Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Zoodles and Bolognese

Hello hungry internet peeps! I have another recipe for you today... Zoodles and Bolognese sauce. This is my absolute favorite sauce, and when I discovered my food allergies, I was heart-broken because I couldn't have pasta anymore. How do you eat bolognese sauce without pasta? But then I discovered the beauty of vegetable noodles (like today's zoodles!), spaghetti squash, and polenta (for those people who can do corn).

So this recipe I'm sharing with you today is Paleo and AIP-friendly. The origin of the recipe is Mario Batali's "Babbo" cookbook, but I have had to alter the original recipe to make it allergy-friendly for me. If you don't have a gluten issue, please feel free to use regular noodles. This sauce works great with tagliatelle or pappardelle noodles, penne, or even spaghetti. If you can't do tomato paste, you can use canned pumpkin, but it will change the flavor a bit.

Start with the freshest, healthiest options you can find. Except the Pancetta. Just do it. It's worth it. I make this in a 6 quart dutch oven. Any large stock pot will work, but make sure it's large. This recipe makes a ton. :) It freezes well, though, so don't let that be a deterrent.

So I start with onions, carrots, celery and garlic. I sweat it with some olive oil.

Then I add in the proteins and keep stirring until they are browned.

Then the rest of the ingredients... wine, tomato paste, coconut milk and spices. Then let it simmer for an hour and a half. The smell will drive you crazy! This sauce smells so good.

I used zucchini to make my noodles. I like to call them Zoodles. But you can do this with a spiralizer, or you can use a mandolin to make them more like flat tagliatelle noodles. I steamed the noodles before serving, too.

Zoodles and Bolognese


Olive Oil
2 yellow onions, finely chopped
5 celery stalks, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 lb ground beef (or veal would work well if you have access to ground veal)
1 lb ground pork
4 oz Pancetta (or slab bacon, ground or finely chopped)
1 12 oz can tomato paste
1 cup Coconut Milk (I recommend using the So Delicious brand, not the canned versions for this recipe)
1 cup dry White Wine (if you don't do wine, you can sub chicken broth, but I recommend the wine...)
1 tsp Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

Zucchini for zoodles - each zucchini makes about 1 1/2 cups of zoodles


Heat the olive oil in the bottom of a heavy 6 to 8 quart stock pot. Add the chopped onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Cook over medium heat until the vegetables become translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the meats and stir into the vegetables. Brown over high heat, making sure you stir frequently so the meat doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the tomato paste, coconut milk, white wine and thyme. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for an hour and a half. Add salt and pepper to taste.

For the zoodles, use a spiralizer or mandolin to turn the zucchini into noodles. Steam for about 15 minutes prior to serving. You want the noodles al dente.

Serve the bolognese over the noodles.

And then eat the hell out of it. It's that good.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Black Bean Chili with Mushrooms

We had our annual craft night party this week, and I made some vegetarian Black Bean and Mushroom Chili to share. The ladies liked it and asked for the recipe, so here it is. :) First things first, if you are using dried black beans, soak them overnight. Just do it. It's longer than the boiling method, but it leaves you with a better consistency bean.

So I soaked my beans overnight. Then the next morning, I started with some basic spices: mustard seed, chili powder, cumin and cardamom. I added a little olive oil and toasted the spices.

Then I mixed in mushrooms and onions and some water and let it sweat a bit. :)

I drained my black beans and put them in the crockpot. I added tomatillos, tomato paste, vegetable stock, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce to my onion and mushroom mixture. I mixed it all together, and then poured it over the black beans.

I cooked it on high for about 8 hours. I wanted the beans to have more of a creamy texture.

Sorry for the steam in the pic, but it was hot. :)

We served it in these super-adorable and 'easy to clean up' paper bowls. Mostly because I don't actually have enough dishes to feed everyone. :) But the bowls work great. My mom made cornbread to go with the chili. The corn bread she makes is off the corn meal box, and she substitutes honey or organic cane sugar, almond milk, and almond flour to make it allergy friendly for me.

Black Bean Chili with Mushrooms


1 lb dried Black Beans
1 Tbsp Olive Oil or Coconut Oil
1 Tbsp Ground Mustard
2 Tbsp Chili Powder
1 1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Cardamom
2 Onions, medium, chopped
1 lb Mushrooms, sliced
1/4 Cup Water
~8 oz Tomatillos, husked and chopped
~5 Cups Vegetable Stock
6 oz can Tomato Paste
2-3 Tbsp Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce, minced. (Find the sugar-free version... it's worth it. Much smokier taste)


Soak the black beans overnight. In the morning, put the spices and oil in a 5-6 quart dutch oven or heavy stock pot. Toast the spices for a couple of minutes. Add the onions, mushrooms and water and let it sweat for a few minutes, maybe 5-7 minutes. Then add the tomatillos, vegetable stock, tomato paste and peppers. Stir and let it simmer for another 5 minutes.

Drain the black beans and put them in the bottom of the crockpot. Pour the onion and mushroom mixture over the top. Cover and turn on high for 8 hours.

Dish up and enjoy!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Chicken Sausage and Brown Rice "Risotto"

I made this for lunch on Tuesday and just had to share it...

It's one of those meals that I kind of threw together. I was craving risotto, but I can't actually eat any dairy, and because I am on another Whole Life Challenge team (www.wholelifechallenge.com) for the next 52 days, I only get brown rice. No white rice for me. So with those slight dietary restrictions, this is what I came up with. :) It's not strict paleo since it incorporates rice, but for those people who have kept brown rice in their diets, it works just fine. It is AIP friendly, however (unless you are in the 6-8 week Phase 1 with no grains, no citrus).

So I start with some organic chicken sausage. No sugars, no nitrates, etc. I quarter and slice it.

I used shallots, and diced them. You could easily sub these for onions, but I happened to have shallots just sitting there. True story. My kitchen is weird that way.

I melted some coconut oil (you could sub olive oil or some other kind of healthy fat), and sauteed the sausage, shallots, and some minced garlic together. Once it is fragrant, I added in a cup of uncooked brown rice and toasted it.

Then I added chicken stock. This would be awesome with bone broth, too, but that never just "sits around" in my kitchen. It is pretty much gone as fast as I make it.

Once it was finished cooking and the rice was soft, I added in two big handfuls of arugula. Again, you could easily sub something like baby spinach, but I was feeling the arugula today. :) I also zested and juiced a whole lime in here, and I added some fresh cilantro. Delicious!

Chicken Sausage and Brown Rice "Risotto"


1 Tbsp Coconut Oil (or other healthy fat)
3 chicken sausages (about 3/4 lb), quartered and diced
2 large shallots (or 1/2 onion) diced
6 cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Brown Rice, uncooked
2 1/2 Cups Chicken Stock (or bone broth)
2 Cups Baby Arugula
1 Lime, zested and juiced
1/4 Cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped


Melt the coconut oil in a 3 quart pan over medium heat. Add the chicken sausage and saute until just turning brown. Then add the shallots and garlic and continue to saute until fragrant. Add in the brown rice and stir, letting it toast for about 2-3 minutes. Then pour in the chicken stock, stir, and bring to a boil.

Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until all the liquid is incorporated and the rice is soft. This takes about 35-40 minutes. If you are using white rice instead of brown, this will take about 1/2 the time.

Once it is cooked, add in the arugula, lime zest and juice, and the fresh cilantro. Stir and serve!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Seahawks Make the Superbowl!

Okay friends, I apologize for having been so quiet for so long. I had some major changes happen in my life over the past couple of months and I am now blogging from my new office, which is right down the hallway from my new kitchen, in my new house. So it's been a bit hectic. On top of that, I had a custom quilt order that needed to get out the door in time for football playoffs, and that's the first thing I'm going to share with you this year!

As I am sure you all know, the Seattle Seahawks won the Superbowl last year. And they're going to do it again this year, I hope! Living in the Pacific Northwest, we have lots of Seahawks fans here. One of them contacted me and requested a quilt to celebrate the Seahawks. I really enjoyed this one because I got to design the pattern, hand-pick the fabrics, and keep it a secret until it was finished!

So here it is, all laid out my new living room floor. This was easy to do because I have no furniture in my living room. Priorities... ;)

The quilt was designed with the Seahawks' colors in mind. The navy, lime green, and grey. I used white for the sashing.

The back of the quilt is an ombre chevron pattern in the lime green and white and was just way too cool to pass up. :)

The numbers of some of our key players are appliqued on the blocks. The big "12" in the middle... yeah, that's for 12th Man!

 I used my stipple foot to meander in all of the blocks with white thread. I like the effect on the darker blocks, and I like the texture it gives to the blocks.

So there we go... the perfect quilt to curl up under and cheer the 2014 Superbowl Champs on to what will hopefully be a back-to-back Superbowl win!


Thursday, October 30, 2014

Sausage and Squash Casserole

Okay folks, got another one to share with you. I made this yesterday and am actually eating it for lunch right now as I write this post. :) Yes, it's that good.

I mixed up a double batch yesterday, one for me and one for my friend's parents. They have some dietary/health challenges, too, and it makes me happy to cook for people. So I hope they enjoy it as much as I do!

So there are two ways to start this casserole. You can use whole butternut squash (like I did), which is going to add almost one hour to your prep time, FYI. But if cooking is your therapy (like it is mine), the chopping and peeling are therapeutic. :) If not, your other option is to buy butternut squash already peeled and cubed. Cheater. Lol!

If you are using whole squash, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and put them in there whole for about 30 minutes. They should get soft. Let them cool, then peel them, cut them, scrape out the seeds, and chop them into 1-inch cubes.

Take your broth, water and sage and bring it to a simmer as you cook the pork.

For this casserole, I used a mild Italian pork sausage (sugar-free because of my allergies). I browned it over medium heat, then transferred it to another bowl while I used the fat to cook my onions, garlic and apples.

I added my rice to the onions and apples. If you are going full paleo with this, you can replace the rice with riced cauliflower.

Then I added in the meat, squash and broth, as well as the thyme, wine 

Once it cooks down a bit, put into your casserole dish.

I baked it for 35 minutes at 400 degrees, and it was fabulous! If you are not allergic to dairy, you could easily add some Parmesan cheese at the end and I bet that would be delicious!

Sausage and Squash Casserole

Ingredients for 1 13x9 pan:

1 Butternut Squash, peeled and cubed
3 Cups Chicken Broth
1 Cup Water
1 heaping Tbsp Dried Sage
Olive Oil (or Coconut Oil)
1 lb Pork Sausage, not in casing
1 Sweet Onion, diced
1 Honey Crisp Apple (or other sweet variety), peeled and chopped
3 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Cup Rice, short grain and uncooked. *If you use brown rice, you will need to at least start the cooking process before adding it to the casserole.
1/4 Cup White Wine
1 1/2 tsp. Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste

If using whole butternut squash, cook according to my suggestions above, then peel and cube and set aside. 

In a saucepan, bring broth, water and sage to a simmer. Let it simmer while the pork cooks. In a large skillet over medium heat, add olive oil and pork sausage. Brown sausage and set aside. In the sausage drippings, saute the onions for 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic and apple. Saute another 2-3 minutes. Then add in the rice for another 2-3 minutes. Then add the broth mixture, squash and pork. Let cook for about 5 minutes, until you start to see the rice absorbing the liquid.

Transfer to a casserole dish. Cover with foil and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before serving.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Slow Cooker Barbacoa

Fall is here... and although I love the crisp air, the colors of the leaves changing, and all the fall food... I'm really not a fan of the grey and wet that covers the Pacific Northwest for the next 8 months. I mean, I can handle it for a few weeks... but 8 months? Come on. Ridiculous.

So in an attempt to ignore the grey, I decided to experiment in the kitchen again. And of course, I used my crockpot. Seriously folks... if you don't have one, get one. They are awesome. And they make life EASY. Just put your food in, and eat it eight hours later. Now granted, crockpot food doesn't always look beautiful in photos... but since I plan on eating it instead of framing photos of it, I get over that pretty quickly.

So I started with a 3 pound roast, and then I trimmed off the majority of the fat, and cut it into cubes. After it cooks for 8 hours, I shred it. I have found that the cubes shred pretty easily using two forks.

I chopped up a small red onion...

I used the fresh peppers from my CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) basket. If you want it spicier, make sure you use some fresh jalapenos, habanero peppers, or whatever your favorite varietal is. You could also add some chipotle peppers in adobo sauce. I would probably add maybe two peppers, and maybe two tablespoons of the sauce for some added heat. For those of you with sugar allergies (like me!), read the label on the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce carefully. It is possible to get some without sugar, but you have to search.

I added some apple cider vinegar as well. This is my favorite brand... good stuff!

I mixed in my spices (cumin, oregano, cilantro, bay leaves, cloves, salt and pepper).

I added the juice of one lime, 5 cloves of minced garlic, about a tablespoon of tomato paste, and some beef broth. Mixed it all together and turned the crockpot on low...

And got this eight hours later. I used two forks to shred the larger chunks of beef. I ate this over brown rice. Mike made it into a burrito. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Slow Cooker Barbacoa

3 lb roast
1 small red onion
3-4 peppers of your choice (more to taste if you want spicier)
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp Tomato Paste
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
3-4 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp Cumin
1 Tbsp Cilantro
1 Tbsp Oregano
A dash of ground cloves
Salt and Pepper to taste
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup beef broth

Trim the fat off the roast and cube it. Put it in the crockpot with the diced onion, peppers, and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients. Stir, and turn the crockpot on low. Come back in 8 hours. Shred the larger chunks of beef. Enjoy! Really... it's that easy.

This recipe was shared on the Allergy Free Wednesday #139 through Tessa the Domestic Diva. For those of you out there looking for special diet recipes, or just good healthy food... make sure you check this out!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Irish Chain Baby Quilt

Happy Thursday, everyone! I hope you all have been enjoying this incredibly rare October weather like I have. I had a wonderful time last night going out with some friends. We had happy hour at Cafe Nell , sitting outside in the sun, and then on to Lucy for a shopping extravaganza! I am not a big fan of shopping. I do it, oh... never. But workout clothes are different, right? Right. Glad we settled that.

So on to the quilting... :)

I received a custom order from a tennis friend. She has her very first granddaughter and ordered a quilt to go with the colors of the baby's room. So she picked the colors, and asked for elephants if possible, but gave me free rein to do what I wanted with the rest of it.

I delivered it to her earlier this week, so I can share it with you all now!

I picked an Irish Chain pattern in a wall hanging size, and then beefed it up a tiny bit. :)

I used the elephant fabric for the larger blocks and quilted around it free-hand.

I did straight line quilting through the Irish Chain blocks, and finished the border with a diamond pattern.

The elephants are on the back, and they are so stinkin' cute!

And it's all finished off with a quilt tag...

So now, on to the next order: Seattle Seahawks Quilt!