Recipes

Chicken & Zucchini Poppers

With the abundance of zucchini that is currently happening in our garden this very moment, I have been searching for zucchini recipes, and not necessarily treats like breads or muffins. Last summer I made savory zucchini cups, which were similar to zucchini fritters except baked in a muffin tin. They were good, but not out of this world. I wanted to incorporate the zucchini into a meatball in some way and created this delicious recipe. They are so quick and easy to make and the kids love them!

zucchini poppers 1

Chicken & Zucchini Poppers

Yields: 20 meatballs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 2 cups zucchini (shredded)
  • ½ cup cilantro (chopped)
  • 2 scallions (chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • cooking oil (olive oil, coconut oil, ghee)

Directions:

  1. Add ground chicken or turkey, shredded zucchini, cilantro, scallions, salt and pepper to a large mixing bowl.
  2. Mix well with hands.
  3. Form into bite-size balls and place on a baking sheet.
  4. Bake at 400º for 20 minutes. Turn once halfway through baking time.
  5. These can also be cooked in a skillet on the stovetop with a little olive oil, coconut oil or ghee.
  6. Serve as an appetizer, snack, or for dinner atop some spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.

Have you made anything awesome with zucchini this season?

xoxo

Jenny

Easy Salmon Cakes

Dear friends,

Happy Sunday! I love when I try a recipe for the first time and it’s easy and delicious! I remember when I came across canned salmon for the first time last year – something I had never tried before. I found Wild Alaskan canned salmon and tuna in olive oil at my local Costco, and remember thinking, I will figure out something to make with the canned salmon. I am so glad I finally found a recipe for the cans of salmon I have in my pantry!

Easy Salmon Cakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes, Yield: 4 cakes

Ingredients:

2 6-ounce cans wild salmon, drained
1 egg, beaten (or flax egg substitute)
1/4 cup minced shallots or yellow onion
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup scallions, minced
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. onion powder
1 TB. fresh parsley or dill
fresh ground pepper, to taste
1-2 tsp. coconut flour (optional)
coconut oil, for cooking

Directions:

Combine the salmon, egg, shallots, garlic, spices and mustard in a bowl and mix well. If the mixture is too wet, add some coconut flour over the mixture, and mix.

Form the mixture into four equal patties. Add enough coconut oil to pan to create a layer. (I use my cast iron pan and it browns them beautifully!). Add the patties to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes on each side. (I set the timer and check before flipping. Allow them to cook all the way through.

Serve warm over mixed greenss or wrap with lettuce for a quick salmon burger. Enjoy!

salmon cakes

Homemade Bone Broth & Turkey Soup

This post is dedicated to all of my friends who have become my family, and have been there for me, unconditionally… you know who you are! xoxo

I did it! I made my very first batch of homemade bone broth. Can you tell I am excited? I feel like such an accomplished paleo girl now.

IMG_0838

This amazing event all happened over our Thanksgiving break. I drafted this post, and then in true Jenny fashion, did not publish immediately, so it has sat here as a draft. 🙁 I am truly sorry about that! I am working on my blog post drafts getting published quicker, but I tend to go back over them, and over them, and add details, corrections and pictures. Maintaining a regular blogging schedule is hard for a full-time working mom!

Rewind a little… We started collecting bones in a bag in the freezer for a couple of weeks from our various weeknight dinners. My amazing husband Brian, who usually does the dinner clean-up routine, kept cracking jokes, “Do you want me to put these in the bone bag?” We don’t know why it was so funny, but say that out loud to yourself, it really is funny. 😀

Bone broth is pretty simple to make. I used about 3 lbs. of bones, water, apple cider vinegar and salt. You simply combine all the ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 8-24 hours, the longer the better, according to several recipes. Some recipes also called for vegetables and other seasoning if you’re planning to drink the bone broth each day, so it’s not so bland. I knew I would use it in my soup so I kept it simple this time around.

As I sat in the kitchen smelling (well kind of smelling, I was sick with some weird sinus and congestion thing for 14 days…) the turkey soup made with our Thanksgiving leftovers and my very own bone broth was cooking away on the stove, thoughts of my mom were all around. She would be so proud! I cleaned off the rest of the turkey from the legs and wings for the soup, and while I was doing it, my mom was in my mind the whole time. She felt present in the room. This is something I try to explain to people, but there really are no words. It seemed like she was there, patting me on the back, sending me her amazing cooking thoughts and skills. Every year after Thanksgiving I have fond memories of my mom making turkey soup with the leftovers from our turkey. We always celebrated Thanksgiving at my aunt’s house, but my mom was sure to make her own turkey so we would have enough leftovers to last for a while. She also made the most amazing stuffing known to mankind, and we would have enough leftovers of the entire meal to have a Thanksgiving meal several times after the actual Thanksgiving. My mom is definitely an inspiration to me and my adventures in the kitchen.

IMG_0833

I was also inspired to try making bone broth and turkey soup because of this bizarre illness that ended up plaguing me for 14 whole days. It started with a stuffy nose one evening, and when I woke up the next morning I couldn’t breathe and had a killer headache. It felt sinus related and so I proceeded to drink tons of water and chamomile tea. I also picked up a homeopathic remedy at Whole Foods. At about Day 12, after a few people gave me a funny look because my eyes were puffy and watery, I asked my school nurse, “should I suck it up and go the doctor?” Her response was, “did you try a neti-pot? (which she had suggested days earlier…) Yes, you probably should go.” I couldn’t smell or taste anything for a whole 14 days, but I am happy to report on the 15th day I woke up feeling like myself again. It worked its way through my body, and I truly believe my turkey soup helped tremendously. Healing from within. It actually works.

The turkey soup was simple enough. I sautéed onions, celery and carrots in bacon fat for about 5 minutes, then added some grated garlic and sautéed for a few minutes more. Once the veggies started to soften, I added my perfectly gelled bone broth, brought to a boil, added the turkey and let simmer until the carrots softened, about 20-30 minutes. My son Brendan said “turkey soup sounds yummy mommy!”  I steamed some kale separately, and put the turkey soup on top for a hearty lunch. Yum!

IMG_0832

Until next time…

What kinds of leftovers did you cook up this post-Thanksgiving or post-holidays in general?

Do you carry on any traditions from your childhood to your own family?

green_heart Jenny

Zucchini Fritter Cups

As you can see, we have tons of zucchini coming out of the garden. We try to pick them when they are smaller and more usable, but these were picked after a few days away on vacation. Oops! We have used them in so many ways this season… steamed, grilled, zucchini noodles, pan-fried zucchini fritters, and even chocolate zucchini bread.

giant zucchini

Since my first attempt at zucchini fritters was just so-so, I wanted to give them another try. I came across this recipe from PaleOMG and thought how easy it sounded to make them in muffin tins in the oven. I added a few extra ingredients that I had on hand to enhance the flavor slightly, and they were delicious! I will definitely make these again.

When using zucchini in recipes, you have to shred the zucchini and then squeeze out the moisture. This is a necessary step because you don’t want your recipe to be a big moist mess! In the past I would just pile up the zucchini in the middle of a bunch of paper towels and squeeze away. This year, however, I have a brilliant tip for you – use your nut milk bag to squeeze out the moisture! I really like this one from Rawsome Creations. It sounds weird at first, but if you think you want to try making your own nut milk, and I think you should because it’s awesome, this little bag is so worth it! Then, when squeezing moisture out of veggies, like zucchini, It works like a charm and you don’t waste all of those paper towels. If you don’t have a nut milk bag, of course paper towels work fine.

zucchini cups


Zucchini Fritter Cups (adapted from PaleOMG)

  • 3 cups shredded zucchini (about 2-3 zucchini)
  • 1/2 yellow onion, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh beet greens (or any greens really), finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line the muffin tins with parchment paper muffin liners.
  2. Place the zucchini and yellow onion in food processor using the shredding attachment and shred.
  3. Place the zucchini and onion in a nut milk bag and squeeze out all the excess liquid. This is important! Get as much of the moisture out as possible.
  4. Place zucchini, onion, garlic, basil, and greens in a bowl, and mix well with almond flour, egg, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  5. Use a scoop to place the mixture into the muffin tins. My batch filled 14 muffin tins.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes.
  7. Let cool before removing from muffin tin.

What have you used your zucchini for this season?

Until next time…

green_heart Jenny

August 2014 CSA Wrap-Up

August was another awesome CSA month. We saw our share of scallions, tomatoes, zucchini and summer squash, just to name a few. Here’s a look back at the beautiful produce from the month of August:

Week 9: honeydew melon, beets, spring onion, corn, plum tomato, beets, radishes, red leaf lettuce, green beans, pickle cucumbers

<a title=”csa week 9b by Jenny, on Flickr” href=”<a data-flickr-embed="true" href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/jennyrmurphy/14672660380" title="csa week 9b"><img src="https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5568/14672660380_72f6a6775d_n.jpg" width="320" height="320" alt="csa week 9b"></a><script async

July 2014 CSA Wrap-Up

We’ve had a great month of CSA fun so far! Like I said in a past post, each week I look forward to Tuesdays, because I know I get to pick up the CSA and it’s always so fun seeing what we’ll have to try out for the week. We also participate in the fish share and get fresh fish every other week throughout the season.

CSA Week 4 + fish (salmon): strawberries, baby spinach, romaine, summer squash, zucchini, beets, swiss chard, cucumbers

CSA week 4

CSA Week 5: beets, swiss chard, green leaf lettuce, pickle cucumbers, basil, green pepper, blueberries

csa week 5b

CSA Week 6 + fish (swordfish): red leaf lettuce, carrots, basil parsley, scallions, cucumber zucchini, tomato, blueberries

csa week 6a

CSA Week 7: red leaf lettuce, baby arugula, green beans, scallions, zucchini, cucumber, tomato, melon (I think we were missing some items this week because I checked their website and it listed corn, and a few other things! I also did not pick up this week, please excuse the picture 😉 )

CSA Week 7a

CSA Week 8: athena melon, wax beans, green leaf lettuce, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, tomato, basil, scallions, corn, eggplant

css week 8a

We also have a ton of squash coming from our own garden. I keep posting pictures on Instagram hoping someone will come on by and pick some up. Our neighbors have had their share, that’s for sure!

What have I been making with all of this squash you ask? I have made plenty of grilled zucchini and summer squash, which is delicious. We cut it in big chunks, put them on skewers, sprinkle with a little salt, pepper, coconut oil and grill. Yum! I have also made zucchini noodles a few times. Last week we tried zucchini fritters using this recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo. They were just okay, seemed like they were missing something… I might try these Zucchini Fritter Cups from Juli at PaleOMG next time. Next up is zucchini bread. Stay tuned for that one!

squash2

Kitchen Tip: I figured out last summer that July is a big month for squash, as you can see, lettuces and scallions. We eat salads like crazy, so the lettuces are pretty easy to deal with. But I remember during our first CSA season thinking, what in the world am I going to do with all of these scallions? Who uses this many scallions each week? Well, the second year I got a little smarter! After two weeks of huge bunches of scallions, I chopped them and put them in freezer bags for use all year long. They freeze great, stay bright green and are ready to use. They are especially convenient when making chili or any kind of soup or stew – you just throw them in frozen!

scallions frozen

Awesome Summer Dinner: This dinner is really simple, really fast and easy, I promise! Grilled chicken thighs with zucchini noodles and salad topped with cucumber and avocado salad.

summer dinner 4

For the chicken: marinate about an hour before grilling with olive oil, coconut aminos, salt and pepper)

For the zucchini noodles: after creating the noodles using a mandoline (what I have) or a spiralizer (what I want!) steam them in a shallow pan for about 5 minutes. Drain the excess water in a collander and then put back in the pan on medium heat. Season with salt, pepper, lemon juice, and a little olive oil or butter and serve warm.

Cucumber + Avocado Salad

    • 1 cucumber, diced
    • 1 avocado, diced
    • 1 carrot, diced
    • 1/2 – 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
    • salt and pepper, to taste

Chop the veggies and mix everything together. Chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator to allow the flavors to come together. Serve alone or on top of a green salad – no need for dressing!

cucumber salad

Another recipe I made this month was Basil Avocado Pesto. Have you tried anything new this month with seasonal ingredients?

Until next time…

green_heart Jenny

Basil Avocado Pesto

basilThe greatest thing about the summer and belonging to a CSA is trying new recipes with what we have on hand. We had steak the other night and I had a beautiful bunch of basil sitting on my counter waiting to be used, so I decided to make a pesto to drizzle on top of the steak and the zucchini noodles.

It’s super simple to make pesto in the food processor. It comes together quickly with any herb + nut + olive oil combination. I’ve tried several pesto variations with basil, cilantro, parsley, pine nuts and walnuts. I use avocado to get a creamy consistency and a little salt in replacement of parmesan cheese, which traditional basil pesto usually calls for.

Ingredients:

  • 1-2 cups of basil, loosely packed (depends on how much pesto you want to make)
  • 1 avocado
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp. black pepper
  • extra virgin olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place the basil and avocado in the food processor and pulse until chopped.
  2. Add the walnuts until combined.
  3. Turn the food processor on and slowly stream in the olive oil until it reaches a smooth pesto consistency, scraping the bowl as necessary.
  4. Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.
  5. Use immediately or refrigerate in a sealed container for 2-3 days. Add any extra that doesn’t get used to ice cube trays and freeze for future use. 

Enjoy!

green_heart Jenny

Dining Out Paleo-style

One of the questions I am always asked is “what do you order when you’re out to dinner?” Well, truth be told, we don’t go out to dinner very often. 😉  99% of time I prepare all of our meals, which makes it very easy to choose quality ingredients. We have two small children, and finding a babysitter proves to be challenging at times. 

During the month of July, however, we have two special days that we celebrate, our anniversary and Brian’s birthday. Every July we usually try to plan these as date nights, which is exactly what we did this year.  We went all out this year for our anniversary because it was our 10-year anniversary and dined out a great steakhouse on the waterfront. 

A few helpful tips:

  • Never be afraid or embarrassed to ask about the ingredients, especially in dressings and sauces. Most servers will ask the chef for you or look up the ingredients in a detailed menu guide they have.
  • Ask them not to bring over the bread.
  • When choosing a main course, keep it simple. Meat or fish that is simply grilled is usually a good option.
  • Drink more water than usual, they usually use more salt that we do at home.
  • If you’re going to splurge and have a drink, stick with red wine. Although I love sangria and mojitos, they are loaded with sugar and not worth the bloating afterwards!
  • Unless you’re at restaurant that is farm-to-table, it’s likely the meat was not pastured or grass-fed, and the produce is likely not organic. It’s fine. Just know this and recognize if you feel weird, that might be one of the reasons.
  • Same goes for oils. Most restaurants probably use nasty refined oils (canola, vegetable, soybean, etc.) somewhere in their cooking, and the butter is likely not from grass-fed cows. 
  • Have fun! Going out should be a treat. There’s no such thing as paleo-perfectionism. I do my best to make choices that will nourish me and keep me feeling good. Some people say that “I’m so good” or “I’m crazy” (yes, they have actually said that!), but honestly, if I have something that makes my stomach feel crazy, it is so not worth it. I just know that about myself by now, and you should too, it’s your health!

Here’s a glimpse at what I ordered for our three dinners out. They were all delicious and very satisfying!

Steakhouse #1 on the waterfront

  • salad of mixed greens, bacon chunks (yes, chunks!), house made Dijon vinaigrette on the side
  • 8 oz. filet mignon (I brought home half)
  • 2 grilled shrimp stuffed with lump crab meat

Italian in the North End

  • spinach salad with house made raspberry vinaigrette (olive oil and fresh raspberries, I asked)
  • pan-seared salmon served with puttanesca sauce (tomato-based, no weird ingredients, I asked) 😉

Steakhouse #2 on the waterfront

  • salad of mixed greens, italian vinaigrette on the side
  • pan-seared scallops drizzled with shititake chive vinaigrette (I brushed most off)

What tips do you find helpful when you’re dining out? 

What other questions do you have for me?

 

Paleo Breakfast Ideas

Our journey down the paleo street has led us to some amazing resources, blogs and new cookbooks. I have already posted about the awesome-ness of Diane Sanfilippo, author of Practical Paleo and the 21-Day Sugar Detox. Both of those books have become a resource for me weekly and are constantly sitting on my kitchen counter.

paleo cookbooks

Another real gem is Against All Grain by Danielle Walker. Not only is the story that led her to Paleo inspiring, but her recipes are amazing. A few I have tried and loved so far are some breakfast recipes.

Pancakes: Since going gluten-free in 2009, I’ve always searched for a pancake recipe that yielded a pancake that tasted delicious and had the consistency similar to the pancakes of our childhood. The one we used for a while was a mix from Bob’s Red Mill, and it was just okay… until I found this one. They are pictured in the cookbook as a mouse shape ;), thus the name Banana Mouse Pancakes. We tried making them in a mouse shape, but they didn’t come out very pretty, so we’re calling them Banana Pancakes. 🙂

banana pancakes


Banana Pancakes
(adapted from Against All Grain by Danielle Walker)
yields 15-20 small pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 3/4 cup sliced bananas
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. honey (optional)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • coconut oil for pan

1. Place all the ingredients, except the oil, in a blender. Blend until smooth. (I use my Vitamix here and it works perfectly.) Let the batter sit for 5 minutes to thicken.

2. Place the oil in a skillet or griddle over medium heat.

3. Spoon the batter onto the pan – make any size you prefer.

4. After about a minute or so and once bubbles rise to the surface, flip the pancakes.

6. Cook on the second side for 15 to 30 seconds, then keep warm in the oven set to 200ºF while you cook the remaining batter.

Tip: If the batter begins to thicken while you are cooking the pancakes, add a little water to thin it out.


Granola: Another recipe I was excited to try was granola. In my pre-gluten-free life, I have to admit, I loved cereal! I can definitely say that I don’t miss how it made me feel and the repercussions it had on my digestive system, but there still is something that makes me happy about eating a bowl (or mug in my case) of cereal. I have tried making granola before, and the results have been so-so. This recipes calls for the use of dehydrator, which I do not own, but there are instructions for how to dehydrate the granola using your oven. I have adapted the recipe slightly. The original recipe calls for raisins, which I do not add, and I have tweaked the nuts depending on what I have in the pantry.

Vanilla granola


Vanilla-Almond Granola
(adapted from Against All Grain by Danielle Walker)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 1/2 cup raw pecans
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1 3/4 tsp. sea salt, divided
  • 3/4 melted honey or maple syrup
  • 2 TB. coconut oil, melted
  • 1 1/2 TB. vanilla extract
  • 1 TB. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut
  1. Add the nuts and seeds to a bowl. Add water about 2 inches above nuts. Cover and soak 12-18 hours in refrigerator.
  2. When done soaking, rinse nuts and seeds several times with cold water.
  3. Place the nuts and seeds in food processor and process until pieces are small, like oatmeal.
  4. Add the salt, honey, coconut oil, vanilla extract and cinnamon and process until combined.
  5. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper, and spread granola into a thin layer.
  6. Dehydrate. If you have a dehydrator, dehydrate for 24 hours. If you do not have a dehydrator, set the oven to lowest setting (mine is 170º) and prop the door with a wooden spoon to allow moisture in. After 2 hours, move around granola with a spoon and dehydrate for another hour. After hour 3, turn the oven off and let sit in the oven for another hour.
  7. When complete and cool, store in an airtight container.
  8. Enjoy with any kind of milk or use as a topping with berries.

Have you tried any recipes from these cookbooks? If so, which ones?

Until next time…

<3 Jenny

Homemade Almond Milk

vanilla almond milkSo many of my cookbooks have recipes for homemade almond milk. I always read through the recipes and think, I really should do that! Of course I’ve known for years I should make it from scratch, but never did, until last weekend. A post from Michelle at Nom Nom Paleo inspired me try it.

I always read the random ingredients in store-bought almond milk, and am grossed out by the things I cannot pronounce. Everyone knows you shouldn’t be eating things you can’t pronounce, but not everyone is inclined to make almond milk, or any type of milk for that matter, from scratch.

Well, my friends, I finally invested in a nut milk bag, (yes, it’s actually called a nut milk bag) and I made homemade almond milk! And let me tell you, it was DELICIOUS and EASY! So delicious, that once it was gone, I made another batch!
nut milk bag

To begin, you need raw almonds and a nut milk or sprouting bag. I read about the nut milk bag in several recipes and got mine on Amazon. Gotta love Amazon Prime! You don’t necessarily need a nut bag. You could use cheesecloth as well. I have to say the nut milk bag worked awesome and I wouldn’t  use anything else.

Most of the recipes out there called for 1 cup of almonds. I decided to double the recipe to 2 cups of almonds, which yielded approximately 50 ounces of milk. I stored it in three 16 oz. mason jars, and had a little extra that we drank right away. 😉

Ingredients:

2 cups raw almonds
5 cups water, plus more for soaking
Pinch of salt
2 tsp. good quality vanilla, if you want vanilla almond milk

Steps:

1. Place the almonds in a bowl that can be covered. Add enough water to cover the almonds plus about 2 inches above the almonds. Cover and soak 12-18 hours. No need to refrigerate, they can soak on the counter.

2. When they are done soaking, drain the almonds in a colander. Rinse several times.

3. Place rinsed almonds and water into a high-powered blender (like a Vitamix) or food processor and process for several minutes until nuts are pulverized.

4. Line a large bowl or large measuring cup with the nut milk bag and pour in the milk.

5. Some of the milk will come through the bag as you’re pouring. The rest you have to squeeze out. Be patient. You will get a lot of milk if you take your time. Once all the milk has been squeezed out, transfer to glass jars or storage containers, refrigerate and enjoy!

almond milk squeezing

Brendan helping make almond milk

When the almond milk is done, you are left with almond pulp in the nut milk bag. This stuff is amazing, do not throw it away! You can use it as is in smoothies. You can also use it in various recipes to make crackers, hummus, macaroons, just to name a few. If you search for recipes for almond pulp, there are tons out there. A few that looked good to me were here.

almond pulp

I decided to make almond flour out of the almond pulp from both of my batches. It does take some time, but worth it because you are left with really fine almond flour. To turn it into almond flour, you need to dehydrate the pulp. I do not own a dehydrator, so I just set my oven on its lowest setting at 170º, spread the almond pulp on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and let it dehydrate for 3-4 hours. In order for moisture to get in there, you should prop the oven door with a wooden spoon for the entire time. Once it’s done, store in an airtight container. I usually keep almond flour in the refrigerator to make sure it stays fresh.

almond flour

 

Have you ever tried making a nut milk or any type of milk from scratch? Do you think you’ll try it?

Until next time…

<3 Jenny