entree

Loaded Burger Fries by emily penn

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Sounds like a meal that would be inherently unhealthy, right? But guess what?! It’s not!

What I want to highlight in this recipe is this: QUALITY OF INGREDIENTS MATTERS. Can you eat fries that are healthy? Absolutely. And can you make a burger that’s nourishing and nutrient-dense? Heck yes you can! Here’s the deal:

Fries that you order at a restaurant are likely not organic and are most definitely fried in unhealthy, inflammatory oils. On the other hand - if you make fries at home with organic potatoes and roast them in the oven in a healthy oil like avocado or olive - this has a totally different effect on the cells in your body. The fries go from inflammatory to nourishing. And despite the white potato fear, they do have valuable nutrients.

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Conventional beef is raised with antibiotics and growth hormones and fed a grain-based diet - which is not what cows are meant to be eating. Organically raised, grass-fed cows are allowed to roam a pasture and eat grass (what they’re meant to do) and are raised without antibiotics. The result is a totally different nutritional composition in the meat. For example, grass-fed beef has 5 times the omega-3s (an anti-inflammatory fatty acid) and contains a compound known as CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which is anti-inflammatory, boosts the immune system, supports fat burning and even strengthens bones! Grass-fed beef is also richer in vitamin A and vitamin E and tends to be richer in antioxidants (1).

I think it’s interesting to note that when I was younger (before I was vegan) I didn’t care for beef very much and often found that it hurt my stomach. After reintroducing meat into my diet after being vegan, I only ate grass-fed beef and woah - what a difference! It has never made my stomach hurt and has felt very nourishing.

In this recipe, I’ve forgone any sort of bun. While delicious, most buns are made with refined white flour and don’t offer a whole lot of nutrition. Instead I’ve opted to serve the beef over the fries and greens to make it more of a “bowl” situation with a nutrient-dense bottom.

Then of course you’ve got chopped onions (raw or grilled - your choice!), pickles, mustard, ketchup and any of your other favorite burger fixings! I’d recommend finding a ketchup with no sugar added or making some of your own at home for max health benefit. I recently made this fermented ketchup that turned out awesome (I skipped the honey).

Feel free to make this totally your own - you could add avocado, bacon or a fried egg to make it even more hearty!

It’s amazing that by just focusing on the quality of ingredients we can turn what sounds like an unhealthy meal into something totally nourishing and good for you!

Loaded Burger Fries

serves 4 / total time 45 minutes

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ingredients
4 medium sized potatoes (russet or yukon gold), cut into fry shape
3 tbsp avocado or olive oil
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1 onion, diced - raw or grilled
4 large handfuls of greens (I used butter lettuce)

toppings/condiments
ketchup
mustard
mayo
pickles
avocado
fried egg

directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400. Toss potatoes in 2 tbsp of the oil and season with salt and pepper. I also love seasoning my fries with garlic powder, onion powder, smoked paprika, and my favorite/weirdest one - celery seed (just trust me). Feel free to use some of these or none at all. Divide fries onto two sheet pans. Place in oven for a total of 30-40 minutes, checking on them after 20 minutes and giving them a stir and switching their position on the racks.

  2. While the fries are roasting, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil on a large skillet on the stove. Add the ground beef and cook until no longer pink, stirring every minute or so. It should take about 10 minutes.

  3. If you’re serving your onions raw, skip this step. If you’re grilling your onions, then transfer beef to a bowl and set aside. In the same pan, cook onions for about 10 minutes until golden and translucent. Season with a little salt. If onions start sticking, add a splash of oil.

  4. Push onions to one half of the pan and add beef to the other half, turn heat to low to keep warm until the fries are done.

  5. Once the fries are golden and crispy, remove from oven. Get your serving bowls ready. Add a large handful of greens to each bowl and top with a quarter of the fries, a quarter of the beef, and a quarter of the onions.

  6. Top with desired toppings/condiments and enjoy!

Medicinal Green Soup by emily penn

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Food is medicine. I firmly believe in that and if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you do, too. Even Hippocrates knew food was medicine, way back when.

It’s my goal - personally and professionally - to harness all the medicinal power of food and nourish myself, my clients and those I love with it. It’s my mission and my passion.

One of the most important times to harness the healing properties of foods is when we’re getting sick. Anytime I feel like I’m coming down with something, I focus big-time on what I’m putting into my body. I focus on nutrient-dense foods, herbs and anti-inflammatory and high-antioxidant foods.

Another thing that I think is important to keep in mind is that digestion takes a lot of our body’s energy. When your body is fighting an illness or infection, it needs all its resources. While focusing on nutrient-density of food, I also focus on lighter foods and easy-to-digest foods.

That’s what makes this Medicinal Green Soup so amazing! It’s very simply and easy digest, while also being loaded with ingredients that nourish your body. Let’s look at the ingredients:

Bone Broth - bone broth supports gut health and is anti-inflammatory (for vegans/vegetarians, you can use veggie broth or water in place of this)

Greens - greens have tons of micronutrients to support cellular health. You can use any you like here, I prefer the neutral taste of spinach - which is also high in vitamin C

Garlic - long hailed as a highly medicinal food, garlic is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. It’s been known to reduce the duration of the common cold.

Fresh Herbs - herbs are concentrated in antioxidants, support the liver and are anti-inflammatory. You can use any you like here - parsley, cilantro, oregano, rosemary, basil, etc.

Himalayan or Sea or Celtic Salt - real salt contains trace minerals that nourish the adrenals and help support fluid balance.

Avocado - if you choose to include the avocado, it’s fully of healthy fats, fiber and potassium.

Medicinal Green Soup

serves 1 / total time 10 minutes

ingredients
2 cups organic bone broth (chicken or beef)
large handful of greens of your choice (I like spinach)
fresh herbs of your choice (about 1 tbsp of each)
1 clove of garlic
good quality real salt to taste
1/2 avocado (optional)

directions
1. In a small saucepan, gently heat bone broth, greens and herbs until it’s as hot as you’d like it and greens have started to wilt.
2. Add bone broth, greens, herbs and garlic to a blender. Blend on high for 30-60 seconds until greens are fully blended. Taste and season to your liking with salt.
3. Pour into a bowl, over 1/2 chopped avocado if desired, and enjoy!

Paleo Kimchi Fried Rice (It's Vegan, too!) by emily penn

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My favorite part about cooking for other people is getting out of my comfort zone. We tend to cook what we know or variations of it - over and over again. Which is nice in terms of preserving mental energy and saving time, but can get a little boring when it comes to the food we end up eating over and over.

I had never made kimchi fried rice until I had to for a client a few weeks ago. And when I tasted the end product to make sure it was up to par, I was blown away. I wanted more of it in my life!

I don’t do a whole lot of grains - I find that I feel better when I limit my intake of them. So I wanted to see if making kimchi fried rice with cauliflower rice would still get the job done. (If you’re curious how they affect you, eliminate them for one month and then reintroduce them.)

I must warn you - it of course doesn’t have that same sticky, starchy mouth feel that actual rice has, and you shouldn’t expect it to since cauliflower isn’t starchy. But in terms of flavor and satisfaction? It totally still delivers. I love love love the pungent, spicy flavor burst from the kimchi mixed with the mellow nuttiness of the sesame oil.

While you can totally enjoy this recipe all on its own as a small meal or snack, it’s meant to be more of a canvas. It’s up to you how you want to make it into a full meal - top with a fried egg or scramble some in, serve with chicken or pork, bulk it up with lots of extra veggies. The options are entirely in your capable hands!

A note about kimchi + probiotics - cooking at high heat kills the probiotics in fermented foods (and which is probably why I’ve never made kimchi fried rice before). That’s why I strongly suggest topping the finished product with some fresh kimchi so that you get all the beneficial bacteria to keep your gut healthy and happy!

Paleo Kimchi Fried Rice

serves 1
total time about 15 minutes

Ingredients
1 cup steamed broccoli florets
2 tbsp avocado oil
¼ cup kimchi
1 cup of cauliflower rice
1 garlic clove, minced
¼ tsp smoked paprika

Kimchi Sauce
2 tbsp kimchi liquid
1 tsp coconut aminos
½ tsp sesame oil

For Serving
Green Onions
Fresh Kimchi

Instructions

  1. If you need to steam your broccoli, get it started now. Steam for 10 minutes, until tender but still bright green. Set aside. Mix up the Kimchi Sauce in a small bowl and set aside.

  2. Heat a large pan over high heat. Once pan is nice and hot add avocado oil, followed by the kimchi. Fry the kimchi for 2-3 minutes, until it starts to dry out.

  3. Add cauliflower rice, garlic, smoked paprika and half the Kimchi Sauce to the pan. Quickly stir until everything is incorporated, then let it sit on high heat for another 2-3 minutes. Cooking at super high heat and getting smoky has always made me kind of uncomfortable, but this is what you want for this dish - high heat and fast cooking.

  4. After 2-3 minutes, give the mixture in the pan a stir. Let cook for just one more minute.

  5. Transfer to serving dish. Drizzle with the rest of the Kimchi Sauce and top with green onions, fresh kimchi and any other protein or veggie you want to add. Enjoy!