Sunday, February 7, 2010

Asparagus Soup

I love soup. It's comfort food that's great to warm you up after a long, chilly (and sometimes in SoCal...rainy) ride. The problem I have found with most pre-made soups is that they are chock full of sodium. Yuck. Trader Joe's for example, has a line of low/no sodium soups but frankly, they don't taste good at all. I keep thinking, "I could do better than this."

So, I've set out on a quest to collect/make some healthy soup recipes that taste great. Best of all, "I know what went in it!"

This recipe originated with a family member who has some dietary restrictions (no dairy). It occurred to me that the soup was pretty much Paelo as per the recipe with very few modifications. The original called for bouillon or veg stock (both sodium-filled unless you can get low-salt) and butter. I substituted water with no-salt seasoning (we use Costco's or Trader Joe's) and EVOO for the butter. Also, asparagus will be coming into season very soon...another reason to use fresh, seasonal ingredients.

*I took pictures but they came out'll have to use your imagination.


2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1.5 lb asparagus, washed with hard ends trimmed and tips cut off (reserve tips for throwing in whole)
1 small onion, diced
1.5 c water
1/4 c raw cashews
1/8 tsp nutmeg
black pepper
1-2 tbsp no-salt seasoning


  1. In a pot or deep skillet, heat the EVOO (I dunno...use how much you want). Add the garlic and onion. Heat slowly and avoid browning the garlic/onion. Cook for a few minutes until the onion is transparent.
  2. Add the asparagus stalks (remember, save the tips for later to garnish the finished soup).
  3. Pour in 1/2 cup water and the no-salt seasoning.
  4. Add a sprinkle of ground black pepper and a pinch or two of nutmeg.
  5. Simmer until the asparagus are tender.
  6. Meanwhile, in a blender, puree 1/4 cashews with 1 cup water. This cashew milk makes the soup rich & creamy without any dairy.
  7. When the asparagus are tender, pour in the cashew milk.
  8. Cool slightly. Blend until smooth in small batches in the blender or with an immersion blender.
  9. Garnish with asparagus tips and enjoy!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Acorn Squash with Apples and Ground (Beef)

We've been expanding our horizons quite a bit with food the past few months, and this week was no exception. After completely going anti-paleo over the weekend at Ray's MTB Indoor Park in Cleveland (think potatoes, Chipotle, rice, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory) we got back to it this week, and tried out something new: acorn squash.

Justin and I both looked up recipes online and came up with two that were similar.

Ingredients (at least this is what we had):

1 acorn squash
1~lbs ground sirloin
1/2 sweet onion
clove of garlic
2 apples
Cinnamon/brown sugar to taste

While I was on the trainer (notice a pattern??) Justin cooked.

Slice the acorn squash in half, removing the pulp and seeds. Place cut sides down and bake @400F in a shallow baking pan with a little water covering the bottom for about 30 minutes, or until tender.

Once the squash was in the oven he sliced and diced the onion, pressed the garlic, and sautee'd both in a little extra virgin olive oil.

Once warmed, he browned the sirloin in the onion/garlic mix, draining the fat once done.

Remove this from the heat and add in your seasoning and the diced apples. When the squash is cooked, remove to a platter to cool so you can scoop out the squash pulp.

Be sure to leave 1/4-1/2" thick "shell" with the outside of the acorn squash.

Mash the pulp and stir in with the beef mix.

Return the "stuffing" to the acorn shells and bake uncovered 20-30 minutes or until apples are tender.


Our one acorn squash made dinner (with grilled asparagus) and lunch leftovers.

It's pretty sweet and savory all at once. I really enjoyed the apples in with this!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Curry

I know the get done with a night ride and come home to an empty fridge...perfect set-up for a boring cereal dinner or picking up the phone and ordering take-out. of the easiest meals out there is curry. Take a few ingredients, saute them in a pan for a few minutes, and you'll get a nutritious and satisfying meal that is SO MUCH BETTER than take-out.

Feel free to experiment using other veggies or ones that you prefer, and keep the basic ingredients on hand for nights you don't feel like slaving in the kitchen. I use this recipe to "clean out" my veggie drawer in the fridge and use up small portions of veggies. This particular curry had no lean protein (chicken was still frozen), but you can add in any meat you wish.


1 can reduced-fat coconut milk (TJ's has the best around, $0.99)
1/2 red pepper, chopped
1/2 green pepper, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
6 crimini mushrooms, chopped
1 roma tomato, chopped
1 carrot, sliced
1 small head of broccoli, cut into very small pieces
1 yellow squash, chopped
Large handful of spinach leaves
Small handful of cilantro leaves
1/4 eggplant, peeled and chopped
Juice of 1 lime or lemon
1-2 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp garam masala (optional)
Dried cranberries, handful (optional)


1. Chop all veggies (except cilantro and spinach). Seriously, use what you like. I had a ridiculous variety of stuff to use can do curry well with just a couple types of veggies!

Note: if you are including lean protein such as chicken, pork, beef...brown before veggies, and add the veggies in after. If you are including shellfish such as shrimp or scallops...add in toward the last few minutes of cooking the veggies.

2. Saute for several minutes in a large skillet with some EVOO (extra virgin olive oil).

3. Shake the can of coconut milk. Open. Pour in pan.

4. Dump in spices.

5. Simmer for ~5-10 more minutes, depending on how "done" you like your veggies.

6. Add citrus juice. Top with cilantro and cranberries if you like.

You can serve this with rice if you are not eating Paleo or just serve as is. Easy. Yummy. 'Nuff said. NO MORE TAKE-OUT!

Root Veggie & Squash Latkes

A few times when I visited my aunt & uncle as a kid, they made potato latkes. I remember the savory flavor and crispy brown exterior as being a simple yet delicious treat. With this fore into eating Paleo style, I got to thinking about making a similarly-fashioned treat without the potatoes. This is what I dreamed up, and it's quite good if I do say so myself. These brightly-colored pancakes, packed with delicious vegetables and simple to make, would be a great accompaniment to your nightly supper or a served as an out-of-the-ordinary brunch item. Remember the colors of the rainbow every day :)


2 carrots
1 beet
1/2 small butternut squash
1/2 jicama
1/2 red onion
1 egg
1/2 c. ground flaxseed meal
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp Trader Joe's 21 Seasoning Salute (salt free)
Balsamic vinegar, a splash


1. Peel and shred all the vegetables using either a hand-grater or a food processor. Add to a very large mixing bowl.

2. Add the egg, flaxseed meal, spices and a splash of balsamic vinegar. Mix using your hands until everything is moistened. You want the mixture to stick together a bit.
3. Form the veggies into a pancake shape using your hands. I found flatter was better, but don't flatten too much or they may crumble.

4. Heat a large skillet to high heat and lightly coat with extra virgin olive oil or the oil of your choice. Saute the latkes for a few minutes on each side until a crispy, browned exterior is achieved.

5. Serve with your favorite sauce or condiment. To keep it Paleo, I tried them with Dijon mustard...delicious, as the latkes are a bit sweet and the mustard gives it some tang. We also tried ketchup and sweet chili sauce, also both delicious but not Paleo-friendly.

Vanilla Coconut Milk "Ice Cream"

While looking for alternatives to ice cream with a cow's milk base, I found this one on another food blog ( This recipe has a few mods, however, and the fact that I have no ice cream machine added another twist to the process. The result was amazing, though, and worth the extra effort.

The original recipe called for vanilla beans, and Henry's sells them for $11 (two pods). I wavered back and forth...should I be spendy or not? I believe in eating well, but we're also on a budget, so I scrapped the vanilla beans and used a high quality, pure vanilla extract that we already had at home. Another modification is that the original recipe called for up to 3 tbsp of raw honey. Since I know that honey is supposed to be limited (if at all included) in Paleo, I did cut it back to ~1.5 tbsp.


1 can coconut milk (regular, not light or reduced fat)
2 eggs
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract (organic if you can)
1 tbsp lavendar flowers, chopped (optional, I used some from my yard)
1-2 tbsp raw honey


Glass bowl
Medium-sized pot
Silicone spatula
Glass or metal pan


This ice cream recipe requires you to make a custard first, then freeze the resulting thickened liquid. It's really not hard but does take some time and patience.

To make the custard:

1. Set up a double boiler (I used a glass bowl that just fit inside the medium-sized pot). Fill ~half way with water, and bring water to a simmer. Do not bring water to a rolling boil.

sidenote: What does simmering water look like? My best estimate was that there were big, fat bubbles forming at the bottom that would break off and float upward.

2. Add the can of coconut milk and the lavendar flowers (if desired). Heat, stirring frequently, until the milk becomes hot but not boiling.

3. Meanwhile, crack and whisk 2 eggs in a heatproof bowl.

4. Have the ladle and whisk ready. When the milk is hot, ladle out 1 scoop. With your other hand, begin whisking eggs. Simultaneously pour (slowly) the hot milk into the eggs. You are tempering the eggs here and bringing them slowly up to temperature so they do not scramble.

5. Add another ladle of hot milk and continue to whisk. Now, pour the warmed eggs into the double boiler with the rest of the milk.

6. Continuously whisk the milk/egg mixture until it thickens (for me, this took ~15 min). The heat may not have been high enough, but I didn't want to risk scrambling the eggs.

7. Remove bowl from heat. Once cooled enough so you can put your finger in without burning yourself, whisk in the honey and vanilla extract.

8. How to make ice cream without a machine? I found this great set of instructions here. The result (the next morning) was very hard, but I left it out for a few minutes to soften before scooping out.

Pour into glass pan and follow directions for making ice cream without a machine

The result is delicious and well-worth the effort as a special treat!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Paleo Iced Coffee

When Allison first told me about Paleo, I remember the following conversation:

Allison: "No dairy."

Me (in my head): "Crazy woman."
(out loud): "What are you going to put in coffee?"

Allison: "Drink it black."

Me (again, in my head): "Ewwwwwwwwww".

So, I tried to mentally prepare myself for drinking black coffee. Allison suggested the caramel-flavored from Henry's (already a favorite of ours) and using a French press to make it milder.

I am proud to say that I've not had any milk in my coffee since going to Paleo. Most days, I do drink it black (and find I sip it more instead of down it), and the French press is kick-ass. Sometimes, I end up with about half a cup of coffee in the press. Often times, I'll save it in there until I get home and then do this super-easy p.m. iced coffee.


~1/2 cup of cold black coffee
Splash of almond milk (homemade is best)


1. Pour the coffee over ice.

2. Add almond milk to desired lightness.

3. Enjoy! Mine always makes a cool pattern as the more dense almond milk sinks to the bottom :)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Easiest Chocolate "Ice Cream"...Ever!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for.....well, Paleo ice cream? While I think the most stringent Paleo purists might not eat this ice cream because it has sugar (in the chocolate and Irish cream), in my opinion it's fine for special occasions. Everyone has to have a splurge now and then. The recipe calls for alcohol (Irish cream has a ton of sugar, I'm sure) but I think you could do without it if you increased the almond milk. The alcohol keeps it from freezing solidly like a rock. Ice cream is not health food, no matter how it's disguised. So, if you're okay with treating yourself, go right ahead. Plus, you KNOW what went in this. This recipe is adapted from

I was particularly looking for a non-ice-cream-machine recipe since I don't have an ice cream maker and think that would be a particularly bad thing for me to buy.


2 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (I used TJ's Organic 73% Dark Chocolate)
6 tbsp almond milk (homemade worked fine)
6 tbsp Irish cream
1 medium-sized, ripe banana, chopped
1 tbsp dark rum


1. Pour almond milk into microwave safe container.

2. Chop the chocolate into small bits. Add to the almond milk.

3. Microwave and stir frequently, until chocolate bits are melted.

4. Meanwhile, in another bowl, combine Irish cream, banana and rum. Pour the chocolate/milk into this bowl and stir.

5. Pour the mixture into a blender and whirl until smooth. (Or, use an immersion blender).

6. Put back into the bowl and pop in the freezer until it's firm.

This is a rich recipe, so I found only a little went a long way to make me feel satisfied. The site I adapted this recipe from called it "The Easiest Chocolate Ice Cream Recipe...Ever". I think it's a well-earned name!