Tag Archives: primal

  1. Don’t Fear the Fat // The Basics

    Don't Fear the Fat

    Why Are We Talking About Fat?

    The reason I write this post, is that even though, for so many us, we have woke to this knowledge and have worked hard to reframe our approach to nutrition and no longer fearing the fat, we still have so much work to do. After many decades of low-fat propaganda, the “fat makes you fat” rhetoric is still so deeply ingrained in the collective psyche. Many people STILL greatly fear fat, even though study after study shows that fat is not only harmless 1http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract but that it is in fact, quite necessary to many important functions in the body. I myself see this fear weekly in my nutrition clients, all over the internet and in my social feeds, at the grocery store, at restaurants, at the gym, etc and of course, all of the many side effects of low fat eating – we HAVE to change this dialogue!!

    The Basics

    It is beyond challenging to decide where to even start on such a huge, huge topic. Chatting about dietary fat is a big undertaking and we are going to merely just scratch the surface with this initial post, decoding the myths and where the fat fearmongering began, along with the crucial reasons we need fat in our diet. So, let’s get to the basics.

    First and foremost you need to know that fat is a necessity in our bodies. This vital macronutrient provides building blocks for the brain, hormone and cellular membranes throughout the body, it is essential for the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K and it is deeply hydrating!

    By adequately increasing my healthy fat intake, more than any other change I have made in my lifestyle and diet, I have personally seen profound affects on my health, from my digestion to my skin including chronic hormonal and cystic acne, from my moods to my ability to concentrate, hormonal imbalances to libido (YUP!). Fat is a powerful anti-aging food, both internally and externally. Consumed as part of a healthful diet, fatty acids (the building blocks of fat) help stabilize blood sugar – allowing your body to release fat, protect it’s lean muscle, and surge with energy. When our focus is on creating meals that are rich not only in healthy fats, but also quality well-sourced proteins and fibrous green leafy veggies, we can thank especially the healthy fats for keeping us satiated. Staying satisfied for longer means so you won’t find yourself searching for the junky, processed snacks in between these healthy, whole food meals.

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    References   [ + ]

    1.http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/early/2010/01/13/ajcn.2009.27725.abstract
  2. Boosted Chocolate Tahini Fudge {Gluten-free, Paleo}

    Boosted Chocolate Tahini Fudge {Gluten-free, Paleo}

    Boosted Chocolate Tahini Fudge {Gluten-free, Paleo}

    Well, I might just have to quit after this. This Boosted Chocolate Tahini Fudge features two of my favorite things together in a marriage so perfect I am not sure any treat can ever compare. At least for this girl. As if it couldn’t get better, this treat features the bonus healing powers of one of my favorite daily supplements.

    This fudge is dreamy. It’s rich and decadent, it’s unique and “mmmmm”-inducing. Here’s the thing though, if you don’t like tahini, it may not be for you (though you could likely swap in some almond butter or sunflower seed butter). But if you are a lover of all things tahini, you’re in luck. MAJOR luck. The tahini flavor shines bright and in it’s prominence it’s complimented so perfectly by the decadent, rich super dark chocolate. Don’t skimp here, quality is of key. Better yet, use homemade dark chocolate if you’ve got some. You guys already know how I feel about dark chocolate, a square or two a day of this magical superfood and that’s about all this lady needs to be satisfied. It doesn’t take much. Curious on why dark chocolate is a great option for a daily treat? Read more about the many benefits of dark chocolate.

    Boosted Chocolate Tahini Fudge {Gluten-free, Paleo}

    But here’s the best part, this is so much more than your usual treat, in true Tasty Yummies style, I boosted this fudge to bring an added layer of healing benefits. Vital Proteins’ Vanilla and Coconut Water Collagen Peptides is one of the latest and greatest from my pals over at Vital Proteins. You guys have already heard me sing the praises of collagen peptides as part of a healing diet and lifestyle. But since I have started incorporating Vital Proteins in my life, daily, they have continued to expand their product and introduce more and more incredible collagen based products. The new Vanilla and Coconut Water Collagen Peptides is no exception, this has been a wonderful addition to smoothies, as well as baked goods and now this amazing boosted fudge.

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  3. Cast Iron Crispy Chicken Thighs

    These Cast Iron Crispy Chicken Thighs are insanely simple, plus ready in under 30 minutes this super crispy, crackly and epically tasty chicken is a great weeknight dinner option.

    Cast Iron Crispy Chicken Thighs

    Cast Iron Crispy Chicken Thighs

    In my continued efforts to bring you more of the simple, easy dishes that I cook on the weekly here in our house, along with solid fuss-free options for those of you transitioning to a more whole food focused, real food lifestyle – today, I give you a personal favorite of ours: Cast Iron Crispy Chicken Thighs.

    These crispy, crackly-skinned chicken thighs are a staple around here and with varying spices and flavors, along with your desired sides, these are a simple weeknight option that you will never tire of. Plus it’s ready in under 30 minutes.

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  4. How-to Make Sheet Pan Baked Eggs {+ Video}

    How-to Make Sheet Pan Baked Eggs

    With Easter this Sunday and Spring in full effect, brunch season is fully upon us. These Sheet Pan Baked Eggs have become a staple around here, especially when we are serving brunch to a crowd. What I love about is how simple it is to make and just how versatile a dish it can be – which is great for optimizing for the season and the crowd and it’s the ultimate in customization and creativity for those of you that love playing in the kitchen.

    Much like many of the other recipes I share around here, I am offering you the formula and base for the perfect baked eggs and how you customize these – that’s up to you. For the baked eggs pictured here, I went with caramelized onions at the bottom and mixed into the eggs, which were whisked with unsweetened unflavored homemade coconut/almond milk, we added cooked pasture-raised bacon, roughly chopped baby spinach, shredded goat milk cheddar cheese, chives and micro-greens for serving.

    How-to Make Sheet Pan Baked Eggs Read the rest of this entry »

  5. How-to Build an Epic Grain-free Cheese and Charcuterie Board

    How-to Make an Epic Paleo-ish Meat and Cheese Board

    How-to Build an Epic Grain-free Cheese and Charcuterie Board

    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.

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  6. Whipped Sweet Potatoes

    Whipped Sweet Potatoes

    Whipped Sweet Potatoes

     This Whipped Sweet Potatoes recipe is shared with permission from Diane Sanfilippo’s Practical Paleo 2nd Edition

    For many of you that have followed Tasty Yummies and my ongoing health journey for some time, you know that this website, my passion and my recipes were all born of my own quest to find health. In discovering a severe gluten intolerance nearly 12 years ago, to my autoimmune disease diagnosis and a slew of other digestive troubles along the way – I have always chosen to let these challenges be the catalyst to me educating myself, empowering myself and in turn hoping to help others do the same.

    From the very start, I have always embraced and preached the idea of nourishing your individuality, that there is no one-size-fits all approach to health and that if you can quiet down the outside influences enough and tap into your own intuition – all of the answers are there. When the paleo movement began to come to fruition and came more to the forefront, I admittedly found myself viscerally opposed to this idea – just as I always had been with any other diet that contained strict labels, rules and a very black and white approach to health. It wasn’t so much that I was against the idea that it could work for some, it was more that I was witnessing very dogmatic activity from many of it’s supporters, which turned me off. It was feeling to me like some vegans’ approach to health and their belief (and often consequent judgement) that “their way” was the only way. Despite following a diet fairly close to what was labeled as “paleo” and having some interest in the idea that it could continue healing my body using a paleo diet, I stubbornly rejected the notion of slapping a label on my heath journey, this blog and my continued autoimmune struggles.

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  7. Grilled Romaine Salad with Blueberries, Avocado and Creamy Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette

    Grilled Romaine Salad with Blueberries, Avocado and Creamy Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette

    Grilled Romaine Salad with Blueberries, Avocado and Creamy Lemon Tarragon Vinaigrette

    As I sit to write the posts for this website, 2-3 times a week, often I find myself lacking the words. I am no writer, have never claimed to be. I am sure my sentence structuring is atrocious, I am certain my posts are littered with typos and poor punctuation skills. I generally didn’t start this website to share my personal thoughts on life or my beliefs, as often as they do trickle into the pages by default. I mostly have always had a strong desire to help make a difference for those, like me, that struggle with their health, are challenged by navigating the ever-evolving landscape of eating and food and what it truly means to be well.

    As our worlds are all constantly changing and shifting, as life seems to get busier than ever for us all, I find myself more called to want to simply live my life without a filter, to share my experiences in all their realness and hopefully, simultaneously, inspire you to be excited about getting into the kitchen and tapping into your own creativity. I want you to approach food and your health without fear. I want you all to feel empowered to be your own advocates and to never settle for anything other that feeling amazing, every day. My hope is also that through sharing my recipes, how-to’s and other tips here on the website and on social media, that everyone knows eating well doesn’t always have to be about the crazy flavor combos and complicated ingredients that you can only buy online or at a specialty food store. I think we all have to admit that even though weeknight meals deserve a little flair sometimes, a totally boring, basic bitch meal of veggies and some baked fish, that isn’t exactly instagram-able – that’s totally OK, too.

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  8. Savory Cassava Flour Waffles with Bacon and Scallions {Paleo, Gluten-free}

    Savory Cassava Flour Waffles with Bacon and Scallions {Paleo, Gluten-free}

    Savory Cassava Flour Waffles with Bacon and Scallions {Paleo, Gluten-free}

    We’ve all been told from a very young age that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I couldn’t agree more! In my opinion, it can also a really fun meal, if you open your mind to thinking outside of the breakfast box that most of us grew up with. As far as I am concerned, much like the other meals of the day, anything goes at breakfast.

    While many people opt for sweet, super fruity-centric breakfasts, cereals, toasts, carb-heavy baked goods, I, however, have always leaned into my love of savory food to start the day. I recall a time when I still lived at home with my parents and I only wanted dinner leftovers for breakfast. The looks I would get, eating leftover pasta with red sauce at 8am, were never that of approval. I have never really been one for a big pile of syrup-soaked waffles or pancakes, the idea of a sugary cereal covered in milk doesn’t interest me in the least, and donuts, OK wait – they are some tasty little dudes, I can’t hate, but again, a proper breakfast they are not! Intuitively, I have never felt like any of this is a smart way to kick off your day and with good reason.

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  9. Chicken Kapama – Greek Braised Cinnamon Chicken

    Chicken Kapama - Greek Braised Cinnamon Chicken

    Chicken Kapama - Greek Braised Cinnamon Chicken

    I don’t have the best memory, I never have. I forget things easily, but my memories surrounding foods and scents, especially with family – those are strong. I still remember the very distinct aromas of my Great Yia Yia’s home. The basement often smelled of chocolate, the living room of butterscotch candies and the kitchen, of so many amazing Greek flavors. Sometimes it would be Greek pastries or bread, often there was a stew or soup bubbling away or greens she plucked from the yard cooking down in some tomato sauce.

    Chicken Kapama - Greek Braised Cinnamon Chicken

    Growing up in a Greek family meant lots of traditional Greek dishes passed down through the generations, most without a written recipe anywhere to be found. Some dishes, like this one, Chicken Kapama {kah-pah-MAH},  I can still remember both my Great YiaYia and my YiaYia and eventually my parents, making for us. I can very clearly recall the distinct aroma the house would be filled with. The warming, comforting scent of cinnamon when mixed with tomato, to this day warms my heart and brings a smile to my face. This unique flavor combo pops up in several classic Greek dishes and it is a favorite of mine. It smells like home.

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  10. Spring Greens Salad with Roasted Beets, Walnuts and Creamy Feta Vinaigrette

    Spring Greens Salad with Roasted Beets and Creamy Feta Vinaigrette

    There is something so magical about the spring, all the beautiful new produce, the delicate, fresh and new little baby stuff especially makes me happy. It’s like seeing those adorable fuzzy little ducklings at the park following around their mama duck. They just suddenly appear out of nowhere and break your heart with sweetness. But, I also love that we still have the remnants of the long winter season, the hearty, long-lasting, robust foods of the colder time. Squash, the bright and fresh citrus, all the root veggies. Even though we are well into Spring at this point, the swing-season status of Spring lasts the longest of all, which I really adore. The crossover of produce makes for some of my favorite dishes.

    Spring Greens Salad with Roasted Beets and Creamy Feta Vinaigrette

    We’ve been getting tons of beets in our weekly CSA boxes (community supported agriculture) from the farm and besides beet kvass, I have mostly been roasting them, as it’s my favorite way to enjoy the flavor of beets. The roasting actually brings out a subtle sweetness and takes down some of the earthiness for those that aren’t big fans of it. Plus roasting makes peeling beets a breeze, the skin literally slips right off. Beets are, in my opinion, a very underrated superfood, offering liver support by thinning bile to decongest a congested liver or biliary stasis or insufficiency. They also contain high levels of folate and manganese which support gallbladder function. Underground vegetables like potatoes, beets, carrots, etc – they also contain silica – important for collagen formation and for connective tissue’s elasticity and resilience. Silica also regulates calcium placement in bone and tissue. Beets also include fructooligosaccharides which is a great nutrient source for healthy micro-flora in the GI system. Finally, beets contain trimethylglycine, a methyl donor used in liver detoxification. Trimethylglycine is used by the body to detoxify substances by donating one of it’s methyl groups to the toxic molecule yielding a less toxic methylated substances and dimethylglycine. Dimethylglycine is also a methyl donor and is also used to stabilize toxic substances for further processing and elimination.

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  11. Spring Cauliflower Rice Risotto Bake with Chicken

    Spring Cauliflower Rice Risotto Bake with Chicken

    Despite the fact that we are well into spring now, Southern California has had it a bit twisted. Since I arrived back home from my travels to NY last week, it’s been mostly grey, rainy and cool. While I would have loved this weather in December and January, I will take it now. It’s a really nice change of pace. A great reason to pull out some sweaters and it’s also a great excuse to enjoy some real comforting foods.

    Spring Cauliflower Rice Risotto Bake with Chicken

    Of all things I was craving a casserole. I know. What is it 1985? There is just something so comforting and cozy about a meal you can dump into a pan, bake and enjoy. It’s childhood for those of us in our 30s. I was also dreaming of a good creamy spring risotto, one of my favorite foods. While rice isn’t off limits for me, I do try to be mindful of how many grains I consume. I just feel better when my belly isn’t bloated from the carbs. Hence why I am OBSESSED with cauliflower rice. It’s so crazy versatile, so super easy to make and it’s incredible how delicious it is. If you have a Trader Joe’s near you, the Organic Frozen Cauliflower Rice is an amazing quick option for when you don’t want to lug out the food processor. I have used it in this recipe before and it’s perfect!

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  12. Grain-free No Bake Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

    Grain-free No Bake Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

    Grain-free No Bake Chocolate Chip Protein Bars

    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.

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  13. Greek Lamb Gyro Bowls with Tzatziki

    Greek Lamb Gyro Bowls with Tzatziki

    Greek Lamb Gyro Bowls with Tzatziki

    Being away from my family living in California, it has gotten a bit easier with time and there are less and less tears over random moments, holidays, but one of the things I miss most is Sunday dinner as one a big family.

    I grew up eating delicious home cooked Greek food. My family, they know their way around the kitchen. Everyone has their specialties and their things. My mom is an incredible baker, while not Greek herself she has mastered Greek desserts and pastries, baklava, koulourakia cookies. My dad is the king of savory, the grill master, the Greek God of souvlaki, marinated grilled leg of lamb, roasted potatoes among many other specialties. Sadly while my dad makes THE best lamb you’ll ever eat, neither he nor anyone else in our family has ever mastered homemade gyro. Whenever my parents serve up gyro, which isn’t super often, it usually comes already prepared and frozen. Meh. It makes me sad that we aren’t making it ourselves. Also sadly, these pre-made gyro meats tend to be very processed and they almost always contains gluten, so naturally I won’t touch them. Short of going to a more traditional shop, cart or restaurant, where they cook the meat traditionally over a spinning spit or rotisserie – it’s impossible to get the real thing, I haven’t had it in many, many years.

    Traditional Greek gyro, from what I have read, is made with whole cuts of pork, slowly cooked rotisserie style, and thinly shaved, while Americanized Greek gyro is the pressed, almost sausage-like, thinly sliced minced beef and/or lamb blend. Usually served in a pita, wrap style it is a meal that I never get to eat, yet I still find myself craving it.

    Greek Lamb Gyro Bowls with Tzatziki

    I am home in New York right now, with my family, visiting and meeting my brand new nephew Keaton James, born just three weeks ago. As I was preparing for this trip home to Buffalo, I got giddy at the thought of all the homemade Greek food I would be eating. Greek food is my comfort, it’s what I crave at the holidays, when I am homesick or when I come down with a bug. Greek food from a restaurant is just never the same and somehow making a big feast of Greek food at home, just the two of us, while I do it occasionally, it just never tastes the same to me. This is the food best served with a large group of the people you love most. A big Greek feast needs to come with a side of very loud chatter, tons of laughs, stories from back in the day and it needs kids running around the very same living room that my dad ran around as a little kid.

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  14. Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Lemony Pea Pesto

    Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Lemony Pea Pesto

    Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Lemony Pea Pesto

    We are officially through the winter, onto the other side and into the spring. I absolutely adore this time of year. It’s so refreshing and inspiring. Spring brings so much fresh newness and light. Despite being nearly 4 months from the start of the new year, to me, the springtime truly feels like birth of the new year. We welcome the light back into our lives and there is a very palpable energy floating amongst us. I feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the world.

    Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Lemony Pea Pesto

     

    Baked Eggs with Asparagus and Lemony Pea Pesto

    From a food standpoint, there is so much beautiful produce popping up, once again. So much is in bloom and there is much greenery. I feel so inspired to create in the kitchen this time of year. While I won’t be hosting a big Easter brunch this year, I am very much in the mood to think about beautiful spring-inspired brunch foods right now. More than the typical omelet or scrambled eggs, these baked eggs incorporate the best of the season and they can become a meal in and of themselves. They can be made in single servings, so you can prep everything and just place the ramekins or crocks into the oven. What comes out are these beautiful little baked eggs with an elegant vernal twist. The perfect dish for guests. Asparagus and green peas are stars of this show, making their first appearance of the season, in the first of many delicious dishes.

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  15. Grain-free Banana Cream Pie Bites {Paleo & Gluten-free}

    Grain-free Banana Cream Pie Bites

    Grain-free Banana Cream Pie Bites

    Sometimes, my Type-A, control-freak brain comes in very handy, I can be so organized when it comes to certain things and I can also be so obsessed with being in control and ahead. I am competitive with myself and I am always striving to do better than the last time. But, there is still that little hippie type-B inside of me, that likes to be relaxed and fly by the seat of my pants, go with the wind and whatever my mood and the energy of the day dictates. This post is a culmination of all of this. Let me explain why.

    I was lying in bed Monday night thinking about all those silly “National Food Holidays”, that have become such a thing over the past few years. If you are on any social media platform, I know you know about it. There is National Donut Day, National Red Wine Day, Chocolate Cake Day, Pizza Day, last week there was National Margarita day and National Toast Day… the list goes on and on and on. I have no clue where these come from, nor who created them. Mostly I think it’s fun. I like the excuse to be reminded of something in the TY recipe archives that you guys might like to know about it, after all I have nearly 6 years of recipes just hanging out here.

    Grain-free Banana Cream Pie Bites

    As I thought about this trend, I decided to see what food holidays  were coming up this month and I saw that today, March 2nd,  was National Banana Cream Pie Day. Fun. But wait, I don’t have a banana cream pie recipe to share, that I love. I sat up in bed and started thinking about so many fun recipe ideas and then realized I had everything on hand to whip up some adorable little mini Banana Cream Pie Bites! As I drifted off to dreamland, I dreamt of soft, luscious, banana cream pies that I could actually eat.

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  16. Buffalo Style Loaded Sweet Potato Fries

    Buffalo Style Loaded Sweet Potato Fries

    Buffalo Style Loaded Sweet Potato Fries

    The thing about being a mindful eater, about being aware of every single thing that you put into your face, for those of us who take the time to truly learn about food – is that it’s really hard to un-know what you discover as you dig deeper. While I truly believe that knowledge is power, if you allow it, that knowledge it can overpower and it can consume you. Back to that magical word you are probably sick of hearing from me, but here it is again. Balance. Aligning your knowledge and your intuition with the real world, being around other people, holidays and special occasions. It isn’t easy, but it’s totally possible.

    As I continue on in school, the Nutritional Therapy Program with the NTA, I learn more and more every day. My eyes are opened and I can, in vulnerable times, find myself being fearful of food in a way that I never have before. Questioning food, where it is sourced from, the foods used in restaurants, etc., these have all been a very integrate part of my life these past 10 years, but now I truly feel like I am interrogating the wait staff at most restaurants. At times, I can see how dietary changes, strict protocols, elimination diets, etc – how they can breed disordered eating, if we aren’t careful. I know all of this will settle as I become more at comfortable with the new bits I am learning, but mostly I know I can always fall back into my old trusted way of knowing… that homemade is always better. When you make it yourself, you can always be certain you know what you are eating and you don’t have to fear the food you consume. When you want to veer off and indulge a little, you can do it without the guilt and without the worry.

    Buffalo Style Loaded Sweet Potato Fries

    Buffalo Style Loaded Sweet Potato Fries

    This week, as I take on the Super Bowl, I encourage you to think out of the box, literally and make what you can, yourself. Swap in real foods and trust that updating a recipe to be a little bit healthier will likely be well-received by everyone else, if you are smart about it. This week, I am bringing you homemade, healthier, but still a little naughty, snacks, treats and bites. Because after all, a football party is not a football party without some good ‘ol fashioned finger food.

    French fries of any and every kind, those are my true weakness. My Achilles heel. My Kryptonite.  Take away all the candy, cookies, cakes and breads, I don’t care, but don’t take my fries! We’ve spent a fair amount time in school discussing fats and oils and learning that most restaurants, when frying, are using hydrogenated or worse, trans fat oils. Unless a restaurant makes their fries in a high quality fat, suitable for high heat, these days I just have to pass. It’s not easy, but it’s also not worth it. I make my consessions where I can, but I am no longer willing to do so here.

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  17. Dark Chocolate Bark Bites

    Dark Chocolate Bark Bites

    To know me, is to know my insane love of dark chocolate. As long as I am not on any elimination diets or protocols, it’s nearly always part of my daily routine, whether I am on the road or at home. In the freezer, I nearly always keep a bar or two of the best, darkest, organic fair-trade chocolate that I can easily get my hands on. It’s rare you’ll see me crushing on a cake or cookies, but if I pass by a good bar of dark chocolate, it will most certainly stop me dead in my tracks. Generally, I simply need a square or two of the good, dark stuff and I am a happy girl.

    Dark Chocolate Bark Bites

    Naturally lower in sugar than milk chocolate or other candy and certainly less than most baked goods or other treats, it’s just the right amount of flare at the end of a well-made savory meal. Besides being the most perfectly created food, chocolate with a cocoa content of 70 percent or higher contains resveratrol, which has been found to lower blood sugar. Dark chocolate also has positive affects on lowering “bad” cholesterol levels. Dark chocolate is rich in Flavonoids that help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage. You only need about 1 to 1.5 ounces dark chocolate per day to see the heart healthy benefits.

    Flavonoids, which can also be found in green and black teas, cherries, apples, red grapes and other deeply colored fruits and vegetables, have also been known to help with digestion, improve kidney, bowel function and sexual performance, and treat anemia and gout.

    Dark Chocolate Bark Bites

    If I am traveling, you better believe that dark chocolate is my co-pilot. An integral part to any good trip, it’s an instant way to bring a smile to your face amongst the crazy hustle and bustle of an airport and the long and sometimes tiring long drives.

    Surely you can just pack a dark chocolate bar, but I find these Dark Chocolate Bark Bites are a fun way to indulge in additional superfoods, your favorite goodies or just the stuff in the pantry you need to use up. Dried nuts or seeds, dried fruit, spices, sea salt – if you like salty or savory, add some crispy bacon, crushed pretzels or potato chips.

    These little bark bites travel so well and you can really have fun with the toppings, making a little something for everyone.

    Dark Chocolate Bark Bites

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  18. Greek Lamb Meatballs

    Greek Lamb Meatballs

    For me, scent is a huge memory trigger. The aroma of something can waft my way and instantly I am transported back to another time. I always think of the old cartoons where the steamy aroma of a fresh baked pie, suddenly morphs into a hand, quite literally coaxing and lifting up the characters and carrying them right to the goodies. Think Mickey Mouse being tempted by the vapor hand from the scent of a Minnie’s freshly baked cake, right to her kitchen window. This is likely seconds before she slams the window down and says “ah ah ah”. For me rather than being taken to someone’s window, I find myself reliving memories, remembering people I love and those times gone by. It’s one of my most favorite things about cooking, especially since moving away from my family.

    Greek Lamb Meatballs

    Being Greek, growing up I was constantly surrounded by all the delicious, home cooked meals. There are still smells to this day that remind me of my family and most specifically my late, Great Yia Yia and my Yia Yia. The smell of potatoes roasting with garlic, cinnamon and honey will always make me think of baklava syrup simmering away on the stove top, cinnamon in a savory tomato sauce will trigger my nose to think of moussaka or pastitsio and a big pot of homemade chicken stock will always make me want avgolemono soup. Of course, chocolate melting will also get me, since my Great Yia Yia had a full-blown candy making set up in the basement, from her days of owning the ice cream and soda shop. They made some delicious chocolates!

    Greek Lamb Meatballs

    Lamb was another food served quite often, whether, roasted, grilled or used in dolmades (stuffed grape leaves). Though not a food I make quite often, whenever I do prepare it, I think of all my family back home in NY, so I have certainly found myself making it more since we’ve moved out to California. It makes me miss our summer picnics with the huge Greek family, out at the lake, a big leg of lamb slowly grilling over an open fire, all day. Or my Yia Yia’s homemade Greek lamb meatballs, which my parent’s seemed to perfect quite well and made often when we were growing up.

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  19. Dad’s Greek Dressing Recipe

    Dad's Greek Dressing Recipe

    How this website has existed for over 5 years now and I haven’t yet shared this recipe, is beyond me! My Dad’s world-famous Greek Salad Dressing recipe is notorious among anyone who has ever tasted it. There is perfection in it’s simplicity, a recipe that after you’ve made it once, you will wonder why you haven’t been making it for years. I have seen many overcomplicated recipes for Greek salad dressings, but listen to me folks, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel or to add extra flavors where they aren’t needed, AKA Keep it Simple, Stupid.

    Not only will my dad share this delicious recipe with anyone who asks, but he so generously allowed me to share it here on the website. I feel like I am sharing a family secret here. I grew up enjoying this dressing on every salad, with every plate of homemade souvlaki and now it’s a favorite in my own kitchen.

    Dad's Greek Dressing Recipe

    During my parent’s visit last week, we of course, had our typical Sunday night Greek dinner, a tradition in our family, which I miss like crazy. Our feast was complete with grilled leg of lamb, roasted potatoes, homemade dolmades (tutorial coming soon) and a huge Greek salad. Dad and I made a batch of this dressing together for the salad and I love that he has made it so many times he doesn’t even have to measure any more. He get’s the oil to acidity ratio down and the rest just gets tossed in, basically by sight. A little whirl in the blender, a taste and he can tweak any little details from there.

    Dad's Greek Dressing Recipe

    My dad always says the key is no matter how much you are making, sticking with 2 parts oil to one part acid (and for the acid, 2 parts vinegar to one part lemon). You can opt for balsamic vinegar or red wine, but I have to say this dressing really shines with the rich balsamic. The feta cheese is optional, so if you are vegan or have to avoid dairy, it is still delicious without it, but I have to highly recommend it. The creaminess, the salty, tartness. It’s so good. Seriously, you will want to enjoy this dressing with a straw spoon.

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  20. Cauliflower Sloppy Joes

    Cauliflower Sloppy Joes

    Hey all, Happy Monday to you! I am going to start off this post asking you to bear with me today as I get a bit off topic. Of course, you can always just feel free to just skip ahead to the recipe, while I rant. I have just had so much on my mind these past few weeks as I work my way through this elimination diet, as well as the several other transitional journeys I have found myself embarking on.

    Something that has been weighing heavily on me is the idea of identifying yourself with certain traits or the things that you think make you, who you are. What we think people see when they look at us. Our ego. We all have many traits that we identify with. Maybe it’s your job or career path, maybe you are always the funny one in a group, maybe it’s you identifying with being quiet and shy or eating a certain way – whatever. With my diagnosis late last year of IgA Nephropathy, an autoimmune form of kidney disease and now being in the first rounds of this elimination diet, these together have caused me to challenge much of what I have always identified with.

    Although I have had the restriction of gluten on my diet for over 10 years, I have still always identified with being a non-picky eater. For the most part I would try anything once (as long as it was safe), I was continuously up for checking out new restaurants and I was always happy to go with the flow of whatever food situation I was in, hanging with vegans, being around paleo folks and so on. I had gotten into a nice routine of knowing what was safe for me and how to communicate what I needed in a very clear and quiet way. Without passing judgement, I always truly felt bad for those that have a laundry list of restrictions (self imposed or otherwise), where going out to a restaurant or someone’s home becomes a hassle and every meal, a massive challenge. I have always been so grateful that beside the many, fairly simple, self-imposed restrictions I’ve put on my diet and of course, gluten – I would never ruin other people’s experience, I felt like I could keep it to myself and I could always find something I could eat, almost anywhere.

    Cauliflower Sloppy Joes

    This elimination diet for me, which currently is no gluten (duh), meat, dairy, eggs and legumes, will continue to change and evolve as we work towards finding what might be affecting my kidneys. I now find myself having to have full blown interrogative-style conversations with servers at restaurants, grilling them about every single ingredient. Rather than a democracy, I basically  have to tell whoever I am going out to eat with, where we are going, because my options are so limited. I walk the aisles of stores having to rethink what I used to buy and I now have to look at meal planning in a whole new way and sadly my husband is collateral damage to all of this. Though I have certainly been here before and for now, the extremity of the situation for me, is theoretically temporary, I also know for many of you this is normal, every day life! So, I hope you don’t confuse this as a complaint against dietary restrictions, but more I hope you take away the challenge in changing what we know, breaking habits and being forced to look beyond the outward of what we cling to.

    Throughout this process, I have also found myself feeling vulnerable and weak, it took me forever to even be able to tell people about my diagnosis. I feel like people expect for me to be the picture of health, I am so careful and mindful about every single thing I consume, I talk a big game about how important it is to know where your food comes from, avoiding processed foods, opting to make things yourself and taking control of your health with your diet. Now somehow, here I am, the one diagnosed with kidney disease and battling a slew of random symptoms from taking a few rounds of pharmaceuticals. I have always prided myself on taking control of my health and avoiding crazy treatments or drugs and those closest to me could see the changes in my health from where it was before, to where it was after years of eating mindfully. So, you can imagine the discouragement I felt with this diagnosis. I truly felt like I had lost a sense of who I was.

    Cauliflower Sloppy Joes

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  21. Butternut Squash Noodles with Harissa Cashew Cream and Crispy Brussels Sprout Chips

    Butternut Squash Noodles with Harissa Cashew Cream and Crispy Brussels Sprout Chips // @tastyyummies // www.tasty-yummies.com

    I have had a long and very romantic love affair with my spiralizer, since the moment we met. It just gets me and it has never, ever let me down. So, it only seems appropriate to share another spiralized recipe, this Valentine’s week! This post is part recipe for Butternut Squash Noodles with Harissa Cashew Cream and Crispy Brussels Sprout Chips and part ode to my spiralizer!

    Butternut Squash Noodles with Harissa Cashew Cream and Crispy Brussels Sprout Chips // @tastyyummies // www.tasty-yummies.com

    Every single time I pull my spiralizer out to use it, I find myself blown away, not just by how simple it is to use, but also by all of the fun and creative recipes I can create with it. I find myself making the ever-popular zucchini noodles (aka noodles) on a nearly daily basis when I have zucchini growing in my garden, but I am also quite obsessed with yellow squash noodles, as well. Some of my other favorites are sweet potato noodles, cucumber ribbons and celeriac noodles. I have also been known to spiralize apples and pears, onions, and the list goes on and on and then on some more.

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