Ready in a flash, at 20 minutes or less, this one-pan Lemon Garlic Black Pepper Shrimp is garlicky, buttery, with a fresh, bright flavor from the lemon and just a little heat from the black peppercorns. Pair with zucchini noodles, cauliflower rice or cauliflower mash for an easy-to-make meal, perfect for a busy weeknight, but elegant enough to serve up to guests.
Since I have launched the Meal Plans Service and especially as I have continued to work one-on-one with nutrition clients, I have found myself very drawn toward creating simple, yet still fairly epic weeknight meals. Meals that ‘WOW’ without a ton of fuss. This is what I am loving creating more than nearly anything else right now. Recipes that people will actually make! Most specifically I have been loving those of the one-pan, ready-in-under-30-minutes variety. It’s been so rewarding getting the instagram notifications, on the very same day a recipe posts here on the website, that you guys are already making them. That says something and it’s the ultimate compliment.
Disclosure: Post sponsored by Ralphs, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I have been thinking a lot about this maybe slightly silly day that started as a Hallmark holiday. I don’t totally subscribe to the notion of needing a holiday to shower the people I love with gifts to show my love. To me, sharing your love and gratitude with the people who mean the most to you, this should be every single day, all year long. Jewelry, flowers, chocolates and other gifts, these have always felt trite and unneeded on this one arbitrary day.
But as this year, in it’s infancy, has already had it’s challenges where we’ve sadly witnessed far too much hate and negativity, possibly more than any other year before, this year I am feeling really fond of a day set aside to celebrate love, in all it’s vast variations. Not with gifts and tangible offerings per se, but more acts of love and kindness! Not just for our spouses, partners and family but everyone in our community, locally and globally, in any ways that we can.
In an effort to lighten things up, I have definitely made mashed cauliflower as a swap for mashed potatoes in the past. Listen, I am not going to lie to you guys, mashed cauliflower it’s not “faux mashed potatoes”. Mashed cauliflower is mashed cauliflower. It’s really freakin’ good, but it’s also fairly flat. It lacks the starchiness of mashed potatoes, it lacks the heft! It doesn’t hold up to a thick, luscious gravy.
I broke the seal on this summer’s ice cream maker usage with this incredible Peach Raspberry Sorbet, earlier this month and now I can’t stop. When I get a craving for something, you best watch yourself. Get out of my way and let me do my thing. My current adoration of my ice cream maker plus a craving for a childhood favorite meant it was time to create!
I had the realization that I have sadly been without cookie dough ice cream for longer than should be allowed. The store-bought ones, even when gluten-free or dairy-free, are still loaded with so much junk, tons of refined sugar, creepy lab experiment thickeners and I just can’t.
As I go deeper into learning about nutrition and food, while in school to become a Nutritional Therapist, at times feeding my husband reminds me a lot of what my friends who are mothers, go through with their children. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is no man-child, he can take care of himself, he’ll cook when I am not around, he eats his veggies and he can grill like it’s no one’s business – clearly my hubby is > a toddler. But, the man loves his sweets. If he had it his way he would eat a doughnut or a slice of cake for breakfast every single day, he will however on the average day simply settle for toast with jelly or a bowl of cereal. Of course, no matter what is selected this would all be accompanied by the largest cup of coffee. Ever. Sigh.
Recently I have been working with him not to change his diet in some drastic way, I don’t need him resenting me and my schooling, but more to understand how starting his day in this manner definitely contributes to, if not exclusively causes, those mid-day crashes he was constantly struggling with and not only that, how it also leads to additional cravings and the need and urge for more sugar and carbs to be satiated. The vicious, never-ending, sugar-burning cycle.
Green has always been one of my very favorite colors. I have always been intuitively drawn to it, as long as I can remember. After I grew out of the typical pale pink phase that most little girls go through, I wanted everything to be green in my childhood bedroom. I am drawn to green food and I find comfort in lush green environments. From an energetic standpoint the color green represents the heart chakra, Anahata. Our center of love and compassion.
I think when we hear the word love, often we think of our relationships, our spouses and partners, our family and our closest friends. We are all taken by this feeling of being drawn together and connected in unity. But, lately I have very much reminded how just as important that same love and compassion is, when it comes to ourselves.
It is so very easy to get caught up in life, to forget our own needs and to be so available to those that we love that we can forget to care for ourselves. After struggling with this at the end of last year and as I continue to explore the idea of helping others on a deeper level, I am constantly reminded how vital self care, self love and self compassion are to me being able to bring my best self to others. I struggle with my ego trying to convince me to believe this self care is selfish, the balance is delicate and often that line is greyed, for some people.
This need for self-love has been most apparent to me as I have tackled my own healing journey this past year and I would say the same could be said for anyone going through any of their own healing. Whether it be physical, emotional or spiritual. To heal is to make whole. If our heart center is the catalyst to unification, then it too becomes the center of healing. Indeed, love stands to be the ultimate healing force.
Ghee is a kitchen staple around here. For the longest time I was buying it, and I still do in a pinch, but as I discovered the cost efficiency and simplicity of making it at home, I have made this part of my DIY repertoire.
For those unfamiliar, ghee is a clarified butter, of sorts, that has been cooked down for some time, removing any moisture, milk solids and impurities. What remains is a pure and delicious butter oil, that has turned a beautiful golden color, it’s taste and flavor are slightly sweet and nutty. Ghee brings an aroma, taste and flavor a lot like butter, but even better. The difference between clarified butter and ghee is ghee’s lengthier cooking process, to remove all the moisture and the milk solids are browned in the fat and then strained out, bringing the slightly nutty taste. Ghee has a longer shelf life, due to all the moisture being removed.
Ghee is a wonderful option for those who are lactose or casein intolerant and want to enjoy the taste of butter. Ghee is also clearly a much better option than those scary hydrogenated oil-filled margarines and other highly processed vegan spreads. It does not burn, unless heated excessively, so it’s a wonderful option for stir fries, sautéing, frying, roasting, sauces, ettc. It’s also delicious as a spread, on toast, pancakes, scones, over rice and more. It can also be used on the body, as an oil for massage, as a base for healing herbal treatments, for burns, skin rashes, etc.
In India, ghee is a sacred and celebrated symbol of nourishment and healing, especially in daily rituals. It is also used in every day cooking. Ayurvedic physicians celebrate this liquid gold as being important to health and well-being, balance and vitality. If you don’t wish to make your own, ghee is usually found in the ethnic section of any big grocery store, in most Indian/South Asian stores or online.
Always make ghee with high-quality grass-fed organic butter. Cheap butter contains a lot of water and chemicals and it tends to burn faster. Due to the reduction and straining process, always start with 25% more butter than the amount of clarified butter desired. 1 pound of butter = approximately 1 1/2 cups ghee.
The Benefits of Choosing Ghee:
Rich Butter Taste without the Lactose or Casein. Made from butter ghee has the buttery flavor, but the milk solids have been removed, so if you are lactose or casein free, enjoy without issue.
Ghee has a high smoke point. 485ºF. You can cook and fry with ghee and it will not burn nor will it break down into free radicals, like so many other cooking oils can.
Ghee doesn’t spoil easily. Without the presence of milk fat and water, this makes ghee shelf stable. If you desire, it can be stored at room temperature rather then refrigeration. Ghee will last a couple months in an air-tight container at room temperature. If you aren’t sure if any moisture or milk solids remain, you can certainly play it safe and store in the fridge, to maximize it’s shelf life. That’s generally what I do.
Ghee is rich in fat soluable vitamins A D and E. If you have gluten sensitivity, leaky gut, IBS, Crohn’s or certain pancreatic disorders, you may have a problem absorbing vitamin A. By using ghee for cooking, and as a replacement for butter, you can increase your intake. Vitamin D can be made in the body, after exposure to sunlight, but obviously in the colder winter months is can be challenging for us to make enough. Ghee benefits the body by improving moisture and contains vitamin E, which is an antioxidant whose role is to repair damaged skin, balance hormones, improve vision and help to balance cholesterol. Fat-soluble vitamins are absorbed with fat and stored in the gastrointestinal tract — and they are essential to maintaining a healthy metabolism and various biochemical functions in the body. (1)
Ghee is also rich is K2 and Conjugated Linoleum Acid. Studies show K2 is better for building bones than calcium and proper levels of K2 can help fight tooth decay, bone loss and aid in the fight against the calcification of arteries. CJA is antioxidant with anti-viral properties, when sourced from grass-fed cows. Studies indicate that it may help to reduce tumors, lower cholesterol and high blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and actually lower body fat.(2)
Like coconut oil, ghee is rich is medium chain fatty acids, which are quickly absorbed directly to the liver and used as energy. This quick burn can actually lead to weight loss.
Ghee and butter are rich in butyric acid, a short chain fatty acid great for protection against fungal infections and aids in colon health. It’s been shown to support healthy insulin levels, is an anti-inflammatory, and may be helpful for individuals suffering from IBS, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. (3)
Ghee Reduces Inflammation. Ghee’s levels of butyrate play a role in reducing inflammation in the digestive tract and throughout the body. In Ayurvedic practice, ghee benefits the body by creating a more alkaline system that overall reduces inflammation by reducing the leukotriene secretion and reducing prostaglandin in the body(4)
To know me, is to know my absolute LOVE and adoration of Christmas. You guys, I love the holidays so much I would eat my Christmas tree, if I could. But I can’t, I’ve tried (I haven’t). Seriously though, I was thinking the other day about the aroma of the tree and that very distinct evergreen scent that fills the house and how I wish I could bottle it up and eat it. These ramblings of a Christmas crazy person did actually serve some purpose, it brought me to the idea of rosemary cookies.
Yes, I know rosemary is not the same as a pine tree, but it certainly is reminiscent, it does have teeny little hints of the same earthy aroma and it felt like the perfect flavor to craft a cookie around. Besides, to know me is to also know that I much prefer savory over sweet and most Christmas cookies are just way too sugary for my taste.
How-to Make Homemade Nut Butters
I am so excited about this next post in the Tutorial Tuesday series. It has been quite the undertaking sampling, soaking, dehydrating and playing with different flavors but it is so easy and so totally worth it to make your own homemade nut butters. OK, so I may have gone a little overboard, but hopefully all of your nut butter questions have now been answered.
Besides the simple how-to instructions, I wanted to include some insight as to why I recommend soaking your nuts and seeds, how to also dehydrate them after you have soaked them and all of the various times for doing so. Plus, you will find some various flavor combinations that I love and even a nut-free sunflower seed butter recipe. Hope you guys enjoy.
Basically if it’s a nut (and even many seeds) and you like it, you can make a butter out of it. I have sampled so many different types of nut butters and the sky is the limit. I wish I could afford to buy enough of each of the nuts pictured to sample making nut butters with all of them for you guys, but that is certainly out of the budget when buying organic. So for this tutorial, I just went with a couple of my personal favorites. Almond, cashew, pecan, hazelnut (in a homemade nutella) and I even made a nut-free sunflower seed butter for you.
To Soak or Not To Soak.
Why I Choose to Soak: Most nuts, seeds, grains and beans are covered in natural chemicals – enzyme inhibitors and toxins – that protect them while growing, both from sprouting prematurely and also from predators. These nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances are enzyme inhibitors, phytates (phytic acid), polyphenols (tannins), and goitrogens. Once harvested, those same chemicals, the major one being phytic acid – are indigestible to the human body and must be broken down before consumption. When food containing phytic acid is consumed, the acid combines with important minerals like calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and blocks their absorption which inhibits our digestive systems’ ability to break the nut down properly.
The very simple process of soaking releases these chemicals, helping you to absorb your food’s essential minerals and nutrients. Additionally, by soaking the nuts with the removal of these nutritional inhibitors and toxic substances, the flavor and taste is much more ideal and appealing.
To summarize: Soaking nuts and seeds makes them easier to digest and improves their flavor. Read the rest of this entry »