roasted jalapeño spaghetti squash cakes (grain free)

Let me tell you a little about the weather right now.

roasted jalapeño spaghetti squash cakes @ Girl Meets Paleo

It sucks. Sure, it’s pretty and sure, it hardly ever snows real snow in Oregon, but I can’t stand it.  It’s really snowing, really reallllllllly snowing.  Like, there are inches of snow outside, I can’t see where the sidewalks end and where the streets start, and I think my car is out there still, but I really can’t be sure because all I see is a giant white blob of snow.  It hasn’t stopped coming down for hours and hours and I feel like it’s getting heavier and heavier sitting round in my house all day.  So I made spaghetti squash cakes because latkes sounded amazing and comforting, but I don’t have potatoes laying around.   *Note to self: next time a snow storm is on its way buy lots and lots of potatoes.  and wine.

roasted jalapeño spaghetti squash cakes @ Girl Meets Paleo

So, these cakes are crispy and crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside.  I’m not sure if that’s how they are supposed to be, but I love them and couldn’t stop eating them so I think that’s a good sign.  Also, I’m big on roasting peppers lately.  Can’t stop.  My fingers are sort of always burning because I’m too lazy to wear gloves, but it’s totally worth it.

roasted jalapeño spaghetti squash cakes @ Girl Meets Paleo

Roasted Jalapeño Spaghetti Squash Cakes

1 good sized spaghetti squash

1 tbsp salt

2 jalapeños

1 egg

½ cup potato flour

1 tsp garlic powder

½ cup fat of choice, plus more as needed (duck fat, ghee, palm shortening, or avocado oil if you don’t mind heating it)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Carefully, cut the squash in half and place it cut side town on a sheet tray lined with foil.  Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the squash is tender to the touch.  Remove from oven, flip the halves over onto a plate, and let cool.  Keep the oven on for the peppers.  Place the two jalapeños on the sheet tray and roast for about 20-25 minutes, flipping half way through, until the peppers are blackened.  Remove from oven and let cool.

When the squash is cool enough to handle, scrape out the insides with a fork and place into a large fine mesh strainer.  You want about 6 cups of squash, so if you have extra save it for another use. Sprinkle the salt over the squash, mix with your hands, and let sit over a bowl or in the sink for about an hour.  This will allow a lot of the water to drain.

In the meantime, cut the pepper tops off, cut in half, and remove ribs and seeds.  If you want the cakes to be spicy you can leave the seeds in.  Finely mince the roasted peppers.

After about an hour, cut out a large piece of cheese cloth and fold it in half.  Pour the squash onto the cloth, gather the corners, and twist so that liquid starts to gush out.  Really squeeze and twist so that a ton of liquid comes out.  I got almost two cups of water out (this process with reduce the the squash’s volume).  Dump the drained squash into a large bowl (it will end up being about 2 cups), add the whisked egg, chopped jalapeños, garlic powder, and potato flour.  Mix until everything is combined.  This squash mixture will be thick and a bit sticky.

In a cast iron skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Scoop the mixture into balls (I like to use an ice cream scoop, but a ¼ cup measure would work too) and slightly flatten on a flat surface.  You don’t want these cakes too flat! Once the oil is hot enough (you can test this by dropping a small piece of squash into the pan.  It should sizzle), place 3 or 4 cakes into the oil, being careful not to crowd them.  Fry for about 2-3 minutes until they are browned, flip, and cook another 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and let drain on a paper towel or on a cooling rack.  Repeat until all the cakes have been cooked, adding more oil as needed.

Eat up!!!

roasted jalapeño spaghetti squash cakes @ Girl Meets Paleo

curried chicken salad with mango & toasted coconut (dairy free)

Remember when I said my taste buds have expanded and I no longer hate ethnic food?

curried chicken salad w/ mango & toasted coconut

Well, curry fits into that category.  Used to hate it, now I love it.  I also used to hate mayonnaise, but now that I make my own with avocado oil I love it.  Taste buds are weird.  They’re always open to new experiences and yet stubborn at the same time.  They’re like the young twenty-somethings of the world.  Have I mentioned I’m turning 24 in the not too distance future? UGH.  I am and it’s killing me! 24 is so daunting, it’s the last year I can round down to 20.  I already go to bed by 9 and can’t stand loud things.  How’s it going to be at 24?!

curried chicken salad w/ mango & toasted coconut

Luckily, I still have a few more months before a total panic attack ensues.  In the meantime, I’m going to do my best to take my taste buds on as many wild nights as possible before it’s time they settle down.

curried chicken salad w/ mango & toasted coconut

Curried Chicken Salad with Mango & Toasted Coconut

1 bone-in chicken breast

½ tbsp coconut oil, melted

4 tbsp mayonnaise, preferably homemade

¾ tsp curry powder

juice of one lime

1 tsp freshly grated ginger

2 tbsp minced cilantro

4 green onions, white and light green parts minced

2 celery stalks, finely ficed

1 mango, diced

¼ cup coconut flakes

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Rub the melted coconut oil all over the chicken breast, sprinkle it with salt and pepper, and roast for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.  Remove from oven and let cool.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayo, lime juice, curry powder, and ginger.  To a large bowl, add the celery, green onion, cilantro, and mango.  Once the chicken is cool, pull all the meat off and dice it.  Add the chicken to the large bowl, along with the curried mayo.  Mix together.

Heat a small pan over medium.  Toast the coconut in the pan until flakes begin to turn a light brown.  Stir the coconut to prevent it from burning.  Keep a close eye on it! It goes from toasted to burnt pretty fast.

Garnish the chicken salad with the coconut.  This is great served in lettuce wraps, in bell peppers, or eaten straight from the bowl!

curried chicken salad w/ mango & toasted coconut

grain free buffalo chicken waffles

I’ve really started to notice something lately…

grain free buffalo chicken waffles @ Girl Meets Paleo

Once upon a time long ago (ok, maybe not that long ago) I was a picky eater.  Not just a let-me-pick-those-olives-off picky eater, but a oh-my-god-I-cannot-touch-this-because-a-tiny-olive-piece-was-near-it picky eater.  Yes, it’s true.  I know it’s hard to believe, but this kombucha drinking, raw liver pill taking, fish oil swallowing girl used to like things plain and simple.

I’m talking chicken tenders at every restaurant, mayo on absolutely NOTHING, and all tomatoes picked off.  Mushrooms were poison, avocados were mushy grossness, and ethnic food was a big N-O.  My poor mom hated us kids because we requested the same 4 meals over and over again.  And then again the next month.

grain free buffalo chicken waffles @ Girl Meets Paleo

I’m not really sure when, but at some point my taste buds grew up.  Slowly, they started appreciating more foods. Now, I love avocados and can’t get enough Thai food.  Most importantly though, I have become obsessed with all things buffalo! For years, I avoided buffalo wings, buffalo sauce, anything really that involved a bright red peppery sauce.  And then I saw the light.  Buffalo sauce is now a staple in our house.  Frank’s and butter get poured over meats regularly, as well as on eggs and grain-free biscuits.  I just can’t stop.

Last weekend, I was faced with the biggest dilemma.  For the life of me, I just couldn’t pick between waffles or buffalo chicken tenders for breakfast…  *DING DING DING*

I cut up those spicy tenders and threw them into the day’s waffles.  Best decision ever.

grain free buffalo chicken waffles @ Girl Meets Paleo

Buffalo Chicken Waffles

1-1.5 cup cooked, diced chicken

½  cup hot sauce (I use Frank’s)

2 green onions, white and light green parts finely diced

1 cup blanched almond flour

½ cup tapioca flour

6 tbsp coconut flour (¼ cup plus 2 tbsp)

1 tsp garlic powder

¾ tsp baking soda

¼ tsp cayenne

2 eggs

1 cup coconut milk (full fat)

¼ cup ghee, butter, or oil of choice, melted plus more for greasing waffle iron

salt and pepper

Pre-heat a waffle maker.

In a large bowl, mix together the almond flour, tapioca flour, coconut flour, garlic powder, cayenne, and baking soda.  In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, coconut milk, hot sauce and melted butter.  Slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring to combine.  Stir the chicken and green onions into the batter.

Brush some melted butter onto the top and bottom of the waffle iron and pour about a heaping ½ cup of the batter onto the bottom of the waffle iron (I leave about an inch of space all around the edge of the waffle maker, just filling in the center portion, but your waffle maker may be different!).  Close lid and cook according to your waffle maker’s instructions until done and lightly browned (usually until the steam stops).  Repeat with the remaining batter until all the waffles have been made.

Serve waffles with extra hot sauce and blue cheese if you’re feeling frisky. Yolky eggs are perfect additions as well. I can’t stop munching on these cold, but they also reheat great in a toaster!

grain free buffalo chicken waffles @ Girl Meets Paleo

philly cheese steak stuffed sweet potato skins

I love it when food tastes naughty, but really isn’t.

I also really, really love stuffed foods.  Jalapeños stuffed with cream cheese, cookies stuffed with more cookies, my face stuffed with these…

philly cheese steak stuffed sweet potato skins

Speaking of stuffing my face, I can’t not stop eating plantain chips.  I want them all day long, with every meal.  And in between meals, and then after meals.  They are just so darn good with everything! I was skeptical of them at first, but now I’m in love.  Run out and get a bag (or ten), trust me.

philly cheese steak stuffed sweet potato skins

So, I made these in preparation for the Super Bowl.

Let’s be honest, football is great, but the main reason we all get so excited for the big game is for all of the big snacks and munchies that come with it.  Dips and sandwiches and chips and everything delicious and naughty under the sun.

Don’t eat naughty, just make these!

philly cheese steak stuffed sweet potato skins

Philly Cheese Steak Stuffed Sweet Potato Skins

4 sweet potatoes (aka yams)

1 tbsp + ½ tbsp butter or ghee separated, plus more for brushing

1 boneless rib-eye steak, about ¾ lb

1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

½ onion, thinly sliced

4 sliced provolone (optional)

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Poke the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and place them on a sheet tray lined with foal.  Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes, until tender.  Remove from oven, cut in half, and let cool.

**When you put the potatoes into the oven, go ahead and put the steak into the freezer.  It’s MUCH easier to thinly slice when it’s chilled!

When the potatoes are done, remove the steak from the freezer and slice very thinly against the grain.  In a large skillet, melt 1 tbsp butter over medium-high heat.  Add the peppers and onions to the pan and season with a pinch of salt and pepper.  Cook about 10 minutes, until they are softened and cooked down.  Push the peppers and onions to one side of the pan.  Add the steak to the empty side, season with salt and pepper, and cook only until just cooked through, about 2 minutes.  Add the remaining ½ tbsp butter, stir the steak together with the pepper and onions, and remove from heat.

Scoop out the sweet potato flesh, leaving about of ½ inch of potato all around the skin.  Reserve the scooped out sweet potato for another use.  Place the skins upside down on a sheet tray, brush the outsides with butter, sprinkle with salt, and bake an additional 5 minutes.  Flip the sweet potato skins over, brush the insides with melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and bake 5 more minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Turn oven to broil.  Divide the steak mix evenly between the 8 skins.  Top with provolone (if using) and put the skins under the broiler just long enough for the cheese to melt, about 3 minutes.  I would still do this step if omitting the cheese!

Remove from oven and stuff into your face.

philly cheese steak stuffed sweet potato skins

brown butter banana walnut muffins (grain/gluten free)

Before we get to the muffins, let’s talk about running.

brown butter banana walnut muffins - Girl Meets Paleo

Gross, I know. As much as I despise running and as much as I loathe doing it… I think I may be starting to like it just a little bit.  Sort of.  I’ve had dreams (ok, more like fantasies) of running a half marathon for years.  Since I was in decent shape way back in high school.

Side note: thinking about how long it’s been since I was in high school is just a tad bit depressing. I feel the exact same as I did back then.  Is that possible? Maybe I just trick myself into feeling like a high schooler to make my impending 24th birthday a little less daunting? Either way, 24 is coming up and I don’t like it one bit. At least I’ll always have the comforting fact that CJ is two years older. HA!

brown butter banana walnut muffins - Girl Meets Paleo

Anyways, I don’t know why and I’m sure it will kill me, but I want to run a half marathon.  So, I told some people about it knowing that if I kept it a secret it would die a secret and I would never get up off of my booty.  Problem is, now people know and now I actually have to run.  And now that I’ve been running I don’t hate it as much as I thought I would? Don’t get me wrong.  I still hate thinking about it and I still hate getting dressed and going to the gym.  I also hate the first few minutes, the last few minutes, and all the minutes in between, but what I don’t hate is how I feel after all the running.  I actually love how I feel afterwards.  It’s like I could conquer a small country, like I’m on top of the world.  Or, like I could eat all the muffins.

brown butter banana walnut muffins - Girl Meets Paleo

Brown Butter Banana Walnut Muffins

½ cup unsalted butter

2 bananas

½ cup maple syrup

4 eggs

½ cup coconut flour

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp vanilla

½ tsp salt

½ cup chopped walnuts

Pre-heat oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with liners.

To brown the butter, cut the butter into tablespoons and place in a small pan over medium/medium low heat.  Once the butter has fully melted, start whisking (and don’t stop!).  Continue whisking as the butter begins to foam and bubble.  After about 5-8 minutes, the butter will get more transparent and you will be able to see little golden forming on the bottom of the pan.  Once you notice these browned bits, continue whisking another 30 seconds and then remove from heat and whisk another 30 seconds.  You don’t want the butter to burn (you will definitely know if it does!).  The butter should be a rich golden color and have a nutty fragrance.  Let cool while you prepare the rest of the muffin batter.

In a small mixing bowl, combine coconut flour, tapioca flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt.  In a large bowl, beat the bananas until they are mostly broken down (a few chunks are always a good thing).  Add the maple syrup and vanilla, and mix until combined.  Add the cooled brown butter and mix until combined.  One at a time, add each egg and mix until each one is fully incorporated before adding the next.  Slowly mix in the dry ingredients.

Pour the batter evenly into the 12 muffin liners.  Top each one with a sprinkling of the walnuts.  Bake for about 22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of a cupcake.

Remove from oven, let cool, and devour!

brown butter banana walnut muffins - Girl Meets Paleo

roasted poblano waffles (grain/dairy/sugar free)

Ugh, these are just too good.

DSC_0120

Waffles are just a danger food.  I looooooove waffles, which is a bit weird because growing up they weren’t that special.  Sure, I would gladly eat them doused in syrup AND powdered sugar whenever presented with the delicious opportunity, but they were never a breakfast I really craved. Chocolate chip pancakes on the other hand? Yes please, always. Waffles, though, are a new love of mine.   Ever since I gave up traditional wheat-filled waffles they are all I think about every. single.  weekend.  I do my best to not make them (because let’s be honest, I would eat the whole batch), but sometimes I cave.

In an effort to make them healthier, my right brain convinced my left brain that making savory waffles would be much healthier than making sweet waffles. It’s a fact.  Also a fact, I love green chile anything.  ANYTHING. Except maybe something weird like green chile donuts… which could actually be really good now that I’m thinking about them.  So yes, green chile anything.

I layered these poblano bites of heaven with sautéed chorizo, yolky eggs (cause, DUH), and cilantro.  Healthy waffles never tasted so good (no sugar=healthy, my right brain is a genius).

DSC_0124

Roasted Poblano Waffles

2 poblano peppers

⅓ cup blanched almond flour

½ cup coconut flour

½ cup tapioca flour

1 tsp granulated garlic

¾ tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

2 eggs

¼ cup ghee/butter/coconut oil, melted (plus more for greasing the waffle maker)

1 cup full fat coconut milk

Pre-heat your oven to the broil setting,  Line a sheet tray with foil and place peppers on tray. Place the tray under the broiler and broil about 5 minutes, or until the peppers begin to blacken.  Rotate peppers about every 5 minutes until every side is blackened.  Remove papers from oven, place in a bowl,  cover with plastic wrap, and let sit about 15 minutes (this allows the peppers to steam so that the skins can be removed).  Pre-heat the waffle maker.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine the almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca flour, garlic, baking soda, salt, and pepper.  In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, melted oil, and coconut milk.  Pour the wet mix into the dry mix and whisk until combined.

Remove the roasted peppers from the bowl, and place on a cutting board.  Cut the pepper tops off, and scrape away all the seeds and the skin.  Dice up the peppers and add to the waffle batter, stirring to combine.

Once the waffle maker is hot, brush a little cooking oil on both sides.  Pour ¼ of the batter onto the bottom and spread it evenly on the four quadrants.  Close the waffle maker and cook the waffles, either until it signals they are done or until the steam subsides.  If the waffles look browned and release easily with a fork they are probably done.  Repeat until the waffle batter is used up.

This recipe makes 4 good sized waffles. Top with browned chorizo, yolky eggs, or anything your heart (or stomach) desires.

Yum!

cravings

If you’re anything like me, you browse the inter webs daily looking for the next best treat.  I absolutely love drooling over food blogs of all shapes and sizes, no diets excluded.  Even if I won’t eat that gluten laden cake doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy starting at it (and hopefully figure out a way to make it grain-free).

From here on out, I will be posting a cravings post once a week.  It will feature what recipes I can’t stop thinking about, and maybe a few other fun things as well.

This Chicken w/ Tahini and Pomegranate Sauce.  I have a half full (or half empty?) jar of pomegranate molasses just dying to be used.

OMG, these Coconut Banana Pancakes w/ Lemony Butter.  No better way to brighten up a cold morning.

Three words: Grain-Free Naan.  WHAT!? Only something my guy and I have been craving for YEARS.

A perfect treat before I kick-off the 21 Day Sugar Detox,  I have to make these Pineapple Coconut Bars w/ Chocolate Macadamia Crust

Smoked Squash Hummus, that is smoker and garbanzo free.  Something I can (and will) make.

Looking for a spooky halloween treat? Try this Frog Eggs & Eyeballs (aka Coconut Green Tea Chia Pudding)

and for a good laugh, check out these 14 Fabulous Pets Dresses up as Food

Please, tell me.  What are you craving right now?! There’s always something I’m missing.