Broccoli Bacon Skillet

Broccoli Bacon SkilletSometimes life is just a blur, or at least it feels like that. I cannot believe the first week of January is already over and we are going into the next and then half way through! I think I talk about this too much, but as a mother, you really have a different sense of time. The sense is that it passes too quickly. I have no idea where the weekend went, or the last six months.

I got offered a new job in my agency, which is thrilling! It is going to be more work and commitment, but I need it. I need to busyness and the challenge to keep my practice fine tuned and keep improving. So, between new job, leading a parent group and school, I have got a very busy three months. But I think it is going to be really great! Sometimes when it rains, it pours, and those rain drops are filled with abundance. Of course though, I am not doing any of that work at the moment. Nope. I am wasting copious amounts of time blogging about food and watching The Hundred Foot Journey, which is all about food. De.Lish. Sigh, I love food. I love everything about it. And apparently so do my hips, which are carrying around some holiday curves. Back to some cleaner eating and hitting the gym harder. I’ve got to keep up with the high gear I’ve been kicked into.

This dish is a favourite. I make it at least once a week as a go-to veggie side. The key to this dish is the cast iron skillet. There is something about the heat and how it chars the broccoli. There are only three ingredients and it is super simple and easy for anyone needing something quick.

Broccoli Bacon Skillet

Ingredients:

2 heads of broccoli, chopped into florets and stalks cut

5 strips of bacon, diced into 1 inch slices

1/2 red onion, sliced

Method:

  1. Heat the skillet on medium heat. Put the bacon in the skillet.
  2. Let the bacon cook for 2-3 minutes, allowing the fat to coat the skillet.
  3. Add the onions, cooking for 2 minutes. Stir a couple of times
  4. Add the broccoli and stir to coat it with the onions and bacon.
  5. Allow the broccoli to blacken in the skillet for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes.
  6. When the broccoli is to your liking, I like mine a little charred, take it off the heat and serve right away.
  7. As my son would say, NOMMY NOMMY NOMMY. This is the only way he will eat broccoli.

Broccoli Bacon Skillet

Posted in Le Oink, Le Veg, Sides | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Truffle Sunchoke and Cauliflower Soup

Truffled Sunchoke Cauli Soup

Don’t even talk to me about cleansing. If you are in the mood for a cleanse, skip this soup. FAKE! This is what I love about Paleo. No cleanses, no weirdos standing at the new juice bar in town, in their new stretchy pants talking about how amazing their colons feel. Since going Paleo, I never feel the need to cleanse, fix my diet or whatever comes after the holidays. Yeah sure, I indulge and have all along the way. But my indulgence is once or twice a month (more like once or twice a week around the holidays). Then I get back to my regularly scheduled program and it’s, like, totally, oh my god, no. big. deal.

The holidays are over and we are gearing up for back to work, school, everyday busy busy life. It was a wonderful holiday. Quiet and just us making plans up as we go along. Sometimes it is so great to say, “Screw you schedule!” and just let it happen. I saw lots of my friends, missed my family in Ontario, had lots of laughs and a great New Years. Onward to 2015! This year is all about the same business of laughs, plans, balance and getting holistically stronger. I hope you are also on that page.

So this soup. Let’s talk about Lux. There are some flavours out there that just scream luxury and truffles is one of them. The truffle oil I used in this recipe is by no means the top of the shelf stuff. But the taste is pronounced and gives you that 100 dollars a gram per truffle feel. This is not a soup to skimp out on the additions. It is actually what makes the soup. So, dress up, have people over, and keep living life in a big way!

Truffle Sunchoke Cauliflower Soup

Serves 4-hearty portions

 Ingredients:

6-10 sunchokes, washed and sliced, you do not have to peel them

1 small cauliflower, chopped

1 tbsp of butter or ghee

1 leek, cleaned and chopped

3 cloves of garlic, smashed

4 cups of water

1 tsp of sea salt

½ cup of full fat coconut milk

freshly ground pepper

truffle oil

 Parm Crisps

8 Tbsp of grated parmesan cheese, separated

with your oven set to broil, place the 8 Tbsp of parm cheese in little circles on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Broil until crispy. Watch them! Mine almost burnt. Almost.

 Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425. Take sliced sunchokes and coat them in truffle oil, salt and pepper. Put on a flat cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and roast for 15 minutes in the oven.
  2. On medium heat, melt the butter. Add the garlic and leeks and let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  3. Add in the roasted sunchokes and cauliflower. Stir to coat.
  4. Add in the water and salt. Bring to a boil the let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until cauliflower is soft.
  5. Using an immersion blender, puree the soup. This took me about 5-7 minutes. I like a well-pureed soup.
  6. Stir in coconut milk.
  7. Top that baby with parm crisps and drizzled truffle oil. The NOM, but slowly, this is to lux for any other way.
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Chi Chi Chi Chia Chai Latte

Chia Chai

I wish that I could take credit for this fun little jingle, but alas, I am not that witty. Actually…you know those moments when your mind is blown by the simplest things? Yeah, chia seeds and I had this moment a while back. I had no idea that chia seeds were also the chia that grew grass on heads. And dogs. And cats. Sometimes I wonder how my brain and I have made it this far.

Christmas is almost here and it is exciting! I love Christmas and I am pretty much done all the shopping, but I still have to shop for the man. We decided to do a scale down this year. There is just too much STUFF (I capitalize because this is currently how I feel about it, it’s too big and too much!). I actually feel like this is the cause of cholesterol. STUFF. It just clogs your arteries and gives you heart disease. If we really wanted to go into a deep philosophical discussion about this, we could say that STUFF does clog our heart centre and cause disease. It fuels a cycle of materialism, blocks connection to each other and can be down right soul sucking. I do not need anymore stuff, he doesn’t and neither does D. I want to have a wonderful Christmas that is about family, fantastic food and laughter.

BUT, if a pair of Louboutin’s came wrapped in a box, well, I suppose I make room for those babies in my heart…err, my closet.

This fun recipe is great for breakfast, snack or a sweet treat. It is packed with spice and a special ingredient that you would not normally find. Fresh ginger. I think this makes all the difference. I had two awesome people test this recipe out and they gave me the thumbs up! Or actually, it was said that it was some yummy puddin. More wittiness that I cannot claim. Enjoy!

Chi Chi Chi Chia Chai Latte

Ingredients

1 can of whole coconut milk (the thickness of the pudding will vary based on different coconut milk)

1 cup of almond milk, unsweetened vanilla

6 tbsp of chia seeds

1/4 cup of honey

Spice mix

  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp ground allspice

Method

1. Mix all ingredients together in a tall tupperware container. Mix really well so the chia seeds do not get stuck in lumps. Let sit in the fridge overnight. Open the fridge in the morning, give it a stir and it’s a breakfast NOM! Top with whatever you like or leave it as is.

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Chocolate Peppermint Energy Bars

Pep Choco Bars

Heyyyyyyyyy. Look who made herself some food boards? Yep, I did! They definitely make food look better. No wonder I want to eat all the time when people make food look damn sexy.

Have we talked about chocolate? Well, actually, my deep, long lasting committed relationship to chocolate. It’s a very intimate one. I have been in this rehabilitation program, C.A. (Chocolate Anonymous) for years. But they just don’t get what chocolate and I have. So I left and fully embraced my love and dysfunction. I feel like chocolate understands me. Is emphatic to my problems and is always there for me. In my cupboard. Honestly, I love chocolate. I eat it every day and this is a way of life people. Of course, I must quantify this. I eat damn good, well made, handcrafted chocolate. Yup, you can call me a snob. I own it. So, maybe it is my way of telling myself that it is good for me, but I still think that it is. So I eat it every day. And in many different forms.

This is one such form! Mmmmm, a paleo chocolate bar if you will, but filled with awesome, good for you, ingredients. I call these energy bars because that is exactly what they are. They are not meant to fill you up or keep you lasting all day like protein and fat. These bars are meant for pre-work out’s (me), mom’s starving on the go (me), people who might not get through the afternoon without stabbing someone in the eye (me as well). These bars will keep you going until you can crash and watch crappy television.

Enjoy!

Chocolate Peppermint Energy Bars

Ingredients:

2 cups of pitted, medjool dates

½ cup of shredded, unsweetened coconut

¼ cup of cocoa

½ tsp of peppermint extract

2 tbsp of coconut oil

½ cup of Enjoy Life Mega Chocolate Chunks

 Method:

  1. Place dates coconut, coconut oil and cocoa in a food processor. Process until all the dates have become smooth.
  2. Drizzle the peppermint extract onto the date mixture. Pulse a few times.
  3. Add in the chocolate chunks then pulse a few times.
  4. Place mixture in a square glass pan. Press it down and cover. Place in the refrigerator for an hour.
  5. Eat for all three meals and snacks. Well, okay, that might be a bit much.
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Bufala

Bufala

Let’s talk Pizza. Actually, after this experience, I think fantasize about pizza is more fitting.

Pizza is pizza is pizza is pizza right? WRONG. The set up might be the same: dough, sauce, toppings, cheese, but the taste and how it is executed is where you see the creativity and individuality of chefs.

I walked into the pizzeria, Bufala on a rainy Friday night to meet my partner in food crime. It was 5:30 in the evening, before the dinner rush, so we got a table right away. The tables were a rustic stained wood, but the place itself was an open concept of white tile and concrete. You could see all the happenings and the smells teased your palate.

Our server came up and she was just fantastic. She was sassy, knew her stuff and was delightfully engaging. She was very accommodating to our time limit, our requests and very friendly throughout service.

We started out with a glass of wine and the meatballs. We were told that each table always has the meatballs. Why mess around with tradition? The meatballs came. Three glorious mounds of ground beef, perfectly formed, drenched in a garlic tomato sauce. They were topped with fresh ricotta cheese and served with three garlic butter baguette slices. It was served steaming in a cast iron skillet. Now, I know this is a Paleo blog, but I dig the 95/5 lifestyle. So I ate the bread. I know. I am going to burn in hell. Pizza hell, and that is just fine by me. By the way, that bread was fantastic. Oozing hot garlic butter on a crispy, perfectly toasted baguette. NOM.

Next, la piece de resistance, the pizza. Our pizza came served on wooden boards and sliced into quarters. We got the Funghi with mozzarella (instead of goat cheese) and their ultimate, Vancouver famous Green Peas and Ham.

We dug into the Funghi pizza first. The curst was perfect. Baked in a brick oven, very thin and slightly crispy dough. The crust was bubbled up and a beautiful brown colouring. They give you four dipping oils for your crust. These people know how to do it right. There was a cream sauce on the bottom, topped generously with a mix of wild mushrooms and topped with a crispy layer or fresh arugula. It was all the right things. The earthy flavours of the mushrooms, surrounded by a delicate cream sauce but cut by the spicy arugula.

The next pizza deserves a post all on its own. We actually took a moment to not talk and just eat the pizza. In my word, to not talk is a feat. This pizza is what dreams are made of. In the first bite, my palate was hit was the warm creaminess of the sauce. Then the truffle oil made it’s appearance. The saltiness and thick texture of the smoked ham entertained my palate next. Just as I thought it was too good, the sweetness of the peas came in. It was the perfect bite. Of course, we polished off both pizza’s ourselves. We felt it was our responsibility.

To finish this all off, I ate pizza again last night. Honestly, I can never go back. If I eat pizza, I will only be going to Bufala. It has raised the bar and I am happy to keep it there. Bufala gets a solid 5 out 5 from me.

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Loaded Savoury Breakfast Muffins

Savoury Breakfast Muffins

Things have not gotten any better around here. We are still fighting the good fight with our little man waking up at 3am because he cannot breathe. Really kid? I can think of much better reasons to wake your parents up. Although, I think it might have broken in the afternoon. Out of nowhere, my little man got his gusto back. Let’s hope it was not a tease. Oh, and he started walking! EPIC. I have never been that excited to see anyone walk before. Can you imagine us cheering each other along on the street for just using our legs? I imagine some middle age person, minding there own business, then I come along like a varsity cheerleader on speed: Come on! You can do it! Cross that street! Look at you go! I am so proud of you! Ha. Frightening.

My dad is town at the moment. The man who started this Paleo journey for me. I love it when my parents visit, and wished they would never leave. Honestly. This is a fact. We have so much fun cooking together. What is even more exciting, and he does not know it yet, but I am going to make him paint my food boards. Yep! I am moving up in the blog world. I am getting on these boards. The picture above clearly screams “Use a food board!!” I’m on it people.

I love baked goods, but sometimes you just need some time away from the sweetness of it. Enter these babies. They. Are. So. Good. Again, I had to freeze them. Muffins are great for that because they do not taste good frozen. More like a hockey puck with cheese.

For these muffins, feel free the make them strict Paleo, vegan or whatever like. I just really enjoyed these flavours together and think you will too. Enjoy!! And do not be afraid to eat this with more eggs, bacon and cheese. In my opinion, there are never enough of these.

Loaded Savory Breakfast Muffins

Yields: 12 crazy awesome muffins

 Ingredients:

Dry:

½ cup of coconut flour

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp of baking soda

Wet:

4 eggs

½ cup of coconut milk

½ cup of coconut oil, melted and cooled

Add In’s:

1 medium yam or sweet potato, shredded

2 cups of raw spinach

½ cup of sundried tomatoes

3 pieces of bacon, cooked and diced

½ cup of sharp cheddar cheese

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Heat some coconut oil in a pan and cook the shredded yams for about 5 mins. Do not move them around a lot, otherwise they will become mushy. Add the spinach and cook until it is wilted. Set aside.
  3. In one bowl, mix the flours and baking soda. IN another bowl, mix the coconut oil, eggs and coconut milk.
  4. Put the dry ingredients into the wet and mix well.
  5. Throw in all your add in’s and stir well.
  6. Using a large ice cream scoop, scoop muffin batter into the muffin tin. I use silicone muffin liners (best purchase ever).
  7. Bake for 20-25 mins.
  8. NOM those babies down with some avocado on the side. And more bacon. I really don’t need to explain the need for more bacon.
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Cream of Broccoli Soup with Poached Egg

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Cat litter smells. You know in the Bugs Bunny cartoons, those smell waves you could see wafting towards you from Pepi Le Peux (sp?). That is what is coming at me from behind the sofa. I had to move the cat little inside so our apartment does not become the North Pole. When I keep the litter on the balcony, the door has to stay open so Theo (my Maine Coon) can do his business. While it significantly reduced the smell of cat ass, we were all dressed in Canada Goose wear every morning. So, in it came, and so did cat ass. Sigh. I have no better solution at this point. Suggestions welcomed.

D and I are out sick with this weird chest infection flu type thing. Everything hurts, and the cough is really gross. I will not enter into a paragraph description about phlegm. No one needs that, and yet I just about did. I know, you love that I did that.

So, needless to say, we have slowed down here this weekend and maybe that is a good thing. I am so busy and trying to keep up with my own expectations that I forget to slow down. Then I get sick and get a friendly reminder of how out of balance I can get. So I decided to take on some crafting projects for Christmas! Ha! I do not have enough on my plate right? What happens when you love it and want to do it all, all the time? Oh right. You get a stupid chest infection. With tons of phlegm. Alright! I’ll stop. I am just searching for some empathy over here.

Onto the food! This soup turned out great, first try too. I like the sweet potato (white flesh), it added some thickness to it, without a distinct taste; the broccoli does that on its own. If you can eat dairy, add the cheese. It takes it up a notch, but it is perfectly good without it too. Yes, yes. You read the recipe right. A cup of cheese. A whole cup. Damn right. We have already discussed my love of cheese and the soup is representing!

Cream of Broccoli Soup

Ingredients:

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

½ onion, diced

1 sweet potato, chopped

1 large head of broccoli, florets separated and stalk chopped (about 8 cups)

3 cups of water

1 tsp of sea salt

fresh ground pepper

1cup of full fat coconut milk

1 cup of sharp cheddar cheese (optional)

1 poached egg (optional)

 

 Method

  1. Heat some fat of choice (I used butter, because butter and onions makes a home smell amazing) on medium heat. Add in the onions and garlic.
  2. Add the sweet potato and mix it all together so the butter and onions have covered it. Let it cook for 5-7 minutes.
  3. Add the broccoli and stir it well. Allow the broccoli to cook for 5 minutes
  4. Add the water, salt and generous amounts of fresh cracked pepper. Turn up to high heat, bring to a boil and let simmer for 20 minutes, or until broccoli is very soft.
  5. Using food masher of choice (I used an immersion blender), puree completely.
  6. Stir in coconut milk. At this point, if you eat dairy, stir in the cheese.
  7. To poach an egg, bring water and a 2 Tbsp of white vinegar to a gentle simmer. No bubbles rising to the top. Crack egg into a ramekin and pour it gently into the water. Let it cook for 6 minutes, without boiling. Scoop it out and top on soup. Top with a poached egg.
  8. NOM that soup down, preferably with a book and rain outside.

Cream of Broccoli Soup

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