Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Mushroom and Sausage Soup - Melissa Gillen-style.

As is obvious, my time and dedication to this blog has been less than satifactory due to obligations to my real job and family.  I find it difficult to write down my recipes and actually get them posted.  So I'm reaching out to friends to make guest posts and keep this thing going.  The first person to contribute is Melissa Gillen. She made a delicious mushroom soup the same day I did, so I asked her to send the recipe along with whatever she would like to write about.  I'm very excited about this because so many people have so much to contribute and it's great to get to know what is going on in our friends' minds and kitchens!  So without further ado, Melissa Gillen:

When Jen asked me to write a guest post for her blog, I was stoked.  When she told me the world was my oyster in regards to what I would write, I immediately thought, “Most excellent… I shall talk of CrossFit!” Because really, what is better than CrossFit?!

I’m a big fan of CrossFit women…. CrossFit gents, yeah, they’re pretty awesome, but there is nothing better than a CrossFit woman.   I go to our box at 11:00.  I affectionately refer to the 11:00 class as “The 11 o’clock power hour” because well, it’s a powerful thing. The 11:00 class is predominately made up of female athletes. There is an occasional male, brave souls amidst a sea of lulu clad, estrogen crazed ladies punishing barbells while listening to obscene rap music.  It’s my favorite class. Not because it is most convenient with my schedule, or because Sam coaches it, but because of the women.  I love watching what CrossFit does to women. 

When we first start, we are timid, we stand in our spot on the floor or in front of the cage arms clutching our stomachs, eyes darting around the room, pausing for a moment to look upon the veterans… we are unsure of our bodies, our form… we move awkwardly and with extreme control and caution… In the beginning we cannot even fathom the idea that someday soon, we will be stronger, faster, our form taking shape as our bodies do as well… In the beginning all we know is that we show up every day and try our very hardest. 

Some days suck.  I mean REALLY suck.  CrossFit demands so much from us, mentally, physically, emotionally, and we gladly give it.  But there are those days where we feel we have failed, or let someone – ourselves, our coach, our fellow CrossFitters – down.  It’s the days that suck the most where the changes start happening.  Especially for women. 

We get more brave, more courageous.  We know what “the suck” feels like, we know it’ll be ok, and that the screams of encouragement from those around us will help us through.  So we stick our necks out… we add more weight… we go to the half band… we try the 44#... we try. We support each other fiercely.  We love one another shamelessly. This is why I love the 11 so much.  I get to bear witness on a daily basis to women becoming more powerful, more confident, more courageous, and more beautiful.  I count it a privilege and a blessing to do so. 

CrossFit women can’t be beat.  The friends I have made through CrossFit are the ones who know me best, and love me anyway.  They’ve seen me curse and cry and fail… and they love me anyway – in fact, they love me more because of it. CrossFit women are, dare I say, the most passionate, loving, supportive and beautiful women out there.  We are a tribe.  A courageous, powerful, beautiful tribe… a tribe I am so very proud to be a part of.   

Ok… whew… love letter to CrossFit women… and now, Mushroom and Sausage Soup.


Porcini Mushrooms (dried – I used Lucinda’s) reconstituted in water for 1 hour, then rough chop
Crimini Mushrooms (a dozen roughly) - rough chop
Portabella Mushrooms (2 large caps) - rough chop
Sausage (I used 1 package Sage and 1 package regular breakfast sausage)

Fresh Sage – 2 sprigs, roughly 8 leaves - rough chop

Fresh Thyme – 5-7 sprigs – rough chop

Shallots (3) – chop

Sweet Yellow Onion – ¼ - chop

Butter – 6 tablespoons

EVOO – a drizzle

Salt and Pepper – to taste

Nutmeg – just a sprinkle

Sherry Cooking Wine – ¼ Cup

Marsala Cooking Wine – ¼ Cup

Worcheshire Sauce – 4 teaspoons

Arrowroot - 4 Teaspoons (or so… depending on how thick you want it)

Beef Stock – 3 cups

Chicken Stock – 3 cups

Organic Heavy Whipping Cream - ½ Cup (not required, but seriously, if your tummy won’t hate you,


·         In a Dutch oven or large soup pot melt 4 tablespoons of butter.  Add your chopped shallot and onion – sprinkle with salt and pepper. Let that cook while you are chopping your mushrooms – don’t let your onion/shallot mixture brown.  That, would be a sad day.

·         Add your sausage, and drizzle it with a bit of EVOO.  Cook that awhile till your sausage is browned, take your time and separate the sausage into smaller chunks, or not, you can leave them big – whatever floats your boat. 

·         Add your mushrooms.  This will appear to be the largest amount of mushrooms ever – it is not.  They will cook down, your soup needs them.  Drizzle this mixture with another bit of EVOO.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and nutmeg. 

·         When your mushrooms have cooked down, add your Sherry cooking wine, as well as your Worcheshire sauce.  Let it cook a minute or so… add your Arrowroot.  Incorporate the Arrowroot throughout the mixture – you will notice that it becomes thicker – this is good. 

·         Add your stock. Simmer for 10-15 minutes.  In the last 5 minutes, add the heavy whipping cream, mixing it throughout the soup.  Right before you serve it, add your last 2 tablespoons of butter.  Lightly stir to incorporate it throughout….

·         Taste it… Does it need more salt?  Pepper? Perhaps another dash of Marsala or Worcheshire?  Go with your gut, and add what you need to it… then… serve.  Savor.  Enjoy. 

This soup is even better the following day.  Also, I serve this with a spinach, pear, kiwi, and pomegranate salad with an apricot champagne vinaigrette.  BOMB.



Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Hearty Mushroom Soup

They call it falling for a reason...and I've fallen for the fungi (get it? fun guy...)  C'mon, you know that was hilarious!

But really.  Mel told me she was making mushroom soup tonight and if it turned out well she would bring some for me.  It sounded so yummy, I decided to make some too and we are going to exchange a bowl of our own version for the other!  I don't have hers yet, but will post it as soon as I do.

This soup turned out better than I could have ever expected and it's sooooo easy.  Hope you enjoy!

Hearty Mushroom Soup


1 lb ground beef
1 lb mushrooms, coarsely diced
1 medium onion, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
2 slices thick cut bacon
3 cups beef broth
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

-if you don't mind dairy...these are completely optional but highly recommended-

1/4 cup grass fed butter, unsalted
2 TBSP arrowroot powder
1 cup heavy cream


Heat skillet over medium and cook ground beef until brown. Set aside.

In large stock pan, heat olive oil over medium high and add onions and bacon.  Cook through, stirring frequently, until onions are slightly browned and carmelized.  Add mushrooms and saute until soft.  Add broth, thyme, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil, then let simmer over medium low for about 15 minutes.

Use immersion blender to blend mushroom soup until thick and mostly smooth.  Leave some chunks of mushroom to get excited over.  If you don't have an immersion blender, put 2/3 of the soup into a traditional blender or food processor and pulse a few times.  Add back to the pot and throw the beef in with it.  Continue to simmer.

If you are on a whole 30 program or don't eat any dairy, stop here and eat what you have.  It's delicious.  If you don't mind a little dairy, continue on for magicalness (I know that's not a real word, but you get my point).

In small sauce pan, melt butter over low heat.  Mix in arrowroot powder until smooth.  Add in heavy cream and stir constantly until warm, but not boiling.  Then stop! ...collaborate and listen.  Add this dairy goodness to your mushroom soup.  Mix it all together, remove from heat and watch it turn into thick, creamy, fabulosity.

Eat it.

Beef Cabbage Rolls

I was in need of a Jewish dish for a party I was attending and I found a recipe for cabbage rolls.  The recipe I found was not Paleo, of course, so I modified it so it was and they turned out just great!  These are easy to make, but a bit time consuming if you don't have pre-made riced cauliflower.  You don't need much of it, so make these with your left over "rice".

Beef Cabbage Rolls


1 head cabbage (I used green)
1 lb ground beef
1 cup riced cauliflower
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 cup mushrooms, coarsely chopped
1 egg, beaten
1 can tomato paste, divided
1 can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1/4 tsp sage
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground pepper
1 bay leaf
2 TBSP vinegar (I used Apple Cider Vinegar)
1/3 c honey


Bring large stock pot of water to a boil.  Core head of cabbage and throw the whole thing in the water.  Turn the stove off, cover the pot, let stand 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, brown beef in large skillet.  Once cooked through, drain fat, add onion and mushrooms until soft.  Remove from heat.  Add beaten egg and 2 TBSP of tomato paste.  Mix thoroughly.

Remove cabbage from water and place in strainer over sink.  Let drain until cool enough to handle.  Carefully peel 12 leaves from the head and shred the remainder of the cabbage.

Place shredded cabbage in bottom of large pan (with lid).  Place about 1/4-1/3 cup of beef mixture in each leaf and roll like a burrito.  Arrange little baby burrito rolls in single layer over the layer of shredded cabbage. 

Combine tomato paste, tomato sauce, sage, salt, pepper, and one cup of water in bowl and mix.  Pour over rolls and simmer, covered for 1 hour. 

After one hour, mix vinegar and honey and pour over rolls.  Simmer uncovered for 30 more minutes. 

Eat like crazy.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Paleo Pumpkin Banana Bread

This recipe follows Whole 30 Guidelines folks, so gobble up!  I made pumpkin bars from the recipe I posted a couple of years back.  At the time I thought they were God's gift to my taste buds, but my idea of clean eating was distorted at the time and still contained copious amounts of sugar in the form of honey.  Now...don't get me wrong. I still indulge with honey here and there, but not enough to categorize it with it's own food group any more.  Long story short, this time they tasted awful to me; way too sweet.  When I discovered it was the flavor of the pumpkin I was craving and not the sugar (said discovery came about once I realized I had consumed half a cup of pureed pumkin directly from the can with a large serving spoon, I decided to come up with a recipe sans sugar. 

If you're looking for sweet, you won't like this. So, have the expectation of a dense, robust, pumkin and spice loaf.  I would serve this warmed with a half gallon of honey over the top (ha, just kidding)your morning coffee tea or, if you're not doing your Whole 30, a spread of Kerrigold Grassfed Butter (super yum).  I made it just to go with my Perfect Paleo Chili and it was a magical combination.

I'm sorry this is such a grody picture.  It looked way better on my iPhone.  The loaf does not actually resemble excrement.
Paleo Pumkin Banana Bread

2 bananas, very ripe
1 c pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1 TBSP vanilla extract
2 c almond flour (I used almond meal, but I bet this would be better with blanched almond flour)
2 TBSP coconut flour
1 TBSP cinnamon
1/2 TBSP nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350F.

Combine all wet ingredients into food processor or blender.  Blend until there are no chunks.

Combine all dry ingredients medium bowl.  Slowly add dry ingredients to wet, mixing the whole time.

Grease 7.5 x 3.5 loaf pan.  Pour batter into pan evenly.  Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until you get a "bounce" not a "squish" when you press on the top center of the loaf.

Remove from oven and let cool 15+ minutes. 

Perfect Paleo Chili

I have been making chili for years and every time I make it, I change the recipe.  Why? Because I have yet to find the perfect recipe...until today.  I do believe this is the best chili I have ever made.  It is rich, hearty, and the most delicious combination of sweet and hot.

Warning: this is not a cheap batch of chili.  This recipe will cost you about $30 unless you have a super inexpensive lead on beef brisket.  It is, however, a large recipe; enough to feed the Linne family plus house guests (if you know them, that's a LOT).

Also, the recipe as written has a pretty good bite to it.  If you're averse to spicy hot things, I'd cut the cayenne pepper in half and work your way up to your desired spice.

But really...if you're going to make ANY of my recipes, make this one.  It's a keeper!

Perfect Paleo Chili

4-5 lbs beef brisket, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1/2" squares
1 lb thick cut bacon, diced
3 medium red onion, finely chopped [I threw them in the food processor bc I thought my arm was going to fall off after cutting up the brisket :-) ]
1 TBSP minced garlic
4 cups unfiltered apple juice (yes that's right, apple juice...just do it.)
3 - 4 oz cans diced green chilis (if you can't handle spice, reduce to 2 cans)
1 - 28 oz can diced tomatoes with their juice
1 - 6 oz can tomato paste
1/3 cup chili powder
1 TBSP cayenne pepper (again, reduce if you're wimpy sensitive)
1 TBSP sea salt
1 TBSP ground black pepper
1 TBSP oregano
1 TBSP cumin
1/2 TBSP nutmeg
1 tsp coriander
1 oz bakers chocolate, unsweetend, finely grated (you know you want to...)

Heat large skillet over medium heat.  Fry bacon until about half done, then add onions and garlic.  Carmelize in bacon grease.  You may get some gooey, seemingly burnt schtuff; that's ok, just go with it.  Basically you want your onions to reduce down and your bacon to brown.  It took about 15-20 mins for me to accomplish this.

Place all other ingredients into a ginormous stock pot.  By "ginormous" I mean like a 12 quart, so really probably  not that huge, but I was feeling dramatic.  Anywho...after you have all the other ingredients in there, add the bacon mix and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, for 1.5-2 hours.

Reduce heat, yet again, to low for about the same amount of time.  Stir every 15 minutes or so if you can.  Your sauce should thicken and your chili should be a sultry red/brown color.  Oh...added bonus: your house will smell amazing.

*If you grew up eating chili served over corn bread, try serving this recipe over my Pumpkin Banana Bread (sounds weird, but I promise it's fantastic). 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Raspberry Almond Scones

I'm on a roll!!!  Yet another successful experiment...even Grandma approved (and she's a Texan with a mean palate)!

Raspberries are on sale at King Soopers right now - 4 for $5.00.  So I bought 43.  Just kidding.  But I do love raspberries and I did buy a sufficient enough supply to serve a small army.  After dinner I decided to try to throw together a Paleo (ish) scone.  I say "ish" because they do have honey in them and that certainly would not be approved by our dear friends at Whole 9.  Annnndddd...I might have eaten them drenched in honey as well, but don't judge!  I'm not perfect!

Have you ever seen A Bee Movie?  I so fell in love with those fuzzy little buzzers.  It made me believe that all bees have personalities like they did in the movie and suddenly I have this immense adoration for the black and yellow.  Especially the fat, hairy ones.  I'm pretty sure those are the cute chubby boys with unruly hair that are always your best friend and never your boyfriend in High School.  Anyway...I'm pretty sure they're offended by Whole 9 and would like to protest their lack of approval for the luscious, sugary product.  I would sign their petition.  I love that shiz.

Wanna cook?

Raspberry Almond Scones


2 eggs
1/4 c honey
1/4 c coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 tsp almond extract
1 3/4 c almond flour
1/2 c coconut flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/4-1/2 c raspberries


Preheat oven to 350F. 

Beat eggs with other wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Combine dry ingredients in large bowl (except berries).  Slowly stir wet ingredients into dry.  Mix thoroughly.

Divide dough in half, and roll each half into large balls.  Place each ball on a piece of parchment paper, cover with another piece of paper, and roll to about a 1/4 inch thickness.  Top one flattened roll with raspberries and cover with the other flattened roll.  You will have a raspberry sandwich of sort :-).  Gently squish the bread (which is not bread at all, don't worry) until the two layers of dough become symbiotic.

Cut dough into triangles or use a wide-mouth jar to cut biscuits (most importantly, dough should be roughly 1/2 -3/4 inch thick once prepared).  Arrange on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

Serve with copious amounts of raw, unfiltered, delicious, gooey honey.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

Pumpkin haters, don't despair - this soup does not really taste like pumpkin.  Pumpkin lovers, don't'll satisfy your pumpkin craving.

I needed to throw together a recipe quickly this morning for a potluck later in the afternoon.  It was snowing outside (yes. snowing. insert angry face here.) and I hardly had any food in the house.  I was also too lazy to go to the store because, as I said above, it was snowing outside and when that happens I just want a fire in the fireplace and a good book.  Anyway...since it was freezing outside and the food would sit for a couple hours before the potluck, I wanted something I could keep heated in a crock pot. So...I decided to try my luck with a little experiment and it was a hit! - PHEW!

That was a really long story about nothing.  Sorry.  What I was trying to get at was: a) this recipe is super easy. b) you can keep it in a crock pot. c) you probably have most of these ingredients in your pantry. d) snow is stupid.

Spicy Pumpkin Soup


1 lb Italian Sausage (Boulder Sausage is a pretty clean brand, or make your own :-)
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree
2 TBSP olive oil
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cooked (I cubed and boiled it)
1/2 cup coconut milk (full fat, canned - Thai Kitchen brand is best)
1 quart chicken broth
1 tsp ground oregano
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp sea salt
pinch of red pepper flakes


In large stock pot, heat olive oil.  Saute onions until translucent and lightly browned.  Add in pumpkin, chicken broth, sweet potato, and spices.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer for 20 minutes.

In skillet, cook sausage until browned. Set aside.

Use immersion blender or pour soup contents into blender and mix until smooth.  Return to stock pot.

Add in sausage and coconut milk and heat through.

Serve with roasted pumpkin seeds.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Lamb Boti Saag (or other meat of choice)

A few girls and I went for Indian food the other night.  My dear friend Deb ordered the Tandoori Lamb Boti Saag and we all swooned over it's deliciousness.  I decided to try my hand at it.  Problem is, I couldn't find a recipe online for this.  I found a lot of saag recipes, but none of them were creamy like the one Deb ordered.  So...I did my best to be creative.  It isn't an exact match, but it is quite delicious. My non-Paleo in-laws and picky children gobbled it up!

WARNING: This is a pretty labor-intensive recipe; a lot of ingredients and time.  

Lamb Boti Saag (or in my case, Elk Boti Saag)

1.5 - 2 pounds of lean, boneless, red meat, cut into 1inch cubes
5 TBSP Olive Oil
2 cups finely chopped white or yellow onion
1 TBSP freshly grated ginger (or 1/2 TBSP of dried ground ginger)
2 tsp minced garlic
2 tsp ground cumin (I left this out on version 2.0 and liked it better)
1 TBSP ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground red pepper (or more if you like it hot)
1 TBSP ground paprika
1 tsp turmeric
3/4 cup tomato puree (I drained a can of Muir Glen fire-roasted tomatoes and pureed them in the food processor)
Coarse sea salt, to taste
1.5 cups of packed chopped, cooked spinach (This is roughly 12 ounces of fresh spinach)
2 tsp garam masala
1 cup coconut milk (full fat, Thai Kitchen brand is best)
2 TBSP arrowroot powder (I subbed coconut flour because I was out of arrowroot)

Heat 3 TBSP oil in a heavy non-stick pan over high heat.  Add your meat and sear until brown all over.  Transfer meat and juices to a plate.  Add remaining oil and onion to the pan and cook until onions are browned, about 15 minutes.  Stir in ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander, red pepper, paprika, and turmeric and cook for 3 minutes.  Add tomato puree, meat, salt and about 1.5 cups of water (or enough to completely cover the meat).  Bring contents to a boil.  Transfer mixture to crock pot and cook on high setting for 3-4 hours or until meat is tender, but not falling apart. Mix arrowroot powder and garam masala into coconut milk.  Add to meat mixture and stir until blended.  Fold in spinach.  Serve over riced cauliflower.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Kahlua Pig


I feel guilty writing this I've stolen some ancient secret and I'm blogging about it to the entire world.  This really might be the most amazing discovery I've ever made.  At least as it relates to my taste buds.  The crazy thing about it is it's 3 ingredients and literally zero work.  It's as easy as grabbing a bag of chips; I'm not joking.

This also might be why the islanders are such a robust group of fellers.  They make this stuff and can't stop eating it.  It's like crack in a pig.  So...without further ado, I give you Kahlua Pig!
This is NOT how you will be making your pig.  But it looks cool.

Kahlua Pig


6 lb pork roast.  You can use shoulder or butt, up to you.
1 TBSP liquid smoke.  I used Wright's brand because it is just condensed Hickory smoke and water.  Some of the other brands had molasses and caramel color and other doo doo.

Course Sea Salt


Rub your roast with some salt.  Put said roast in a large crockpot.  Drizzle liquid smoke over roast.  Turn crockpot on low.  Come back some hours later (mine was done after about 9 hours, others have said 16-20, but I think they're loco).

Your pork should shred with a fork.  Shred it in the crockpot with all the juices and eat it up!

It will look more like this:

Photo courtesy of

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Strawberry Mango Salad

Some friends and I headed down to the Southwest Regionals CrossFit Games this past weekend.  Amazing.  It was hard to be a spectator and not a competitor, but it was also so motivating.  What an incredible group of athletes.  Not only were the performances outstanding, but the one thing that constantly reminds me of how much I love this sport is the commeraderie.  You see athletes finish their WOD, panting and exhausted, get back on their feet and make their way over to those still struggling to get through the heat; it's breathtaking and inspiring.

Speaking of breathtaking: I found this recipe on Pinterest the other day.  I knew immediately that it must find its way into my face.  It is absolutely amazing; refreshing and a party for your mouth.  Do it.
Photo courtesy of

Strawberry Mango Salad
Courtesy of McConkie Menu and slightly modified


1.5 Cup Strawberries, finely diced
1.5 Cup Mangos, finely diced
3/4 Cup Red Onion, finely chopped
12 Basil Leaves, finely chopped
2 TBSP Fresh Lemon Juice
1 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 tsp. Black Pepper

Combine all ingredients. The original recipe suggests letting it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to let the flavors meld, but we were starving and served it was delicious, even for the impatient.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A Recipe for Life

On May 12, 2011, I went to the gym for my normal noon workout.  I completed my warm up, got ready for the prescribed workout of the day (WOD) and at 3, 2, 1, Go! I started into 20 seconds of pull ups.  At the end of the 20 seconds, I had 10 seconds to rest and write down my completed reps before I would start into the next 20 seconds.  As I bent over to write my number down, I became dizzy.  I stood up to say something and that is all I remember.

For the next four or so minutes, a group of my closest friends worked together and saved my life.  I experienced sudden cardiac arrest due to a congenital heart defect called Long QT Syndrome.  I knew nothing of it prior to that day, and since have learned that my mom and both of my children have the same condition.

 The good news is, there is more to my doesn't end there. I was blessed to be surrounded by the right people when my event occurred.  Among my group of friends were a physician’s assistant and a veterinarian.  Without their quick response, I may not be here to tell my story.  That said, it does not require an advanced medical degree to respond quickly and calmly in this kind of a situation.  Since my event, I have become aware of the lack of knowledge and training the general public has in regard to CPR or Automatic External Defibrillators (AED).  These are two incredibly effective, life-saving tools, simple enough for children to use.

Even more than my cardiac event, the diagnosis of both my children has prompted me to become an advocate of CPR awareness.  I am volunteering with the American Heart Association, speaking at events and helping lobby for CPR initiatives.  I am also in the process of working with various organizations dedicated to screening young athletes for heart conditions in hopes to bring these programs to Colorado schools.  Did you know, “On average, a seemingly healthy young person suffers a sudden cardiac arrest every three days in the US and it’s the leading cause of death in exercising young athletes” (  Many of these cases could have been prevented with a quick, non-invasive heart screen (ECG) or saved by someone trained to perform CPR or use an AED.

Did you know your children’s coaches and teachers are not required to know CPR?  Do you know CPR?  Would you want to stand by helpless if someone were to collapse in your presence?  There are free or inexpensive CPR events in nearly every locality every weekend.   You don’t have to be certified to save someone’s life.  Get out there and do it!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Chicken in White Wine Shitake Cream Sauce

Ok, confession:  this meal is not completely Paleo.  It could be made that way, but I cannot bring myself to do it.  This recipe is so amazing with a couple tablespoons of heavy whipping cream that I cannot justify changing it to coconut milk.  If you dare ruin a good thing, please do so and let me know how it turns out.

Chicken in White Wine Shitake Cream Sauce


2 Chicken Breasts (fileted)
1 cup Shitake Mushroom heads, sliced
3 green onion, finely chopped and greens separated.
2 TBSP Olive Oil
1/4 cup Dry White Wine or Vermouth
1/2 cup Chicken Broth
2-TBSP Heavy Whipping Cream (or try full-fat coconut milk at your own risk)
Sea Salt and Pepper


Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat.  Salt and pepper chicken breast filets and place in skillet to pan fry.  Do not crowd the chicken; heat two skillets if need be for this step.  Cook until lightly browned (about 6-8 minutes each side, depending on your stove/skillet. A meat thermometer should read 160 F when inserted into thickest portion of meat).  Remove chicken from skillet(s), plate and cover with foil tent.

Add bulbs of green onions to skillet and saute for about a minute, or until fragrant.  Add in mushrooms and saute until soft, about another minute.  Pour in white wine and stir with wooden spoon until all brown crusties have come up from the bottom of the skillet and liquid evaporates.  Add in chicken broth until about half evaporated (another couple of minutes).

Turn stove to simmer and add in cream and onion greens.  Stir until well mixed, then reintroduce chicken breasts.  Stir until well-coated and serve!

This goes great with sauteed spinach and garlic.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Spaghetti Squash with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Asparagus

This recipe is from Jamie Kimberlin. She says, "This is adapted from an ancient Oprah recipe involving lots of rigatoni and 3 kinds of cheese…anyway it's a nice departure from marinara or pesto."  Thank you Jamie!

Spaghetti Squash with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Artichokes, and Asparagus


3/4c oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped (save the oil)

1lb Boulder hot Italian sausage (or other, if you MUST)

14oz jar or can marinated artichoke hearts, drained, chopped if you like

1 small bunch asparagus, cut into 1-in chunks

2 large garlic cloves, minced

1 can chicken broth

1/3c chopped fresh basil (dried ok too)

1/4c chopped flaty-leaf parsley

4oz goat cheese (optional)

1 medium spaghetti squash

1/4c water

1) heat 2TB of the sun-dried tomato oil in a large pan, add sausage. Break up and cook until browned

2) use slotted spoon to remove sausage from pan, then add artichokes, asparagus, and garlic. Cook over medium heat until garlic is tender…about 4 min

3) add broth and sun-dried tomatoes and boil about 8 min, until sauce is slightly reduced

4) while sauce and veggies are cooking, slice spaghetti squash in half and scoop out seeds. Place 1/2 in microwave-safe dish with the 1/4c water, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and microwave on high for 6-7 minutes. Repeat with 2nd half, shred noodles with fork

5) once sauce is reduced, add sausage and "pasta" back to sauce mixture, toss generously until sauce is almost absorbed by spaghetti squash

6) remove from heat, add in herbs and if so inclined, goat cheese. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Enchilado de Camerones

Have I told you I don't like green bell peppers?  I call them food polluters.  I think they steal the flavor from almost any dish they're in and make every other ingredient taste like green peppers.  That said, if I am making a recipe for the first time and it contains green peppers, I bite my tongue and add them in just to have respect for said recipe writer.  This dish has green bell peppers and, here it comes, I wouldn't omit them in the future!  So, grab your shrimp and your green peppers and let's do a salsa dance because this Cuban dish is excellente! And's even better the next day!

Enchilado de Camerones


1 TBSP Olive Oil
1 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp sea salt
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 tsp)
1 can diced tomatoes, juices included (I like Muir Glen brand, no salt added)
1 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/4 cup coconut milk (I like Thai Kitchen brand, full fat)
Cilantro as garnish (optional)


Heat oil in large, nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion; saute 2 minutes.  Add bell peppers, crushed red pepper, salt, and garlic; saute 4 minutes.  Add tomatoes; cook about 6 minutes or until liquid has almost evaporated. Stir frequently.

Stir in shrimp and cook 4 minutes or until shrimp are done.  Remove mixture from heat and stir in coconut milk.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Salmon Cakes, Patties, Burgers, Whathaveyou

Thought I'd try something new tonight, mainly because I didn't have anything thawed or pre-made and I was feeling lazy.  It's snowing like a banshee here so I also wanted something warm, but all I had was canned salmon.  For those of you who have never had canned salmon before, it can be a bit frightening.  I grew up with the stuff, so didn't have any aversion to the skin or bones left in with the meat, but to some it might look pretty nasty.  All I can say is...try it!  It's actually delicious and full of calcium and Omega 3's and other fantastic, life-supporting elements.

Salmon Cakes, Patties, Burgers, Whathaveyou.


1 can (14.5 oz) Pink Salmon
3/4 cup Almond Flour or Meal
1/2 cup finely chopped Onion
2 eggs, beaten
Juice from 1/2 lemon
2 TBSP mayo
1 TBSP minced garlic
1 TBSP fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Coconut oil


Drain salmon and flake into medium bowl.  Combine all ingredients except coconut oil and mix thoroughly.

Heat skillet over medium-low heat and melt a couple tablespoons of coconut oil.

Form patties with the salmon mixture (will be wet, like tuna salad).  Place patties in skillet and cook until browned.  About 4-5 minutes per side.  Flip carefully, as they will fall apart until cooked through.

Serve on a lettuce leaf with tomato or just eat plain!  Goes great with Mango Avocado Salsa.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Hasselbeck Sweet Potatoes

Photo courtesy of:

Hasselback Sweet Potatoes
Inspired by:

2 sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons grass-fed butter
2 tablespoons applesauce
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup peeled and finely diced apple
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
Olive oil


Wash and peel the sweet potatoes 3/4 of the way, leaving a strip of peel on the bottom of the potato.
HINT: Lay wooden chop sticks on each side of the potato and slice as thinly as you can.

Rub them with a little olive oil.

Oil a baking dish or line it with parchment paper.

In a small bowl, mix together the rest of the ingredients.

Carefully try to push some of the stuffing mixture between the slices.

Pile the remaining stuffing on top of each potato.

Drizzle any remaining liquid over the potatoes.

Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes. I suggest testing your potatoes at this point.  Mine took more like 55 minutes to soften up.  You want the potatoes to be completely soft, crunchy sweet potatoes are yuck.

Remove the foil and bake for another 10 - 15 minutes, being careful not to burn the topping.

Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Paleo Coconut Bars

I have been cooking up a storm!  I have a ton of new recipes to post, but it might take me a while to get them all up.  This recipe for coconut bars is super easy, gluten-free, grain-free, and almost guilt free (does contain honey).

Paleo Coconut Bars


3 Eggs
1 Cup Coconut Milk (use Thai Kitchen brand, full fat version)
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil
1/3 Cup Honey
1 TBSP Vaniilla Extract
1/2 Cup Blanched Almond Flour
1 TBSP Coconut Flour
1 1/2 Cups Unsweetened Shredded Coconut
1/4 tsp Sea Salt
1/4 cup Dark Chocolate (optional, but highly desirable)


Heat oven to 350 F. Mix eggs, coconut milk, honey, and vanilla in food processor or blender.  Pulse in almond flour, coconut flour, shredded coconut and salt.

Place mixture into 8x8 dish (glass or metal baking dish is fine).

Bake for 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.

Place chocolate chips in ziplock baggie and melt in microwave for 1 minute.  Squish chocolate into one corner and snip a tiny hole in the that corner with scissors.  Squeeze chocolate zigzags all over coconut bars to make them pretty.  Cool in fridge.  Serve chilled.