Category Archives: Sauces & Soups

Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken by Beyoutifully Delicious

Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken | stupideasypaleo.com

Steph’s note: Please welcome Candace from Beyoutifully Delicious to the blog again. A couple weeks ago, I featured her PeaNOT Pineapple Slaw, and it’s gotten rave reviews. Candace is all about good food with big flavor, and this recipe will not disappoint. Without further adieu, take it away Candace!

Last Easter I came up with a fresh strawberry dressing that gave a subtle sweetness to a spring green salad. For the protein to compliment the slaw, I updated it as a marinade with some heat. There’s nothing like salty, sweet AND spicy. Now we’re talking game-changer.

I love this marinade on mahi-mahi, it’s a flakey fish that has a really clean taste to it. None of that “fishy” business that tends to draw people away from ocean proteins. If seafood is not your thing, this is perfect for chicken too.

You can easily flavor swap blackberry or apricot for the strawberry as they work well with chili peppers. I would use fresh apricots rather than dried just because I want to keep my sugar in check. It’s very easy for that to get crazy if I’m not intentional about food preparation.

Ingredients for the Strawberry Chili Dressing / Marinade

This is enough for two (6 ounce or 340 grams) filets of mahi-mahi or chicken breasts.

  • 1-1/4 cups fresh strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons coconut vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon freeze-dried strawberries, crushed into a powder (sub: 1 Tbsp apple juice)
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried Thai chilis or 2 teaspoons chili paste
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil

Directions for the Strawberry Chili Dressing / Marinade

  1. In a blender, add all the ingredients except coconut oil and blend on high.
  2. Turn down the speed a little and slowly drizzle in coconut oil.
  3. Marinate the meat or fish for at least 2 hours and grill it until it’s no longer pink inside, about 4 minutes per side. Discard the leftover marinade. Or, bring the leftover marinade to a boil and cook it for 5 minutes to kill any bacteria.

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Strawberry Chili Grilled Chicken | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions? Leave them in the comment box below!

Blueberry Jalapeño Salsa by A Dash of Meg

Blueberry Jalapeño Salsa | stupideasypaleo.com Please welcome today’s guest blogger Meg, founder of the popular blog A Dash of Meg. I first met Meg on Instagram and have followed her journey as she’s learned how to properly fuel her body for health and strength. Meg even recently did a Whole30 and posted up lots of tasty eats along the way. She’s got a great, positive attitude about nutrition and health. Take it away, Meg!

If you had to pick a favorite fruit what would it be?

Personally, I’d say berries. But, if you asked me which berry was my favorite, I’d have a hard time choosing. Strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries… oh, they are all so delicious! But, if I absolutely had to pick I’d say my favorite is the blueberry. Although blueberries are itty bitty, they are packed with a lot of nutrients!

Blueberries are particularly high in the type of antioxidant called anthocyanins, which have anti-inflammatory properties and support the elasticity of capillary walls; therefore, they may help fight heart disease and some types of cancer. Not only are blueberries high in antioxidants, but they are also rich in vitamin B2, C, and E, manganese and fiber.

Blueberries are beautiful, delicious and nutrient-dense! They are definitely something you should incorporate into your diet especially when they’re in season.

Blueberry season is from July to August, and although I try to eat as seasonally as possible, when I saw that the blueberries at my local market were on sale last week I just had to grab some. I think this long, brutally cold winter is really getting to me (Steph’s note: Meg lives in central Canada), but these blueberries reminded me of the beauty of summer and were able to cheer me up quite a bit!

They also inspired me to create a new recipe. I love recipe developing. I’m actually hoping to publish my own cookbook some day, but for now I will just share my recipes with you!

This recipe was actually inspired by Steph! After seeing her “strawberry mango relish” on Instagram a few weeks ago, I couldn’t get the though of creating a recipe for a fruit relish / salsa of my own, particularly a blueberry-flavored salsa. So, I created this incredibly stupid-easy Blueberry Jalapeño Salsa!

Before I even met Steph, I always chose the simple way of doing things. My Mom and I call it the “KISS Method” (Keep It Simple Stupid Method). I believe that’s why Steph and I became such good friends ;) Or at least one of the reasons why…

I hope you enjoy today’s recipe! Use it as a condiment with any meal of your choice. I particularly love it on top of my salmon or with my runny-yolk eggs! Eggs and blueberries are a match made in food heaven!

Ingredients for Blueberry Jalapeño Salsa:

  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries, whole
  • 1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped (use half for less spicy salsa)

Directions for Blueberry Jalapeño Salsa:

  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl. (Note: For milder flavor, seed the pepper and remove the white inner membrane. Wash your hands thoroughly.) Serve immediately or allow flavors to mingle for 30 minutes.
  2. I chose to keep this recipe stupid-easy, as you can tell. I’m not a fan of onion in my fruit salsas, so I left it out. The blueberries I used were incredibly sweet, think candy-like, so I chose to leave out lime / lemon juice. However, feel free to add in your favorite salsa ingredients!

Change it up!

Try adding the following:

  • lime or lemon juice
  • lime zest
  • fresh basil
  • sweet onion
  • salt and pepper
  • fresh cilantro

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Blueberry Jalapeño Salsa | stupideasypaleo.com

Questions? Leave a comment in the box below!

How to Make Homemade Extracts – Vanilla, Mint & Lemon

How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

Learning how to make homemade extracts for cooking is really quite simple, and I’m going to let you in on how easy it is! Yes, most extracts contain alcohol and though I’ve seen alcohol-free versions, I haven’t been stoked about using glycerine as the solvent. Considering I use these extracts in small quantities, I don’t have a personal objection to the alcohol content but as always, your Paleo is up to you alone to dictate. In this post, I’ll show you how to make vanilla, mint and lemon extracts using the same basic method.

How To Make Homemade Extracts?

You’ll need some sort of alcohol to help extract the organic (carbon-based) compounds that actually make the scents and flavors from the chosen plant material—in this case, vanilla beans, lemon rinds and mint leaves. Did you know that when you smell something, what you’re really sensing are tiny organic molecules that diffuse through the air, attach themselves to the olfactory receptors of the nose and send nerve impulses to your brain? Through experience and learning, you’ve come to associate these molecules with the foods that emit these “smells.” For example, vanillin is one of the predominant carbon-based compounds that makes the scent you know as vanilla. And while it can be synthesized by a series of chemical reactions in a lab, I think you’ll agree that getting it from a natural source is always better.

Small organic compounds like vanillin are chemically compatible with alcohol, meaning they’re soluble in it. When you make a homemade extract, you’re taking advantage of that fact. SCIENCE! For best results, remember to steep your extracts for at least 4 weeks before you use them and keep the plant material completely submerged so nothing molds.

How to Use Homemade Extracts?

I chose vodka for this recipe but you can use something like bourbon for the vanilla, which tends to pair really well. Use these extracts in any application you’d use store-bought extracts. How about using a dash of vanilla in my Apple Coconut Pudding or the mint in my Dark Chocolate Mint Coconut Butter Cups?

My favorite reason for making homemade extracts is that I know exactly what’s in them. So many of the store-bought extracts contain added sugar or other funky chemical ingredients. These also make fantastic gifts!

How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

Ingredients for Homemade Mint Extract:

  • 1 cup good-quality vodka
  • ~1 cup organic mint leaves, packed
  • 8 ounce (240 mL) glass jar

How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

Directions for Homemade Mint Extract:

  1. Pick the mint leaves from the tough stems and wash them. You want about 1 cup, packed.
  2. Add the leaves to the jar.
  3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly. Make sure the leaves are submerged completely.
  4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results. At that point, I recommend straining the leaves out and discarding them.

Ingredients for Homemade Vanilla Extract:

How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

Directions for Homemade Vanilla Extract:

  1. Using a sharp knife, split the vanilla beans down the middle, lengthwise.
  2. Add the beans to the jar.
  3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly.
  4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results.
  5. Hint: If the level of the vodka drops gradually as you use it, add more for a continuous supply of extract.

Ingredients for Homemade Lemon Extract:

  • 1 cup good-quality vodka
  • 2–3 lemons
  • 8 ounce (240 mL) glass jar

How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

Directions for Homemade Lemon Extract:

  1. Wash the lemons and use a sharp knife to remove the outermost yellow skin. It’s okay if some of the white pith remains.
  2. Add the lemon skin to the jar. Use the flesh for something else or discard.
  3. Fill the jar with 1 cup of vodka and cap tightly. Make sure the skin is submerged completely.
  4. Let the extract steep for at least 4 weeks for best results. At that point, I recommend straining the skin out and discarding it.

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How to Make Homemade Extracts — Vanilla, Mint & Lemon | stupideasypaleo.com

Have you ever made homemade extract? Which one is your favorite?

Berry Mango Chia Jam

Berry Mango Chia Jam | stupidesaypaleo.com

If you’ve been around the blog for long enough, you may notice I use chia seeds from time to time to create very lightly sweetened puddings. This time, I paired them with fresh fruit to make something that’s a jam-like consistency with no added sugar. Feel free to switch up the berries with other fruit!

Ingredients for Berry Mango Chia Jam (makes about 2 cups)

  • 1/2 cup (100 grams) diced mango
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) blueberries
  • 1 cup (225 g) chopped strawberries
  • 4 Tablespoons chia seeds

Directions for Berry Mango Chia Jam

  1. Add the fruit to a small saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat until it has softened.
  2. Slowly stir in the chia seeds until they’re evenly incorporated. The “jam” will continue to thicken as the seeds absorb moisture.
  3. Store in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator.

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Berry Mango Chia Jam | stupidesaypaleo.com

Jalapeño-Lime Chicken Wings with Paleo Ranch Dressing from Meatified

Jalapeño-Lime Chicken Wings - Meatified | stupideasypaleo.com

Jalapeño-Lime Chicken Wings (with Paleo Ranch Dressing Dip) is coming at you today from my guest blogger Rach from Meatified! Wings—I mean, c’mon—what’s not to love? I first learned of Rach from her screen-lickable photos of Paleo food, and with a name like Meatified, I knew she was onto something good. A former vegetarian, she originally found the Paleo lifestyle while looking for a way to improve her health after years of thyroid-related issues. She creates original recipes that are grain- and sugar-free while trying to finally figure out how to work the camera she shamelessly “borrowed” from her husband. When she’s not in the kitchen, she can usually be found planning her perfect future mini farmstead in gloriously overly-exaggerated detail. Take it away, Rach!

Ingredients for the Jalapeño-Lime Chicken Wings:

  • 2 pounds (1000 grams) chicken wings
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, deseeded and cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves

Directions for the Jalapeño-Lime Chicken Wings:

  1. Add all of the marinade ingredients (not the chicken!) to a blender. Process until smooth. If the marinade is a little thick, add a splash of water and re-process.
  2. Put the chicken wings into a container or large freezer bag. Pour over the marinade and toss the wings through it so that they are evenly coated.
  3. Marinate for at least 30 minutes, up to overnight.
  4. When you are ready to cook, preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a baking tray with foil and place a cooling rack onto the foil-lined tray.
  5. Place the wings onto the metal rack, and bake for 15 minutes.
  6. Turn the oven up to 425°F (210°C). Turn the chicken wings over and return them to the oven for another 15 minutes, or until browned.
  7. While the chicken is cooking, make the Ranch Dressing Dip!

Jalapeño-Lime Chicken Wings - Meatified | stupideasypaleo.com

Ingredients for the Paleo Ranch Dressing Dip:

Directions for the Paleo Ranch Dressing Dip:

  1. In a mini food processor or blender, process the soaked and drained cashews until you have a paste. You may need to scrape down the sides of your processor or blender a few times to do this.
  2. Once your cashews are a spreadable texture, add the coconut milk a little at a time and process until smooth.
  3. Add the lemon juice, the rest of the coconut milk, the seasonings and herbs. Process until combined and the dressing is smooth. If it is still a little thick, add a splash of water and re-process.
  4. Once the Jalapeño-Lime Chicken Wings are cooked, serve with the Paleo Ranch Dressing Dip.

Click Here to Pin This Picture!

Jalapeño-Lime Chicken Wings - Meatified | stupideasypaleo.com

[Steph's note: Brilliant, right? These wings are so easy, and the dip is a snap to make. Like what you see from Rach? Connect with her on her siteFacebookPinterest and Twitter.]

Like this recipe? Give it a +1!

Got questions for Rach? Leave them in the comments below!

Paleo Chicken Parmesan from Nearly Natural Momma

Paleo Chicken Parmesan…this is not a dream!

Please welcome Kim from Nearly Natural Momma as my guest blogger today! She’s got tons of great recipes and shares her adventures in food, homesteading and homeschooling on her blog and on Facebook. Take a minute and read her story of losing over 50 pounds (link is below) by turning to a real food lifestyle…it left me with a tear in my eye for sure!

Take it away, Kim!

I’m so excited to write a guest post for Stupid Easy Paleo! My name is Kim, and I’m the owner of Nearly Natural Momma, and a few years ago after battling a personal illness I used the Primal diet to lose some 50 pounds. My husband has been making chicken parm for years, it’s one of our favorite go to weekend family meals. We tweaked it since going Primal and wanted to share our adaptation with you. If you’re not doing cheese that’s no problem. This is still amazing. [Steph's note: Paleo excludes most dairy, including cheese. If you're Primal and include dairy, go for it...I know there are a lot of Primal readers who visit the blog. Paleo eaters, skip the cheese. Just want to make sure nobody is confused.]

Easy Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash | stupideasypaleo.com

If you’re short on time, use your favorite spaghetti sauce. We have a tough time finding any with out sugar so we’ve given you a very basic version of his sauce. Make it your own. Add mushrooms (I love it when the hubs does this), or green peppers, or extra garlic to give it your own unique twist.

Ingredients for the Sauce:

Directions for the Sauce:

  1. Cook onions and garlic in oil until tender, about 5 minutes.Easy Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash | stupideasypaleo.com
  2. Add in the rest of the sauce ingredients, mix well and bring to a rolling boil then reduce heat to low and let simmer for 30 minutes. Cover after five minute to avoid a huge mess.Easy Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash | stupideasypaleo.com

Ingredients for the Chicken:

Directions for the Chicken:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
  2. Heat oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  3. In a bowl, add all dry ingredients and mix well.
  4. Dredge each piece of chicken first the dry mix, then eggs, then dry mix again. Carefully place each piece of chicken in the frying pan and fry until golden brown, or about 3 minutes each side. Remove the chicken from the pan, and set them aside.Easy Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash | stupideasypaleo.com
  5. Pour your sauce into the frying pan and scrape “grubbins” (hub’s word for cooked on yummies on the pan) and mix the grubbins in with the sauce. Heat the sauce to a simmer, then add the chicken back into the pan on top of the sauce. Simmer for another 5 minutes, then cover and cook in your preheated oven for 10 minutes.Easy Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash | stupideasypaleo.com
  6. After 10 minutes remove the cover. If you want to add mozzarella slices of cheese this is the time to do it. Place one on each piece of chicken.Easy Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash | stupideasypaleo.com
  7. Cook uncovered for another 10 minutes. Easy Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash | stupideasypaleo.com

For the Spaghetti Squash:

  1. Pierce holes in the squash, and bake for 90 minutes at 350°F (175°C). (We usually do this step first before we start making chicken parm).
  2. Let squash cool at least 30 minutes (or while you’re making the chicken parm), then cut it open removing seeds (which I give to our chickens!).
  3. Scrape the rest of the yummies into a greased frying pan.
  4. Add 1/2 teaspoon oregano, garlic powder and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Stir and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes.

Easy Chicken Parmesan with Spaghetti Squash | stupideasypaleo.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serve with your Chicken Parmesan, and enjoy!!

I’m psyched to try this recipe! What questions do you have for Kim?

Collard and Brussels Salad with Hot Sweet Bacon Dressing from Paleo In Comparison

Say hi to my guest blogger, Laura! I first stumbled upon Laura’s recipes via her Instagram account (@paleo_in_comparison) and quickly came to admire her creativity when it came to food and her genuine nature. She’s a wife, homeschool mom of two rambunctious boys, and the Paleo blogger behind Paleo In Comparison and a growing Facebook community of the same name. In November of 2011, after years of yo-yo dieting and eating disorders, she stumbled into the Paleo lifestyle. With a total weight loss of 60 pounds (27 kg), and a complete change in her physical and emotional health, she’s never looked back. Paleo gave her life and health back, and helped her form a healthy relationship with food (I can relate!). She’s passionate about sharing her story, and believes that clean eating and living are essential to lifelong health and wellness. I know you’ll love her approach to food and her sense of humor.

Laura from Paleo In Comparison, Before & After | StupidEasyPaleo.com

If you’re looking for a tasty salad for your holiday table, I think this is perfect and the thought of the hot, sweet dressing makes my mouth water! With no further adieu, here’s Laura and her Collard and Brussels Salad with Hot Sweet Bacon Dressing…

Collard and Brussels Salad with Hot Sweet Bacon Dressing | Paleo In Comparison & StupidEasyPaleo.com

“But salads aren’t sexy.”

That’s what I said to my husband when I told him I was considering making a salad for this guest post.

Salads are often neglected in the Paleo / Primal community for the glitz and glory of a rare steak, “Paleo” cookies, and bacon-wrapped…well…anything! But there are a lot of benefits to eating salads.

First, while I don’t subscribe to a raw food only diet, there most certainly are huge benefits to consuming our fruits and vegetables raw whenever possible. It’s just science – cooking can destroy and break down some of the vital nutrients and fiber in our foods. Cooking is a process – albeit a harmless one – but eating foods raw is the closest to unprocessed that we can get. Salads are a great way to get a lot of different veggies into our diets in their purest form.

On the more practical side, raw foods like salads are super convenient and easy to take with us anywhere. Cold travels better than hot, and you don’t need a microwave or oven to reheat it.

Whenever someone wants “a light lunch,” they go for a salad, but I would argue that nothing will fill your belly faster than raw veggies! Because all of that fiber hasn’t been broken down in the cooking process, you’re going to feel fuller longer – just be sure to drink plenty of water to help your tum-tum digest all that fibrous goodness!

Salads? Not sexy? Boy, did I change my mind fast! Healthy is sexy. So, if A=B and B=C, then A=C. It’s Logic 101. Salads are healthy, healthy is sexy. Therefore, salads are sexy!

The result of my salad revelation was this chicken thigh salad inspired by the colors of the Holiday season. Don’t worry, I was a good Paleo / Primal cook, and threw a little bacon grease in there for good measure. I hope you enjoy this sexy salad as much as my family did!

Collard and Brussels Salad with Seasonal Fruit, Hot Sweet Bacon Dressing & Crispy Chicken Skin Crumbles (serves 4)

For the Collard and Brussels Salad with Seasonal Fruit…

Ingredients for the Salad:

  • 8 cups raw collards, shredded or finely chopped
  • 4 cups raw brussels, quartered
  • 1-1/3 cups raw cranberries
  • 1 large green pear, sliced (or two small)
  • 4 chicken thighs, bone-in with skin on (if you have a hungry set, make double for 2 thighs per serving)
  • Salt & pepper
  • Special equipment: parchment paper

Directions for the Salad:

  • Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Remove skins from raw chicken thighs. This should be very easy. You may need to use a small paring knife in some spots, but the skins should come off easily just by hand. Once removed, cut the square-like pieces of skin in half. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper – this will help absorb the grease as the skins bake, making them crispier. Place on the cookie sheet and bake until deep golden brown and crispy, approximately 15 minutes. When finished remove from the cookie sheet and allow to cool completely, uncovered.
  • Remove parchment paper from cookie sheet, use the grease from the skins to coat the bottom of the cookie sheet. Place chicken thighs onto cookie sheet and coat with remaining grease (if you don’t have enough grease, you can coat the thighs with a little fat of choice – duck fat or ghee is always great with chicken). Season simply with a little salt and pepper. Bake at 375°F (190°C) until internal temp reaches 160°F (80°C), approximately 20-30 minutes depending on how many you cook. Allow to cool. Remove meat from bones & shred with your fingers.

For the Hot Sweet Bacon Dressing…

 Ingredients for the Dressing:

Directions for the Dressing:

  • Melt bacon grease in a non-stick pan over medium-low heat. Add balsamic vinegar and crushed garlic. Reduce liquid until it starts to thicken and the fat and vinegar are incorporated. Stir mixture occasionally with a rubber or wooden spatula while cooking. Once it has thickened, remove from heat and pour into a separate bowl. Add remaining ingredients and whisk well. Keep in mind the dressing should be served warm. Refrigerate leftovers and simply reheat to serve. The fat in the dressing will cause the dressing to harden when cold, so don’t be alarmed. Reheating will bring it back to proper consistency.

Plating the salad (4 full dinner salads)…

  • On each full-sized dinner plate, make a base with 2 cups of raw collards and 1 cup of raw Brussels sprouts. Place 1/4 of the pear slices on greens. Top with meat from 1 chicken thigh (2 if you doubled the chicken). Top with 1/3 cup of cranberries and some crumbled crispy chicken skins. Serve dressing on the side, or simply drizzle over the salad before serving.

Change it Up:

  • You can use any leftover white meat you have for this salad.
  • If you want to make it with leftover meat, and do not have the crispy chicken skins, simply replace them with crispy bacon crumbles.
  • You can also make a quick and cold sweet dressing with honey, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Dijon, and a little salt and pepper.

Do you have any questions for Laura? Let her know in the comments below!

Collard and Brussels Salad with Hot Sweet Bacon Dressing | Paleo In Comparison & StupidEasyPaleo.com

 

 

Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix

Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix

Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix is pretty awesome. Why? It has that warm, yummy smell that evokes the holiday season (isn’t it so interesting how smells can conjure up such memories?!). Luckily, Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix is super simple to make so you can have a taste of the holidays any time of the year.

Want a simple DIY gift idea for the foodie in your life? How about getting crafty and creating miniature decorative jars of Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix and Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice with nice handmade labels? A thoughtful, useful gift that won’t get stuffed in a drawer like that reindeer Christmas sweater. (Oh c’mon, I know it just isn’t me with one of those!)

Ingredients for Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix (makes ~1/2 cup):

Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix

Directions to Make Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix:

  1. Mix all the spices in a small bowl.
  2. Seal in an airtight jar. (I like small Mason jars for this job.)

Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix

What can you do with your Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix?

  • Stir 2 Tablespoons into ground coffee before brewing (if making 6 cups).
  • Sprinkle it over a coconut milk latte or brewed coffee.
  • Use it mixed into paleo hot chocolate (substitute the gingerbread spice instead).
  • Sprinkle it over roasted carrots or other root veggies.

Do you like gingerbread? What would you use this spice mix for? Homemade Gingerbread Spice Mix

Coconut Butter from Scratch

Coconut Butter from Scratch Coconut butter from scratch is one of those kitchen hacks that’ll save you a ton of money and it’s stupid-easy (we like that). It may sound mystical, but when you get down to it, coconut butter is nothing more than pulverized coconut meat that’s been ground down to a very smooth consistency. It’s delicious and absolutely full of the healthy MCTs (medium chain triglyercides) and saturated fatty acids that provide energy and keep us feeling satiated.

Why’d you want to make coconut butter from scratch? It’ll save you a LOT of bucks. Store brands sell for upwards of $12 or more for about 2 cups. That’s pretty pricey for my wallet even though the store bought coconut butter is pretty delicious. The good news is you can make something that’s just as yummy.

What can you do with coconut butter? Anything you’d do with a nut butter: bake with it, put it in mashed veggies for a punch of fat and creamy texture, eat it with apples or a square of dark chocolate or use it as a regular butter substitute. The possibilities for eating coconut butter are virtually endless though my favorite way to eat it’s probably just off a spoon!

The one caveat for making coconut butter from scratch: you need a powerful blender or food processor to grind the coconut down. I’ve done it in both and the blender (like a Vitamix or similar) is faster but they each give a good result.

Coconut Butter from Scratch

Ingredients for Making Coconut Butter from Scratch:

Special Equipment for Making Coconut Butter from Scratch:

Directions for Making Coconut Butter from Scratch:

  1. Load the coconut flakes into the blender or food processor. Add a pinch of salt. Turn the machine on.
  2. If using a blender like a Vitamix, you may want to use the tamper to push the flakes down. After a minute or so, the coconut will begin to liquefy. Stop the machine and scrape the sides down with a spatula. Continue until the coconut has turned to coconut butter and is liquefied and store it in an airtight container like a mason jar.
  3. If using a food processor, this processor will take longer…somewhere in the range of 8-10 minutes. Patience is your friend. Stop the machine and scrape the sides down with a spatula a few times. Continue until the coconut has turned to coconut butter and is softened and store it in an airtight container like a mason jar.

Recipe Variations for Coconut Butter from Scratch:

Troubleshooting Making Coconut Butter from Scratch:

What if….

  • …the coconut butter won’t seem to liquefy?

Try adding some melted coconut oil to the coconut flakes as it’s processing to loosen it up.

  • …the coconut butter is always hard when I go to use it?

Coconut oil solidifies around 77°F so in the cold months, it’s often in the solid form. You can store it at room temperature and not in the fridge to help it from being too hard. Also, if you’ve stored your coconut butter in a glass mason jar (recommended), you can warm some water in a pot on the stove and place the glass jar of coconut butter in to soften it.

  • …I can’t use a big batch?

This coconut butter recipe is easy to halve (or double if you want more).

Have you ever made coconut butter?

Coconut Butter from Scratch

Ultimate Paleo Sauce Boss Round Up: 50 Tasty Paleo Sauces

50 sauces

You know why Paleo sauces rock? They take the average, the bland and the boring and shake things up. If you’re suffering from BFS (Boring Food Syndrome), I’ve got you covered.

I’ve collected FIFTY of the most taste bud teasing recipes for sauces, dressings, dips, mayos, ketchups and more and corralled them all into one convenient post. Scroll through and bookmark some favorites.

One key to developing your sauce boss skills…having the right tools. Here are my 5 must-haves for making stellar sauces:

  • Immersion blender. You can use this little gem to make sauces silky smooth right in the pan. They are easier to clean up and make less waste than a blender. Helps make a killer mayo!
  • Microplane grater. These are perfect for getting really finely grated ginger and garlic into sauces so you don’t bite down on any big, crunchy pieces.
  • A basic whisk. Can’t say much more about this other than it’s an essential. Lets you incorporate airiness into sauces without a fancy appliance.
  • A teeny, tiny saucepan. Why? Sometimes you need to reduce a sauce down by heating it, and if the pan is too big, the sauce just sort of sticks to the bottom. These are also great for melting coconut oil and ghee for recipes when you don’t have a microwave (like me).
  • Squeeze bottles. One of the secrets to plating beautifully sauced dishes is using a plain ol’ squeeze bottle. So easy!

And now…the recipes!

BBQ Sauces

Bacon and Bone Broth BBQ Sauce from Real Food RN

Blueberry BBQ Sauce from Low Carb One Day at a Time

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Peach BBQ Sauce from A Girl Worth Saving

Real Food Sweet & Spicy Buffalo Wing Sauce from Real Food Outlaws

Spicy Maple BBQ Sauce from Ditch the Wheat

The Easiest BBQ Sauce Ever from Healthy Living How To

Bean-Free Hummus 

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Babaganoush from And Here We Are

No Bean Paleo Pumpkin Hummus - from Meatified and The Paleo Mama

Dressings

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Almost Ranch Dressing from Meatified

Arugula with Strawberry Rosemary Dressing from Meatified

Balsamic Bacon Vinaigrette from Real Food RN

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Lemon Basil Bacon Fat Vinaigrette from Stupid Easy Paleo

Spicy Mango Vinaigrette from A Happy Health Nut

Fruity Sauces

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Apple Butter from My Heart Beets

Creamy Strawberry Sauce from Empowered Sustenance

Pumpkin Butter from Nicky In The Raw

Vanilla Fig Compote from Nicky In The Raw

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Zesty Tangerine Sauce from Stupid Easy Paleo

Mayos

Garlic “Mayo” from Autoimmune Paleo (AIP friendly)

Homemade Mayo from Butter Nutrition

Baconnaise

Paleo Baconnaise from Real Food RN

Rouille (Fancy Spicy French Mayo) from DJ Foodie

Lemony Chive Paleo Mayo from Stupid Easy Paleo

Ketchups and Tomato Sauces

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Better than Ketchup: Serbian Roasted Ayvar Sauce from Jules Fuel

Homemade Ketchup from Nicky In The Raw

Homemade Pizza Sauce from Real Food RN

Italian Meat Sauce from Yuppie Farm Girl

Tomato Paste in Two Simple Steps from A Happy Health Nut

Other Sauces

Béarnaise Sauce from DJ Foodie

Carrot Dip from Meatified

Coconut Butter from Gutsy

grilled-chicken

Coconut Oil Chicken Glaze from Real Food RN

Creamy Grain Free Gravy from Empowered Sustenance (GAPS friendly)

Creamy Tomato Rosemary Sauce from Hollywood Homestead

Creamy Turmeric Sauce from Hollywood Homestead (AIP friendly)

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Easy Enchilada Sauce from Healthy Living How To

Fennel-Onion Jam from Popular Paleo

Harissa from DJ Foodie

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Hollandaise Sauce from And Here We Are

Homemade Almond Butter from Gutsy

Meat Masala from My Heart Beets

Paleo Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce from Stupid Easy Paleo

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Roasted Beet Dip from Autoimmune Paleo (AIP friendly)

Roasted Red Pepper Sauce from Popular Paleo

Romesco from DJ Foodie

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Homemade Taco Sauce from Living Low Carb…One Day at a Time

Tzatziki Sauce from Good Girl Gone Green

Vanilla Cashew Cream from Good Girl Gone Green

Walnut Pâté from Good Girl Gone Green

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Warm Pineapple Salsa from Popular Paleo

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What’s your favorite sauce? What do you put it on?

Spiced Butternut Squash Soup

soup big Man, I love soup. It’s warm, filling and a perfect way to bump up veggie consumption without having to gnaw down on a plate of kale (no offense, kale…I still love you). Sometimes, though, it’s just more fun to slurp up a bowl of soup. This recipe’s actually based on one that I made when I first started this blog but I decided to switch things up by changing the spices. The sky’s the limit here and you can really get creative with new flavor combinations.

To make the best tasting butternut squash soup, my secret is to roast the squash first…it brings out a caramelized, almost nutty flavor that steaming it can’t give. It’ll take a bit of extra time, but it’s so worth it, so don’t skimp out. Once that’s done the rest of the soup is a snap to put together. Bonus points for using your own stock for a liquid!

Variations:

  • If you can’t do coconut milk, you could use heavy cream if you tolerate that well. If not, omit and add an extra 1/2 cup of chicken stock.
  • Add any cooked protein you’d like to make it a heartier meal.
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon of dried ginger for another warm spicy note.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Peel the squash and cut it lengthwise down the middle. Scoop out the seeds (they’re delicious roasted by the way). Chop the squash into a large dice. Place on the baking sheet and drizzle with a bit of coconut oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Do the same with the carrots (I usually leave them unpeeled).
  3. Bake the carrots and squash for at least 20 minutes or until the veggies are soft and lightly brown around the edges. Remove from the oven and put the veggies in a pot.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients: chicken stock, coconut milk, cumin and cinnamon to the post and stir.
  5. Now, puree the soup until smooth. If using a blender, you’ll probably need to do this in at least two batches (use caution when putting hot liquids in a blender). If using an immersion blender, you can puree it right in the pot. Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
  6. Serve hot. Bonus points if you sprinkle with some roasted squash seeds (I throw them in the oven on a small sheet tray with a bit of chipotle pepper and salt…roast for about 10-15 minutes while the squash cooks) for texture.

Have you ever tried butternut squash soup? What did you think?

butternut soup

Paleo Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce

Sweet Chili Sauce Dipping sauces can take the same basic meal template and jazz things up to keep you from suffering from FBS (Food Boredom Syndrome). Plain chicken and broccoli again? Drizzle on some Sweet Chili Dipping Sauce. Need an accompaniment for some beautiful cooked, chilled shrimp? This one does the trick, too. It does have honey (so don’t go overboard and eat gallons of it) but if you’re looking for something to stave off FBS, feel good that it doesn’t contain weird chemicals or high-fructose corn syrup like most of the prepared sauces in the market.

No arrowroot powder? You could use tapioca flour as a thickener. Wish to avoid those completely? You can gently reduce the sauce until it thickens a bit, though it won’t have the same texture as arrowroot or tapioca.

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Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Mince the garlic finely and use a microplane grater to grate down the ginger (or mince very finely).
  2. In a small saucepan, combine all the ingredients: the vinegar, garlic, honey, red chilis, arrowroot, ginger, salt and cayenne pepper (if desired). Stir so the arrowroot is dissolved.
  3. Bring the ingredients to a boil and cook briefly (~1 min or less) until the sauce thickens.
  4. Cool and serve alongside your favorite meats for dipping. It’s be super tasty with chicken, as a sauce on top of salmon or drizzled on top of stir-fried veggies.

What’s your favorite dipping sauce you’d like to see a Paleo version for?

Sweet Chili 405 x 405

 

Lemony Chive Paleo Mayo

mayo2 When it comes to mayo, I make no pretense for having the master, doesn’t fail basic recipe (that honor goes to the stellar Mel of The Clothes Make the Girl and Well Fed 2). I’ve only had this method go kaput once because yours truly was too impatient to wait for the ingredients to get all nice and cozy warm at room temperature before I tried to make the mayo emulsion. Oops. Have some patience, and it will all turn out okay. You can also use a stick (immersion) blender but I don’t own one because I’m the clumsiest person on the planet and well, yeah, exposed blades and I don’t mix!

All I did here was use Mel’s basic mayo recipe (here’s a video) and add a few simple ingredients to jazz it up. This went perfect as an accompaniment with my Grain-Free Paleo Zucchini Fritters.

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Ingredients for a batch of Mel’s Mayo:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1.25 cups of light-tasting olive oil (if it’s not light or extra light in flavor, the finished product will be strong tasting and peppery which most people don’t like)

Ingredients for the Lemony Chive Paleo Mayo:

  • 1/2 cup olive oil mayo from the recipe above
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped chives
  • Zest of 1 lemon

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Directions to make the basic mayo:

  • Please visit Mel’s recipe here (it will open in a new tab so you don’t lose this page). She does a much better job of explaining it than I would.

Directions to make the Lemony Chive Paleo Mayo:

  • Put 1/2 cup of the basic mayo into a bowl.
  • Use a microplane grater to zest the (washed) lemon, and add the zest to the bowl.
  • Add the chopped chives. Stir thoroughly to combine.
  • Add cracked black pepper to taste (optional).

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What’s your favorite mayo flavor?

Creamy Leek Soup (Dairy-Free)

The autumn months are here. Longer nights. Colder days.

DSC_0096  It’s getting to be soup weather (though I love soup all year long).

This creamy, really simple dish is modeled after vichyssoise, a silky soup made with potatoes and cream or milk. My friend Claudette made me her Paleo version this summer, and I was shocked to find out that instead of potato it contained….

…cauliflower.

When I served this to my unsuspecting taste testers and asked them what was in it, they could not guess cauliflower. Haha…fooled ‘em! A traditional vichyssoise is served cold, and while you could do that, I liked it better warm.

And for an extra added special factor, I sprinkled mine with some Bacon Gremolata or just crispy bacon, crumbled up. You’re welcome :)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups of leeks, dark green ends removed, roughly chopped (~2 large leeks)
  • 1 medium-sized cauliflower, chopped (4-5 cups)
  • 1 cup onion (~1 medium)
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1-2 Tablespoons ghee (clarified butter), optional
  • Salt and pepper to taste

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Directions:

  • Wash the leeks well. I usually cut off the root end then slice it down the middle lengthwise. Hold under running water and separate the leaves, rinsing well (especially the outermost leaves). Sandy soup is not delicious. I usually cut off the top 1/3 of the leek and save that for making stock. Chop the leeks roughly. Add to a large soup pot.
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Cut the tough, dark green leaves off (save for stockAdd to a large soup pot.

  • Cut the core out of the cauliflower and trim off any leaves. Roughly chop it. Add that to the pot.
  • Add the onions, chicken broth, coconut milk and ghee to the pot.
  • Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for about 20 minutes or until all the veggies are tender.
  • Allow to cool, then puree until smooth using a blender (be careful…you may need to do two or more batches so the blender doesn’t overflow).
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.

p.s. You can make this in the crock pot. Add all the ingredients and cook on low for 3-5 hours. The flavor is the same but the consistency won’t be as thick. To troubleshoot that, you can remove the crock pot lid for the last hour of cooking so some of the liquids evaporate.

Do you think you might try this recipe? What toppings would you use?

Tasty Topping: Bacon Gremolata

Yes, I said bacon.

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But before I get to the bacon…

I’m over the moon because I just found out I’m nominated for a Paleo Magazine Best of 2013 Award: Best Savory Recipe (Online) for my tangy Carolina-style Kickin’ BBQ Shredded Chicken! Voting for all your favorite Paleo blogs, cookbooks, podcasts and products only takes a couple minutes. Click here to vote >> VOTE! (And a huge, huge thank you for all your support!!)

Now, back to your regularly scheduled bacon…

You’re probably wondering what the heck a gremlinolata is. It’s an Italian condiment traditionally used to sprinkle on top of osso bucco, but I’d argue it’s good for putting on pretty much anything savory. Consider it like a fancy alternative to bacon bits that’s super easy to make and has a pretty rad flavor profile. You know why this one rules? If you saw my post on 5 Paleo Flavor-Making Juggernauts, this magic topping has four of the five: salt (from the bacon), fresh herbs, citrusy lemon zest and aromatic garlic.

It’s as versatile a garish as you can imagine. Sprinkle on soups, stews, veggies or meat for an extra pop of flavor. Guests will be so impressed. No guests? You’ll impress yourself. Just keep in mind, it’s potent so wield your new flavor-weapon carefully.

The key to a nice gremolata is to make the pieces all uniform in size. There’s nothing worse than biting into a huge chunk of raw garlic so it’s time to work on your knife skills.

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Ingredients:

  • 2 strips of bacon, cooked until crispy
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced finely or crushed
  • 4 Tablespoons of finely chopped flat leaf parsley
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

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Directions:

  • Before you get the rest of the ingredients working, start cooking the bacon. [I like to bake my bacon in the oven on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper for 15-20 minutes at 350°F / 175°C or until it's crispy. Feel free to cook using your preferred method.]
  • Meanwhile, peel and mince or crush the garlic (fine pieces). Finely chop the parsley. Zest the lemons, removing the outer yellow skin but not the white pith (I like a microplane for this job). Combine these ingredients in a small bowl.
  • When the bacon is done cooking, allow it to cool and either crumble with your hands or chop into fine bits. Add to the bowl.
  • Drizzle in the olive oil and then adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Let the ingredients marry for about an hour before using for best flavor.

Crock Pot Chicken Yellow Curry Soup

DSC_0012 Last week on Facebook, I asked which you – fantastic fan – would like more recipes for: veggies, meat or crock pot, and the slow cooker was the winning vote by far. Here’s my guess on why: crock pots do everything for you…except clean up. Yup. It’s true. Put it in and walk away…it’s like the Ronco Showtime Rotisserie Oven for the busy Paleo eater (I know you remember those “Set it and forget it!” Saturday morning infomercials).

I took one of my most adored recipes from my Crock Pot Recipe Guide and gave it a slight makeover. What resulted was a warm, filling, and savory curry that’s not at all spicy hot. Best part, it’s free from the weird ingredients found in most premixed curry pastes. and you don’t have to worry about that lonesome jar of rarely used curry powder getting stale because you’ve made it fresh. Makes about four servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 lb. (~700 g) boneless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into chunks
  • 6 cups of veggies, chopped (I used one cup each of onion, carrots, green beans, broccoli, tomatoes and red bell pepper. Use what you like or have on hand.)
  • 1-14 oz can (~400 ml) of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes (or tomato sauce)
  • 1 Tablespoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, optional
  • 1 cup water (for a thicker, curry-like sauce, omit the water)
  • Salt, to taste

Directions:

  1. Cut the chicken and veggie into medium-large chunks. Put everything into the crock pot.
  2. Stir in the coconut milk, and crushed tomatoes. Then add the spices: cumin, ground coriander, ginger, garlic, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Add the water. Stir to combine everything.
  3. Cook on low for 5-6 hours. [I cooked mine for 8 hours overnight since my current crock pot does not have an automatic shut off function, though, at it came out perfect nonetheless.] 
  4. If the you want it more like a curry and less like a soup, omit the 1 cup of water above. You can also remove the lid from the crock pot for the last hour of cooking so some of the moisture evaporates.
  5. Season to taste with salt.
  6. Serve. Would be great over cauliflower rice, but it’s tasty on its own, too.