paleo

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!

Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake (Gluten Free + Paleo) by emily penn

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Coffee cake was one of my absolute favorite things when I was a kid. I didn’t eat it all the time, it was more of a special occasion thing - like holidays or brunch events. But man, when I did have it, I would eat A LOT of it. Because it’s soooo good. It’s hard to stop!

Needless to say, I haven’t been hitting the Entenmann’s in quite some time. But I recently came across a recipe for a gluten-free coffee cake that looked promising. It was and I was thrilled! I made some modifications and tweaks and this Bluberry Almond Coffee Cake was born.

It’s nice and moist (sorry, but it’s an accurate descriptor!) on the inside, with a crumb topping and melted coconut butter drizzled on top instead of super sugary glaze. It’s paleo, gluten-free, and low in sugar! And it totally hits the spot.

An egg really helps lift the almond flour, but you could use a flax egg or vegan egg substitute to make this vegan. This may increase the cooking time.

And now, without further delay - the recipe. Let me know what you think in the comments!

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Blueberry Almond Coffee Cake
(Gluten Free + Paleo)

makes 1 loaf
prep time 10 minutes / cook time 1 hour

ingredients
½ cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
¼ cup maple syrup
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 egg
½ tsp vanilla extract
½ tsp almond extract (optional)

1 ½ cups almond flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp salt
1 cup of blueberries

crumb topping
½ cup of almond flour
1.5 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp cinnamon

for serving
drizzle with melted coconut butter

instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Prepare a regular loaf pan (either grease it or line with parchment paper).

  2. Mix all wet ingredients together. In a separate bowl mix all dry ingredients except blueberries. Slowly add the dry to the wet ingredients, stirring to make sure it’s well-combined. Then stir in blueberries, reserving a small handful for the top of the loaf.

  3. Mix up your crumb topping and distribute evenly on top, then sprinkle with reserved blueberries.

  4. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until edges are turning golden and loaf is firm when you press in the center.

  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes. Then carefully transfer to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool for at least another 20 minutes.

  6. When ready to serve drizzle with melted coconut butter. Enjoy! Best enjoyed in three days, after that refrigerate or freeze the leftovers.

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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!