Quinoa Cakes

Quinoa, a grain or seed? You decide. I won’t get into that. Should you eat it? YES!!!
It’s so versatile and easy to cook. From sweet to savoury, on its own or added to vegetables, a little goes a long way. So here is one of my fav’s.
My family loves these Quinoa cakes and I’m sure you will as well😉. These remind me of summer 2014☺️so bear with me, not bare with me😇these little cakes make me happy😄

Preparation/Cook time about a hour Makes 15 1/4cup size cakes

INGREDIENTS
5 +1/2 cups (cooked )quinoa as per package instructions ~2 cups dry
3/4 cups finely chopped shallots(or onions)
1/4 cup more or less😐Olive oil-(or try Coconut oil)
1/2 tsp hot pepper flakes( I like mine pulverized😊
1/2 cup water
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup homemade fresh breadcrumbs*
4 eggs beaten
1/4 c finely chopped parsley(in summer I prefer fresh chives which are so easy to grow😎

*to make fresh breadcrumbs cut a fresh loaf of italian bread into pieces small enough to fit into a VITAMIX or other blender. Process until they are crumbs. Voila😊

TOOLS

large non-stick skillet
Spatula
Ice cream scoop 1/4 liquid measure

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PREPARATION

Sauté shallots in 2 tbsp olive or coconut oil with a pinch of salt and hot pepper flakes. Cook on medium heat until tender and set aside to cool.
Measure out the cooked and cooled quinoa, place in a large bowl. Add cooled shallots or onions.
Beat 4 eggs with 1/2 cup water, add Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and parsley.
Add the latter to the quinoa. Combine until blended. Let stand about 10 minutes.
On medium high heat add 1 tbsp oil in skillet. Measure out a level scoop full of quinoa into skillet. I cook about 5 per turn in my skillet. Make certain to leave some space between the cakes.

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Now this is where things get pernickety 😁so hang in there with me.
After a few minutes of cooking, use the back of your spatula to ever to slightly press the cakes down to form patties. Continue searing for another 3 minutes.
5-6 minutes total per side. Patience😯 now gently turn each one over and cook for another 5-6 minutes or until they are nicely golden. You may need to coax the runaway quinoa back to their pod😅I mean patty.

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They will be crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Eat them cooled or warm. We like a little spicy aioli with ours😍Place them on a platter for summer bbq’s, or store them in an airtight container once cooled and take a few for lunch.
This is a basic recipe. Add in whatever you wish. I prefer mine simple.
Try them out. Let me know how it went.
Love to hear from you. Be kind😘

Baked chicken fajitas

Eat chicken? Most of us here in Canada do. In fact, the average Canadian eats over 30 kg of chicken per year according to recent statistics. That being said, there are countless chicken recipes to try.
This one is simple and you likely have all the ingredients available in your fridge and freezer.
This recipe requires one bake pan which doubles as your serving dish. Prep and cooking time takes less than one hour.
Try it tonight!

INGREDIENTS:

5 boneless skinless organic or naturally raised chicken breasts sliced into 1″ strips
2 red peppers sliced lengthwise 1″ thick strips
1 green pepper same as red
1 1/2 large red onion sliced 1/2″
4-5 cloves garlic chopped
2 tbsp oregano
1 1/2 tbsp chilli powder
1-2 tsp cumin
1/2-1 tsp hot chilli flakes ( depending on your taste)
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3+tbsp organic olive oil or melted virgin coconut oil

PREPARATION:

Pre-heat oven to 400′

Kick ass Paleo chocolate cake

If you can’t live without chocolate then this one’s for you.

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon gluten-free baking soda
pinch sea salt
10 oz. pitted medjool dates
1/2 cup + 1 tbsp freshly brewed warm coffee
3 eggs at room temperature
2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 325*.

When measuring your dry ingredients be sure to be accurate. Level off the ingredients with a knife.
Mix together all dry ingredients (almond flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt) in a bowl and
Sift these ingredients onto parchment paper, and set aside.
Place the dates and warm coffee in a food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Then add eggs coconut oil and vanilla extract. Continue blending and scraping down sides of processor. The mixture should have a smooth consistency.
Add the wet to the dry and stir until smooth.
Grease an 8″ round cake pan with coconut oil and add a few tbsp of almond flour & cocoa to coat the pan and tap out the excess flour. Pour the batter in the pan. Tap the pan. Don’t worry if the batter isn’t perfectly smooth on top.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. 28 minutes in an electric oven worked well.
Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving so that it has time to set.
Place a large plate over the pan. Give the pan another few taps and Invert it into the plate.
Serve as is or with this simple frosting care of Elenas pantry.

Simple chocolate frosting :

1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup virgin coconut oil
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract

Place chocolate and coconut oil in a bowl over a simmering pot of water.
Melt then add the vanilla. Place the frosting in a fridge for a half hour.
Frost your cakes over a rack as the frosting may drip down the sides.
The cakes can be left out at room temperature for a few days, or refrigerate in an airtight container for a week.

Winter Asian pork stew

Pork stew

When it’s cold outside there is nothing better to warm your belly than a nice bowl of stew. And this pork stew with Asian accents will do just that. I was searching for something other than the traditional beef stew and stumbled upon this one, which came from Fine Cooking. I tested it out and made a minor adjustment. Now, IMO it’s perfect. 😉
It is relatively inexpensive to make as it utilizes pork shoulder or pork butt (same thing). You may ask your butcher to trim off the excess fat, and there will be quite a bit. Don’t fret about removing all of it. Some will add flavour and the excess can be removed after the cooking process.

You will need a heavy bottom pot, or Dutch oven.

INGREDIENTS:

3 lbs boneless pork shoulder, fat trimmed and cut into 1-1/2 to 2 inch pieces
3 tbsp olive oil, more as needed
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped (about 1 cup)
2 medium celery stalks, coarsely chopped
1 medium carrot, coarsely chopped
3 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp minced fresh lemongrass
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
1 or 2 Thai bird chillies or 1 rounded tsp of red chilli flakes
3 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 cups onion wedges ( 3/4″ wedges)
2 cups butternut squash (1-inch dice)
2 cups diced red pepper( 1″ dice)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp fresh lime juice, more to taste
1 tbsp fish sauce, more to taste

PREPARATION:

Position rack in the bottom third of your oven and heat oven to 325’F
Spread the pork on paper towels to dry for 10-20 minutes before browning. If the meat is very wet, pat it dry. Use this time to chop the onion celery and carrot.

Heat the oil in a heavy bottom pot (6 quart), until it is shimmering hot. Season 1/4 of the pork with salt and pepper and arrange it in a single layer in the pot( leaving 1/2 inch space between pieces. Brown well on all four sides, adjusting the heat if necessary. Each batch should take about 10 minutes to brown. Transfer the pork to a large bowl in batches. Repeat with the remaining pork pieces. Once all the pork is browned remove the pot from the heat and let it cool a few minutes.
Leave about 2 tbsp of fat in the pot and if there isn’t enough fat then add in oil equal to 2 tbsp. Return the pot to medium heat, add the chopped onion, celery and carrot. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper, cook stirring often and scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spatula. Cook until the vegetables have softened (about 5 minutes).
Stir in the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, coriander and chillies and cook stirring about 1-2 minutes.
Add 1 cup of water, stirring to dissolve any of the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. Raise the heat to medium high and boil to reduce by about 1/2, 5-8 minutes. Add the chicken broth and the additional 1-1/2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Return the pork to the pot along with any accumulated juices. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer.
Crumple a 12×16-inch piece of parchment, then flatten it out.
(crumpling makes it easier to handle)
Place the parchment directly on the surface of the stew, allowing the ends to come up the sides of the pot. Cover with a lid and place in the oven for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes of stewing, add the onion wedges to the pot. Cover with parchment and lid and return to the oven another 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, add the squash and bell peppers. Cover with parchment and lid and return to the oven, cooking another hour until the pork is fork tender.

Stir in the cilantro, lime juice and fish sauce and taste adding more if necessary. Degrease the stew by laying a paper towel over the surface of the stew and gently pushing it into all the bumps and dips, then quickly peeling it off. Once the stew is chilled, lift the solidified fat off the top with a slotted spoon. Reheat over medium-low heat to serve.

This stew can be made ahead up to 2 days.

African chicken almond stew

It’s time to stew. This little gem came to me by way of Hunter Angler Gardener Cook. The original recipe was a peanut stew so I replaced peanuts with almonds, a little less almond butter, a bit more heat from cayenne and boneless chicken leg pieces to speed up the cooking time. Serve with my curried cauliflower rice and it is a perfect cold weather warm you up meal. Here we go!

INGREDIENTS:

3 lbs. boneless chicken legs and or thighs
3 tbsp olive oil or virgin coconut oil
1 large onion chopped
A 4 inch piece of ginger, peeled and minced
8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1-15 oz can crushed tomatoes
4 cups organic chicken stock or broth
1/2 c + 3 tbsp almond butter
1/3 cup toasted almonds*see note below
1 tbsp ground coriander
11/2-2 tsp cayenne pepper or to taste
Sea salt and black pepper to taste

PREPARATION:

* note: toast your 1/3 cup almonds in a frying pan over medium heat about 4 minutes and set aside.
Heat a large cast iron pot or heavy bottom pot over medium heat,and add the olive oil. Pat the chicken pieces dry and season both sides with salt.
Brown them in batches, making sure not to crowd the pot. Look for a nice brown sear on the chicken. Set aside in a large plate.
Sauté the onions in the same pot for 3-4 minutes scraping down the brown bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté another 1-2 minutes, then add the sweet potatoes stirring well to combine.
Add the chicken, chicken broth,crushed tomatoes, almond butter, toasted almonds, ground coriander, cayenne and stir well to combine.
Bring to a simmer, uncovered and taste for salt.
Cover the pot and simmer gently for 60 minutes.
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Plate over cauliflower rice, sprinkle with chopped cilantro or parsley and sliced almonds. Enjoy 🙂

Serves 6-8

Happy Thanksgiving

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It’s Thanksgiving and we have so much to be thankful for. I was fortunate to spend time with both families this weekend. Mine and my husbands. That’s the stuff that makes me happy. Being with the people you love and care for. And although some were curious about what a Paleo lifestyle is, many couldn’t conceive of the idea of letting go of their favourite comfort foods, like bread and pasta.
I’ve said it before, no one that I know can follow a Paleo lifestyle 100% to the letter. And in my opinion, it’s perfectly normal and necessary to eat some of those Non-Paleo foods every now and then to keep your sanity. So with that in mind and knowing I wanted to make a simple no fail dessert I present to you this.

Pumpkin bread pudding with caramel sauce

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups half and half
18 oz pumpkin purée
1 cup ( packed) brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg bread (about a pound) cubed
1/2 cup golden raisins or chopped apricots(what I used)

CARAMEL SAUCE

1 1/4 cup (packed ) brown sugar
1/2 cup ( 1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup whipping cream

PREPARATION:

Preheat oven to 350′
Whisk half and half, pumpkin purée,dark brown sugar,eggs,spices and vanilla Ina large bowl. Fold in cubed bread, stir in raisins. Transfer to an 11×13 glass baking dish. Let stand 15 minutes. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. About 30-40 minutes.

For caramel sauce

Whisk brown sugar and butter in a heavy bottom saucepan over medium heat until butter melts. Whisk in cream and stir until sugar dissolves and sauce is smooth. About 3 minutes.

Serve bread pudding warm with caramel sauce.
Enjoy!

This recipe was inspired by Bon Appetit

Velvety butternut squash soup

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With Thanksgiving around the corner, I thought I’d share a few of my make ahead recipes with you. This one is yet another soup that is perfect for fall and winter. Make ahead, keep it frozen or refrigerated, warm and … Continue reading

Asian inspired slaw

Featured

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Cool down with this Asian slaw. No cooking required, make this ahead, keep refrigerated for a few days. Add some protein, keep it simple and quick. When I’m rushed for time I add leftover shredded chicken or store-bought shredded roasted chicken right to this slaw. It pairs well with shrimp and lobster too.
To save time purchase pre-shredded mixed cabbage or slaw and just add the dressing.
Use 4 cups of slaw.
If you have a food processor follow the instructions below.

INGREDIENTS:
1/4 head each of red and green cabbage, finely shredded in food processor~ 3 cups total
1/2 cup store-bought broccoli slaw
1/4 cup store-bought match stick carrots
2 green onions chopped
1 tbsp grated ginger(optional)*
1 1/2 -2 tbsp raw honey
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 tbsp lime juice
Pinch of salt and pepper
Sesame seeds for garnish

PREPARATION:
Microwave honey for 10 seconds, then add vinegar,lime juice, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
In a large bowl add the cabbage, broccoli slaw, carrots and green onions. Pour in the dressing and mix. Refrigerate at least an hour.
Garnish with sesame seeds.