We have fully entered the season of busy. Easy weeknight meals are one of the things you guys ask for most, and this is also the struggle I see with many of my nutrition clients, simple, approchable meals for the busy work week. So, today I am sharing one of my favorite, simple slow cooker recipes, that comes with 3 different variations, so you won’t get bored. You could literally make this dish every single week as part of your meal planning and mix it up a million different ways.
My favorite thing about each of these recipes are the many varying ways to serve it up:
- lettuce wrapped
- on a salad
- over cauliflower rice (or traditional grains, like quinoa or millet)
- over zucchini noodles
- in any kind of veggie bowl
- filling for tacos, fajitas, burritos or enchiladas with your favorite tortillas
- filling an omelette
- add to soups or stews
- stirred into a scramble or frittata
- add to fried rice or fried cauliflower rice
- over ramen noodles
- just spooned straight into your face!
These Grain-free Spicy Cauliflower Fritters are an amazing way to embrace the cauliflower love, taking the cauli-rice trend to a whole new level. These versatile patties can be adapted to whatever flavor and spice blend you’d like and served with your favorite sauce, we like Chipotle Lime Aioli.
Veg based fritters have always been a favorite of mine, either as a quick bite appetizer or snack, or atop a large bed of greens as a main dish, I find them to be quick, simple, cheap and versatile. Since I have removed both grains and beans from my diet, due to my autoimmune conditions and my digestive issues, I haven’t really messed with too many veggie-based fritters, cakes and patties in recent years. But, after a recent exploration with cauliflower, which is one of my favorite, versatile, low carb, starch-like veggies – these fritters were born and they have quickly become a new fav.
Over the years, breakfast has slowly become one of my favorite meals. It’s amazing to me there was ever a time I skipped this glorious and powerful meal. I can truly see (and feel), just how important a meal it is and how it sets the tone for the rest of my day. With a solid “log”(as we call it around here) to build a long lasting fire with for the day, I find a breakfast loaded with lots of veggies, and quality fats and proteins to be the best hope for a successful and productive day. These Paleo Breakfast Burrito Bowls are possibly one of my most favorite ways to start my day in a major ass-kicking way!
This is another un-recipe recipe, of sorts. I call it that, because while there are certainly ingredients and instructions, this is truly just a guide, the options and variations are endless. I am super into these types of recipes lately. I find this is the kind of cooking that has always inspired me to get into the kitchen and create, with direction but open-ended options, I feel free to make choices that speak to my personal (and hubby’s) tastes, without rigid rules or fear of screwing it up.
Every single day, the choices we make, when eating, have the power to not only impact our own health and vitality, but also that of many others. The decisions we make on the food we put into our bodies, of course, affects us from a nutritional standpoint, but our choices also have the power to affect our environment and our community, both locally and globally. That sure is a heavy burden to put on an unassuming Golden Rice and Cauliflower Pilaf, but the proof is in the ingredients.
I recently had the opportunity to partner with REBBL, to collaborate and develop a unique, inspired recipe using one of their amazing elixirs. I discovered their products some time last year, while shopping at Whole Foods. I was instantly drawn to their commitment to quality of ingredients, sourcing and their efforts on leaving a lasting and positive impact. REBBL‘s level of consciousness leads to products that are certified organic and fair-trade and you’ll only find real food ingredients listed – no lab-created flavors or thickeners. REBBL also takes great interest and care in their formulas and the efficacy of their super-herbs and other super food ingredients. Finally, with their transparency you can actually track ingredients using their Sourcing Tracker to see their commitment to sustainable farming and their support of fair labor practices.
So here we are, another recipe on Tasty Yummies where I leave a lot of the decision-making to you guys. I have to say these end of being my favorite recipes, in a lot of ways. It’s not due to a laziness on my part, more, it’s that this has always been my approach to cooking in my own kitchen and to teaching others in their own unique culinary journeys. I always want to give you the tools to make the right decisions for you, your unique desires and/or your dietary needs. My hope is that I can always help to empower you to feel confident in the kitchen, to try new things, to get adventurous and make decisions on the fly and who knows, maybe even jump outside of your comfort zone at times.
Our nutritional needs can vary just as wildly as our fingerprints. This is why I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all approach to nutrition and eating, it simply can’t work. I don’t believe in slapping a label on my diet, following an arbitrary set of rules and ignoring my body’s intuitive response to food. That said, the fundamentals and foundations that we know to be true, can absolutely be applied across the board, with many little variations along the way. I think this is what I love about food so much, it can be tweaked, the details shifted to suit your needs, cravings, desires and even location – the sky truly is the limit.
This might seem like a beast of a tutorial, but if you grew up Greek, as I did, you will know just how exciting this is the first time you make them yourself. For the past few years, every trip my parents have taken out here to California to visit us, we have planned a day and made a huge Greek feast. Each time we have made the time to use the beautiful grape leaves growing in my yard that are always perfectly in season and we spend the afternoon making homemade dolmades AKA dolmas AKA stuffed grape leaves. These are just like my Yia Yia and my dad’s Yia Yia, had made when we were growing up.
The beautiful thing about this stuffed grape leaves tutorial/recipe is how versatile it is. I have made these both vegan and with meat and most recently I have even experimented with cauliflower rice for a grain-free version. I have also made them both with jarred grape leaves and the fresh grape leaves growing in my yard.
My dad has stories of his YiaYia (my great grandmother) driving along very specific country roads that she knew had grape vines, all the kids in the car would be instructed to get out and pick the freshest leaves, they would then take them home and she would tie them up to dry out in the attic, so she’d always have them on hand for homemade dolmades.
Thankfully, I have several grape vines growing behind my house, so I don’t have to stalk any local vineyards. In the late spring and early summer as they are just starting to sprout new leaves, I can head behind the house pick the prettiest and most perfect ones, just for making dolmades. If you don’t have access to grapevines, simply buy jarred grape leaves, a little less work but still so delicious.
This tutorial shares options for the filling to be made with or without meat, with rice or with cauliflower rice. Throughout the instructions you will see notes that pertain to the various options. Be sure to read carefully.
Stuffed grape leaves make a great meze (mezethes or mezze) an appetizer or a small dish to share, meant to be served with wine or ouzo. Imagine a plate of these with some homemade hummus, feta cheese and olives, a big bowl of avgolemeno soup, falafel, a big ‘ol Greek salad, the list could go on and on. Whatever you serve these with and however you serve these, hot, warm or cool, you will love them, especially if you make and share them with people you love. This I can very much attest to.
This month for my ongoing series with Beachgreens Organic Produce Delivery rather than focusing on a single vegetable or fruit, we wanted to share a recipe featuring one of our favorite local foods, this Mole Monarca sauce from Peppered Up, right here in Long Beach. This traditional red mole sauce is inspired by owner Griselda’s mother and grandmother and it stays true to its roots from central Mexico.
This sauce has incredible flavor notes. Rich, dark, smoky and earthy with a spicy kick, this unique blend of peppers, spices, seeds and nuts can literally turn any dish into a party! For those following along with my Autoimmune Protocol journey, you can obviously guess that this isn’t bowl of deliciousness sadly doesn’t fit my current restrictions. I created this recipe before I started AIP earlier this month, so I was able to happily able to enjoy it then. Now I am just dreaming of it, it’s that good!
Part of being a food blogger is being lucky enough to meet and become friends with loads of other amazing and talented food bloggers, cookbook authors, recipe developers, food photographers, etc. It just sort of happens over time. Besides having social media feeds loaded with food photos and constantly chatting about what’s for dinner, it’s mostly just incredibly inspiring. Being surrounded virtually and in the real world with people that are passionate about food, eating and sharing this love and passion with others. It’s pretty darn amazing.
More and more of these talented folks are authoring beautiful cookbooks filled with their creative recipes. I now have bookshelves full of incredible recipe resources. In 2014, I got a bit behind on my cookbook reviews and I am working to remedy that this year. So, I am working on a new series I am calling Foodie Friend Fridays, where every other Friday (or there-abouts), I will share cookbook reviews and recipes from some of my favorite cookbooks, guest posts from incredibly talented friends, occasional giveaways and more! Some of the reviews will feature cookbooks that are paleo, some vegan, others just a general topic cookbook, with recipes that would work for us gluten-free folk, but be sure I will always share gluten-free recipes and I will always give you my honest critiques.
First up is Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple by Danielle Walker. It felt natural that this would be the first cookbook I’d review and share a recipe from, in this new year, as I had the pleasure of working closely with Danielle this past fall on the set of Access Hollywood. Danielle was a guest on a segment promoting this book and she asked if I would work as her food stylist for the shoot. This meant I shopped for and made all of the recipes from her book featured on the episode, from start to finish, plating the dishes, getting the set all prepped for the shoot and making it all pretty. (watch the segment here, check out the sweet plating, the props from my home collection and the pretty flowers, too while you’re there 😉 ) It was an incredible experience and also a ton of work. I now have an immense amount of respect for people that do this on the regular. More than anything, I was excited to get to get my hands dirty creating 3 of the delicious recipes from Danielle’s latest NY Times Best Seller.
If the irony of this post falling in line right after a post about a rice cooker, doesn’t show you just how much I believe in living a life of moderation – I am not sure what will. Though I am not 100% grain-free or paleo, I do try very hard to limit my intake of grains, these days. I haven’t found that I need to cut them out 100% of the time, but I do notice that if I eat less grains and I am more mindful of how often I do eat them, it really does make a significant difference in how I feel. But, now and again is fine with me.
Coming up with grain-free desserts, choosing lettuce, collard greens or Swiss chard wraps over bread and rolls, zucchini pasta in place of regular pasta – these are all things I do regularly to cut back on the amount of grains I am consuming. That said, I do still enjoy pizza and pasta now and again, I will on occasion make a loaf of gluten-free bread and sometimes a good ‘ol fashioned cookie, made with grains is just what I want.
Allowing myself to have what I want and not completely cutting it all out of my life, is far easier for me. All of these types of choices and decisions have become much more of a lifestyle for me, rather than a diet or some set of rules that I follow. By changing life long habits and making wiser choices, I really feel so much more free and I never feel restricted or stuck. I also feel like I am free to listen to my body and I can allow myself to indulge now and again.
Cauliflower rice was something I discovered a while back and although it cannot completely replace traditional rice in all recipes, it is truly wonderful when you are enjoying a dish that calls for a bed of rice – curries, stews, sauces and so on. Usually the rice is a nice way to have a more filling meal, to offer some texture and a way to soak up some of the extra sauce, so cauliflower rice is such a perfect substitution for these dishes and it is so incredibly easy to make. Done in about 10 minutes, or less.