This Wilted Kale Salad with Warm Mustard Shallot Vinaigrette and Spicy Butternut Squash Croutons is winter’s answer to a green salad! Loaded with nutrients and pops of color and SO much taste it’s dreamy as a side or plop your favorite protein on top and make it a meal. The squash croutons? Sure I know they aren’t croutons, but with a little finesse we get a subtle crisp to them that are better than any boring ‘ol bread crouton.
It’s winter and salads often become a distant memory for many. I get it, cold, crispy raw salads just aren’t that appealing to me either, when there’s a chill in the air. I crave warming, comforting and cozy. But, I have made a commitment to my daily #BFS (Big F&%$ing Salad). I find this practice is a great way to ensure I get a big blast of daily nutrients, no matter what!
This is a salad for the winter. With kale as the shining star, this is the perfect way to get in those nutrient-rich greens in the cooler months. Kale is exploding with disease-fighting phytochemicals and it’s one of my most favorite whole-food sources of cognition-boosting nutrition. Here’s what Max Lugavere has to say about kale:
Dark leafy greens like kale and spinach are a top source of lutein and zeaxanthin, two carotenoids which have been the focus of numerous recent studies.
In volunteers, supplementing with lutein and zeaxanthin led to faster processing speed. 1http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108178 This effect was significant “even when testing young, healthy individuals who tend to be at peak efficiency,” wrote study authors.
In another study, human subjects with higher levels of lutein and zeaxanthin did better on a test of working memory, while their brains seemed to be working more efficiently when observed under fMRI.2https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society/article/relationship-of-lutein-and-zeaxanthin-levels-to-neurocognitive-functioning-an-fmri-study-of-older-adults/128FA33729CB102A1DC5ACAAFF7D972D
Finally, lutein (found in egg yolks, spinach and kale) was associated with greater crystalized intelligence—the ability to use learned knowledge and experience—in older adults. 3http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00297/full
References [ + ]
1. ↑ http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0108178 2. ↑ https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-the-international-neuropsychological-society/article/relationship-of-lutein-and-zeaxanthin-levels-to-neurocognitive-functioning-an-fmri-study-of-older-adults/128FA33729CB102A1DC5ACAAFF7D972D 3. ↑ http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fnagi.2016.00297/full
Infused Olive Oils make really great and beautiful gifts for the food lovers in your life! They are also great to have on hand in your own kitchen for your own cooking adventures. The flavor possibilities are endless and it is truly a fun and unique gift.
There are lots of great options for simple homemade gifts here on TY: Healthier Hot Cocoa Mix, Homemade Chocolate Bark, Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix in a Jar, DIY homemade Vanilla Extract, Essential Oil Holiday Room Sprays, Crock Pot Pumpkin Butter, Coconut Butter, Nut Butters, Candy Cane Hot Cocoa Mix, Chai Concentrate, just to name a few of my favorites.
A handmade gift, made with love, packaged up sweetly with beautiful custom labels and a thoughtful note, to me, is what the season is all about. Sharing something you created with your own two hands, especially for the person receiving it.
There are so many various ways you can infuse olive oil and there are just as many posts floating around the web telling us about them. Some heat the oil, while others just throw it all together in the bottle and call it a day, some leave in the ingredients in, others strain them out before bottling. I have done a lot of reading and no matter what method you choose, there are a few concerns we have to take into account when making infused olive oils.
With the holidays upon us, it’s time once again that I share with you some of my favorite, simple homemade holiday gifts. This wintertime staple is a quintessential way to deal with the frosty cold weather. This homemade version is made with only a few, all-natural ingredients and the bonus to making it yourself, besides the obvious, is the free reign to add whatever you’d like to it. If you like less sweet, opt for unsweetened chocolate, looking for a little more sweetness try bitter or semisweet chocolate instead. You can add cinnamon or cayenne or any other flavors you’d like (see the bottom of the post for flavor variations). Today I am sharing my recipe for a basic hot cocoa mix with a few suggestions at the end for extra add-ins, as well as a free printable label for you to print out, customize and add to your gift.
There’s nothing like giving the gift of tasty treats, made with love this time of year, but especially cozy, heart-warming decadence like this homemade Hot Cocoa Mix. Rich and luxurious without being excessively sweet. Download the included printable, customizable label, throw in some mini marshmallows, this is a great recipe if you want to make your own. Package it all up in a cute jar, include a tablespoon tied with a little ribbon or string and voila, the perfect holiday gift.
How-to Make Hot Cocoa Mix
This rich, creamy, luscious Paleo Pumpkin Panna Cotta is made dairy-free and it’s topped with crunchy spiced Cinnamon Cookie Crumble and a homemade dairy-free, honey-sweetened caramel drizzle. The perfect make-ahead, fuss-free holiday treat that you can feel good about eating.
We all know that with the holidays comes fussy recipes, especially desserts, that we covet and cherish every year, so we can savor the traditional flavors we have come to associate with the season. There is so much about this that I love and simultaneously I also find that possibly our time might be better spent in other ways. I would much prefer not to fuss with a complicated pie crust and rather enjoy my family or friends. I would prefer a more health-focused, smarter, more updated version of a recipe, in place of what we’ve always known.
This recipe brings the pumpkin pie vibes in a whole new way. Paleo Pumpkin Panna Cotta with Cinnamon Cookie Crumble and Caramel Drizzle, OK so, it may sound complicated in it’s name, but it will take more time to say the name, than it will to actually make it (ok disclosure: that part’s not true). There is certainly time in set up with this one, but actual hands on minutes of cooking and prep, they are pretty minimal, by comparison to a pie. Plus, as far as I am concerned any holiday recipe that doesn’t require an oven, that’s a win for every one. This single recipe can be made in much smaller serving sizes, serving up to 8, depending on the vessel you choose to serve in.
These Bone Broth Braised Greens are a nourishing addition to any holiday table or just a perfect, comforting side dish, for anytime. Bone broth, onion, garlic, lemon and red pepper flakes add flavor to this side dish that can be made with whatever hearty green is in season. Collard greens, Swiss chard, kale or a mix of your favorites.
I find that at holiday tables (shoot many dinner tables year ’round, for that matter) the veggies are often an afterthought. The thing people throw together and half-ass, because they “have to”. Veggies deserve more love than that. A little respect and honor, ya know? After all, nutrient-rich veggies should be the backbone of any real food diet, or any diet really. We should be shooting for some green stuff at every single meal. Non-negotiable.
I know veggies can get boring and if you’re like me, in the cooler months, salads get less and less enticing, so getting those greens in can be hard. Steaming works, but let’s be real, it can be ‘blah!’ and when you serve ‘blah’ veggies, it’s a fight to get them down and the chances are you aren’t going to do it at every meal.
These slow cooked greens, bring the flavor and nourishing, healing goodness of the bone broth, we get a little heat from the red pepper flakes and the onion, garlic and lemon, round it all out with classic, simplicity.
It’s a pretty fuss-free recipe and at the end of it, you get a bowl of goodness that your beautiful body sooo deserves! Every time I share that I am whipping up this recipe on social media, I get so many messages that you want the recipe. So I finally wrote it up to share with you. Just in time for the holidays.
Breakfast for breakfast, breakfast for dinner, breakfast at any time, this flavor-loaded Skillet Baked Eggs and Greens with Herby Feta Yogurt Drizzle is a one-skillet meal that you too will be obsessed with.
If you haven’t deducted from the insane amount of breakfast and brunch posts – I love eggs. I love meals centered around eggs. I like eggs for breakfast, just fine, but I also really love eggs for dinner. Shakshuka is one of my absolute, all-time favorite dishes, but to be fully honest, baked eggs of any kind will forever have my heart.
I also have a really big soft spot in my heart for one-skillet meals, especially those that can get me everything I need in one gorgeous pan. This meal is a fabulous, versatile dish that can be served at any meal – breakfast, lunch or dinner. With a gorgeous bed of nutrient-abundant greens, laced with the caramelized shallots and scallions, topped with the most perfect, soft, baked eggs with luscious, runny yolks, it’s all topped with a rich, drizzly, herby, feta-yogurt sauce that is the finishing move to end all finishing moves.
As I sit down to write this recipe I am having the realization that these Maple Bourbon Glazed Chicken Wings in a nutshell are basically a food representation of my marriage and just 9 days before our 10 year wedding anniversary, at that. I would love to act as if this was 100% purposeful in it’s intent, but nope, kinda just a happy accident. But you guys, chicken wings inspired by the Kentucky Derby – it’s like Buffalo meets Louisville. I a Buffalo girl, my husband Mark from Louisville. Nifty. Totally planned (not really).
Tomorrow is the Kentucky Derby and while I could care less about horse racing, in fact I actually have some inherent issues with it from a moral and ethical standpoint, I do have a husband that grew up in Louisville, surrounded by the culture of this 2-minute long historic sport. They party for 2 weeks prior to the Derby in Louisville, there are boat races, fireworks, fancy hats and a plethora of foods and cocktails exclusively served for the Derby. They don’t mess around.
Subtly spiced dairy-free coconut milk panna cotta topped with chunks of grain-free spiced carrot cake and a little whipped coconut cream, makes for the perfect Spring-inspired treat without the sugar, grains or nuts.
I kinda love that carrot cake has become synonymous with Easter, simply because of the Easter Bunny. Rabbits eat carrots, Easter invites a sweet bunny that leaves baskets and eggs and chocolate for us. Hmmm. It’s a stretch, but I’ll take it – cuz carrot cake rules.
While I have been experimenting with the ketgenic diet since the start of this year and have slowly transitioned toward a fat fueled lifestyle over the last year and a half, my interest and taste for sweets has admittedly all but disappeared. Beyond a solid, super duper dark chocolate, I honestly can’t really be bothered. Not so great as a food blogger, but I make it work.
When it comes to entertaining, boards are the ultimate in wow factor without a ton of fuss. More specifically I am a HUGE fan of cheese and meat boards. Selfishly when entertaining, since I prefer to avoid grains and greasy chips and snacks, cheese and charcuterie boards offer a great, pretty low maintenance way for me to have everything that I want, while still making all of my guests happy.
My cheese and charcuterie boards are generally focused around being totally grain-free and then depending on my guests, I will often have a generous pile of toasted crostini, that I serve to the side, separately for the non gluten-free or grain-free folks. I simple arrange sliced crostini in a single layer on a cookie sheet, brush both sides with olive oil and toss under the broiler for a few minutes on each side. Add a sprinkle of sea salt. It’s the fastest way to lots of toast.
Follow along for all of my tips on How-to Build an Epic Grain-free Cheese and Charcuterie Board.
If you follow me on Instagram, you probably know that I am having a bit of a moment right now with Salsa Macha. It’s a very deeply rooted love affair and I have no shame in the fact that every single breakfast for the last week has featured it, among other meals and snacks.
I literally cannot believe that after nearly 7 years of blogging and sharing recipes here with you, that I have never shared this one. It’s literally one of my MOST favorite foods ever. Gluten-free Pastitsio (pa-STEE-tsee-oh), a Greek-Style Baked Pasta / Lasagna, of sort, this is 100% my kind of comfort food. A Christmas dinner tradition, this is the food I grew up eating for the holidays. My Yia Yia always made an incredible tray of pastitsio and since her passing, we can always count on my mother to manage the task and do it as if she herself was the Greek one. Years ago, when I discovered my gluten intolerance, my mom so graciously tweaked the family recipe to be made gluten-free and I never had to be without. Overtime I have made it myself and continued to slightly adjust things and I am so honored to be sharing it with all of you, finally.
With layers of ground meat (beef or lamb) and pasta and a creamy, puffy, eggy, cheesy béchamel on top, there are hints of warming cinnamon throughout the entire dish and then it’s baked to perfection. This dish steps in where casseroles and lasagna leave off. Traditionally made with bucatini, a long tubular pasta laid out going in the same direction, I make mine gluten-free using instead an organic brown rice penne. In place of regular flour in the béchamel, I use a gluten-free all-purpose blend.
15 Homemade Holiday Gifts
With the holiday closing in on us, I am sure many of you are doing the last minute gift scramble so prevalent in these final days before Christmas. Rather than throwing money at the wall and going with whatever it sticks to, instead of just grabbing another gift card from the big box stores, why not get creative and craft up some beautiful, thoughtful homemade gifts this year?
Drop the cottonball snowmen, leave the popsicle sticks in the popsicles and leave the salt dough for the kids. Finally put away, I repeat, put away the glitter. Spread the holiday cheer with some of my favorite sweet (but sometimes savory) and simple handmade holiday gifts.
We made a list, but there is no need for you to check it twice. 25+ Gluten-free and Grain-free Holiday Cookies, Treats, Sweets and Cocktails! Everything you could need for a tasty and indulgent, homemade, real-food-inspired holiday is right here! From cookies, sweets and treats, to hot cozy drinks and spiked boozy cocktails, you can rest easy with all the planning already done for you. More time for you to finish up that last minute shipping and perfectly wrap all those thoughtful gifts.
Sweets and Treats
Hemp Heart Peppermint Chocolate Fudge (pictured)
How-to Make Chocolate Bark (with customizable printable labels)
Drinks, Smoothies and Cocktails
Spice Infused Winter Sangria (pictured)
For those of you that follow me on social media, you likely see that I spend a fair amount of time at the Terranea Resort here in the LA area. (Full disclosure, I was selected as one of 5 influencers to be a 2016 Terranea Resort Social Media Ambassador, but my love for this place runs deep and far beyond that title.) I truly feel that Terranea is one of Southern California’s best kept secrets, yet it really shouldn’t be. Terranea sits on the coast in Rancho Palos Verdes, about 15 miles from our front door in Long Beach. The 102-acre private peninsula paradise, is like stepping into a whole new world – minutes from the bustle of Los Angeles. Surrounded by the tranquil waves of the Pacific, the coastal setting of Terranea embraces the California lifestyle and it’s Mediterranean heritage. Regardless if you are a guest at the resort the sprawling land is all open to the public, so you are free to walk the ocean-side trails, dine at the many restaurants, plan a spa day or just enjoy the views.
Without trying to rush away the holiday, considering it hasn’t even landed yet, I wanted to have a little something special waiting for those of you that will have leftovers later this week. If you ask me, the leftovers are half the fun. Sadly, oftentimes there isn’t exactly enough left over to make a full meal out of or, maybe you are sick of the traditional Thanksgivings spread and you wanna have a little fun. This pizza recipe is the answer. Use this more as a gentle suggestion / inspiration, since you can really make this your own, depending on what specific leftovers you have.
Of course, you could always make the traditional sandwich, a pot of turkey soup or a turkey pot pie, but I am telling you, after you’ve made a Thanksgiving Leftovers Pizza, there’s no turning back.
This pizza is an updated makeover on the traditional leftover Thanksgiving sandwich that we all now and love, and it’s easy to make with the family. To lighten things up, I made the turkey and the fresh veggies the highlight here with little dollops of cranberries for some bright, sweetness. For some extra fun, leftover gravy would make a killer sauce or maybe take some leftover stuffing, roll it up into tiny stuffing meatballs and add that on top, finally, you could mix your leftover mashed potatoes with the cheese and spread that out on top of the crust, to change things up a bit. But listen up, whatever you do, please don’t skip on the cranberry sauce! As crazy as it may sound, it’s THE best part of this pizza. The bites with the bright, fresh and sweet flavor of the cranberries were our very favorite.
Here we go, it’s about that time to answer the very important question of ‘What to do with ALL the Thanksgiving leftovers?’ While I know the big holiday hasn’t hit just yet, I want to help you guys get prepared for the aftermath. This week is all about Thanksgiving leftover ideas for the days following the big event! Since we are always left with loads of goodies, why not get creative and continue the eating party?
Soups are almost always my go-to after the holidays, for a variety of reasons. 1) they are so simple to make and they yield a large amount of food 2) soup is my ultimate comfort food. It’s always what I crave after I’ve maybe eaten more or differently than I usually do and 3) it’s the perfect cozy, cool-weather food. Soup will forever feel like a hug in food form!
Don’t send a Thanksgiving lynching mob after me, but I generally don’t care too much about pies. I am already not a huge dessert person, but if I am going to have a little something sweet, I’d probably always opt for chocolate. Gimme this Dark Chocolate Pumpkin Tart and I’ve got everything I need. But, I am fully aware that pies are part of holiday spreads for a reason, pies go with Thanksgiving like peanut butter to jelly. I am currently also painfully aware of baking’s ability to heal and it’s important role in relieving stress, something I have personally been in great need of since the election. So here we are, with an epic pumpkin pie that will change the minds of even the greatest pie skeptics.
I have always loved the idea of a pumpkin pie, as I am a big fan of pumpkin-spiced everything, but generally I find many pumpkin pies to be just a tad lacking. First, it’s just your standard pie crust, nothing too special there, not a ton of flavor, then the pumpkin filling gets a little spicing and maybe you top it all with a little whipped cream. To me, it just always feels like it’s missing a little something. It lacks a little dessert flair. I also find that when you add adequate spices and a sweetener with some depth, beyond just standard refined white sugar, the color of a finished pumpkin pie just ends up pretty drab. Beigy brown toasted edge crust, a orangey-brown filling. I dunno, I feel like we can do better than this you guys!
Alright, here we go! The final stuffing recipe of the season and I am really excited about this one. Shhh, don’t tell the mashed potatoes, but I am pretty sure stuffing is my favorite. It’s a dish that just doesn’t get any love outside of Thanksgiving and I just don’t know why.
While this stuffing isn’t grain-free, it uses my absolute favorite gluten-free bread ever – Bread SRSLY’s sourdough loaf. It would also be delicious with non-gluten-free sourdough (obviously), any crusty French-style bread, cornbread or even with a good grain-free bread. As far as I am concerned, always remember whatever your bread choice, your stuffing (or dressing) is only as good as your bread.
Oyster stuffing is more traditional in the New England region and I believe some areas of the south, along the gulf coast. It isn’t one that I grew up eating, necessarily, but I have had it before and I love it, I also know it’s a staple for so many of you. Veering a bit from the traditional, I paired the shellfish in a more West Coast way, with the sourdough. Think of Northern Cali, San Francisco to be exact, the Hangtown Fry and all the sourdough bread paired with oysters, clams, chowders and so on. It’s a match made in heaven. A little tang, with the subtle, savory brininess of the oysters. This classic stuffing will bring an amazing and unique matrix of flavors to your Thanksgiving dinner.
Disclosure: Post sponsored by Crock-Pot® brand slow cooker & Mirum Shopper, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.
I always feel very divided when planning the Thanksgiving menu. Mostly I want a classic, traditional menu (obviously with some changes made to accommodate my diet and the diet of any of my guests, if I am hosting) but every year I like to mix it up a little with at least one dish, bringing in unexpected flavors or a new method of preparation. As part of my continued partnership with Crock-Pot® brand slow cooker, and in conceptualizing a holiday recipe using it, I knew it was the perfect tool for creating the best cranberry sauce this holiday season has ever seen. This here cranberry sauce was born to be the star of the show, rather than the unloved side that so many know it to be.
I asked over on Snapchat a while back, what holiday recipes people wanted help with. There was an abundance of requests for stuffing recipes for Thanksgiving. Particularly grain-free stuffing recipes.
I have several other stuffing recipes here in the archives if you are looking for other renditions:
This particular recipe is a holiday classic, the perfect stuffing – moist in the middle and crisp on the top. For me, this is exactly the stuffing I grew up eating, but rather than white bread so many of us can’t have or even the overly process gluten-free stuff, this is made with a super quick, homemade (nut-free) grain-free bread, that you can throw together ahead of time.