paleo

Pesto Spaghetti Squash with a Poached Egg

Pesto spaghetti squash with a poached egg is our newest obsession. I make it once a week at least. The runny yolk adds creaminess to the dish, and we're quite sad when it's over. 

Most pestos at the grocery store either have 100 ingredients or contain soybean oil. I make my own with a fun added herb. Mint.

This is one dish I don't use my air fryer or instant pot. Yes, I kick it old school with the oven. Roasted spaghetti squash with garlic, olive oil, and CampMix makes me a happy woman. And my house smells delicious. I cook the squash the night before, The Foolproof, Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Spaghetti Squash, I add a few cloves of garlic and fresh basil for aromatics. I also make the pesto the night before and pour a little over the spaghetti squash in the Tupperware bowl; it soaks in all the awesomeness. 

IMG_5205.JPG

My grandma made fried macaroni and cheese when I was younger. Best thing in the world. I used the concept for the spaghetti squash. I added Earth Balance Soy Free buttery spread in the cast iron and fried up the squash a bit. As it cooked, I added the pesto (save some for the top of the poached egg). Once it's nice and hot, drop to simmer and work on the poached egg.  

I know many who are intimidated of the poached egg. Don't be. The options to cook it in your instant pot are fantastic, but it didn't work for me. I use a saucepan of water, olive oil, salt, boil, stir and 2 minutes later have a beautifully poached egg. A slotted spoon is also needed.     

IMG_5216.JPG
IMG_5215.JPG

I look forward to making this dish for my friends. 

Ingredients for Pesto

Basil

About 1/4 cup minced garlic

1 cup extra light olive oil 

A few mint leaves

Squirt of lemon

Dash of crushed red pepper

Dash CampMix 

In the food chopper, I have the KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper, fill to top with basil leaves and a few mint leaves. Add garlic and seasonings. Blend. After I dry mix, I use a spoon and scrape the mixture back into the middle. I found this method blends better especially if some of the basil and mint leaves don't thoroughly chop up. 

Add the olive oil and lemon (watch out for the seeds). Chop again.

Please taste. I can't emphasize enough to taste as you cook. Everyone's palates differ. Some prefer garlic. Others salt. 

I tend to go lighter with the seasonings because you can always add but you can't take away.

How to Poach an Egg

Fill a saucepan with water

Add a tablespoon of olive oil and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Bring to a boil

Crack an egg into a bowl

Use slotted spoon to stir the boiling water into a vortex

Carefully pour the egg into the water

Timer: 2 minutes (I use my phone)

I've noticed with an electric stove I've had to slide the pan halfway off the heat or lower the amount of water I put in. I've had boil overflow issues before. I miss my gas stove.     

Lift the egg out with the slotted spoon.

Did you make this dish? Added anything to it? Am I fabulous? What are your opinions about poached eggs? Should I do a video?   

 

 

 

Not Your Grandma's Tuna Fish Sandwich

As a child, I ate my fair share of tuna fish sandwiches. Mayo heavy. White Wonder Bread buttered. It always tasted better when my grandma made my sandwich. 
As an adult, I was sad to learn soy is in most tuna fish pouches/cans. 

Time to elevate the tuna fish sandwich with real ingredients.   

I was standing in my kitchen with leftover wild-caught sockeye salmon from dinner prior & hummus. Just as I'd combine the tuna and mayo together in a bowl, I did the same for the salmon and hummus. I went a step further and added a bit of homemade pesto.

My husband is always my guinea pig.

I toasted two pieces fo sourdough. Drizzled garlic infused oil of the bread, sprinkled a bit of CampMix. I took a bite. The texture was divine and perfect with the warm toasted bread. I could taste the lemon from the salmon, the freshness of the basil, and the spice from the hummus. I served the sandwich to my husband.

He took a bite, groaned, and smiled.

Approval.

I also added it to a spinach salad. Drizzled garlic infused oil over it.

Delish!  

I enjoyed the salmon mixture with a spinach salad with creamy brown rice. 

I don't think this needs a detailed instructional. Above I mentioned my spicy hummus and garlic infused oil, which is what I used in this recipe. The leftover salmon was poached in olive oil and lemon pepper seasoning the night before. Here is the pesto recipe as I don't have it as an individual post. 

Ingredients for Pesto

Basil

About 1/4 cup minced garlic

1 cup extra light olive oil (infused oil works too)

A few mint leaves

A squirt of Meyer Lemon

Dash of crushed red pepper (optional)

Dash CampMix 

In the food chopper, I have the KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper, fill to top with basil leaves and a few mint leaves. Add garlic and seasonings. Blend. After I dry mix, I use a spoon and scrape the mixture back into the middle. I found this method blends better especially if some of the basil and mint leaves don't thoroughly chop up. 

Add the olive oil and lemon (watch out for the seeds). Chop again.

Please taste. I can't emphasize enough to taste as you cook. Everyone's palates differ. Some prefer garlic. Others salt. 

I tend to go lighter with the seasonings because you can always add but you can't take away.

This is a great alternative if you aren't a fan of mayonnaise and looking to try something new with fish.

Products used in this recipe

 

 

   

 

Garlic Infused Olive Oil - Low FODMAP

About three years my doctor suggested Low FODMAP for my IBS. I never heard of the food plan but immediately went home to do some research. 

What are FODMAP's?

*per Healthline.com* FODMAP stands for fermentable oligo-, di-, mono-saccharides and polyols (1).

These are the scientific terms used to classify groups of carbs that are notorious for triggering digestive symptoms like bloating, gas and stomach pain.

FODMAPs are found in a wide range of foods in varying amounts. Some foods contain just one type, while others contain several.

The main dietary sources of the four groups of FODMAPs include:

Oligosaccharides: Wheat, rye, legumes and various fruits and vegetables, such as garlic and onions.
Disaccharides: Milk, yogurt, and soft cheese. Lactose is the main carb.
Monosaccharides: Various fruit including figs and mangoes, and sweeteners such as honey and agave nectar. Fructose is the main carb.
Polyols: Certain fruits and vegetables including blackberries and lychee, as well as some low-calorie sweeteners like those in sugar-free gum.

I purchased three books on the subject, pinned every recipe possible, and was excited to start the elimination process until I read garlic was a no-no. 
Wait? What?
I use garlic in almost all my dishes. I love garlic. Now I can't have it? 
Not cool. 
I use olive oil for almost everything. Or avocado oil, which is also approved for Low FODMAP. 
There's the solution. 
Garlic infused olive oil. I add a small leaf of basil -- just because I want to -- and giving up garlic wasn't as detrimental. This olive oil goes with everything. Pork Chops. Jicama Fries. Salmon.
I had veered off the Low FODMAP path for a while, oh how I've noticed, but I'm back on track. For years I viewed food as my enemy. Between IBS and food allergies my rebellious nature always did me in. I am learning to understand my relationship with food and my body. Food isn't the enemy, my way of thinking was. Health is about respect. I can't heal if I don't respect my insides and my soul.

I am in the process of growing fresh herbs and look forward to infusing olive oil with rosemary or thyme or peppers with rosemary. The possibilities are endless. It's easy to feel the weight of digestive syndromes and diseases but together we will reduce inflammation, pain, and improve our way of thinking. 

Ingredients

1 cup of extra light tasting olive oil 

4-6 peeled and smashed garlic cloves. 

Basil leaf (optional)

Instructions

In a saucepan add the above-mentioned ingredients.  

Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes. Until the garlic browns just a bit. Remove from the heat and let stand until it is room temperature. At first, I used a mason jar but I found a great olive oil dispenser and funnel from Target

You can refrigerate the oil for up to a month but mine is usually gone within the week. 

Perfect to drizzle over salmon and quinoa.

Add the oil to any of my favorites recipes, Cucumber Dill Ranch Dressing or Jicama Fries. 

Low FODMAP books I purchased

 

 

 

 

 

  

Air Fryer Hard Boiled Eggs

Eggs.
Poached. Basted. Hard boiled. 
I'm all in. 
I was aware of the hard boiled egg in the Instant Pot but I use my air fryer daily and I don't my IP. Why not use it for eggs? Though I have a few easy egg recipes for the air fryer I will start with hard boiled. It's a diverse use of eggs. They can be eaten alone with a sprinkle of salt and pepper or in a salad. Great source of protein. 

I bought the Air Fryer Accessories 7pcs for Gowise Phillips and Cozyna or More Brand, fit all 3.7QT 5.3QT 5.8QT with 7 Inch Diameter. It comes with 1 Cake Barrel, 1 Pizza Pan (I use for fried eggs), 1 Metal Holder, 1 Multi-Purpose Rack with Skewers,1 Silicone Mat, 1 tong and 1 Pan gripper. 

Because of my food allergies, I must be careful what kind of eggs I use. I've NEVER had issues with Vital Farms.

The air fryer I own is GoWISE USA 5.8-Quarts 8-in-1 Electric Air Fryer XL. Times may vary depending on size and amount of heat it pumps out. I typically make two eggs, it's enough for me but others like to make half a dozen.

I was pleasantly surprised how easy the shells came off. It's one of the things I used to hate about hard boiled eggs. 

What equipment you will need: 

Air Fryer

Wire Rack

Ingredients

2 cold eggs but more than welcome to use more.

Instructions

Insert wire rack in the basket. Place eggs on top of the wire rack. Carefully close the air fryer. Set the temp of the air fryer to 250 for 17 minutes. The time may need to lengthen if you have a small air fryer. And you don't need to preheat. 

Prepare the ice water bath.

When done take them out with tongs and into the ice water. I leave mine in for about fifteen minutes.

Peel and enjoy!

I recommend testing with one egg. Get a feel for the process and the air fryer.  

They also go great with garlic and basil infused olive oil (Low FODMAP friendly). Next recipe... 

Products used with the recipe:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Paleo Cucumber Dill Ranch Dressing - Tzatziki Inspired

I stand with the refrigerator door open. What to make? Not in the mood for chicken or fish. I want something light. Salad? Yes but I don't want a vinegarette. I made mayo the following day, my eyes move to the fresh dill, lemon, and cucumber. 
Tzatziki inspired. 
In my pantry, I have organic lite coconut milk. A staple for our family. 
I've made this ranch before but not with cucumbers.  

Oh. My. Goodness. 

I could live off this dressing. Dip jicama fries in it. Or turmeric chicken nuggets in the air fryer.

The added cucumber reminded me of my favorite gyro place in North Carolina. Perhaps, my next recipe. Hmmmmmm.

Let's get to the deliciousness.  

Ingredients

For the mayo

1 cup of light tasting olive oil

One free range egg

1/2 teaspoon of dijon mustard

1/2 of a lemon

CampMIX or Simply Organic All-Seasons Salt (I use both) or any seasonings of your choice. 

For the dressing

1/3 cup of the paleo mayo

1/4 cup full-fat canned coconut milk (I use Thai Kitchen)

1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons of fresh dill

1 clove of garlic

1/2 medium peeled cucumber

Instructions

Make the mayo: In a blender add 1/4 of the olive oil, egg, mustard, squeeze in lemon (watch out for those seeds), and seasonings. Blend on low. Once blended open the central part of the blender and slowly pour in remaining olive oil. It will start to thicken. Stop the blender. Give it a little stir. Taste and decide if you want to add more lemon or seasonings. Put the mayo in a container, cover and put in the refrigerator.  

Make the dressing: In a food processor, I use the KitchenAid Mini Food Processor, add mayo, coconut milk, lemon, dill, garlic, cucumber, and seasonings. Pulse a few times until the cucumber is chopped into tiny bits. Taste. Add any additional seasonings. If you want a thicker dressing, add a bit more mayo.

I like mine thinner. Reminds me of the homemade ranch I had as a child. 

My husband added a homemade pita triangle and turmeric chicken to his salad. Can't forget the sliced black olives. Another family staple.

This dressing is soy, gluten, and dairy-free. Vegetarian-friendly. Versatile. Simple and delicious.

Products used in this recipe. 

  

But It's Fishhhhhhhhhh

Lately fish has made an appearance at our dinner table almost every day. Once a week I will make tacos or burgers mainly for the boys. I've noticed my food sensitivities and digestive issues amplifying with each passing year. Chicken on occasion but red meat and pork shred my insides. I feel less swollen and uncomfortable when I eat fish. 

Bread, rice, corn, and beans are also my enemies. Options are limited therefore I need to be creative. Though I lean towards the Paleo lifestyle, I'm not strict on a singular food plan. One size doesn't fit all.

While at Publix the other day I discovered spiraled butternut squash. I love butternut squash but for me to attempt to spiral it with my little device -- nope. It was worth the $3.15. 
Halibut and grouper are my favorite white fishes. Both are spendy, but you get what you pay for. Halibut doesn't smell or taste fishy. The buttery texture is euphoric. The filets are thick and after I eat one I'm full for hours. 

I decided to try something new with the butternut squash spirals and halibut.

IMG-6788.JPG

Preheat oven to 380. Line a 9x9 pan with non-stick foil. Easy to fold and throw away when done.

Add spiraled butternut squash on the bottom, halibut in the center, pour over lighttasting olive oil until all are covered. Squeeze one lemon on the halibut. Season with lemon pepper. Add butter to the top. 20-25 minutes later...

IMG-6791.JPG

I spooned out a bit of the oil/butter/lemon awesomeness in the pan and drizzled over the fish. Oh. My. Word. 

Obsessed. 

The combination of sweet from the butternut squash and savory from the fish is divine. This meal is simple, quick, and clean up is nothing. And butternut squash is great for magnesium which is a nutrient my digestive system needs more of.   

Ingredients

1 wild-caught halibut filet

Spiral butternut squash (I'm confident one could do this at home but I like the Publix method better)

1 lemon

Soy-free butter

1/2 cup of light tasting olive oil

CampMIX Lemon Pepper
     

Color Me Salmon

As a child, my dad and uncle would take me fishing. I learned everything there was know including new colorful words. Worm on the hook didn't gross me out. Mosquito bites, eh. No big deal. Packed sandwiches and chips. Beef jerky and Charleston Chews. The smell of the lake water. Muddy shoes.

I loved every minute of it. 

I grew up in the Midwest. Trout was the main dish we ate. Grilled. Oven. No matter what it was always delicious. I haven't had Trout in many moons. Now my favorite fish fillets are Sockeye Salmon, Halibut, and Alaskan Caught Cod. All wild caught. Farm raised fish is not the best option. Fish farms have been deemed both ecologically and economically unstable, with “an unequal tradeoff between environmental costs and economic benefits” and high levels of contaminants are common in farm-raised salmon; the Norwegian Health Department went on the record recently warning against eating too much farmed salmon for this reason. Don't get me started on tilapia. 

Let's talk about salmon. When it is out of season markets will carry frozen wild caught. Publix is one of them. In the meat department is where you will find it. There are other options in the frozen food section. For instance, at Target the brand Simply Balanced has a pack of three individually wrapped wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon filets.

My mom isn't a huge fan of plain fish. She prefers breaded. Understandable. I was thinking about a recipe to make for my parents when they visit in May. I had leftover homemade breadcrumbs and decided to use them for the salmon filets. Popped the filet in the air fryer and voila, a perfectly crispy but not dry salmon dinner.

IMG_6128.JPG

In previous posts, I've detailed my breadcrumbs recipe. You absolutely can purchase panko or breadcrumbs. If you know me, you know I use CampMIX with everything. The company also has a Lemon Pepper mix. Nothing funky added in like some lemon pepper seasonings and turmeric is a lovely add to the blend.

IMG_6409.JPG

When I add the breaded filet into the air fryer, I also add a few sprigs of rosemary, a clove of garlic, and half a lemon for aromatics. Plus, the house smells like herbs and not fish because we all know what that smells like when cooking fish in the oven. It lingers for days. 

Not with the air fryer.

Even my teenage anti-fish son enjoys the breaded salmon. Well, at least a few bites. I'll take it. 

On occasion, I'll make a garlic butter to melt over the filet.  

Ingredients

Sockeye Salmon Fillet - preferably wild-caught

Lemon Pepper Camp Mix (garlic, onion, black pepper, salt, celery salt, white pepper, citric acid and turmeric) or your chosen lemon pepper blend

One lemon

Fresh rosemary

Fresh garlic

For the breadcrumbs

1/2 loaf of cubed sourdough (I purchase mine at Publix because it's soy-free) Also, Panera's Country Loaf is an excellent option. It's also soy-free. 

A teaspoon of Camp Mix or a blend of garlic, onion, black pepper, salt, white pepper and celery salt. 

Olive oil

Instructions

Follow my breadcrumbs recipe or use pre-prepared breadcrumbs or panko. In a bowl mix the breadcrumbs and seasonings.

Take the salmon fillet, place it on a plate, prep board, whatever you choose and cover it with olive oil. Squirt 1/2 a lemon on the salmon. Sprinkle the lemon pepper seasoning on. More is better. What I've discovered with fish is it absorbs the seasoning and when cooked a person can hardly taste it. Cover the top of the salmon in the breadcrumbs mixture. Dump it on. All over.

Set the air fryer to 370 for 15 minutes.

If you have an air fryer accessory pan, use it otherwise right in the basket works. But I'd rub a little extra olive oil on the bottom because the salmon skin can stick easily. Put in the sprigs of rosemary, garlic, and lemon in the basket.  

Depending on your air fryer, I'd check the fish at the 10-minute mark. I know my larger one cooks a bit faster than my smaller air fryer. Once the breadcrumbs or panko are golden brown, your salmon is done. Which is about 15 minutes.

Be careful removing the salmon from the air fryer basket. A spatula works great.

You can add an extra squirt of lemon or the butter I mentioned above. Or nothing at all. Either way, it's delicious. Not fishy at all. Crunchy. The lemon, garlic, pepper is on point. 

The next few recipes on here will be essential items people have requested from me. Sauces, mixtures, and condiments I use in my everyday cooking and how I add them to my meals. 

 

  

 

 

 

 

Jicama What?

Jicama.
What the heck is jicama?

ji·ca·ma
ˈhikəmə,ˈhē-/Submit
noun
noun: jicama
the crisp, white-fleshed, edible tuber of a Central American climbing plant of the pea family ( Pachyrhizus erosus, family Leguminosae ), cultivated since pre-Columbian times and used especially in Mexican cooking. *thank you, Google dictionary*

The benefits of jicama are amazing. 

Boosts the immune system.
Helps digestion. 
Low in calories.
Favored if potatoes aren't your thing. 
Improves blood flow, brain function, and makes you a unicorn.
It doesn't make you a unicorn, but one can dream. 

Unfamiliar with the vegetable I was excited to experiment. From my previous post, I Speak French Fries making jicama fries in the air fryer mimics the potato fries process. The only difference is you must peel the jicama skin. Don't use a peeler. I used my Global G-2 Chef's Knife and cut a thin slice to create a flat surface. I found it peeled more comfortable after a bit of refrigeration. It also worked better with my french fry cutter. 

Again you can slice them without the fry cutter, but it's an excellent kitchen contraption to have, New Star Foodservice 43204 Commercial Grade French Fry Cutter.

Preheat the air fryer to 385

In the bowl drizzle light tasting olive oil over the jicama. Shake. Add your favorite seasoning. I prefer CampMix (my go to), but you can use season salt or just salt and pepper. It depends on the level you enjoy your fries. Some like salty and crispy others like less salt and not full-on crispy. 

Pour into the air fryer basket. Cook for about 30 minutes. Depending on desired crispiness. The jicama takes a bit longer. Every 7-10 minutes shake the jicama in the basket or use a spatula to move them about for an even cook.

The jicama has more crunch to it. When we asked our teenager which he preferred the potato or jicama fries he chose the jicama. We were pleasantly surprised. Logan is sensitive to textures, and we were thrilled he tried and loved them.

Win for us. 

WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

Air Fryer - preheat 380

A way to slice the jicama into even cuts

One jicama fed two people

Light tasting olive oil

Seasonings of your choice (Uber fan of CampMIX) 

Products used in this recipe.

 

    

 

 

Pesto Spaghetti Squash with a Poached Egg

Pesto spaghetti squash with a poached egg is our newest obsession. I make it once a week at least. The runny yolk adds creaminess to the dish, and we're quite sad when it's over. 

Most pestos at the grocery store either have 100 ingredients or contain soybean oil. I make my own with a fun added herb. Mint.

This is one dish I don't use my air fryer or instant pot. Yes, I kick it old school with the oven. Roasted spaghetti squash with garlic, olive oil, and CampMix makes me a happy woman. And my house smells delicious. I cook the squash the night before, The Foolproof, Step-by-Step Guide to Cooking Spaghetti Squash, I add a few cloves of garlic and fresh basil for aromatics. I also make the pesto the night before and pour a little over the spaghetti squash in the Tupperware bowl; it soaks in all the awesomeness. 

IMG_5205.JPG

My grandma made fried macaroni and cheese when I was younger. Best thing in the world. I used the concept for the spaghetti squash. I added Earth Balance Soy Free buttery spread in the cast iron and fried up the squash a bit. As it cooked, I added the pesto (save some for the top of the poached egg). Once it's nice and hot, drop to simmer and work on the poached egg.  

I know many who are intimidated of the poached egg. Don't be. The options to cook it in your instant pot are fantastic, but it didn't work for me. I use a saucepan of water, olive oil, salt, boil, stir and 2 minutes later have a beautifully poached egg. A slotted spoon is also needed.     

IMG_5216.JPG
IMG_5215.JPG

I look forward to making this dish for my friends. 

Ingredients for Pesto

Basil

About 1/4 cup minced garlic

1 cup extra light olive oil 

A few mint leaves

Squirt of lemon

Dash of crushed red pepper

Dash CampMix 

In the food chopper, I have the KitchenAid 3.5-Cup Food Chopper, fill to top with basil leaves and a few mint leaves. Add garlic and seasonings. Blend. After I dry mix, I use a spoon and scrape the mixture back into the middle. I found this method blends better especially if some of the basil and mint leaves don't thoroughly chop up. 

Add the olive oil and lemon (watch out for the seeds). Chop again.

Please taste. I can't emphasize enough to taste as you cook. Everyone's palates differ. Some prefer garlic. Others salt. 

I tend to go lighter with the seasonings because you can always add but you can't take away.

How to Poach an Egg

Fill a saucepan with water

Add a tablespoon of olive oil and Himalayan Pink Sea Salt

Bring to a boil

Crack an egg into a bowl

Use slotted spoon to stir the boiling water into a vortex

Carefully pour the egg into the water

Timer: 2 minutes (I use my phone)

I've noticed with an electric stove I've had to slide the pan halfway off the heat or lower the amount of water I put in. I've had boil overflow issues before. I miss my gas stove.     

Lift the egg out with the slotted spoon.

Did you make this dish? Added anything to it? Am I fabulous? What are your opinions about poached eggs? Should I do a video?