For the Love of Blueberry

Ummm... magic.

I'm at my brother's right now and the entire house including my nephews, ages 4 and 6, are on a smoothie kick. I mean, so much so that the youngest comes downstairs in the morning with sleepy eyes still and a sweet smile on his face and asks: "Can I have a shake?" And the older one now wants his 'shake' for his afternoon snack.

Watching them help make the 'shake' with things like banana, kale, organic frozen fruit, and green juice simply makes my day.

And hearing them say things like... "I love kale" and "I love greens," is music to my ears.   

My sister-in-law makes new creations everyday and the other day it was... "O.M.G. You have to try this...omg. Yeah. This is good. Yeah. This is really good. Let's write this one down."

Love it when that happens ;)

For the Love of Blueberry

1 1/2 ripe (spotty) banana
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
1 large leaf of kale
1/2 an apple (we used Pink Lady)
3 ice cubes
1 scoop French Vanilla Vega One 
3/4 cup coconut water (we usedC2O)

Method:

Add all ingredients in the order listed. Pulse with your blender for a a good 10 times and then blend until smooth.

Yields 1 large smoothie or 2 small smoothies.

And yes, use spotty bananas! 

Bananas help overcome depression due high levels of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin -- the happy-mood brain neurotransmitter.

Spotty bananas can also help to relieve constipation (whereas underripe bananas can actually cause constipation), lessen anxiety and alleviate depression. 

Wishing you all an easy breezy day filled spotty bananas, blueberries and love!

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Easter Brunch

One of my favorite things in life is preparing food for others - and especially my loved ones. There is something so incredible about looking across the the kitchen and seeing them enjoying a meal that I created and hearing the 'mmms' and watching them reach for more. Inevitably I get the "Ashley, just sit down," or "Ashley, here take a break," or Ashley, come eat some of this..." Which I appreciate so very much. But the truth is, I often snack a little along the way and drink what feels like gallons of water during the whole operation so I am usually not all that hungry - the process fuels me in such a way that I don't typically find myself hungry until hours later. And, I thoroughly enjoy staying in the zone - prepping and preparing each course, listening to the laughter and joy in the room and watching their faces light up with pleasure as they dig into a dish that they love. 

In this post, I'll share with you the brunch menu that I built for my family this past Easter. 

After my coffee and before the food prep, I went out to stretch my legs for a few miles. 

I love being out in the open air. I've spent over the past year in Philly - which I grew to adore, but it feels nice to be out of the city. Typically, I walk in silence but I needed to zen out a bit so I put on some Buddha Bar.

When I returned, I started on the Lemon Cardamom Macaroons because I needed them to set in the fridge. The night before I made the Almond Joy Mounds so they were set already.   

Easter Brunch at the Bailey's

Starters #1

Fresh Veggies & Herbs (Basil & Parsley) Medley with Lemon
Fresh Fruit Medley with Mint
Sweet Guacamole Salsa

Starters #2 

Bacon Wrapped Dates (AKA Paleo Candy)
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus  with slivered almonds

Mains 

Maple Glazed Sweet Potatoes
Roasted Brussels Sprouts (coated in EVOO and seasoned with garlic powder and ground pepper)
Cranberry Chutney
Lemon Kale & Garbanzo Bean Salad

Dessert

Almond Joy Mounds (I added oats)
Lemon Cardamom Macaroons

As you can see, we also had a ham roast - pork for days! 

Bacon Wrapped Dates

Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus

When preparing meals for others, I love to introduce new flavors and concepts while catering to their likes and dislikes and still make it overall healthy, enjoyable and fun...with a bit of my flare ;) 

With Love,

-AEB

No-Bake Lemon Cardamom Coconut Macaroons

This recipe came to me quickly while putting together a menu for my family's Easter Brunch this year.

I am a sucker for a macaroons and I thought it would be a nice addition for a dessert on a spring holiday. And, I love desserts that are sweet yet not too heavy.

This one seriously took about 5 minutes. Wicked easy.

Lemon Cardamom Coconut Macaroons

2 cups unsweetened unsulphered shredded coconut flakes ( I like Let's Do Organic)
1/4 cup organic full fat unsweetened coconut milk (from a BPA-free can or carton, look for those without added ingredients)
1/2 cup organic unrefined coconut oil (melted)
1/4 cup organic hulled hemp seeds
3 T Raw honey*
Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
Dash of ground cardamom

Method:

Add all of ingredients except for the coconut oil into a glass bowl, then pour the oil in and stir vigorously until all ingredients are thoroughly incorporated.

Form macaroon shapes (or whatever shape your heart desires) and place on a glass dish or wax paper, cover and let cool and set in the refrigerator. This would take at least an hour.

Yields ~ 16 macaroons

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Product Review: Go Raw Junk-Free Snacks

It never ceases to amaze me the amount of dangerous additives, preservatives, and chemicals that are added to otherwise safe and healthy food. For what? While the short and quick answer would be "longer shelf life," the reality is much more complicated. The reality, is that adding these things to food saves money by adding fillers and therefore making more at a lower cost. The reality, is that the chemicals that are put into packaged and processed foods are not only dangerous chemicals made in a lab - they proven to have an effect on mood and behavior leading to or contributing to a vast amount of behavioral disturbances such as hyperactivity, ADHD, tantrums, and even Autism.

These nutrient void "foods" are made to make your mouth water, your taste-buds crave more, and set you up for a sugar crash with urgent hunger pangs causing you to reach for more. 

"Research carried out by Dr. Neil Ward at Surrey University found that 89% of 357 diagnosed hyperactive children were adversely affected by artificial colours." (foodsmatter.com).

Be Aware of Food Additives 

We've all seen them on the back of packages and this list is no where near exhaustive but here are some of the scariest additives out there:

  • Artificial Colors: Azo & Coal Tar Dyes worst offenders (E102, 104, 107, 110, 120, 122, 123, 124, 127, 128, 132, 133, 150, 151, 152, 155). These colors and dyes have been known to trigger reactions in asthmatics as well as trigger or cause allergic reactions. Artificial colors are found in products such as beverages, condiments, and other processed foods.
     
  • Artificial Flavors:  An artificial flavor must be comprised of one of the nearly 700 FDA-allowed flavoring chemicals or food additives categorized as “generally recognized as safe,” or any of 2000 other chemicals not directly regulated by FDA but sanctioned for use by an industry group, the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the United States. Most of these chemicals exist as natural flavors or can be extracted from them (ewg.org).
     
  • Artificial Sweeteners (aspartame, sorbitol, mannitol, acesulfame, saccharin, saccharin, xyitol): Artificial sweeteners provide zero benefits, are void of nutrients, and cause or contribute to a vast amount of ailments and disease including but not limited to diabetes, tooth decay, weight-gain, bacteria overgrowth, and toxin build-up.
     
  • Carrageenan: A thickener and emulsifier derived from an indigestible seaweed causing inflammation and linked to cancer, ulcerative colitis, and other diseases such as diabetes. Ironically, this one is generally found in alternative milks (like almond milk), juices, and infant formula.
     
  • Flavor Enhancers such as Monosodium Glutamate - MSG (E621): "One of the scariest ingredients out there...Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of Excitotoxins: The Taste That Kills; explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities: Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's Disease, Lou Gehrig's Disease, and more." (Found in Eat Raw Not Cooked by Stacy Stowers).
     
  • Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): The term 'GMOs' is being tossed around the health community like a ball in a dog park these days- but the fact is, GMOs are scary. If you aren't already worried about them - you should be. Hate to put it so bluntly, but there simply must be an awareness of GMOs and how they can and will effect your body. 
    • In more than 60 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and all of the countries in the European Union, there are significant restrictions or outright bans on the production and sale of GMOs. In the U.S., the government has approved GMOs based on studies conducted by the same corporations that created them and profit from their sale.
    • GMOs (or “genetically modified organisms”) are living organisms whose genetic material has been artificially manipulated in a laboratory through genetic engineering, or GE. This relatively new science creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacteria and viral genes that do not occur in nature or through traditional crossbreeding methods.
    • Virtually all commercial GMOs are engineered to withstand direct application of herbicide and/or to produce an insecticide. Despite biotech industry promises, none of the GMO traits currently on the market offer increased yield, drought tolerance, enhanced nutrition, or any other consumer benefit. Meanwhile, a growing body of evidence connects GMOs with health problems, environmental damage and violation of farmers’ and consumers’ rights.
    • Unfortunately, even though polls consistently show that a significant majority of Americans want to know if the food they’re purchasing contains GMOs, the powerful biotech lobby has succeeded in keeping this information from the public. In the absence of mandatory labeling, the Non-GMO Project was created to give consumers the informed choice they deserve.(http://www.nongmoproject.org/)
  • High-Fructose Corn Syrup: This one has stirred quite a debate. As it's name entails, high-fructose is derived from corn - and it is... you guessed it, fructose. What's the big deal? Yes, it is higher on the glycemic index but what concerns me with HFCS the most, is that it is coming from an ingredient that is highly likely to be genetically modified (corn) and it is completely void of an nutrients. And yes, this too is made in a lab. Stick with 100% pure maple syrup, raw honey, coconut sugar, or dates to sweeten up your foods/beverages where you will be getting the benefit of minerals, enzymes, and vitamins while you get your sugar fix.
     
  • Natural Flavors: According to its website, the FDA does not have a definition for 'natural' as it appears on food labels, and its willing to let marketers use it so long as the food does not contain added colors or synthetic substances. Yet Natural flavors are still made from compounds that were made in a lab utilizing chemicals and synthetic materials! Comforting right?
    • Further ... the FDA says that natural flavor is one that's derived from a "spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable  juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof"...Basically a natural flavor is one that's derived from a plant or animal (including insects). An artificial flavor, on the other hand, does not come from a plant or animal source, and instead is generated from scratch (in a lab).
    • Sodium benzoate and benzoic acid (E210, 211): Food additive/preservatives linked to worsening hyperactivity, allergies and taxing organs such as the liver and kidneys.
    • Sodium Nitrates: Food additive (typically in cured meats as a preservative) linked to gastric cancer, kidney disease/stones/failure. This one may seem relatively harmless on a label but it's a biggie - we humans have a threshold with the amount of sodium that our body can handle. Surpassing that threshold is a serious danger zone. In infants and toddlers, high concentrations of nitrate can lead to a condition called "blue baby syndrome," which can be fatal. The United States Environmental Protection Agency notes that this happens with nitrates bind to red blood cells, blocking their ability to carry life-giving oxygen throughout the body. Nitrates are also associated with an increase risk in cancer and specifically brain tumors, leukemia and nose/throat tumors.
    • Sulfites/sulphites, Sulfur Dioxide : These two are different chemical compounds but are similar. Sulfites and sulfur dioxide are added to a slew of products to preserve their color and extend their shelf life. Sulfites are also used an alternative to bleaching (in things like white flours, spices, coconut and is also sprayed on shellfish and some fish right on the boat). Both of these additives have the ability to cause major allergic reactions. In fact, sulfites is amongst Canada's top 10 common allergens. Note: Sulfites are also found naturally occurring in fermented foods and beverages such as wine - though some wine makers add more to preserve it further, kombucha and fermented veggies many people can tolerate these naturally sulfites. These two additives are seriously everywhere so get accustomed to reading labels - but also know that if it is under a certain amount (10 ppm), they do not have to be on the label so severely sensitive individuals should also check with the maker/manufacturer. 

Before I go on, allow me to just give you some brief insight as to what I have experienced with some of these additives:

  • Artificial colors & dyes: Anaphylactic, itchy throat, dilated pupils, elevated heart rate
  • MSG: Joint pain, migraines, dizziness/vertigo, flushing, elevated heart rate, facial pressure and sensitive skin 
  • Sodium Nitrates and Sodium benzoate: Kidney stones 
  • Artificial Sweeteners: lethargy, joint pain, brain fog, digestive upset, headaches
  • Sulfites/sulfites, Sulfur Dioxide: Anaphylactic, itchy throat, dilated pupils, elevated heart rate, itchy/watery eyes, brain dog, confusion, depression, joint pain, anxiety

Keep in mind that just because something is derived from a plant or animal (like in 'natural flavors' doesn't mean that it's safe. For example, Citric Acid - a seemingly harmless preservative is often derived from mold. And, ever hear of castoreum? Tastes like vanilla right? Well, this 'natural flavor' is actually a secretion that comes from two castor sacs located under a beaver's tail, right next to a pair of anal glands. This evidently tastes and smells like vanilla and is classified as a 'natural' food additive because it comes from an animal source. Yup, beavers butt. 

I recommend these few simple guidlines:

  • 7 ingredients or less rule: Many folks will say 5  but some of my favorite go-to healthy products contain celtic or Himalayan sea salt or spices like ginger and cinnamon that put it over the 5 limit. 
  • If you can't pronounce it - chances are you don't want to it. For real. 
  • If you don't recognize the ingredient, chances are your body won't either. Our bodies do an awesome job of assimilating and breaking down real whole foods - and naturally begins to reject things that it does not recognize as food.

So, let's step away from the "what  you don't know won't hurt you" mentality and get educated. Knowledge is power my friends.

Product Review: Go Raw Junk-Free Snacks

This post took a bit of a detour - apparently I had some ranting to do before I praise one of my go-to organic food brands: Go Raw. I eat Go Raw products on a regular basis (their spicy pumpkin and sunflower seed mix is out of this world). All of their products are free of sugar, oil, flour, and 100% vegan. 

Their products use a delicate process of soaking, sprouting, and drying (under 105º fahrenheit), ensuring a nutrient dense and enzyme rich finished product. 

I had the pleasure of sampling a variety of Go Raw's new Sprouted Cookies. 

Go Raw's products are sourced from 100% organic ingredients. These cookies are made from a base of 3 simple ingredients: unsulphered coconut, sprouted sesame seeds, and dates that when combined, create a taste-bud experience unlike any other cookie. The good news? The cookie is actually good for you. Go Raw has come up with a variety of cookie flavors like Chocolate (yes please!), Lemon (heaven...), Carrot, Masala Chai, Ginger (OMG yum!) and Original. There was not one that did not like though my favorites are Chocolate, Lemon and Ginger. I may have had three of each in one bite for an epic combination....and by that, I mean that I did... 

For those that have nut allergies, Go Raw is a dedicated nut-free facility. 

Sesame, dates and coconut are nutritional powerhouses. 

Sesame Seeds:

Don't let their size fool you, these tiny seeds are loaded with goodness. Protein makes up 20% of the seed, offering 4.7 grams of protein per ounce. High in magnesium, sesame is an excellent way to get this nutrient in; which aids in digestion, sleep, blood sugar control, lowering anxiety and stress and is critical in preventing diabetes, high cholesterol and heart disease. The phytosterol is the highest in sesame in comparison to any other nut or seed - this compound has been found to have anti-cancer properties. In addition, sesame contains a high amount of iron, which everyone needs but particularly those with anemia or prone to anemia. And, just a small handful of sesame contains more calcium than a glass of milk. The list goes on and on from healthy skin and hair to eye health - these babies are indeed a superfood. 

Coconut:

If you've been tapped into the health community, you already know that coconut is pretty much a miracle. You can read about the 101 uses for coconut by the lovely Wellness Moma here. Coconut can be used internallyand externally for a wide array of things, but I will tell you that as far as internally, it truly is a miracle food. It is high in lauric acid and Medium-Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA); which helps to boost the metabolism and aids in weight-loss. Yeah, it's 2015 and time to let go of the fallacy that saturated fat is bad. Here are a few of the other awesome benefits of regular use of coconut: helps to support thyroid function, has been shown to possibly prevent or reverse Alzheimers, controls insulin levels, boost hormone production, boost immune system, improve digestion and is a natural anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and, antioxidant.

Dates:

I'm happy to go out on date with this marvelous fruit any day. A sweet product of the date palm, dates are packed with an impressive mineral, nutrient, and vitamin profile of: fiber, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, vitamins A, B6, K and folates and contains antioxidant flavonoids such as b-carotene. Here are just some of the benefits of consuming dates: digestive health, reduced stroke risk, brain health, heart health, reduced blood pressure, weigh-management, anemia prevention, respiratory health and decreased (colon) cancer risk. 

Eat real whole foods. Go simple. Go Raw.

- Michael Pollan

www.goraw.com

-Ashley

Vegan Spicy Yam Chili

Yeehaw!

That is how I feel about this Vegan Spicy Yam Chili!

So, I've been thinking about this change of season thing that occurs, and it's really very interesting. First of all, it has still been quite warm here in Philly (not complaining). Yet, I am still craving fall foods like mad. Pumpkins, Kabocha squash, Carnival squash, pomegranates, apples, cranberries, brussels sprouts... I even went to Jamaica recently where it was so hot that I thought my coconut oil would actually evaporate, and I was craving apples the entire time. My point is that, it must not just be the change in weather - that effect our state of being during the shift of seasons. Perhaps there are other forces at play like ecology, astrology, and even genotype.

On with this fall inspired and completely satisfying vegan dish (and feel free to make in non-vegan with some meat of your choice!) 

vegan chili.jpeg

Vegan Spicy Yam Chili

13.4 oz Organic no-salt added black beans (I use the 365® BPA-free boxed, if you used canned, make sure it's BPA-free like Eden®)
1/2 cup filtered water
1 zucchini, diced
1/2 bunch kale, chopped
2 handful bok choy, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 handful spinach
1 T fresh chive, minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped (actually use your hands to pull the cilantro apart vs using a knife as it releases the oils better)
1 T EVOO
Heavy dash of: Cumin, Cayenne, Chili Powder and Pepper)

For the Yams (btw... there is a difference between yams and sweet potatoes)

1 large yam or 2 small yams, diced (skin-on)
1 T coconut oil
1/2 T Cinnamon

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 400º, dice your yams, toss in a large glass baking dish, and massage the coconut oil evenly on all pieces. Sprinkle the cinnamon overtop and roast at 400º for about 1 hour. Turn over pieces two times throughout for even roasting.

Meanwhile, boil the 1/2 cup water and add in the zucchini and boil for about 1 minute, then add the bok choy, boil another minute, and then add in the kale. Boil for about one more minute, and then turn down to a simmer - drain the majority of the water out and add in the EVOO. Proceed to add in the remaining chili ingredients (keep the water from the beans or add in 1/4 of filtered water), turn the heat up to medium and cover for about 5 minutes and then turn back down to a simmer until the yams are done.

Add in about 2 cups of the yams (yay you'll have some left over!)

Pour into bowls and top with avocado.

(Note: I recommend adding the avocado fresh to avoid oxidation)

Serves 4

I think when I make this again, I will add in some lime but I didn't have any limes (um why not?!? One should always have limes!)

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Lentil, Butternut Squash & Kale Bake

I've recently become quite fond of the lentil. With 17 grams in one cup, these little legumes are an excellent source of protein as well as healthy, low-glycemic carbohydrates. Additionally, they contain a significant amount of healthy fiber, manganese, B-vitamins, folate and iron. A true superfood, IMHO.

Like other beans and legumes, you can either soak them or cook them or a combination of the two. For this recipe, I decided to cook them. 

On a side note, do you ever just fall in love with an artist all over again? I've been listening to Adele like it's the fist time hearing her this past week and each song undoubtedly moves me. She evokes so much passion...so many emotions... Lovely. 

Anyway, on with this hearty (vegan and vegetarian friendly) dish ;)

Lentil, Butternut Squash & Kale Bake

For the lentils

1 cup green lentils
3 cups water

Method:

In a medium saucepan, combine the lentils and water. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring often. The legumes, when done should be soft throughout.

For the squash

1 small butternut squash, peeled and diced diced
1 tbls coconut oil (Extra Virgin/Unrefined)

Method:

Combine the diced butternut squash with the coconut oil and bake at 400° for about 30 minutes (tossing once halfway through).

For the bake:

3 handfuls of kale, chopped
1 scallion, minced
1 tomato, de-seeded and chopped
Heavy dash of garlic powder
1 tbls cumin powder
Dash of sea salt
4-6 fresh oregano leaves, torn into pieces
3/4 cup water (you'll be splitting this up 1/4 cup at time)
1 tbls coconut oil

Method:

Mix the garlic powder, cumin and sea salt with the 3/4 water. Stir well.

Combine the lentils with the butternut squash, pour 1/4 of the seasoned water over-top and bake another 10 minutes.

Add the tomato and scallion, pour another 1/4 cup of the seasoned water over-top and bake another 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350°.

Lastly, add in the kale, oregano, coconut oil and remaining water. Stir and bake for another 10 minutes.

lentil bake.jpeg

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Mexican Sweet Potato Salad

One of my favorite things in life is to turn on some music, sip on a refreshing adult beverage and cook up a hearty meal using fresh ingredients. It's like therapy for me. Seriously. 

Mexican Sweet Potato Salad

1 lb ground bison, grass-fed
1/2 yellow pepper, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 yellow onion, minced
1 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 summer squash, thinly sliced
1 tomato, diced
1 large handful of kale, chopped
1 large sweet potato, chopped
1 avocado, diced
Dash of ground pepper
Pinch of sea salt 

cooking.jpeg

Method: 

Begin to brown the bison in a large skillet, add in clove of garlic and onion and saute. Add in the sea salt and pepper. While the bison is cooking, chop up your sweet potato and steam for about 12 minutes.

Add in the remaining ingredients to the bison and cook until the bison is cooked to your liking and the vegetables are tender. 

Serve with the diced avocado.

avo.jpeg

Now, I went light on the seasonings because I was just excited about the fresh ingredients but you could jazz it up with some oregano, chili powder, cayenne etc...

Serves 3-4 (or...leftovers...)

And with the those leftovers, just toss over some romaine and eat cold ;) Yum! 

mexi salad.jpeg

My new beverage of choice... 

zipang.jpeg

Zipang

is the greatest thing since sliced bread IMO (gluten free sliced bread that is ;)). Seriously incredible. It tastes almost more like brew than a wine. I could go on and on about it, so you'll just have to try it. Not sweet, super refreshing AND gluten/sulfite-free. Aaah....

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Baked Haddock & Veggies

Haddock is one of my favorite types of fish. It's similar to cod (another favorite), with a slightly different taste.

haddock.jpeg

Both haddock and cod are mild in flavor (in my opinion), so they can be paired with just about anything. 

Baked Haddock & Veggies

For the fish

1 haddock filet (I can't recall the weight on this one but it was a healthy size. Try to get fresh/wild-caught)
Dash of thyme
Dash if turmeric
Pinch of sea salt
1/2 tbls EVOO

Method:

Rub the fish (the side sans skin) with EVOO and your seasonings.

Bake on parchment paper at 400 for about 12-18 minutes or until done. The fish should be white, moist and easy to pull apart with a fork.

For the veggies

1 carrot, very thinly sliced
1 parsnip, very thinly sliced
Small bunch of broccolini, chopped
1 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
1/2 of a leek, thinly sliced
1 zucchini, chopped
1 basil leaf, chopped
2 tbls EVOO

Method:

Toss the veggies in the EVOO.

Bake on parchment paper at 400 for about 25-35 minutes or until tender. Stir half-way through and add the basil.

Such a light and satisfying meal in the summer heat.

Enjoy! ;)

-AEB

Eggs, Potatoes & Sausage, An Irish Brekkie

So, I am Irish (I'm a mutt but there is Irish in there. Hence the Bailey ;)) and I do love potatoes. And sausage. Why don't I do this more often? Because I'm infatuated with pancakes probably...

Irish Brekkie.jpeg

Anyway, this breakfast just kind of happened. I had some leftover potatoes and then remembered that I had some chicken sausage I needed to use up so it was the perfect combination.

I am not a fan of any store-bought breakfast sausage right now because they are all so heavily processed but there are others that are not advertised as breakfast sausage that will certainly do the trick. The ones I've been getting are Al Fresco with spinach, garlic and fennel seed. Delicious (all natural and a gluten free casing).

This was a definite make again, especially after a run and before a hike (I know I'm working on the whole calm down and relax thing.

I looooove being Irish ;)))

hiking map.jpeg

Love my hiking days...

Eggs, potatoes and Sausage, An Irish Brekkie

2 eggs, organic cage-free
Serving of previously steamed russet potatoes*, diced
Dash of turmeric
Sprinkle of sea salt
Dash of fresh parsley, minced
Dash of fresh fennel fronds, minced
1 chicken sausage link, diced

Method:

Soooo EASY! I used two separate pans so that i could prepare my eggs over-easy (yolk popped), but you could toss it all into one (coat with EVOO) and do a scribble.

Prepare your eggs as you'd like, add in the turmeric.

Heat up the chicken sausage and potatoes with parsley, sea salt and fennel fonds.

I also had some blueberries. I may have been hungry...

* For nightshade-free, substitute russet potatoes for sweet potatoes

this is your life.jpeg

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Acorn Squash and Leeks

Despite it's lengthy title, this dish was actually very easy. A few steps for a downright delectable meal (my ego is a tad big on this one... It really was fantastic...)

pork tenderloin.jpeg

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Acorn Squash and Leeks

For the Pork:

1 pork tenderloin (free-range, grass-fed)
Dash of sea salt
Dash of ground pepper
Dash of garlic
Sprinkle of rosemary
~ 3-4 tbls grapeseed oil

Method:

Heat the grapeseed oil on medium (enough so that the pan is coated with approximately .5 cm in a medium-sized skillet)

While the oil is heating, pat the tenderloin dry and cut off any excess fat, then rub with the seasonings.

Place the tenderloin in the oil and sear for about 2 minutes on each sides (4 sides). I cover mine while I sear.

pork tenderloin 2.jpeg

Roast on a glass dish at 425º for about 15 min or until the center is 155, allow to sit for about 10 minutes. It will continue to cook to about 160z

For the veggies:

Cut the acorn squash in half (lengthwise), scoop out the insides, score and put a light coating of grapeseed oil on the flesh. Roast on parchment paper, flesh-side down for 45 minutes - 1 hour depending on the size of the squash.

Cut a bell pepper (I used yellow)  in half and remove seeds.

Thinly slice a leek, rub some grapeseed oil on the pieces and place underneath the bell pepper. Roast at 400º for 10 minutes and 425º for 10 minutes.

The order in which you do things is up to you but it worked out perfectly for me to roast the squash, then add the tenderloin in the oven and then the pepper and leeks (I was worried about turning the temperature up to 425 º on the pepper and leeks but it was great).

Drizzle the veggies with  100% pure maple syrup. I also sprinkled with turmeric.

Wow. (I know the humble thing, but this really was delicious).

Serves 2-3 people (or one and wicked awesome leftovers).

Gorham Trial, Acadia National Park

Gorham Trial, Acadia National Park

Enjoy (after a nice long hike...;))

-AEB

Truffle Roasted Acorn Squash with Fennel, Parsnips, and Kale

WOW

It has been a LONG time since I have put out a recipe post. Whew! What an experience the past few months have been! Amazing journey's, incredible learning's and enchanting healing gifts along the way.

With my move to Maine and recovery fromMy Battle with Orthorexia, the space and time to come up with new recipes AND write about them has not come about until now. 

Anyway, this meal was thrown together (typical Ashley-style with no real planning involved ;)) and turned out to be FANTASTIC!

Acorn Squash and Veggies.jpeg

Truffle Roasted Acorn Squash with Fennel, Parsnips, and Kale

1 acorn squash
1/4 large fennel bulb, sliced
1 large handful of kale, broken into bite-size pieces
2 parsnips, thinly sliced
1-2 tbls EVOO
Drizzle of white truffle oil
Dash of ground pepper
Dash of turmeric

Method (this can all be done in the same casserole dish):

For the acorn squash

Slice the acorn squash in half (lengthwise), score with a knife and massage some EVOO into the flesh. Bake at 400° on parchment paper (face down) for 60 minutes.

For the parsnips

Massage some EVOO into the parsnips, season with the ground pepper and toss in with the acorn squash at 400° for 40 minutes, flipping halfway through (so put in when the acorn squash is 20 minutes in).

For the kale

Massage some EVOO in the kale leaves and toss over-top of the parsnips for 20 minutes (so 40 minutes into the acorn squash cook-time).

For the fennel

Massage some EVOO into the fennel, sprinkle with some ground pepper and then wrap with parchment paper. Lay the wrapped fennel in with the vegges and bake for 20 minutes (when you put the kale in).

Drizzle some truffle oil on the parsnips and kale and sprinkle the turmeric on the acorn squash.

Ummmm WOW (again), SO delicious! This made enough for two so I had it two nights in row. Yeehaw!

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Homemade Mustang Bars

Umm... wow. Yum. Yum.Yum. For real. This is some serious goodness. I am typically a 'one is enough' gal but these had me reaching for another one immediately after my first one. And so it began...

I am calling these 'Homemade Mustang Bars' because I got the idea from Paleo Treats. Note, I have not actually had their 'Mustang Bars.' And call me crazy, but I'm not going to spend $45.00 for 10 bars. But they looked interesting, so I looked at the ingredient list and made my own (omitting the almond flour and adding macadamia nuts). Obviously, I have no idea the portions that they used to make theirs so I basically did mine based on experience and what I had on hand.

homemade mustang bars.jpeg

Homemade Mustang Bars

1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, lightly salted
1/3 cup (crunchy) almond butter
1/3 cup raw walnuts, crumbled
1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts
1/4 cup raisins
2 tbls vanilla
3 tbls honey
1/3 cup coconut oil (melted) 

Method

Well, my food processor is still taking some time off so I mixed this together by hand. Simply add all of the ingredients in one by one in the order that it is listed above, mixing the melted (30 seconds will do) coconut oil and honey in last. 

Form bars and wrap in cellophane and store in the fridge. 

Yields ~ 8 bars  

Now, having had these, I will say I would definitely pay $4.50 for one bar. So, mad props to Paleo Treats

I need another word for YUM... 

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Veggie Bowl

You all know that I love kitchen experiments. Especially where prosciiutto and veggies are involved. And again, I struggled with a title as there is a lot going on in this dish BUT the good news is that there are so many variations that you can do here. Pick and choose your additions ;)

BTW, have you all heard of the Playing For Change Foundation? I am so head-over-heals for this effort. It warms my soul to the core. Give this one a listen. Anyway, here's what's going on in this dish...

Prosciutto and Goat Cheese Veggie Bowl

1 butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1 zucchini, peeled and sliced
Handful of kale (I used red kale), chopped
1 tbls scallion, minced
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of ground pepper
Pinch of sea salt
1 slice sharp goat cheese, diced
3 slices prosciutto
~ 2 tbls EVOO

Method:

Drizzle some EVOO on the cubed butternut squash, add some seasoning and bake at 400° for 30  minutes (turn half-way through). Drizzle the remaining EVOO on the zucchini, kale and scallions and add right over-top the butternut squash (flip over the squash first). Bake at 400° for 10 minutes.

Give everything a healthy stir and then add the prosciutto over-top everything else and bake at 400° for another 5 minutes.

Cut/tear up the prosciutto so that it is mixed throughout and then add in the goat the cheese.

prosciutto bowl.jpeg

Stir and serve ;)

Serves ~ 2

YUM!

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Salmon, Broccolini & Sweet Potato Medallions

Oh, how I love Pinterest. What a brilliant social phenomena. I found this post on Sweet Potato Medallions and proceeded to make them that night.

I had some wild caught salmon and broccolini which sounded like a nice pairing, so that is what I did.

sweetpotmed.jpeg

Salmon, Broccolini & Sweet Potato Medallions

For the salmon: 

1 wild caught salmon fillet
Drizzle of EVOO
Splash of lemon juice
Pinch of sea salt
Pinch of ground pepper
Dash of garlic powder

Method:

Rub all ingredients on the salmon fillet, place in parchment paper (uncovered) and bake at 425° for about 20 minutes or until the salmon is done to your liking.

Note, you can bake this while the sweet potatoes are baking as it's the same oven temperature ;)

For the sweet potatoes:

(Adapted from PaleoAloholic)

1 sweet potato, thinly sliced
2 tbls coconut oil
Dash of rosemary (I used dried)
Dash of chives (I used dried)
Dash of garlic powder

Method:

Rub all ingredients on the sweet potato medallions and bake on a glass baking dish at 425° for 12 minutes, flip over and bake for another 12 minutes. 

For the broccolini:

1 bunch of broccolini 

Method:

Steam :)

salmon dinner.jpeg

Serves ~ 1-2

Fantastic meal all around. And will be making those medallions often.

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Product Review: Artisana Butters

Artisana! I even love to say their name. I had the pleasure of trying out some samples from Artisana recently and... I am certain I will be finding room in my kitchen for more Artisana products. 

Now, for these heavenly lil' packets...

variety.jpg

Cashew Butter: The cashew butter is almost like a frosting. Not in sweetness but in the buttery, smooth texture. This could be used for various frosting or cream cheese replacements. Loved it.

Almond Butter: I eat quite a bit of almond butter and loved this one because it is simply raw almonds. Many other almond butters have other  ingredients such as salt and cane sugar. There are SO many uses for almond butter. I like to enjoy just by itself or with a banana or apple. Yum :)

Cacao Bliss: OK- not sure this needs much of description. Cacao Bliss is bliss. Seriously. Delicious.

Macadamia Butter: I LOVE this butter. So good. I have made my own macadamia butter in the past theirs has cashew butter in at as well (here is why) which makes it super creamy. I enjoyed this plain but macadamia butter can be used in various recipes to replace cheese (especially ricotta), cream cheese or frosting.

Pecan Butter: Well, I love pecans to begin with but this butter was fantastic. I like to enjoy this one by itself but could be added to so many different foods... Perfect...

My favorite? 

If I had to choose, I may choose the pecan and macadamia....together... A wonderful bit of mother nature. 

Perhaps the best attribute to Artisana products is that their ingredients are completely natural and simple. The butters have few ingredients and often just one. Purely simple and natural :)

Discover more about Artisana here.

Enjoy! 

-AEB

Elk Veggie Bowl with Roasted Cauliflower

Sometimes I have such a difficult time coming up with titles. I toyed with the idea of calling it a variation of 'kitchen sink' because that's pretty much what I did. Had the elk burger, looked in my fridge and cabinets and decided to throw this concoction together.

It just so happened that it tasted quite delicious ;)

Elk Veggie Bowl with Roasted Cauliflower

For the Elk Veggie Bowl

1 lb ground elk
1/2 tsp ground sage
Dash of cayenne
Dash of cinnamon
Dash of cumin
Dash of ground garlic
Dash of ground pepper
1/4 yellow onion, diced
Handful of spinach
1 sweet potato, chopped

Method:

In large skillet, saute the onion in EVOO until it starts to turn translucent. Add the elk meat with the seasonings. While that is cooking, steam the sweet potato (about 15 minutes), in the last 3 minutes, add in the spinach to steam that as well). Add the sweet potato and spinach to the elk meat.

For the cauliflower: 

1 head cauliflower florets
Dash of ground pepper
Dash of sea salt
Dash of ground garlic 

Method:

While you are cooking the Elk Veggie Bowl, coat the florets with some EVOO and rub the seasonings on. Roast at 425° for 15 minutes, flip over with tongs and roast for about another 15 minutes or until you start to see a golden crisp.

Add the cauliflower to veggie bowl and consume ;)

elk bowl.jpeg

Serves ~ 2-4

When I eat red meat, I prefer game. Especially elk. Thank you to my gracious family for providing me with some fresh game meat.

Of course, this could be done vegetarian or with another meat as well. 

Enjoy ;)

DAMY'S Strawberry Lemonade Two Bite Muffins (GF)

Another rock-star DAMY recipe. I tweaked the ingredients a bit but the credit still goes to her. Thank you kindly ;)

strawberrymuffins.jpeg

DAMY'S Strawberry Lemonade Two Bite Muffins (GF)

2 cage-free organic eggs (separated)
2 tbls honey
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups almond meal
1 tbls fresh lemon juice
1 tbls lemon zest
2 cups finely diced fresh strawberries
Pinch of sea salt
2 tbls grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbls apple cider vinegar

strawberries and lemon.jpeg

Method

In a small bowl whisk together the egg whites until they begin to turn white but not frothy, set aside. In a large bowl combine the egg yolk, honey an vanilla. Add in the almond meal, lemon zest, lemon juice and strawberries. Mix well and then add in the salt and grapeseed oil. Once ingredients are well incorporated, add in the baking soda, apple cider vinegar and fold in the egg whites. Stir well until a nice dough forms. 

Grease tins with grapeseed oil and fill each tin about 3/4 full. Bake at 350° for about 25 minutes. 

muffins.jpeg

Yields ~ 10 small muffins 

Enjoy (with some tea while watching Grey's Anatomy... ;))

-AEB

Fig, Macadamia, and Cacao Balls

Well, my food processor may be broken ( ;((( ) but that will not stop me from experimenting with different homemade balls! Yes, I know, my sister has reminded me that the names of these tasty treats are not ideal. But I looked up synonyms to 'ball' or 'balls' and I assure you, there is no better word. Let me know if you find one...

I didn't have dates which is what I typically use for homemade bars/balls but had exactly 15 dried mission figs. And my mission was to make something simple and delicious.

Mission accomplished.

Fig, Macadamia, and Cacao Balls

15 dried mission figs
1/4 sunbutter
1/4 macadamia nuts
1 tbls raw cacao
Dash of cinnamon

Method:

Well, if you do have a food processor, throw all of the ingredients in and let it do its thing. If not... use a spoon and knife to chop all of the ingredients together.

Roll into desired shape. Wrap in cellophane and store in the refrigerator.

Yields ~ 5 small balls

fig balls.jpeg

Enjoy ;)

-AEB

Chevre Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

OK, I know that I post some easy recipes but I'm telling you, this may be the easiest AND was a big hit at a dinner party.

So, I'll get right on with it...

Chevre Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates

goat cheese dates.jpeg

2 packages of Medjool dates, pitted (any kind of date would work)
2 packages of chevre goat cheese crumbles

This was for a large group so you could cut the amount down to suit your needs.

Method:

Slice the dates down the middle, stuff with the goat cheese crumbles (I used a very small spoon to do this) and serve ;) Store in the refrigerator if you make ahead of time.

I must admit, these were quite heavenly... 

Enjoy ;)  

-AEB

Warm Kale & Apple Garbanzo Salad

I often make a variation of this salad, and this time, did it a bit differently for a dinner party. With the response that I got and inquires for the recipe, I'm deeming it a hit. 

We had about twenty guests, so I'll downsize the recipe for you.

Warm Kale & Apple Garbanzo Salad

1-2 tbls EVOO
1 bunch of kale, chopped (don't dry after rinsing)
1/4 yellow onion, minced
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
1 apple, chopped (I used Cameo)
1 can of garbanzo beans, drained (be sure to get BPA free, I use Eden)
Splash of apple cider vinegar
Small handful of raisins
Small handful of hazelnuts
Dash of garlic powder
Dash of sea salt

Method

Heat the EVOO in a large skillet on low-meduim, add in the onion, zucchini and apple. Saute these together for a few minutes (until the onions begin to become translucent and the apple and zucchini soften). Add in the chickpeas and kale with the splash of apple cider vinegar. Stir everything around and let cook for a few minutes. Turn the heat down to low and continue to stir and saute until the kale is good and soft. Add in the raisins, hazelnuts, garlic and sea salt. Stir and allow the flavors of the ingredients to soak into one another. 

chickpea salad.jpeg

Serves 4-6

Enjoy ;)

-AEB