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Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dark Chocolate Coconut Cups

If you're a fan of almond joy or mounds, you will love this healthier spin. These dark chocolate coconut cups are super easy to make, paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, keto/low-carb, vegan, and refined-sugar free; there's basically something here for every coconut and chocolate lover. To make these, I used Bob's Red Mill unsweetened shredded coconut (the only brand I've found locally for unsweetened shredded coconut) and Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips (which are dairy and soy free), but feel free to substitute your favorite brands.

For coconut filling:

1 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
2 Tbs. maple syrup
pinch sea salt

For chocolate coating:

3/4 cup dark chocolate chocolate chips
1 Tbs. coconut oil


Grease a 12 cup muffin tin. In a small mixing bowl, combine coconut filling ingredients. Fill 10 of the muffin tin cups approximately 1/3 full with coconut filling. Place muffin tin in freezer for 30-45 minutes to solidify. When firm, use a butter knife to carefully remove each cup and set aside. Melt chocolate chips with 2 Tbs. coconut oil over medium heat until melted and well combined. Spoon one spoonful of chocolate mixture into the bottom of 10 muffin cups. Place coconut filling on top of the chocolate coating and spoon 2-3 more spoonfuls of chocolate mixture on top to coat. Place back in freezer for 30-45 minutes to solidify, and then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Friday, February 23, 2018

Greek Burgers with Quick Pickles and Paleo Tzatziki

Grass-fed beef covered in an easy-to-throw-together Greek spice blend, complimented by quick pickles and homemade tzatziki; basically a match made in burger heaven. This has become our preferred way to season and consume burgers lately, sandwiched between some butter lettuce and served up next to my oven baked fries. Added bonus; this meal is Whole 30 compliant (just check your mayo and z'atar spice ingredients or make your own!) 

For the burgers:
(serves 4)

1 lb. grass-fed beef (or beef and lamb mixture)
2 tsp. Z'atar seasoning (I've found a great wheat-free, Whole 30 compliant one at Kroger)
2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper

Combine seasonings in a small bowl. Form beef into 4 patties. Cover patties with generously with seasoning. *Seasoning only the outside helps keep the juices sealed in. Grill or cook over medium heat in a well oiled skillet to your preference.

Paleo Tzatziki Sauce:

1/2 cup mayo
2 Tbs. fresh dill
1 green onion, chopped
1 cucumber
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste

Peel outside layer of cucumber and discard. Then, using a y-peeler or potato peeler, peel the outside layers of the cucumber until the seeds start to show.  Collect the peelings and sprinkle with salt, allow cucumber peelings to sit for a minute to drain excess moisture. Using a paper towel, squeeze out excess water from cucumber peelings and set aside.  Dice remaining cucumber into slices for quick pickles (instructions below) and set aside. Dice green onion and combine with cucumber peelings and fresh dill in food processor; pulse a few times to combine and dice cucumber. Add cucumber/herb mixture to mayo, garlic and lemon juice. Stir to combine and salt to taste.

Quick Pickles:

1 cucumber, sliced
3/4 cup white vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp onion powder

Add sliced cucumber to a shallow bowl. Add vinegar, salt and onion powder to bowl, fill with water until the cucumbers are just submersed. Allow cucumbers to sit in vinegar mixture 1-2 hours before serving. When ready to serve, remove cucumber slices with a slotted spoon.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Sweet Potato Ramen "Noodle" Bowl

This sweet potato ramen noodle bowl is one of the best things I've eaten this past month, and a current lunchtime staple; it's packed with flavor, warm and filling and comes together pretty quickly (especially if you have the soft boiled eggs ready in the fridge). I've experimented with a few different veggies for the noodles and I think the Japanese sweet potato (white sweet potato) is best for texture and taste. Another key to making this bowl super flavorful is sauteing your sweet potato spirals with aromatics, like onion and garlic, before adding them to the bowl and using good quality bone broth (Kettle & Fire Chicken Mushroom is my favorite). 

*Note these measurements make 1 bowl.

2 Tbs. olive oil/avocado oil
1 small/medium Japanese sweet potato, spiralized
1/4 cup sweet onion, diced
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. coconut aminos
1/2 tsp. hot sauce or sriracha (just make sure it's compliant if you're doing a whole 30)
1-2 cups bone broth (depending on how much broth you like)
2-3 soft-boil eggs ( I use this method)

Topping suggestions:
sliced green onion
sliced radishes
chopped red cabbage
fresh cilantro 
"Everything but the bagel" seasoning from Trader Joe's

Heat oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Saute sweet potato spirals and onion for 5-7 minutes until soft and slightly crispy (add more oil if the sweet potato begins to stick).  While your noodles are cooking, go ahead and make your soft boiled eggs (method above). When noodles are soft, add in garlic, coconut aminos, salt and hot sauce and stir until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Pour sweet potato mixture into serving bowl. In a separate pot, heat bone broth over medium-high heat until hot but not boiling. Pour bone broth over sweet potato "noodles" and top with soft boiled eggs, green onion, radishes, cabbage, cilantro and "everything but the bagel" seasoning. Allow raw veggies to sit for a minute in the hot broth, to soften. 

Friday, January 19, 2018

Tomato & Green Chile Chicken Soup

This soup is spicy, rich and super comforting on a cold day. Kind of like a tortilla-less chicken tortilla soup! It does pack some heat so if you aren't into spicy food or are planning on serving it to picky littles, you may want to omit the jalapeno. As is, it's whole 30 compliant but feel free to customize according to your diet; this would be great over rice, topped with corn tortillas or cheese and sour cream.  Also, I used chicken bone broth in this for the health benefits and to give the soup a little more thickness, but you could easily swap chicken broth, cup for cup.

2 Tbs. Olive oil
1 sweet onion, diced finely
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, de-seeded and diced
3 Tbs. tomato paste
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. cumin powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 (8oz.) can green chiles (or 4 roasted hatch green chiles, de-seeded and diced)
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
5 cups chicken bone broth (or chicken stock)
1 bay leaf
2 cups shredded chicken
1 lime, juiced
Chopped fresh cilantro

Heat olive oil over medium high heat in a dutch oven or stew pot. Add diced onion and jalapeno and cook for about 5 minutes until onion is translucent. Add in garlic, and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Add in tomato paste and all spices except for the bay leaf, stirring to combine and cook for another minute. Add in green chilies, diced tomatoes, bone broth and bay leaf and turn heat up to high. Bring soup to a boil and then turn down to medium-low to simmer for 20-30 minutes. Remove bay leaf. Blend soup with an immersion blender until smooth and well blended. Add in lime juice and shredded chicken and adjust seasonings to taste. Top with fresh cilantro and avocado (for a Whole 30 compliant version) or corn tortilla strips, sour cream and cheddar.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Jalapeno Popper Chicken stuffed Baked Potatoes

Before our family started trying to eat healthier I would frequently make this amazing jalapeno popper chicken casserole for dinner (think lots of canned soup and crumbled ritz crackers on top). This chicken salad and baked potato combo has all of the delicious flavor of that casserole but is naturally dairy-free, gluten-free and if you use the right bacon and mayo (or make your own) its also Whole 30 compliant. This recipe makes a pretty big batch of chicken salad so you can serve for dinner one night over baked potatoes (your family will love it) and then eat the leftovers with apple slices, over a salad or in lettuce wraps for lunch. 

For the potatoes:
4-6 russet potatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Scrub russet potatoes and dry. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour.

For the chicken salad:
3 cups of cooked shredded chicken
4 slices bacon
2 jalapenos, de-seeded and diced
1/2 a red onion, diced
1/2 cup mayo
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. paprika
kosher salt

Fry up bacon over medium heat. Once cooked, set aside, leaving the fat in the skillet. Add diced jalapenos and onion to the skillet and cook 5-7 minutes over medium-high heat until onions are soft and translucent. Add chicken to the skillet and stir. Allow chicken to heat for 1-2 minutes.  Once heated, remove chicken mixture from heat and set aside. Crumble bacon strips. Add the mayo, bacon crumbles, garlic, and paprika to the chicken mixture and stir until well combined. Add salt to taste. To serve, cut open the baked potatoes, top with ghee or butter, salt and pepper and then the chicken mixture.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Cilantro Jalapeno Dressing (Whole 30)

This dressing is amazing. I threw it together for a steak salad we will be having later this week for dinner but I will probably need to make another batch because I've been dipping veggies in it and topping my eggs with it every day since I made it. It's been a while since I've been to Chuy's but this is the closest thing I've made to their addicting jalapeno ranch. I am including a store-bought mayo version and immersion blender version below. Just make sure you buy Whole 30 compliant mayo if you are doing a whole 30 and go the store-bought route! 

Cilantro Jalapeno Dressing (Immersion blender version):
1 egg (room temperature)- pasteurized eggs are the safest to eat raw
3/4 cup light tasting olive oil or avocado oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and diced (add in more if you want more heat!)
1/2 cup packed cilantro
1 lime, juiced

Put first 4 ingredients in a wide mouth mason jar. Hold immersion blender at the bottom for about 30 seconds and then pull up slowly to incorporate the rest of the oil. Add in the remaining ingredients and blend with the immersion blender until combined. Feel free to add extra salt or jalapeno to taste.

Cilantro Jalapeno Dressing (store-bought mayo version):
3/4 cup mayo
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and diced (add in more if you want more heat!)
1/2 cup packed cilantro
1 lime, juiced

Throw everything in the blender or food processor and pulse to combine. Feel free to add extra salt or jalapeno to taste.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Chili Con Carne

This chili is thick and flavorful with fall apart tender beef. It's also a super family friendly meal because everyone can customize according to taste or dietary preference.  Serve it over rice, with or without cheese and sour cream or, for a whole 30 friendly version, over cauliflower rice with cilantro and avocado.


2-3 lb. chuck roast (cut into 1 inch thick cubes)
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. ghee
1 red onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, de-seeded and diced
1 anaheim chile pepper, de-seeded and diced
1 jalapeƱo pepper, de-seeded and diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
6 oz. tomato paste
1 Tbs. chili powder
2 tsp. cumin powder
1 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. salt
3 cups beef stock
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
14.5 oz can fire roasted tomatoes


Heat olive oil and ghee over medium high heat in dutch oven or stew pot. Salt and pepper the meat and add in half of it; searing on both sides, 2-3 minutes total. Remove meat with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add in the rest of the meat and sear 2-3 minutes, then remove with a slotted spoon.  Add in the onions and peppers, saute until soft about 5 minutes. Add in garlic, tomato paste and spices and cook, stirring for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add in broth and meat juices, crushed tomatoes and fire roasted tomatoes.  Bring to a slow boil and then turn down the heat to medium-low and simmer covered for 2-3 hours. Periodically stir and add in more broth if needed. Meat should be fall apart tender. Serve over cauliflower rice or as is with fresh cilantro and avocado.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Free Whole 30 Meal Plan Round-up (with other helpful free resources)

One of the hardest and most intimidating parts of my first Whole 30 was figuring out what I was going to eat every day and what I was going to cook for dinner that could easily be modified to accommodate my family.  I've compiled the free meal plans that I found helpful and still find helpful when planning a Whole 30. I've also included some handy Whole 30 pdf downloads and links to resources to help you do a Whole 30 on a budget, if you find yourself in that boat!

Free Whole 30 Meal Plans:

-1 week plan from Smith Family Kitchen
-30 day plan from Mel Joulwan (I have LOVED everything I've ever made from her blog)
-30 day plan from The Nourishing Home (super family-friendly meals)
-1 week plan from Physical Kitchness
-30 day plan from Paleo Running Momma
-60 whole 30 recipes from Nom Nom Paleo
-30 day meal plan from Olive you whole
-Whole 30 meal planning tool from Primal Palate (this is great if you need to eliminate certain things like eggs or nightshades- it has various filters to select to customize)
-1 week meal plan from Civilized Caveman
-30 Whole 30 Crockpot/ Freezer meals from New Leaf Wellness
-7  Whole 30 Crockpot/ Freezer in 1 hour from New Leaf Wellness
-*If you have Danielle Walker's "Meals Made Simple" (which I highly recommend), you can find the adapted 8 week meal plan for Whole 30 here.

Whole 30 on a budget resources:

-Whole 30 on a budget with budget breakdown from Paleo Bailey
-Guide to Organic produce buying from Paleo Bailey
-Tips for doing the Whole 30 on a budget from The Huffington Post
-Your Paleo Poor guide to the grocery store from Whole 9 Life

Other handy Whole 30 resources:

-Emergency food ideas from The Whole 30
-Your one stop shop for handy Whole 30 downloads (common additive names, whole 30 meal template, etc..) from The Whole 30
-Guide to sneaky sugars from The Whole 30


Friday, December 29, 2017

Slow-cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork

This is a super versatile way to make shredded pork- this version is Whole 30 compliant but I often serve it with traditional BBQ sauce on the side for those in my household who are not doing a whole 30.  We usually eat it with homemade coleslaw and roasted potatoes and I will use the leftovers in an easy breakfast bowl with sweet potato hash, topped with a fried egg. This makes a lot of meat and is a great meal for company or meal prep to have an easy protein for weekday meals. I only use half the vinegar mixture during cooking and use the rest for serving for those who want a stronger vinegar flavor.

7-8 lb. pork butt (Boston butt)
1 sweet onion, diced

Dry rub:
2 Tbs. paprika
1/2 Tbs. smoked paprika
1 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
(When not on a Whole 30 I also add 2 Tbs. of coconut sugar to this!)

Vinegar sauce:
1 cup apple cider vinegar
2 Tbs. coconut aminos
1 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1/4 tsp. cayenne powder


Place diced onion in the bottom of the crock pot. Combine dry rub ingredients and rub all over the pork. Place pork in the crock pot, on top of onions, fat cap side down.  Combine vinegar sauce ingredients and cover pork with 1/2 the mixture. Turn crock pot on low and cook for 10-12 hours, the longer the better. Remove pork and onions from crock pot. Shred with a fork, removing excess fat.  Serve with extra vinegar sauce or alongside your favorite BBQ sauce.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Cajun Roasted Potatoes with Smoked Paprika Aioli

These potatoes are in frequent rotation alongside various forms of protein for an easy, delicious dinner at our house, and this smoked paprika aioli really takes them to the next level. These are great as a side or as an easy appetizer. I have included two variations for the aioli; you can either make the entire thing from scratch or use store-bought mayo to cut down on time. Also, feel free to add more or less spice on the potatoes, depending on your preference. Note: I prefer to use avocado oil with these because it has very little competing flavor and a much higher smoke point than olive oil, which allows the potatoes to get really crispy without burning.

6-8 red potatoes, washed and diced in chunks
3-4 Tbs. avocado oil (enough to coat potatoes well)
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. kosher salt
Dash cayenne pepper

Smoked Paprika Aioli: (Homemade mayo technique)
1 egg (room temperature) - pasteurized eggs are the safest to eat raw
1 cup light olive oil or avocado oil
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. smoked paprika*
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Put first 3 ingredients in a wide mouth mason jar.  Hold immersion blender at the bottom for about 30 seconds and then slowly pull up to incorporate the rest of the oil. (You just made homemade mayo!) Remove half the mayo and add the remaining three ingredients (stir with a spoon to combine). Store extra mayo and aioli in a sealed container in the fridge. It's good until the eggs expiration date if using pasteurized eggs.

Smoked Paprika Aioli: (Store-bought mayo technique)
1/2 cup mayo (make sure it's whole 30 compliant, or follow directions above if doing a whole 30)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp. smoked paprika*
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

*Using smoked paprika is really key to the flavor of this aioli. No need to spend time trying to smoke your own though, most grocery stores carry it (I found mine at Kroger). If you can't find it at your local grocery store there are several options available for around 5$ on Amazon, or you could take a fun trip to your local specialty food and spice store.

Roasted Potato Directions:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper or foil. Toss potatoes in oil, and then add spices. Stir until evenly coated. Potatoes should bake for 35-45 minutes until fork tender and crispy. Feel free to turn up the temperature to 450 the last 5-10 minutes to crisp them. While potatoes cook, mix aoili ingredients together. Allow a few minutes for potatoes to cool down a little before serving.


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Whole 30 Pot Roast

I love this meal because it cooks for several hours filling the house with the wonderful smell of roasting meat and veggies. Actually, when I made this a couple of weeks ago my neighbor came over to ask me what I was making because she could smell the lovely aroma from outside our house. If you have a few hours at home in the afternoon, this one pot meal is really super easy to throw together.  When I made it for our friends a few weeks ago I served it alongside rice (you could do cauliflower rice for a whole 30 friendly version) but it really doesn't need it. Also, I love fresh thyme with this, but feel free to use your favorite fresh herbs- parsley or oregano would also work great! I am also including a crock-pot adaption for those of you who love all things crock-pot and would like the freedom to let it cook while you're not at home. If you go the crock-pot route I believe searing it first will produce the most flavorful roast, but if you don't have time or don't want to dirty another dish- no worries! Just stick it in as is, just make sure you cook it until it's fall apart tender, about 6-8 hours on low. 


3 lb. chuck roast
2 Tbs. olive oil
2 Tbs. ghee
2 cups beef broth
1/2 cup coconut aminos
4 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
8 potatoes quartered, half yukon gold, half red
1 red onion, cut in chunks
4 carrots, cut in chunks
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
Fresh thyme 

Oven Directions:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Cover roast with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and ghee in oven-safe pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear roast on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side (until you get a nice brown crust on the outside- this is key because it helps keep the juices in while the roast cooks). Remove meat and set aside, add in broth, balsamic vinegar and coconut aminos and turn up heat to high. Reduce liquid by half. While liquid is reducing, rub roast with minced garlic. Turn off heat and add in potatoes, onion and carrots, give it a stir. Add in beef and nestle between veggies. Top with fresh thyme and tuck some into the sides along with bay leaves. Cook on the middle rack of the oven, covered for 4-6 hours until meat is fall apart tender. Serve over rice or cauliflower rice or as is.

Crock-pot Directions:

Cover roast with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil and ghee in oven-safe pot or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Sear roast on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side (until you get a nice brown crust on the outside- this is key because it helps keep the juices in while the roast cooks). Remove meat and set aside.  As stated above, you can skip this step if you're low on time. Add veggies to the bottom of the crock-pot.  Nestle the roast in between the veggies. Top with broth, coconut aminos, balsamic vinegar and minced garlic. Top with fresh thyme and bay leaves tuck some into the sides. Cook on low for 6-8 hours until fall apart tender (may need to cook a little longer depending on your crock-pot). 

Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!