients list I did not measure ANYTHING for this recipe, but I did take a lot of pictures so just stay with me. Probably 1-2 tbs of fat.) Turn your burner on to medium heat to melt the fat.
2. Chop your onion and add it to the pot, with two good pinches of truffle salt, then turn the heat down to medium-low so these caramelize slowly. A quick word about the salt--I started this recipe thinking it would be measured in pinches and found that I added a lot more at the end, probably around 1 tsp total. I would start with a few pinches to help your onions cook and add to taste when the soup is finished. I buy this salt on Amazon.
3. Rinse your potatoes and pop them in the microwave, covered, for 8 minutes to cook most of the way. If you prick them with forks they probably wont explode at all but I didn't and it was fine.
4. When your potatoes are done in the microwave, smash them like this:
and then add the smashed potatoes to the pot once your onions look like this:
5. Add 2-3 glugs of olive oil to your potato/onion mixture (for those of you who like to measure, I'm sorry you accidentally ended up on my blog...let's say 3 tbs). Give it all a good stir and let it fry for 3-5 more minutes.
6. Add your cauliflower florets to the mix, stir, and add 1 cup of water or stock to the pot. I would have used chicken broth but I didn't have any, and water was fine. Cover, and cook until the cauliflower is super tender (mine took about 12 minutes). Then mash everything up a bit, like this (don't judge the appearance at this point, the magic is about to happen).
7. Add another cup of water/broth and start blending the soup together with an immersion blender, adding more liquid as needed (I added 2 more cups at this stage, for a total of 3 cups counting the amount we added when the cauliflower went in). If you don't have an immersion blender you can do this in a regular blender, but make sure to take the middle part of the top off so it doesn't explode.
8. Blend until smooth. Mine still had some texture because I left the potato skins in, but just a little bit. When the texture is right, taste and add truffle salt as needed to get to the desired level of saltiness (I wanted it really salty and delicious and I think I ended up around 9 pinches total).
Spoon into bowls and garnish with truffle oil, if desired. This is also great with a little cheddar cheese if you're into that sort of thing, and it reheats beautifully. Enjoy!
Happy New Year, friends! I'll be honest, I started writing a "looking back on 2016" post a few days ago, and it was just terrible. I'm not going to make you read a terrible post. Let's just look forward instead--2017 is going to be fantastic. My word for this year is Joy. I'm going to be more present, grateful, and joyful. Less stressed, more relaxed. And this soup was a good start to my Year of Joy.
What's more comforting on a cold winter day than a steamy, dreamy bowl of soup? And this one--oh, my. It's hearty and full of vegetable goodness, it's silky and creamy and delicious. I also love using Nut Pods in this recipe, because it gives the soup that creamy goodness but doesn't have a strong taste like coconut milk does. I don't know about you, but when I'm doing strict paleo or Whole 30 I get pretty sick of coconut, so I like the option of making a creamy dish without the coconut flavor. It's also easy to throw together and makes a big batch. If you're doing a January Whole 30 (or just looking to eat some veggies after a few weeks of Christmas cookies) this recipe is for you!
2 medium butternut squash
Ghee (you could also use avocado oil or olive oil, or butter if you're not doing strict paleo/W30)
4 tbs dried onion flakes
1.5 cups original nut pods (one small container--could sub half and half if not paleo/W30)
1 cup beef broth (could use chicken or veggie broth)
Salt (to taste)
1. Preheat the oven to 425F and cut your squash in half. Remove the seeds, place the squash in a baking dish face up, and cover the cut sides with ghee. Bake at 425F for 30 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another hour or so, until the squash is soft and easy to scoop out.
2. Cover your onion flakes with water to soften them up while your butternut squash cools. They'll soak the water right up and be soft enough to blend in about ten minutes.
3. Scoop the butternut squash out of the skin and into your blender (you could also use a stick/submersion blender for this soup, in which case you'd want to scoop your ingredients into a large bowl or pot to blend. I used my Vitamix and it worked great.)
4. Add your nutpod, broth, and onions to the blender.
5. Blend all ingredients until smooth. Taste the soup, and add salt to taste (blending again to incorporate).
6. Crisp up a slice of prosciutto and crumble it. You can crisp your prosciutto in a pan--I prefer to throw a slice in the microwave on a plate for about 45 seconds, which will crisp it right up. Let it cool while you fill your bowls with soup, then crumble and add your prosciutto to the top of each bowl. I like about one slice per bowl, but you can add as much or little as you like.
Enjoy, lovies! Now go make the most of 2017. It's going to be a good one.
OH HAI. Guys, I've missed you something awful. But we just got back from an AMAZEBALLS trip to Belize (I don't even use that word, but it's the best one for this trip. It was incredible.) I'm going to tell you all about that, but TODAY I'm going to tell you about this awesome harvest hash that I made when we got back on Sunday. It is all of the things a winter dinner should be--warm, easy, savory, sweet, wholesome, delicious. This is like...a fifteen-minute meal, and it made enough for five servings for us so hellllooooo yummy leftovers. It's paleo, Whole 30, generally nutritious and wonderful. Make it and ENJOY!
1/2 a medium sweet white onion, diced small
1 medium apple, diced small
Shaved brussels sprouts (9 oz bag)
Four chicken apple sausages (we like Aidell's, and they're paleo and Whole 30 compliant, but we also like AmyLu if you don't mind a little gouda in there)
Olive oil or avocado oil--about 2 tbs
1. Dice up your apple and your onion, nice and little, and throw both into a skillet with your oil, over medium heat. Stir periodically until the onion starts to smell good and turn translucent.
2. While that's cooking, dice up your sausages. You can do these in rounds, quarters, or halves--whatever size you'd like. I cut the sausages in half and then sliced them up. When your onion has started to cook, add your shaved brussels sprouts and use your spoon to toss it all together. Stir about once every minute--you want this hash to caramelize so you want to let it rest and not stir too much, but you don't want it to burn. When you first add your brussels sprouts you'll see the colors brighten--keep turning it in the pan until it looks like everything is starting to cook (but isn't yet fully cooked/soft).
3. When your brussels sprouts have brightened and they're starting to cook, throw your sausage in there. This is the part where you want everything to caramelize--let it sit for about a minute at a time and then turn the hash so you can see the yummy brown spots forming, but you're not leaving it long enough to burn. If it's burning, turn your heat down a little.
When you start to see good brown spots throughout, it's done.
I served this next to some butternut squash that I roasted at 400F for 40 minutes and finished at 350 for another 30 minutes--I just rubbed the outside of the squash with a tiny bit of butter (just enough to coat, maybe 1 tbs for all four halves) and poked it with a fork and that was it. You guys. I can't with this. SO GOOD. I'll just be here eating squash until May, it's one of the only good things about the season of the frozen tundra. (Ok, I'm kidding, there are many good things, but I'm still grieving summer fruit.)
Ok, GO EAT THIS! You won't be sorry.
La la la laaaaaaaahhhhvvveeeeee you.
Aaaaaaaare youuuuuu readddyyyyy for the small changes series?! I am. We’re starting with FOOD. And here’s why: as my internet stranger-friend Dallas Hartwig, co-creator of the Whole 30, looooooves to point out, what you eat actually BECOMES your body. Think about that for a second—we’ve all heard that “you are what you eat,” but we never really talk about how this is literally true. Your body is constantly replacing cells as they die, and to do that it uses the nutrients and material from the food you eat. So that bag of potato chips you had with lunch is actually becoming your physical body right now. If that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is.
So here’s the not-so-secret truth about our society’s relationship with food: it’s not great. It’s Complicated, as we used to like to say on Facebook. There are so many different ways to have a bad relationship with food, and everybody’s got their own favorite: you can turn to food for comfort and binge on sweet, salty, fatty things to make yourself feel good (been there); you can restrict yourself to a small number of “safe” or “acceptable” foods and limit your eating so severely that you can’t stick to your plan for more than a few weeks at a time (been there, too). You can ping pong between those two extremes, limiting yourself for as long as you can take it and then falling face-first into a cheesecake because you just can’t cope with the idea of one more stalk of celery (amen, sister). You can go out into the world and try to eat a healthy diet, but have no idea what that really means—does it include red meat? Whole grains? Dairy? Gluten? Fat? Sugar? Hydrogenated oils? Is my Lean Cuisine a healthy lunch because it’s better than the drive-through, or is it unhealthy because it’s really just a tiny portion of macaroni and cheese? Where in tarnation do you start? (Can I get away with a "where in tarnation" here and there? It felt right.)
So, this is the reality: nutrition exists on a spectrum, just like all other areas of your health, and it is different for everyone, just like all areas of your health. In order to be your healthiest, happiest you, you need to eat in the way that makes YOU feel best. But the point of this entire series is that changes that actually matter happen in baby steps over a long period of time, not big changes over a short period of time. You all know I love the Whole 30—it legitimately changed my life and helped me figure out what foods are healthy FOR ME. But the Whole 30 is a strict and (for most of us) extreme shift in your diet that happens for 30 days, and if you go back to your old way of eating the moment your 30 days are over, the Whole 30 doesn’t matter. You may as well have skipped it. Because if you live to be 80 that means you’ll have 29,200 days in your life, and eating really, really healthy foods for 30 of them just doesn’t matter. What does matter is what you eat every day.
This is both good and bad news: the good news is, you can be empowered to make ENORMOUS changes by making tiny tweaks and sticking to them over time. The bad news is that you have to stick to them—there’s no end date to your health. But consistency is not perfection, and one piece of cheesecake (or, let’s be real, an entire cheesecake) doesn’t derail you unless you let it be the domino that sets off even more unhealthy choices. So how does one make small choices that add up to be BIG changes when it comes to nutrition? Good gracious, I’m just so glad you asked.
This is the trick: you need to pick one thing, and stick with it for a long while. And then, when that thing is a habit and it’s going pretty well for you, add on another thing. If you find that one of these things is not serving you very well, tweak it. And as you slowly get used to your one small thing and it doesn’t feel like a chore anymore, then you’re ready to make another tiny change. And as you notice yourself feeling better, you’re going to be motivated to make more tiny changes, and over a long period of time (I’m talking a year, or several years) you’re going to be amazed at how far you’ve come. But it's slow, and steady, and cumulative. It's a journey.
Here are some of my favorite small changes to make to your nutrition, and they can be tailored to meet you WHEREVER you are. Everyone starts from a different place, and every single person has room for improvement in their diet. Pick what works for you.
1. Add vegetables. Everyone and their momma needs to eat more vegetables, we are severely under-vegetabled as a society. So here’s the incremental change: if you are currently a vegetable hater, your small change is to add ONE serving of vegetables to your day. You can hide it in a green smoothie (try this one, it tastes like a tropical drink) or you can drench it in red sauce, you can steam it, you can add butter to it—you can eat any kind of vegetable that you like. And if you think you hate ‘em all, you’re not trying hard enough. Buy a bunch of different kinds, try making them a bunch of different ways, find even a small number of options that work for you and your family and eat them at least once every day. If you’re already eating a veggie with dinner, your small change is to eat a serving of vegetables with every meal. Or at least lunch and dinner, if the idea of adding veggies to breakfast is just too much. Commit to this idea, and MAKE IT HAPPEN over a long period of time. Start with a month, but know that this is a change you’re making for the long-term. Channel your inner Popeye. You can do this.
2. Replace sugary beverages (or fake-sugar beverages). If you are a big soda or energy-drink drinker (or pumpkin spice lattes, or whatever your kryptonite is) you probably already know this habit is taking a toll on your health, even if you drink diet soda. You probably also deeply love your soda habit and can’t imagine giving it up cold turkey. Cool, I get it, so let’s find a small place to start. Here’s a good one: replace ONE soda a day with a different beverage. Try flavored sparkling water (like LaCroix) or water with mint leaves or citrus slices in it. Just one drink a day. You can do that. If your thing is sweet coffee, try ordering your drink with half flavor (or just one less pump of syrup). Your taste buds need to adjust, but they will. And no, that one serving of sugar doesn’t make a big difference in TODAY, but over every single day this month it really does.
3. Move away from building your meals based on simple carbohydrates. If you’re like me, you grew up thinking that carbs were the foundation for your entire diet (I mean there they were at the giant bottom of the food pyramid). There’s nothing wrong with carbs, and some of the healthiest foods have tons of them. If I had to live on one food for the rest of my life it would be sweet potatoes, no question. But a lot of carbs (think bread, pasta, rice, cereal) aren’t BAD in and of themselves, but they just offer a whole lot less nutrition than almost anything else you can put on your plate. You can definitely still eat them, but if you can move away from the simple carb being the main attraction of your meal, you’ll be getting more nutrients and improving your health. So here’s your small change: you don’t have to stop making pasta for dinner, but instead of piling your plate full of pasta with a little sprinkle of sauce, beef up the other things on your plate and shrink the pasta serving. Make a really awesome sauce with tons of veggies and proteins that you like, and put a lot of that over a smaller serving of pasta. Serve some roasted veggies or a salad next to it. Don’t stop eating the meals that you like and don't ban your favorite foods from your kitchen, but tweak the way you eat processed grains to maximize the nutrients you're getting along with them. Also, if you're interested in losing weight, cutting grains from your diet is a must. Don't get caught up in worrying about fat, or your ratio of macro nutrients, or any of that other noise--just cut down on simple carbs. Seriously.
4. Increase your protein intake. If you’re trying to improve your fitness but you don’t like to eat a lot of meat, try adding a serving of protein into your day in a way you’ll enjoy it. Collagen powder is virtually tasteless and can go in your smoothie or coffee. People are wild about Rx bars (even though I don’t like how they stick to my teeth, I recognize that I’m in the minority here). Shakeology has been an awesome way for me to add protein to my day, and it also gets me my probiotics and vitamins. If you like eggs, hard boil some eggs and leave them in your fridge all week—try two of them for a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack. Instead of adding three protein shakes a day until you just can’t stand the sight of it anymore, just add one serving, somewhere in your day, every day, and see what it does for your athletic performance. If you’re not into animal protein, try vegan protein powders or adding quinoa, beans, or hemp seeds to your meals.
Alright, now it's your turn! You get to try these things, or tell me in the comments what small changes to your diet have made a big difference in your life. Remember, this is just the first post in this series--we have many other areas of your life to discuss. But what you eat is a big one, it really does set the stage for everything else. Because no matter what, you're making choices about what to eat at least three times a day, and those choices have a profound impact on your health. And remember what I said at the very beginning--you don't need to try all of these things at once! I don't want you to. I want you to try ONE thing, and really get it ingrained as part of your routine, and then you can add another thing. We're not getting overloaded here, we're takin' it slow. We are the turtles, not the hares. GO FORTH AND CONQUER!
Love you, mean it.
Hi, friends! It's Friday, and it has been a good and very full week. And now it is time for a late-breaking Fueled Up Friday! Are you ready? I'm ready. Let's start.
It is FALL here in Minnesota. Sixty degree weather, scarves, and apples. So many delicious apples.
We're going through about a dozen honeycrisp apples a week. I forget how good apples are this time of year, just like I forget how good nectarines are in the summer. Because we live in a frozen tundra where fruit is usually just underwhelming. But not right now--right now apples are showing off. Buy yourself some apples.
II. My Managing Your Energy Group
If you follow the facebook page for Cocoa and Cotton (you should) or my Instagram (@happy_healthy_hannaloraine) you saw me post about a group I'm running this week to share some tips about managing your energy throughout the day and week to avoid burnout and maximize productivity.
You guys, this group has been awesome. A bunch of friends, family members, and acquaintances jumped in wholeheartedly and have been trying things out, sharing their experiences, and totally making my week! I've gotten to know everyone so much better, learned new ideas, and had so much fun sharing what I've learned. It's been a raging success, blowing my expectations out of the water. There will be more of these on different topics, so be sure to follow along on social media so you don't miss the next one!
One of my good friends is a writer's assistant on the Netflix show Girlboss, and I felt like it was finally time to read the memoir that's based on. I love this book.
For those of you who haven't heard of it, #Girlboss is Sophia Amoruso's book about her own life--she is the founder of Nasty Gal, a mammoth clothing company that started as an eBay business where she sold vintage clothing from her bed. I don't so much relate to Sophia--she talks about how she used to eat food out of dumpsters, and she named her brand Nasty Gal, and school really wasn't her thing but making tuna salad at Subway really was (before she became a bigtime fashion mogul). But I really like her. I like her tenacity, and love her story and her message of get-shit-done-ness. Reading her story has been inspiring and motivating to me, and like all of my favorite books it is also funny. If you haven't checked it out yet and you're looking for some boss inspiration, check it out.
Have a truly wonderful weekend, lovelies. Talk to you next week.
I am always on the lookout for new and delicious ways to prepare vegetables. Including veggies in every meal is a baseline rule that keeps our family feeling great, but it's easy to get tired of eating the same old sides over and over again. I actually came up with these green beans during my Whole 30, because my favorite green bean preparation included white wine and that was off-limits for those thirty days. These are tangy and delicious, and different enough from your typical vegetable dishes to add some much-needed variety. They are also paleo, Whole 30 approved, and loved by our entire family. I made them last night next to some simple chicken thighs, and we'll be enjoying leftovers for days.
Fresh green beans (I used a package and a half, about 18 oz)
Avocado or olive oil
Garlic (fresh, minced, I used about 3T)
Orange juice (I used 1/2 cup)
Salt (about three turns of the salt mill, or to taste)
Sesame oil (for drizzling, 1-2 tsp)
Toasted sesame seeds (for garnish, about 1 tsp)
1. Add a few glugs of your oil to the bottom of a large saute pan, and add your fresh garlic. Saute over medium-low heat until fragrant.
2. Add the fresh green beans to the pan and stir until they are evenly coated in oil and garlic. Sprinkle salt over the top, add your orange juice, and turn the heat up to medium.
3. Saute over medium heat, stirring every minute or two, until the orange juice is completely reduced and the green beans are bright green and crisp-tender (or a little longer if you like them softer).
4. When your green beans are done cooking, turn the heat off and drizzle with a teaspoon or two of sesame oil. Stir to evenly distribute the sesame oil, and then sprinkle toasted sesame seeds over the top.
Ok, we need to talk about short weeks. They are harder than full weeks. I don't know why, but it's true. And here we are at Thursday already and I sat down to blog and I have so many feelings and so many things to write about. So we're going straight to Fueled Up Friday, because it's basically Friday and that's the only format that will accommodate all of these different topics. And next week, there will be more blog posts because I'll be back on my game. Let's just start with the weekend and work our way forward.
I. Visiting Friends
We spent one of the three days in last weekend in Rochester, visiting a friend from college and her husband. Dan and I are lucky to have a lot of close friends, and catching up with them for dinner and drinks always recharges our batteries. Especially when we go to lovely restaurants that serve things like this board. The pear jam was so freaking good (with/on/in-and-around all of the meats and cheeses) that I'm going to have to figure out how to make it and post the recipe this fall (you should be excited for that, because it is YUM.) Plus, our friends have a new puppy so Chewy had a playmate and came home exhausted, which is such a cherry on top.
II. Wild Alaskan Salmon
It's the time of year where you can buy wild Alaskan salmon in your local grocery stores, and everyone should be doing that. I made two beautiful, huge fillets this week and ate the leftovers for lunch. The salmon was melt-in-your-mouth tender, which I sometimes have trouble achieving, but I think I've finally figured out the right temperature and time combo.
Here's what worked: Preheat your oven to 425. Rinse salmon,* pat dry, and set on cookie sheet skin-side down (I like to use tin foil for easy cleanup). Our favorite glaze is one part mustard to one part maple syrup with a splash of rice wine vinegar (about 1/4 cup each maple and mustard, whatever mustard you like) spread that over the salmon and sprinkle with fresh rosemary. The other filet just has avocado oil and salt. Bake for 20 minutes and put your broiler on for the last three-ish. Let it rest for a few minutes and then use a spatula to separate the skin from the bottom.
*A friend pointed out to me that you don't actually need to rinse salmon, because it just spreads bacteria around your kitchen and any bacteria that's on the salmon is killed when you cook it. I laughed out loud when I read her comment, because I am ALWAYS telling Dan that exact thing about chicken, but it never occurred to me to apply that knowledge to salmon. I did sort of think you needed to pat it dry to get the crispy outside, though...I'm honestly not sure. But I did rinse and dry these guys, and they were delicious.
III. Love Warrior
Phew. Friends. You likely already know by now how much I love Glennon Doyle Melton (and her first book, Carry On, Warrior, and her facebook posts, and her blog, and her facebook live videos...) and I've been looking forward to Love Warrior's release since more than six months ago, when I ordered this signed copy WHICH ARRIVED TODAY. But the book was released Tuesday and obviously I've waited long enough, so I downloaded the audio book and binge-listened to it Tuesday and Wednesday. I had already started listening a second time through when I finally got the hard copy in my hands.
The book is excellent--it's really raw, and really heavy, and really densely packed with truth. You should read it. Probably more than once.
IV. Mantra Bands
I ordered this lovely little bracelet online and it's giving me so much joy. It's thin and pretty and it says "Have Courage and Be Kind." I actually think Mantra Bands might be the answer to preventing myself from getting more tattoos, because I want nothing more than to tattoo all the wisdom on myself but maybe I could just wear it on these pretty bangley bracelets instead. I think I'm going to order "Be Still and Know" next, but I'm debating between sticking with the silver color or adding a yellow or rose gold to the stack. Also, I'll probably still get another tattoo.
See how I snuck Chewy in there? Didn't even see him coming. I'm tricky like that.
V. 30 Days of Shakeology!
This week I hit thirty days of drinking Shakeology, and I'm a total believer. No one is more shocked about this than me. In thirty days, I've had not ONE upset stomach from the shakes (I had a few sort-of-upset-stomachs from other things, like too much cheese, but even those were few and far between). I've never been able to take a protein supplement without stomach issues before. And this one is a delicious afternoon treat that I look forward to every day. I've gained a noticeable amount of muscle between drinking the shakes and doing the 21 Day Fix Extreme workouts (I especially love the weights-focused workouts, and have been thrilled with the results) which is AWESOME. "Gain muscle" has been on my to-do list for...years. I'm truly terrible at consistent weight training. Beachbody may have solved this problem for me. Can I get a hallelujah??
Super strong flexing pictures to come, probably.
Aaaaalright, that's enough for one Friday. Does that almost make up for the fact that there were no other posts this week? Almost sort of? Love you.
Well, would you look at this?? TWO recipes are being posted to Cocoa and Cotton in the SAME week! Alright, I'll be honest, you can hardly call this a recipe. BUT. But. Stay with me. This is my new favorite way to eat sweet potatoes, and these little suckers can easily be made on Sunday and eaten throughout the week if you're into meal prepping (or even if you're not. We don't have to call it that. This is a safe space.) They're just a little crispy, and nice and soft and chewy, and sweet, and salty, and delicious. And nutritious! I love them. You'll love them, too.
Sweet potatoes (I used three this time, and chose some that were't too thick around the middle so my rounds didn't end up being huge)
Ghee (or butter, or even coconut oil)
1. Preheat your oven to 425F. The group that I photographed for this post was actually baked at 350 and they weren't quite as crispy as they are if you do them at 425--I lived with it, because I was also baking chicken, but hotter is better. (In retrospect, I don't know why I didn't just bake these at 425 by themselves--we have a double oven. I bought it just exactly for this purpose. You guys, I need a helper.)
2. Wash and scrub your sweet potatoes really well, since you're going to be leaving the skins on. And EATING them! You can do that. It's good for you. You won't even notice. Guys, once I was running late and needed Dan to help me get started on dinner before I got home, and I asked him if he would wash the potatoes for me, and he asked if he should use soap. Don't use soap to wash the potatoes. Don't use soap on any food, ok? Ok.
3. Prick holes in the sweet potato skins with your fork, and pop them in the microwave just enough to soften them, but not to cook them all the way. How long this takes is really going to depend on how big your sweet potatoes are--I would start with 4 minutes and go up by 2 from there. You'll be able to tell if the sweet potatoes have softened enough by squeezing them (but careful, because they're not) so grab a dish towel to protect your hands and give them a squeeze. If they're still really hard, add another two minutes and try again.
4. Once they feel a little soft when you squeeze, take them out of the microwave and slice them into coins about 1/4 inch thick. Place them on a baking sheet, ideally with a silicone baking mat underneath (if you don't have one of those you could use parchment paper, but also you should probably buy one because they're inexpensive and magical).
5. Melt your ghee, or butter, or coconut oil. You don't need much--for this entire baking sheet, I used probably one tablespoon of ghee. Maybe one and a half. Brush the top of each sweet potato with the ghee and sprinkle with sea salt.
6. Pop those suckers in the oven and let them bake until they're browned on the bottom, about 25ish minutes. If you want to be a really good cook you could flip them so they brown on both sides, but I frankly don't have the patience for that.
These are delicious right out of the oven, or you can store them in the fridge and eat throughout the week.
Fall is coming, my friends. It's not here yet, but the morning and evening air is starting to get that little bite to it that reminds you autumn is on its way. I'm not going to be upset about that--yes, summer is amazing, but let's talk about all of the things that are wonderful about fall. 1) sweaters. boots. scarves. vests. Don't tell me that's not one item, I won't hear it. 2) warm beverages. chai lattes, apple cider, even more coffee than usual... 3) apple crisp, apple pie, apple everything. apples.
This dessert is the perfect summer-isn't-over-but-fall-will-be-here-soon dessert. Do you guys hate it when I use a thousand hyphens? I love the hyphens. But really. Let's focus. Raspberry apple crisp was made for August. It's got that fresh, juicy raspberry flavor of summer, but the warm apple-y goodness of fall. I made this for a dinner party with friends last weekend and it was a huge hit. At least one friend was worried I was going to bring something too healthy when I volunteered to bring dessert, but was thrilled to receive this deliciousness instead--don't tell her, but it is sort of healthy. For a dessert.
I made this crisp in what I would call "paleo-ish" fashion, because it's definitely not strict paleo (it has oats, for starters, and a little bit of grass-fed butter, though I can't keep track of whether we're calling that paleo or not, and I used regular sugar because I'm out of coconut sugar). But it could easily be made paleo--skip the oats, sub ghee or coconut oil for the butter if you like, and choose a sugar that fits in your plan. Coconut, maple, whatever. But don't skip this dessert, because it is delicious.
For the filling:
2 12-oz bags of frozen raspberries
3 Tbs lemon juice
4 Tbs sugar of choice (I used regular, but see above if you're hung up on that)
4 heaped Tbs arrowroot starch (or regular flour, if that's your jam)
A hearty dash of cinnamon (don't get sassy with me, I measured literally everything else)
For the crumble top:
1 cup almond flour
1/2 cup arrowroot starch (if you're a regular flour-eater you can also just do plain old flour and oats instead of almond and arrowroot flours)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup sugar (see above re: type, I used regular raw cane sugar)
4 Tbs butter (or coconut oil, or ghee)
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
2. Peel and slice your apples--slice them nice and thin so they cook evenly through. I left mine in normal slices, but next time I make this I might cut the slices in half so the apple pieces are smaller, since the berries make a messy pile and the apple slices are sort of large and cumbersome. Your call.
3. Add your apples to a big bowl (bigger than you think you need--the biggest bowl you have) and add your frozen raspberries.
4. Add your lemon juice and sugar, sprinkle cinnamon over the whole top of the bowl, and mix well. After that's all mixed up, add your arrowroot starch and mix well again.
5. Pour your raspberry apple-mixture into an ungreased 9x13 baking pan, and rinse and dry your big bowl to mix up your crumble (saving you some dishes here--you're welcome).
6. Mix all the dry ingredients for your crumble top together really well (everything except the butter).
7. Once your dry ingredients are all well-mixed, cut your butter into little pieces and add it to the crumble bowl. Using a fork or your fingers, mash the butter into the dry crumble mix until it's crumbly. You want to break up the big butter chunks, so just keep mashing, but there are going to be some chunky crumbly pieces. That's ok. Aim for something that looks like this:
8. Pour your crumble evenly over the top of your apple-berry mixture, covering the whole top.
9. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the edges are bubbling and the top is brown.
10. Try not to eat it all immediately because it smells so good. This is delicious with vanilla ice cream, or on its own. Just let it cool before you dive in, ok? Burned tongues are the worst.
The Ragnar has been conquered!!! A full race recap is coming your way this week, but for now I'm catching up on sleep and eating all of the things, including these awesome zoodles (zucchini noodles). Writing this blog has made me realize that I cook interesting meals a lot more often in the winter than in the summer, because we're too busy enjoying the nice weather to spend too much time in the kitchen in the summertime. But this recipe is a standby that I haven't shared yet, so it's coming your way today.
These zoodles aren't strict paleo/Whole 30 the way I make them, because they have peanut butter, but you could easily swap in almond or cashew butter to make them compliant. If you're going that route, I would also add a smidge of tahini to keep the flavor really nutty. And, because I'm starting the 21 Day Fix Extreme tomorrow and getting familiar with my portion control containers, I'll include the 21DF container counts for anyone following that program. Enjoy!!
Makes 4 servings, 21 Day Fix containers are 1 green, 1 red, and 2 tsp per serving
2 medium/large zucchini or summer squash (I used one of each)
1 Tbs olive oil
1Tbs garlic, chopped
Shrimp (I used frozen pre-cooked and just thawed it--if following 21DF measure 1 red container per portion)
4 tsp peanut butter
2 Tbs coconut aminos
1 tsp fish sauce (I like Red Boat)
1 tsp sesame oil
squirt of sriracha or pinch of red pepper flakes, to taste (optional)
sesame seeds, for garnish
1. Spiralize your zucchini into noodles. I love my countertop spiralizer, but you can also buy a handheld one (look for vegetti brand or similar) for under ten dollars. If you're not yet a veggie noodle convert I highly recommend trying zoodles--they're easy to cook and such an easy swap to get more veggies in your diet. You can even mix them with traditional spaghetti half and half to lower your carbs/grains and sneak in some extra veggies if you still want the traditional pasta texture.
2. Add your olive oil and garlic to a medium skillet and cook over medium heat until garlic is fragrant. Add your zoodles and cook them for 3-5 minutes, tossing frequently, until they are brighter green but still fairly firm.
3. Add the sauce ingredients to a small bowl and whisk everything together with a fork. When you start mixing this all up, it's going to look chunky and like the peanut butter will never integrate with the other sauce ingredients. Keep mixing, it will all smooth out. When it's all pretty smooth, add a tiny bit of water (like 1 tsp or so) and mix that in to make everything really smooth and creamy-looking. I added way too much water and it got a bit soupy. Go slow with the water.
4. Add your sauce to your skillet with zoodles and turn your heat back on to medium for another 3-5 minutes, until the zoodles are cooked to the texture you prefer (I like them cooked past the point of being crunchy but not so long that they're mushy).
Once your zoodles are done cooking, add your shrimp and toss everything together to warm the shrimp. Transfer to serving containers (or meal prep containers, if you're cooking for the week like I was) and garnish with sesame seeds.
If you find your zoodles are too long to manage easily use a spatula or knife to make two cuts lengthwise across the pile (in a + shape) to give yourself noodles that are easier to handle.
This recipe is also awesome with sweet potato noodles if you're looking for something with more starch, but the zucchini version is perfect for a light summer meal. Have a great week, friends!