Archive | June, 2011

Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Bacon Salad

29 Jun

I meant to post this last week, I really did, but better late than never, and just in time for the 4th!

I made this “salad” for our Fathers’ Day cookout- it’s an old family recipe and my dad’s favorite vegetable-delivery method.  I say “salad” for lack of a better word – it’s a salad in the way that potato salad is a salad.  It’s smothered in mayo and bacon and absolutely delicious, plus, it can and should be made ahead- it’s 5000x better if it sits for a day and 9034839834x better if it sits for two.

Broccoli, Cauliflower, and Bacon Salad
Raspberry & Coconut

1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 head cauliflower, chopped onto bite-sized pieces
1/2 – 1 package cooked, crumbled bacon
1 c. homemade mayo
1/2 c. chopped green onions
1/2 c. parmesan cheese
1 T. apple cider vinegar

Mix mayo, vinegar, and green onions. Toss in broccoli and cauliflower until coated, then mix in bacon. Refrigerate at least 8 hours (it’s better if it sits a day or two), toss, and serve.

Chocolate Cake for Breakfast

27 Jun

Chocolate cake! For breakfast!? This 150-calorie cake-y chocolatey big-as-your-fist treat is a totally sufficient breakfast if you smother it in butter!  I remember watching this Cosby skit with my dad a long long time ago- “chocolate cake for breakfast” became a running joke when he was on breakfast duty.

“Eggs! Eggs are in chocolate cake! And milk! Oh goodie! And wheat! That’s nutrition!”

Anytime Chocolate Cake
Adapted from Spoonful of Sugar Free

Dry Ingredients:
1 T. Coconut flour
2 T. Protein powder
2 T. Cocoa
1/2 t. baking powder
Pinch of salt

Wet ingredients:
1/4 c. egg whites
2 T. canned pumpkin
1 T. – 1/4 c. water
A few drops of vanilla and/or stevia, optional
Optional mix-ins: frozen blueberries, raspberries, or chocolate chips.

Grease a bowl with coconut oil, set aside. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl, then add wet ingredients and mix-ins, stir, and add water to thin (see video). Pour batter into the greased bowl, then nuke for 3-4 minutes, depends on your microwave. Flip the cake out of your bowl, put a paper towel on the bottom, and nuke it again for 1- 1.5 minutes. Schmear with butter or peanut butter and enjoy with a hot cup of coffee on a lazy Sunday morning. These are also good cold and get really fudgy when they sit in the fridge.

In case you’re interested, here are the nutritionals for the WHOLE cake:
Calories: 144
Fat: 2.3 g
Carbs: 18 g.
Fiber: 8 g.
Protein: 19.1 g.

Not too shabby!

Seven-Minute Cioppino

23 Jun

I promised bacon cauliflower salad in my last post but I wanted to wait and submit it in next week’s Paleo Rodeo. Gotta get my name out there. 😉 I leave you with my go-to meal when I’m pressed for time and craving a hot dinner.

According to Wikipedia, “Cioppino is a fish stew originating in San Francisco. Despite being considered an Italian dish, it is unknown in Italy.” Maybe you’re of the opinion that “fish” and “stew” are two words that should never appear in the header of a recipe, but I promise, it’s phenomenal and will make you a believer.

Seven-Minute Cioppino
Raspberry & Coconut


  • 1 fish fillet, ~4oz- use a mild fish like tilapia
  • mild spice rub (I use Penzey’s Cajun or mild chili powder)
  • 2 t. olive oil
  • 1/3 c. tomato sauce
  • Sriracha
  • 3 T. Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast for dairy-free)

Preheat skillet over medium heat and season fish fillet with your spice rub of choice. Add 1t. olive oil to pan, then add your fish fillet. Cook about 4 minutes until the edges are opaque. Drizzle remaining olive oil over fillet, flip it, and let it sit and fry for another minute or so. Add the tomato sauce and break up the fillet with your spatula. Water the mixture down to desired consistency. Add any spices you want- I use thyme and a squirt or two of Sriracha. The soup is ready to serve now but if you’re not in a hurry, let it simmer for another 3-10 minutes for the flavors to meld.  Stir in Parmesan cheese before serving.

Homemade Mayonnaise

20 Jun

I rarely use mayo but wanted to make my dad’s favorite broccoli bacon salad (recipe coming shortly!) for our Fathers’ Day cookout.  I’ve never found a brand that doesn’t contain something nasty like canola or soybean oil, so I take the ten minutes to make my own, following this recipe from Alton Brown.  I save my bacon drippings for mayo- they keep forever in the fridge- a 1:1 ratio of melted bacon grease to macadamia oil is lovely.  The batch I made did thicken up in the fridge overnight, but it was more like thick hollandaise than Hellman’s.  On the flipside, you don’t want to use too much bacon grease because the mayo will be rock hard after refrigeration.



Homemade Mayonnaise
Adapted from Alton Brown


  • 1 raw egg yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 2 teaspoons fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup oil, (I prefer a 50/50 mix of melted bacon drippings and macadamia nut oil)


Continue whisking until all of the oil is incorporated. Leave at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours then refrigerate for up to 1 week.

Thai Eggplant

18 Jun

Pittsburgh is truly a foodie paradise- there’s a plethora of wholesale and ethnic foods in the Strip District, farmers’ markets in every neighborhood, community gardens, and at least one absolutely phenomenal restaurant for any genre of cuisine you can imagine.   We’re surrounded by rich farmlands and woods filled with blackberry bushes and, if your timing’s right, fiddlehead ferns and wild morels.  There’s a grass-fed cattle farm and a buffalo ranch out by my parents’ place (45 minutes away) and a farm where you can pick your own blueberries.  I live in the sweet spot of the city- within walking distance I’ve got two Giant Eagles, a Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, and an Asian grocer.  Yesterday I walked to the Strip and back on my lunch hour, grabbed some raw oysters from a street vendor for a two-buck lunch and got all this loot from Stan’s market for $7:

This confession may strip me of foodie merit badge: I doubt I’ve tried even a dozen restaurants in the city.  I eat out once, maybe twice, per week and there are only three or four joints in the date night rotation.  What’s worse is that I’ve found my favorite dish at each and order it every time.  Yes, I’m a senior citizen.

Spicy Eggplant is one of those dishes.  Thai Cuisine gets it just right- the eggplant is crispy on the outside, caramelized and gooey on the inside and swimming in a sweet sesame oil sauce. A little experimenting in my kitchen, and while my recipe isn’t a replica of TC’s- it might just be better.

Stir-fries are great for weeknights because they cook quickly over high heat.  This recipe can be easily adapted to serve your vegan friends- just add a package of frozen edamame near the end for some extra protein.

Thai Eggplant
Raspberry & Coconut, June 2011


  • 1-2 T. coconut oil
  • 3 Chinese eggplants, sliced into half-moons
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • Hot peppers- I usually use 3 jalapenos, but you could use Thai chilies or just Sriracha if you don’t have any peppers on hand.
  • 3 T. chopped garlic
  • 1/2 c. chopped fresh basil
  • Chopped cashews and/or sesame seeds (optional)


  • 2 T. fish sauce
  • 1 T. soy sauce, tamari, or coconut aminos
  • 1 t. honey
  • 1 t. toasted sesame oil

Stir-frying veggies leaves them nice and crisp.  In this recipe, it’s only important that the onions, eggplant, and garlic are cooked thoroughly.  Chinese eggplant cooks much faster than “regular” eggplant.

Preheat a large skillet or wok over medium high.  Add coconut oil, onions, red peppers, toss, then add green beans and eggplant.  Cook for 3 minutes.

Whisk all the ingredients for the sauce while you’re waiting.

Toss the veggies and add garlic and peppers and cook a minute longer, stirring constantly. Add sauce and basil and cook until the sauce coats the veggies.  Toss in cashews/sesame seeds before serving and top with Sriracha for extra heat!

Side note- the fish wasn’t great.  It was cooked perfectly but I wouldn’t recommend the green curry rub- I usually do a dry rub with Penzey’s Cajun or chili powder.


Submitted to The Paleo Rodeo.

Chocolate Cherry Bombs

16 Jun

Chocolate covered cherries make me think of Valentines’ Day! My mom rarely bought candy but somehow we always ended up with a box of those Queen Anne cherry cordials every February. I had one not too long ago, and good lord it was sweet- while my sweet tooth is definitely intact, it craves things like dark chocolate, peanut butter, fruit, and my grain free banana blondies 🙂 These cherry bombs don’t have the gooey, sugary syrup of regular cordials, they make their own as the cherries thaw. Mine didn’t make it to that point before me and my Valentine inhaled ’em.

Click here to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.



Chocolate Cherry Bombs

1/4 c. coconut oil
2 drops of Stevia or 1/4 t honey (both optional)
1/4 t. vanilla extract
One grind of sea salt
1 T. cocoa powder
1 c. frozen cherries (or frozen banana chunks, frozen mango… etc.)

Melt your coconut oil- it’s summer so if you don’t have a/c Mother Nature will have done this for you already- otherwise, fill up a large bowl with hot water and float your closed jar of coconut oil until it’s melted. (I should have explained this better in the video!)

Measure the oil into a small bowl and add your stevia, salt, and vanilla and whisk with a fork. Add cocoa and whisk until the mixture is blended. Toss in your fruit pieces one-by-one and roll each around until coated. Repeat until you’re out of fruit or chocolate!

I always use flexible plastic Ziploc containers when I’m making this recipe. The coldness of the fruit hardens up the remaining chocolate by the time I’m done with two thirds of the batch. Instead of wasting it, I just float the container in a larger bowl of hot water for a few minutes until it liquifies again. Also, if you put the cherry bombs on a surface before the shell has hardened, they’ll stick. A simple way to fix this is to place them in another flexible plastic container and pop them in the freezer for another minute or so. This makes the shell really hard and you can just “pop” the bottom of the container and they’ll let go.

Low-carb Zucchini “Noodles”

12 Jun

Sometimes a girl just wants a big ol plate of pasta.  If I correctly recall junior high nutrition class, a “serving size” of pasta is 1 cup.  According to, that measly cup of pasta is going to cost you 221 nutritionally void calories, 43 g. carbs, only 3 g. from fiber.  The half zucchini I used in my video gave me about 3c. “noodles” for 25 calories, 5g. carbs, 2g. fiber and an assortment of vitamins and minerals to soak up that delicious sauce.

If you’re a meatball lover like me you MUST invest in a spiralizer (see my Amazon store for the one I use).  Zucchini season is almost upon us, people!

As for the meat sauce, I cooked some ground beef and mushrooms in a skillet, added ~ 1/2 c. jarred pasta sauce, a small handful of fresh basil, and a sprig of thyme.  I let that simmer for ten minutes and then turned the heat down and tossed in my zucchini noodles, then let it heat up for another few minutes.  You don’t want to cook them too long, though- they will get soggy.

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