Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Deviled Avocados

Avocados.

Avocados

These tasty little suckers are jam-packed full of goodness. They provide a ton of antioxidants and healthy, unsaturated fat to a balanced diet and actually help your body absorb vitamins and nutrients.. say what?! Fact. They are good for...

Bone + Skin Health
Manganese Bone health
Phosphorus Bone and teeth formation
Magnesium Bone health
Riboflavin, Niacin Skin Health

Cardiovascular {circulation + heart}
Copper, Magnesium Regulating your heart rate
Copper Maintaining normal blood pressure
Pantothenic Acid Formation of red blood cells

Immune System
Vitamins C, B6 Immune system function
Zinc Wound healing

Vitamin E Tissue repair

Muscle Growth + Development
Vitamin E Muscular development
Vitamin C Connective tissue function

Magnesium Muscle and nerve function

Digestion
Thiamin, Folate Metabolism
Riboflavin Protein, fat and carb processing

Panthothenic Acid Nutrient processing

WOW!!! It is NOT easy being green!
A few tips about these green goddesses that I thought I would share...

  • The ripeness of an avocado can be determined by its color. The greener the avocado, the less ripe, the darker/black the avocado, the riper it is
  • You can speed up ripening by placing in a brown paper bag. Slow it down by sticking it in the fridge.
  • When opening an avocado, I find it easiest to cut around the circumference of the fruit {I do it the long way, especially for this recipe} twist open, and then pop your knife into the pit, turn, and pull out. No need to dig the pit out with a spoon! 
  • To save a cut avocado, keep the pit in, sprinkle with lime juice, and cover with aluminum or plastic wrap. 

and now... onto the recipe!




Deviled Avocados

{original recipe spotted on Pinterest 
from jamaicanitpaleo.com}

ingredients:

1 can tuna 
1 avocado {ripe}
½ tsp minced garlic
1 scallion, chopped
¼ red onion, minced
Juice of ½ lime
Sea salt and pepper to taste

instructions:

  1. Cut the avocado in half and empty the contents in a mixing bowl {save the skin!}
  2. Combine the tuna and the remaining ingredients with the avocado.
  3. Mix and mash until thoroughly combined.
  4. For presentation, put the mixture back into the skins and serve!

notes:

  • This is absolutely adorable if served in the skins.
  • This is absolutely delicious, even if eaten directly off a plate.
  • Info and nutritional facts obtained from www.theamazingavocado.com 

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Carrot Cake Whoopie Pie

Hi, my name is Coleen and I'm a food-aholic. 

I'm pretty sure that's how this whole thing started... and what keeps it going. 

Easter, my friends, is quickly becoming a favorite holiday for me. Primarily because I get to cook. {when my mother reads this, I will promptly get a text indicating that the day that I decide to "take over" any additional holidays, she will be more than happy to oblige}

This year {as you may have already found out from my quick and easy post where I did NOT share recipes... hehehe sorrieee} we made Pistachio Crusted rack of lamb, roasted potatoes, and a beautiful Spring salad. The lamb was insanely good. I will have to get that recipe from my sister to share... but in my mind, the pièce de résistance was by far dessert. Our end game was the delectably sweet, and just a touch of savory and wittily re-named, individual Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies. Bon Appétit~



Carrot Cake Whoopie Pies

{original recipe from Cooking Light}

ingredients:

2 cups shredded carrot {we chopped it up a bit}
2/3 cup packed brown sugar, divided
1/4 cup unsalted butter, divided
2 Tbl canola oil
1 tsp orange zest {eyeball it}
3/4 tsp vanilla extract, divided
1 large egg
1 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
3/8 tsp salt, divided
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 oz cream cheese, softened 
1 cup powdered sugar

instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Cover 2 baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
  2. Combine carrot and 3 Tbl brown sugar in a bowl; toss to coat. Place mixture in a fine mesh sieve; let stand to drain over the bowl for at least 10 minutes, stirring every once in a while. Discard liquid.
  3. Place 2 tablespoons butter in a medium microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in short increments until melted. Add oil, orange, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and egg; whisk until well combined.
  4. Combine flour, remaining brown sugar (about 1/2 cup), cinnamon, 1/4 tsp salt, and baking soda in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk. Add both carrot mixture and butter mixture; stir until just combined. 
  5. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto prepared baking sheets and gently pat dough down to form 2-inch circles. Target 14 cookies in total. 
  6. Bake at 350° for 11-13 minutes or until set. Remove pans from oven; let stand 3 minutes. Let cool completely.
  7. While cookies are baking, make the frosting: combine cream cheese, remaining 2 Tbl butter, remaining 1/4 tsp vanilla extract, and remaining 1/8 tsp salt in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed 3 minutes, until fluffy. Add powdered sugar; beat at low speed 1 minute or until well combined (don't overbeat!). Spread frosting on flat side of 1 cookie; top with another cookie, flat side down. 
  8. Repeat the procedure with remaining cookies and filling.

notes:

  • Make sure your parchment paper is cut to fit your baking sheet.
  • The original recipe says this makes 28 total cookies, but we made our cookies a little larger and our batter created 14 total {which was perfect- it made 7 little whoopies for our dinner party of 6}
  • I couldn't believe how delicious this super easy cream cheese frosting was!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Crockpot Jerk Chicken

So, I totally brought Jerk Seasoning home from the island. Obviously, I did. My friend bought his at one of the little shops when we ventured off our resort, but I bought mine in the gift shop at the hotel. Either way, though, it's Jamaican Jerk seasoning. And I was so excited to use it. 

I had tt get me a package of organic, grass fed, deconstructed chicken pieces {ie the glorious package that has all the pieces of a whole chicken in it, but without the inconvenience of it coming in the form of a whole chicken carcass} - and I decided I was going to crock pot that sucker with some jerk. And crock pot with some jerk I did. 

I have a small crock pot, so the chicken pieces got layered. In between these layers of raw poultry, I layered jerk along with it. Liberally. {so liberally, that my mouth is still on fire} -- I threw a little vegetable stock in the bottom, which is my go-to for everything, and set on low and slow for 8 hours. 

Fall off the bone.
Bursting with flavor.
Shut the front door. 
Honestly, the flavor is not unlike the chicken obtained from the chicken guy that was serving jerk chicken off of a cart at lunchtime each day. 

I just burned myself because I stuck my fingers right into the crock pot to pull some of this goodness out.

If you aren't lucky like me and have a whole baggie of this delectable combination of spices, fear not, because you can make it yourself!

Crockpot Jerk Chicken

ingredients

Recipes for the seasoning vary, but my real Jamaican spice is made of:
Salt
Crushed chillis
Cane sugar
Pimento
Black pepper
Granulated garlic
Coriander
Thyme
Garlic extract
Cinnamon
{others included allspice, turmeric, brown sugar, red pepper flakes and other ingredients}

other ingredients
Meat {chicken, pork}
Vegetable stock

instructions

  1. Apply liberally to meat {chicken, pork are ideal}
  2. Place in crock pot, cook on low for 8ish hours depending on the size of meat

notes

  • 4 hours on high will probably work too, but low and slow makes for the fall off the bone tenderness!
  • This is seriously delish.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Paleo Pizza Spaghetti Pie

Yet again it's a recipe experiment week!! While the week is coming to a close, I tried a few good ones. Shrimp fraDiavlo was one that was pretty tasty.. I don't usually make my own sauce and this one was a quick and simple take on a spicy classic. I'll get that recipe up later but for now I'm focused on what's in the oven.

If you know me, you know my weird obsession with the Spaghetti Pie my mother makes. It's so good. And it's actually the first thing I ever made for tt for dinner back in our early days of courtship. The frozen salty meatballs, the loads of ooey-gooey cheese, and let's not forget the spaghetti. Oh, and the butter. 

If I could make this in a swimming pool and climb right on in, I would. No seriously, I would do that. And probably then either eat my way out, or drown right there in the cheese. 

As even a non-Paleo-er can imagine, the items listed above probably weren't around in the time of the cavemen. Frozen meatballs? Um no. Delightfully convenient, probably too convenient for the Flinstones. Lame. BUT- fear not!! For I have found a solution. Paleo Pizza Spaghetti Pie!! I can't promise how it tastes, but I can definitely attest to how it smells. And it smells like pizza. And yummy. 

{Paleo} Pizza Spaghetti Pie 
Recipe by paleOMG.com

ingredients

1 large spaghetti squash 
1 lb sausage {I used organic, grass fed, spicy Italian pork sausage, casing removed}
1 small or half of a large yellow onion, diced 
Dry or fresh basil to taste
1 cup pizza sauce {no sugar added}
3 eggs, beaten

instructions 

  1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. Cook spaghetti squash {can bake, or I like to remember that I'm not actually a cave woman and cook mine in the microwave- quarter, scoop seeds, throw in a Pyrex with about a half inch of water and cover with Saran Wrap. Nuke for 11-12 mins} 
  3. Meanwhile, cook your onion and sausage until there is no pink left in the meat; as it cooks, work to break it apart into small pieces
  4. When cooked, add pizza sauce and basil and mix well
  5. When squash is cooked, remove the strands and put into a 8x8 baking dish that has been greased. Add sausage and sauce mixture and mix well
  6. Add eggs and mix until you can no longer see the egg
  7. Bake at 400 for an hour, you will notice that the top forms a slight crust
  8. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving 

notes

  • You can also add any other "pizza toppings" such as other veggies or cheese if you are so inclined. 
  • I can't wait to eat it. My whole house smells like I'm going to eat something naughty. 

Happy Friday!



** Featured **

Paleo Pizza Spaghetti Pie

Yet again it's a recipe experiment week!! While the week is coming to a close, I tried a few good ones. Shrimp fraDiavlo was one that w...