Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

2013-09-27 09.06.17

I like food.

I REALLY like warm, gravy-y food that’s served in a big bowl with some nice carbs for dippin’ when it starts to get cold outside. I also like not feeling bloated and gross after eating a meal like that, which is what happens to me when I load up on gluten.

Here’s my gluten-free chicken and dumplings recipe. It’s warm, it’s layered with flavor, it’s GOOD FOR YOU, and it’ll feed a family of 4 at least twice.

I didn’t list amounts except where it really matters. Use what you have, and be creative!

Stew Ingredients:

  • 1 whole chicken, gizzards removed
  • Several carrots, chopped
  • Several celery stalks, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • package of mushrooms, or about 3 cups
  • 2 bunches or 1 big bunch kale, stems removed and torn into bite-size pieces
  • Frozen peas
  • Fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 onion
  • Minced garlic – about a tablespoon
  • Heavy cream – about a cup
  • Tapioca flour/startch to thicken the broth into gravy. Use cornstarch if you want, or flour if you aren’t sensitive to it. The method is the same, but add a little at a time.

Dumpling Ingredients:

  • Up to 2  cups almond flour
  • Up to 1 cup tapioca starch
  • 3 – 4 eggs, depending on size
  • chicken broth (optional)
  • fresh chopped parsley (optional)

Stew Directions:

  1. Put the chicken, mushrooms, celery, carrots, onion, thyme sprigs (leave them whole) and garlic in a large crockpot.  Add a few cups of water to fill the crockpot up.
  2. Cook on high for 4 hours.
  3. After 4 hours, remove the chicken and set it aside to cool.
  4. Add the kale, fresh parsley, and peas, and turn the crockpot to warm.
  5. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pick the meat off and put the meat back in the crockpot. Give your dog the fat and soft tissues from the chicken if you want. (NO BONES!)
  6. Add 1 cup heavy cream or half and half to the crockpot and stir.
  7. Remove a little of the broth/cream mixture with a mug, and add a few tablespoons of tapioca starch. Mix until it’s integrated, then add it back to the crockpot. Keep this up until it’s as thick as you want it. You can use cornstarch or flour here too.
  8. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and fish out the now-bare thyme twigs.

Dumpling instructions:

  1. Bring a pot of water or broth/water mixture to boil.
  2. Beat the eggs until they’re light and fluffy.
  3. Add 1 1/2 cup almond flour and 1/2 cup tapioca flour.
  4. Keep adding a little almond flour and tapioca flour until you get the consistency of very thick pancake batter.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, and add the parsley.
  6. Using two spoons, drop the batter by spoonful into the boiling water/broth. I use one spoon to scoop and lower, and another to scrape it off the first spoon.
  7. Let the dumplings boil for about 4-5 minutes.
  8. Remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon. They’ll be ugly looking, but they’re SO GOOD!
  9. Either add the dumplings to the stew and serve, or if you’re planning for leftovers, place in the bottom of the bowls and ladle the stew on top of them. You don’t want to store the dumplings in the stew overnight because they’ll fall apart.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the greatest chicken and dumplings recipe ever, even beating out my grandmother’s traditional recipe.

Enjoy, and you’re welcome.





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I grew up in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a stone’s throw from Virginia’s border with North Carolina. Weekend morning breakfasts usually consisted of massive heaps of eggs scrambled in sausage grease (YUM), sausage, biscuits, gravy, hash browns, perhaps some bacon, and maybe a few pieces of fruit.

Despite the grease and fat hangovers these breakfasts gave me, sometimes I am nostalgic for them. A huge, Southern breakfast is in my blood, after all, and something about them still says “family” to me.

Jeff was here this weekend, and I wanted to recreate this feeling, without sacrificing the calorie deficit I worked all week to secure. I wanted to make a Southern breakfast that said, “Hi, honey. I’m glad you’re awake. Let’s have a great day together,” without straying too far from my primalish lifestyle.

So, like I’ve done many times before, I turned to another staple food Down Home. The sweet potato.


  • 2 large sweet potatoes, washed and grated. I used my box grater, and it was a pain in the ass (and terrifying, after I cut my fingertip off with a mandoline two weeks ago). If you have a food processor with a grater attachment, use it.
  • 1 small onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat the oil on medium/medium-high heat in a heavy-bottomed skillet. (Cast iron is always preferred when you’re cooking Down Home style.)
  2. Sautee the onions and garlic until soft, about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the grated sweet potatoes, season with salt and pepper to taste, and cook until crispy, 12 – 15 minutes. You’ll get some burnt pieces; that’s OK. I tried to make a single hash brown pancake, but never quite did. They’re just as good “loose.”
  4. Serve with a lightly friend egg on top and some ketchup on the side.

Serves 2 hungry adults.

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I don’t go to Trader Joe’s as often as I’d like. I looooove that place, but so does everyone else in my general metropolitan area, and going there is sometimes just too much of an exercise in patience. An exercise I fail nearly every time. This weekend I was out of many of my primalish staples–almond butter, dried fruit, and pastured animal–and TJ’s has the best price around, so I went. It was packed, of course, and I’m a little embarrassed to say that I yelled EXCUSE ME at an older man, my voice an irritated crescendo that started at a normal decibel range, and ended with him finally hearing me and moving out of the way.

Back home, it was time to make something scrumptious and filling. I’d gotten a package of seafood blend, and my cast iron dutch oven started whispering sweet nothings to me. Seafood stew it would be.

This stew is thick, filling, and ready in under an hour. Use fire-roasted tomatoes for a longer-cooking taste.


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bulb fennel, quartered and sliced thin
  • 2 bell peppers (I used one red and one yellow), chopped
  • 1 28-oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 28-oz can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken, seafood, or fish stock
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 cup chopped frozen spinach
  • 1 package Trader Joe’s seafood blend, or 1 pound of any combination of shrimp, scallops, and calamari


  1. Heat the olive oil in a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Sautee the onion, garlic, and fennel until softened. Season liberally with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the bell peppers, and cook an additional 2 or 3 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, stock, parsley, and spinach. Bring to a boil, then add the seafood. Reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook until the seafood is cooked through, about 15 minutes.

Serves 4 big bowls. Per serving: 253 calories, 3.9 g fat, 39 g carbohydrates, 20 g protein

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Primalish Moussaka

There’s something about Greek and Mediterranean food that enlivens all of my senses. It’s saturated with color, flavor, pure aromas, natural unadultered ingredients, culture, and history. Gazpacho, hummus, pasta with zucchini and pine nuts, tomato and onion salad with fresh parsley and basil… does it get any better?

Around the time I stopped eating grains, our local farmers’ markets started to shut down for the winter, and I resigned myself to not indulging in the flavors of the Mediterranean until spring and summer vegetables started to show up on the roadside again.

This afternoon I was flipping through one of my Mediterranean cookbooks, and happened across moussaka. I’ve never made moussaka before. I’ve never seen the point–layers of vegetables and meat? Might as well make lasagne. But now that I don’t eat those delicious ribbons of wheat, moussaka sounds a bit more intriguing. Considering that old bastard man winter is back for the next few days, it seemed like the right evening to try something warm and a bit gooey.

Note: for maximum primalish goodness, use grass-fed, organic, and cage-free options for each ingredient.


  • 2 eggplants, sliced about 1/4 inch thick
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 onions, halved and sliced thin
  • 14-oz can of diced, fire-roasted tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesean cheese


  1. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Dry fry the eggplant slices in a cast-iron or nonstick frying pan, until brown on both sides.
  3. Brown the ground beef, then add the garlic, onions, tomatoes, and parsley. Bring to a boil, then kill the heat. Season lightly with salt and pepper
  4. Beat the eggs in a medium bowl, then beat in the yogurt. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  5. In a 9×13 casserole dish (I used my sweet enameled cast iron casserole dish my mom got me for Christmas), layer 1/3 of the eggplant slices. Top with half of the beef mixture. Layer another 1/3 of the eggplant slices, then top with the remaining beef mixture. Layer the final eggplant slices on top.
  6. Spread the yogurt/egg mixture on top of the eggplant slices. Sprinkle with parmesean.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden brown and delicious.

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Honey-Chili Mahi Mahi

Every once in a while, a light bulb goes off in my head. Flavor combinations I don’t usually think of, or a cooking method I don’t usually turn to for the type of food. Something that seems innovative and potentially groundbreaking. Or maybe just better than usual.

I always test out that little light bulb to see what it’s made of. Most of the time, it’s a no-go that I shrug off and never think of again. (Except of course the turkey meatball brine soup that I made for Jeff the first time he got sick while we were together. I’m NEVER going to live that one down. Nor will he live down the fact that he sent me into the kitchen for “more” so he could dump it in the toilet. And then didn’t tell me for over a year.)

But tonight. Tonight I hit a home run. I took this picture before tasting it (as I always do), took one bite in the kitchen to test it, and barely made it to the couch before devouring the rest of it.

Mahi mahi is a hearty fish, and the flavors used to season it are bold. I enjoyed this dish alongside a simple sauteed spinach and a glass of cabernet and called it a night.

This recipe serves one, so multiply depending on your dining party. You’ll also obviously need to use a bigger saute pan the more times you multiply it.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil, or oil of your choice
  • 1/4 – 1/3 pound mahi mahi loin
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons chili powder (depends on how hot you like it; I probably used 1.5 tablespoons)
  • Dash of salt
  • Splash of half and half
  • Spoonful plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon honey


  1. Heat the oil in an 8-inch saute pan over medium heat.
  2. Mix the half and half and Greek yogurt in a small bowl, and dunk the mahi mahi into it, coating it. (You could use eggs here; I didn’t have any so I used what I had to make something sticky.)
  3. In a shallow baking dish, mix the almond flour, chili powder, and salt. Shake the excess liquid off  the mahi mahi, and drop it in the almond flour mixture. Turn several times to coat completely.
  4. Cook in the oil until the bottom side is golden brown and delicious, about 4 minutes. Turn and cook the other side until also golden brown and delicious.
  5. Drizzle with honey just before serving.

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This conversation happens very often recently, be it in my house, in the car, in a store, on the sidewalk, wherever.

Me: I want one of those [insert delicious confection made with wheat and sugar].

Jeff: No you don’t.

Me: Yes I do.

Jeff: No you don’t.

Me: Come on! I’m sure they made it with almond flour and agave.

Jeff: Yeah, you’re right. I’m sure they did.

Tired of daydreaming and longing for cocoa goodness, I played around with my favorite brownie recipe until I got it right. And this, ladies and gentlemen, was the finished product.

Dark, dense, and delicately bittersweet, the smell of these brownies baking is sure to convert even the most steadfast grain and sugar addicts for miles around.


  • Soft butter, for greasing the pan
  • Almond flour, for dusting the buttered pan
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup honey or agave nectar, or a combination of both that equals 1 cup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon red wine (or water)
  • 1 stick butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
  • ½ cup almond flour, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. Grease and dust your 8X8 brownie pan.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk, mix the eggs until they are light yellow and fluffy. Add the rest of the wet team: honey, vanilla, wine, and melted butter, and mix to combine.
  3. Add the dry team—cocoa powder, almond flour, and salt—to the wet team mixture and stir to combine.
    NOTE: Each batch of almond flour is a little different, and the consistency depends heavily on the brand. If your batter is a little thin, add more almond flour or more cocoa powder. If it’s too thick, add a little more wine (or water).
  4. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes, or until the tried-and-true toothpick comes out clean from the middle.

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Crockpot Beef and Cabbage

Okay, so this dish turned out pretty much exactly opposite of how I’d originally intended. I must admit that I’m sort of a Crockpot novice (I know, I know. It’s embarrassing.), so I wanted to play around with some casserole techniques for purely experimental reasons.

I wanted this to be a lasagna-type casserole that cut relatively cleanly and whose layers stayed segregated. But I am a writer and a dog trainer, not a scientist, so I never even considered the water content in the main ingredient–cabbage. Thus, I ended up with a thick, soupy mixture that was about half its original size.

At first I thought it’d be good on rice, but alas! I don’t eat rice. So being the good paleo-ish girl I am, I pulled some cooked spaghetti squash out of the freezer and served my beef and cabbage stoup on top with a dollop of sour cream and a little melted cheddar. And DAMN ya’ll. So good.


  • Olive oil or butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (I love garlic. Use less if you don’t like it so much.)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 pound ground grass-fed cow
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 ounces chopped frozen spinach
  • 1/2 to 1 whole head of cabbage, shredded (I had 1/2 on hand; next time I’ll use more)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 14-ounce cans diced tomatoes, drained

To serve:

  • 1 cup cooked spaghetti squash (or rice)
  • Shredded cheese of choice
  • Sour cream


  1. Heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sautee garlic and onions until just before the onions start to turn translucent, about 2 – 3 minutes.
  2. Add ground beef and cook until browned. When the beef is almost browned, add the spinach. Salt this mixture to taste.
  3. Pour half the beef mixture in the Crockpot, then cover with half of the cabbage and parsley, followed by 1 can of tomatoes. Repeat with the other half of ingredients. Sprinkle the top with salt.
    Note: I used a 4-quart slow cooker for this recipe and filled it to the top. You’ll have room for much more if you’re working with a bigger Crockpot. If you’ve got a smaller one like me, don’t be surprised if everything doesn’t fit. You can add the rest in later once it starts to cook down.
  4. Cook on high for 4 hours, or low for 6 – 8. Serve over squash with a bit of cheese and a dollop of sour cream.

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