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Food, Family, Life

Autumn Flavors Cooking Classes – September

This month I’ll be holding a cooking class that utilizes the foods of the season to create a delicious dinner menu. If you live in the Riverside area, I’d love to have you come! If coming isn’t possible, I’ll be posting the recipes after the class.

The menu includes:

Local Goat Cheese stuffed Bacon-wrapped Dates

Fall Fruit and Nut Spinach Salad

Stuffed Acorn Squash

Click the link below for class information:
Autumn Flavors – September

September Apple Pic
(Photo Credit: Allparenting.com)

Sausage & Spinach Crustless Quiche

Summer has been rough on my diet. Between vacations, parties and it being too hot to cook some days, I have had a hard time staying on the clean eating road. This weekend I sucked it up and did a bunch of meal prep for the week. That included making this quiche to eat all week for breakfast. I really appreciate quiche because it’s yummy, filling and easy to just slice and go in the mornings before work.

Sausage & Spinach Quiche
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6-8 servings

1 medium red onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound frozen spinach, thawed with as much liquid squeezed out as possible (I put mine in a colander and squeeze it out)
1/2 pound sausage
12 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
Oil or bacon fat, as needed

Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Cook your sausage in a large pan over medium-high heat. When sausage is cooked through, remove to a bowl, but leave enough of the oil to saute the onion, about 1-2 tablespoons. If there isn’t enough, add coconut oil or other fat. Then add the onions and saute over medium-high heat for 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, crack all the eggs and whisk until they’re completely yellow. Add the spinach, pork, onion and garlic mixture, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture into a greased pie pan. Leave at least a quarter inch from the top as the quiche will rise as it cooks. If there is extra, you can cook the additional mixture in a small glass baking dish.
Cook in the oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the quiche is firm in the center. The edges may begin to brown slightly.
The quiche will be puffy when you first pull it out, but will settle as it cools.
Quiche should be kept in the fridge. I try and eat mine within a week. A great idea is to make a few quiches, then portion them out and bag them up individually for a quick grab and go meal.

Printer-Friendly PDF: Sausage & Spinach Quiche

Paleo Muffin Roundup

I think muffins are wonderful. They’re these little magically tasty morsels that cook up quick and you get to eat them for breakfast! What I love about paleo muffins is that they aren’t so sugary-sweet like normal ones that make me feel like I’m doing myself a detriment so early in the morning. Recently, I’ve tried out the following few recipes and loved them all. I prepared the blueberry ones this morning and ate a couple. I then made the mistake of leaving them unattended and came home a few hours later to them being devoured by my family. At least I got some!

Blueberry Muffins from Bravo for Paleo
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Ingredients
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1 Tablespoon coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup coconut milk*
2 eggs
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
2-3 Tablespoons cinnamon

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 350. Line a 12 count muffin tin and lightly oil with coconut oil.
2. In a mixing bowl combine almond flour, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda and stir to combine.
3. Pour in coconut oil, eggs, maple syrup, coconut milk, and vanilla; mix well.
4. Fold in blueberries and add cinnamon.
5. Distribute into muffin tin. Sprinkle with additional cinnamon.
6. Bake for 22-25 minutes. Allow to cool and enjoy!
Notes
*Coconut milk can come in different textures depending on the brand you use. If you use a thicker brand like THAI, then use 1/8 cup of coconut milk and 4 Tablespoons of water. If your coconut milk is thinner, stick to the 1/4 cup of coconut milk.

Cranberry Orange Muffins from Cook Eat Paleo
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Ingredients
200 grams almond flour (about 2 cups)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
zest of 1 orange
3 eggs
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons ghee, melted
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 cup cranberries (can substitute organic dried cranberries)

Instructions
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease or line muffin tin.
2. Combine dry ingredients and orange zest in large bowl. Combine wet ingredients in medium bowl. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients, then fold in cranberries.
3. Using a large ice cream or cookie scoop, fill muffin cups 3/4 full.
4. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack.

Paleo Cornbread Muffins (AKA Coconut Flour Muffins) from Empowered Sustenance
image (2)
Ingredients
Ingredients
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut oil, butter or real lard, liquified
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 Tbs. unsweetened applesauce or, and this is really yummy, 100% pure apple butter
1 Tbs. raw honey
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 350. Line 6 muffin cups with unbleached liners. Mix together the coconut flour and oil until smooth, then beat in the eggs until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well.
2. Divide between the prepared cups and bake about 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean and the top springs back when lightly pressed.

Sweet Onion Watermelon Salsa

I want to be honest right off, this is not a strict-paleo recipe. But I feel like it can be overlooked for two reasons. First, it’s CRAZY good. Like amazingly good. Like eat a whole bowl of it by yourself good. Second, the cheat involves a homemade ingredient that is made with lots of time and love, and I’m pretty sure mother’s love cancels out the use of cane sugar. The orange marmalade I used for this recipe was made from a kick ass batch of my mom’s homemade stash.
This is a recipe that was included in a cookbook my family put together years ago. This is how it reads:
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And seriously, it is good with anything. Tonight I’m going to try it with plantain chips!

Sweet Onion Watermelon Salsa
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1/4 cup Orange Marmalade
1/4 cup chopped fresh Cilantro
1/4 cup diced Jalapeno Pepper
2 tablespoons White Vinegar
1 clove Garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups chopped Seedless Watermelon
1 cup chopped Sweet Onion
1 cup chopped Orange sections

Mix together and enjoy.

Happy Saturday!

Settlers of Catan-cakes (Paleo Cupcakes)

Today we’re celebrating my favorite sister’s birthday! She’s a huge Settlers of Catan fan so I did some pinning and found the perfect cake to celebrate the occasion…
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I was selfish a wee bit and made the cake part of these paleo-friendly so I could partake in some, but other than that, these things are a high-fructose nightmare! But, it was for a good cause and the look on my sister’s face was priceless!

If you’d like to try your hand at making some, below is the recipe I used from the Comfy Belly.

Very Vanilla Cupcakes

Makes 8 cupcakes

Ingredients
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
4 large eggs
1/3 cup oil (olive oil or other oil, or melted unsalted butter, ghee, coconut oil, or vegetable shortening)
1/2 cup honey or maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut milk or other milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
seeds from one vanilla bean (optional)

Method
Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C, or gas mark 4).
Combine all the dry in ingredients, except for the vanilla seeds, and blend well.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and use a mixer to blend well. You can use a food processor, hand or standing mixer to get it well-blended. Let the batter sit for a few minutes and mix once more. Optionally, add the vanilla beans and blend well.
Fill cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way with batter.
Bake for about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean.
Cool and then frost.
Store covered for a few days at room temperature, or the refrigerator for a few weeks, or freeze for a few months.

I hope you enjoy yours as much as we did ours!

Kale Salad with Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash, Pecans & Cranberries

Today I submitted this recipe into Paleo Bakehouse for their amazing Kickstarter campaign to open up a gluten-free kitchen in Miami. They are collecting recipes to put together an e-book as a reward for people who contribute to their campaign. They’re a great company you should all definitely check out!

If you’re interested in checking out their campaign and donating to it, you can click the link below:
Paleo Bakehouse Kickstarter Campaign Page

And now, for the recipe…..

Kale Salad with Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash, Pecans & Cranberries
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1 bunch of Kale, chopped, with ribs trimmed
½ Butternut Squash, peeled & cubed into ½” pieces
¼ cup dried Cranberries
½ cup raw Pecans
½ cup Olive Oil, divided
2 tbsp minced fresh Rosemary, divided
1 teaspoon Honey, divided
2 teaspoon Salt
1 half large Orange
Olive Oil, for drizzling
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Toss squash with ¼ cup oil, 1 tablespoon rosemary and 1 teaspoon honey. Place in a 9×12” baking dish in a single layer. Roast for 20 minutes.
While the squash is baking, toss pecans and cranberries with ¼ cup oil, 1 tablespoon rosemary, 1 teaspoon honey and salt.
After the squash has cooked for 20 minutes, remove from oven, add the pecan mixture and gently stir everything together and then try to lie in a single layer again. Roast for another 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool.
Place kale in a large salad bowl. Squeeze the juice from the orange over the kale and drizzle with olive oil and toss. Top with the roasted mixture.

Happy Friday everyone! Have a great weekend!

Red Cabbage, Courgettes & Avocado Salad

This is a simple salad my mom made that is full of flavor and crunch. It’s cool and crisp and will be on my summer salad rotation for sure! To make it a meal, I added some chopped seasoned chicken and it fit in seamlessly. I couldn’t find instructions on the site this recipe is from, so I added some here.

Red Cabbage, Courgettes and Avocado Salad

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Ingredients for 1:
1 Small Raw Red Cabbage, shredded
1 Raw courgette (zucchini), sliced
1 Avocado, skin and seed removed, and cubed
2 tablespoon chopped walnuts (I used pecans)
1 green onion, diced

Dressing:
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Add the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Prepare the salad by placing all the ingredients in a bowl, top with dressing and toss. That’s it!

Simple Slow Cooker Smokey Shredded Chicken

In a perfect world I would have endless time to prepare delicious meals that required lots of chopping, measuring, sauteing and simmering. But, most days do not include that scenario and are often in need of a quick fix. Enter the wonderfulness that is the slow cooker. You stick some ingredients in, then 5-8 hours later you have a meal. How amazing is that? It’s been a while since I took mine out, so I decided to do myself a little favor this work week and make today’s lunch in it. The co-worker I’m doing the Whole 30 with requested something with cauliflower rice since she’s never had it before, so I did some brainstorming and came up with this dish. It could easily be used for taco salad, or served inside some paleo plantain tortillas as well.

Slow Cooker Smokey Shredded Chicken
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1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 poblano/pasilla pepper, seeded and chopped
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
15oz can roasted crushed tomatoes
Seasonings:
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder

Place the onion and pepper in the bottle of the slow cooker. Lay the chicken over it, as flat as you can. Mix the seasonings together, then sprinkle over the chicken. Pour tomatoes over the top. Close and set the slow cooker to low. Let cook for 6-8 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and will easily pull apart with a fork.
When done cooking, let cook slightly and shred the meat with kitchen shears or pull apart with a couple if forks.

Enjoy!

Another Whole 30 Days 6-10

These five days were pretty fun. I developed a few new recipes that will be keepers! The chili on the baked yam was delicious!

Day 6
Breakfast
I love Saturdays. I took my time and made a great breakfast. A handful of packaged broccoli slaw sauteed in coconut oil, then a 1/4 cup of cooked and crumbled Homemade Sausage thrown in with an egg and scrambled. Thrown on top of some fried yams and topped with salsa.
photo (1)

Lunch
Leftover Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk from earlier this week. I love leftovers.

Dinner
I got treated by my cousin who made a totally Whole 30 Approved meal!
Baked Chicken Breasts
Roasted Zucchini, Broccoli & Onions
Kale Salad with Balsamic Viniagrette
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Day 7
Breakfast
Fried Yams & Egg

Lunch
Chicken Taco Bowl
Seasoned Chicken with Tomatoes, Cliantro & Avocado

Snack
Cashews

Dinner
Spicy Beef Pho from Plate Full Paleo
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This was delicious and nourishing. Even my dad, who swore he hated Pho, gobbled it up and ate the leftovers for breakfast the next day. So good!

Day 8
Breakfast
Almond Milk, Banana & Almond Butter Smoothie

Lunch
Curried Chicken Salad wraps
photo (1)
These guys are not too pretty, but an amazing flavor explosion!

Snack
Cashews

Dinner
Leftover Curry from earlier in the program

Day 9
Breakfast
Almond Milk, Banana & Almond Butter Smoothie

Lunch
Cook Eat Paleo’s Avocado Tuna Salad over greens

Snack
Cashews & Carrots

Dinner
My mom’s AMAZING Shrimp Guacamole Salad
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Shrimp and Guacamole Salad
Ingredients
1 lb jumbo cooked shrimp, peeled and deveined, chopped*
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
1 yellow bell pepper, seeded and 1/2-inch diced
1/2 cup small diced red onion
2 tablespoons minced jalapeno peppers, seeded (2 peppers)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated lime zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (2 limes)
1/4 cup good olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
2 ripe Hass avocados, seeded, peeled, and 1/2-inch diced

Directions
Place the shrimp, cilantro, tomatoes, yellow pepper, red onion, jalapeno peppers, and lime zest in a large
bowl. Whisk together the lime juice, olive oil, salt, black pepper, garlic, and cayenne pepper and pour over
the vegetables. Toss well.
Just before you’re ready to serve the salad, fold the avocados into the salad. Check the seasoning and
serve at room temperature.

Breakfast
Fried Potatoes & Coffee

Lunch
Turkey Chili over a Yam with Avocado
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This was simple, kind of a toss whatever in type of recipe. I’ll definitely have to fine tune it, but here’s the rough draft version:
Chipotle Turkey Chili
Ingredients:
1.25 pounds ground turkey
1 small onion, diced
2 bell peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 crushed tomatoes
1/2 t salt
1 tablespoon cumin (I LOVE cumin)
2 teaspoons chili powder
1/4-1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder (Depends on how hot you like yours. And keep in mind, even if it is a little spicier than you’d like, if you serve it over the yam with avocado, that will kick it down a bit.)
Optional: Yam, cauliflower rice, avocado, cilantro, green onions

Directions:
In a large pot, cook the onions, garlic and turkey together over medium heat until turkey is cooked through. Add the peppers and cook for 2-3 minutes, then add the tomatoes and seasonings. Bring to a boil, then simmer for at least 30 minutes.
Serve over a baked yam or cauliflower rice and top with avocado, cilantro or green onions.

Dinner
Spaghetti squash with a meaty homemade tomato sauce and green salad
Many spaghetti sauces contain sugar. Fortunately, making your own can be really simple.

Homemade Tomato Sauce
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
16oz crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons Italian seasonings
Salt to taste

In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for 4-5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to cook for 3 minutes. Then, add the tomatoes, seasoning and salt. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Check the flavor and adjust as needed.

Another Whole 30 – Days 1-5

So I’m five days into a new round of the Whole 30 and feeling so much better already. I work at a tax firm and this last tax season kicked my butt. Crazy hours and binge peanut M&M eating (along with other unhealthy food choices) left me a tired and a digestionally uncomfortable wreck. A co-worker, my mother and I decided that after April 15th was over, it was time to get back down to business. So last Monday we got on it.
To anyone unfamiliar with the program, the Whole 30 is a great way to restart your system and make healthy-eating choices really apart of your life. Some may be intimidated by the restrictions and think, “What am I going to eat?”, “This is going to be expensive!”, or “It’s going to take too much time to cook all my meals.” But it can be so much simpler than you think. I try to keep my meals simple and quick. Some do take extra time, but those recipes normally make enough servings to stretch over a few days, so I’m not cooking as much on other days. Here’s what I’ve been eating the last few days…

Day One
Breakfast
1/4 c almonds
1 banana

Lunch
Tarragon Chicken Salad
Green Salad with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

Snack
Tangerine

Dinner
Against All Grain cookbook Citrus Cumin Chicken
Grilled Cabbage & Onions
Steamed Artichokes
image (1)

Day Two
Breakfast
Homemade sausage (followed the recipe, but used half ground pork and half ground turkey)
Sweet potato
Scrambled egg

Lunch
Against All Grain cookbook Sausage Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust
Green Salad with Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar
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Dinner
Chicken Sausage
Steamed Broccoli
Tropical Cauliflower Rice
This was a true moment of inspiration because not only did my mom and I love it, my non-paleo loving dad did as well! Win!
16 oz bag of frozen Cauliflower, cooked and riced (I put mine in a mini food processor and run it until it has the consistency I’m looking for)
1/4 large Red Onion, diced
1/2 cup diced pineapple (set on a paper towel for a few minutes to get rid of the excess liquid)
1/2 roasted Poblano, diced
1/4 cup chopped Cilantro
Salt to taste

Add all ingredients to a bowl and toss.

photo

Snack
Smashed banana with cinnamon and sunflower seeds

Day Three
Breakfast
Trail mix of almonds, cashews & raisins (I forgot to pack a breakfast before heading to work. Emergency stash of mix to the rescue!)

Lunch
Balanced BitesSmokey Mexican Tortilla(less) Soup
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Snack
Cucumbers

Dinner
Against All Grain cookbook Korean Beef Noodle Bowls
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Day Four
Breakfast
Blackberries
Against All Grain cookbook Sausage Quiche with Sweet Potato Crust

Lunch
Taco Salad of Romaine Lettuce, Taco seasoned Ground Beef, half and Avocado and diced Red Onions, Tomatoes and Yellow Bell Pepper. Topped with some simple Homemade Salsa.

Dinner
Chicken Curry with Coconut Milk over stir-fried sliced cabbage
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Day Five
Breakfast
Banana, Almond Butter & Almond Milk Smoothie

Lunch
Balanced BitesSmokey Mexican Tortilla(less) Soup

Dinner
***WARNING***WARNING***WARNING*** The following is not a Whole 30 Approved meal (but a great example of how a lack of planning and poor will gets you every time)
I went out with friends to Norco’s Horse Week and the dinner menu included food trucks. I thought I could probably get a bunless burger, but that all went out the window when I saw this….
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I couldn’t resist! Who passes up a truck full of bacon??????
So dinner was fries covered in pulled pork & bacon topped with Carolina slaw and chipotle mayo.
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An amazing dinner, but back on the wagon the next morning!

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