Sunday, November 24, 2013

Thanksgiving Round-up

It's almost time for Turkey Day!!! There's no reason to panic about the food we eat around the holidays. As you can see, there are plenty of Paleo options to serve on your table for a full and bountiful Thanksgiving!

The Thanksgiving bird usually takes center stage. It's your headliner. Your star. Your pièce de résistance. I get a juicy and flavorful bird every time by this fail-proof citrus-herb stuffing method. Here is my recipe using a chicken, but just adjust accordingly for the size of your bird.

So if the turkey is the star, then the side dishes are the back-up dancers. Let's call them, the Fall Favorites. Try any combination of these dishes for a balanced and colorful table.

Acorn Squash Halves
Autumn Salad
Caramelized Brussel Sprouts
Orange Vegetable Mash
Roasted String Beans with Cherry Tomatoes and Shallots
Sauteed Cremini Mushrooms with Lemon, Capers, and Garlic
Stuffed Artichokes

By the time you finish all this, who the heck has room for dessert? Instead of stuffing yourself full of almond or coconut flour dessert knock-offs, try serving some fresh fruit instead. Like these Dairy-Free Berry Parfaits. Instead of the almond flour cream cheese, whip up some fresh coconut cream for a light and delicious treat you won't feel guilty about later!

Wishing you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Stuffed Artichokes

It probably sounds weird, but artichokes remind me of the holidays. My mom or grandma would stuff a batch and serve them with our Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas feast and I always looked forward to it. I didn't realize until I was much older that most families don't cook up a batch of stuffed artichokes for their celebrations. My husband had never eaten one until he came to one of our holiday events. Really. So if you are an artichoke novice, fear not. They are delicious and a cinch to prepare.

The edible part of the artichoke is disproportionate to its actual size. There's a teensy bit of meat on the bottom of every leaf you pull off, which we all toil away to scrape off with our teeth. Then once all the leaves are peeled away you get down to that succulent treasure trove at the bottom - the heart. There are these little fiber-y hairs encasing the top of the heart which pull off easy. Then it's go time. It's your reward for making it to the end of the journey. And what a pleasant journey it was.

The classic recipe uses breadcrumbs and even some Parmesan cheese. By swapping breadcrumbs with a deliciously seasoned almond meal you go from a carb-loaded dish to one with more protein. Artichokes by themselves are an antioxidant superfood and rank among the highest for total antioxidant capacity. So why ruin it with all those irritating gluten-y breadcrumbs? Need I give you another reason to eat a darn artichoke?

Note, you'll need 2 cups seasoned almond flour (see post: Italian Seasoned "Bread" Crumbs, or the below recipe).

  • 2 cups almond flour/meal
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.


  • 4 large artichokes, trimmed
  • lemon juice (optional)
  • 2 cups Italian seasoned "bread" crumbs (see recipe)
  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed with the flat of your blade and minced
  • 4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • boiling water
  1. Prepare your artichokes. Cut off the stems so they will stand upright. Slice off the top third of the artichokes and pull off some of the tough outermost leaves. Trim off the pointed tips of the remaining leaves with kitchen shears. Turn the artichoke cutside-down, and with a firm grip on the base, bang the artichoke against your cutting board to open the leaves. Rub cut parts with a little lemon juice, if desired, to keep from turning brown. Use your thumbs to open the leaves the rest of the way to make room for stuffing and set aside.
  2. Heat oven to 425° F and set a small stock pot of water to boil. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs and garlic. Stuff one artichoke at a time by scooping out 1/2 cup of stuffing, placing the artichoke in the bottom of the bowl and sprinkling with the 1/2 cup of stuffing. Use your fingers to work the stuffing in between the leaves. You may not have to use the entire 1/2 cup for each artichoke because the size of your 'chokes may vary. Just ensure you get a bit of the stuffing between each of the outer leaves and in the top.
  4. Transfer stuffed artichoke to a baking dish. Continue until all artichokes are stuffed and placed in the baking dish. 
  5. Drizzle each artichoke with 1 Tbsp oil. Pour in boiling water from the stock pot to fill the dish about an inch high. Cover securely with aluminum foil and bake about 45 minutes. Check for tenderness by sliding a knife easily through the base of the artichokes. Once tender, uncover and broil for about 3 more minutes, or until the artichokes turn golden brown. Serve warm.

Cut off the stems to create a nice flat base and pull off some of the tougher outer leaves.

Trim off the top of the 'choke (about a third of the way down)

Snip off the pointed tips from each leaf

Knock your 'choke against a hard surface to get it to open up

Use your fingers to separate the rest of the way

If you don't already have your "bread" crumbs, mix up 2 cups' worth

Pour about a 1/2 cup crumbs over each artichoke and use your fingers to work it into the leaves

Drizzle each with 1 Tbsp olive oil

Almost ready to go!

Don't forget to add about 1" of boiling water to the pan

Cover tightly with foil and bake about 45 min

After a quick broil, them 'chokes is done!

Mmmm... artichokes


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Italian Seasoned "Bread" Crumbs (aka almond flour)

It's no secret that almond flour/meal is our substitute for bread crumbs in most all recipes. Before Paleo, I always purchased the big tub of Italian style breadcrumbs and used it for everything from chicken cutlets to stuffed mushrooms. It's actually very easy to spice up your almond flour to be a very close substitute. The below recipe will yield one cup of seasoned almond flour and you can double, triple, quadruple to your heart's desire. I typically use the almond meal from Trader Joe's. It's cost effective and they don't blanch the almonds which gives the meal more of the look of breadcrumbs and helps trick the mind even more.

You might want to get started making a batch of these now. Or two. I'm not saying my next post could include these as a main ingredient... but I'm not not saying it either.

  • 1 cup almond flour/meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl with a mini-whisk or fork until thoroughly combined. Use immediately or store in an airtight container.