Carnitas, green salsa, avocado, fresh cilantro
Nitrite/nitrate-free ham, sauteed collard greens, balsamic/garlic-braised Brussels sprouts/beets with pine nuts
Balsamic/garlic-braised Brussels sprouts/beets with pine nuts and shrimp
Since meal planning is a perpetual source of frustration in my house — and I know I’m not alone — I figured I’d help others out with some of the meals we end up eating. There is no distinction between breakfast, lunch, or dinner when you eat nothing but meat/fish, vegetables, some fruit/nuts, and healthy fats.
The purpose of this is also so when (not if) I’m in another meal-planning rut, I can look back on this food journal of sorts and get some ideas… and get hungry.
Fried rockfish, browned/sauteed Brussels sprouts, sauteed (until crisp) baby greens, butter
Baked meatballs (grass-fed beef and ground turkey), steamed green beans, sweet potato hash, butter
Sauteed cinnamon butternut squash, browned garlic Brussels sprouts, bacon pieces, butter
Now that the weather has finally cooled off, we’ve been hungry for hot, comforting meals. Our daughter caught a nasty cold a couple weeks ago, which the hubby and I never caught, thankfully, but I guess it didn’t take long for the diseases to start spreading with the change of seasons. Caught something too? Sorry. Need a soup that basically heals souls and raises the dead? Look no further.
Packed with many of the most powerful superfoods out there, this soup is not only soothing and nourishing, but is also incredibly delicious, “going down easy,” as my mother-in-law would say. It is as cheap or expensive as you’d like it to be. The only problem is it’s not very filling — good for those who are sick or who have tender or healing guts, but a little hard on, say, hungry grown men who prefer meat and potatoes. I know someone like that. He nonetheless savors this soup when I make it, having a palate for more exotic flavors every now and then. The solution for extra-hungry family members: ramen or rice noodles thrown in.
My “recipe” is more like a soup base with a list of optional things that, in any combination, will make a great meal depending on your family’s tastes. I don’t really buy many cuisine-specific ingredients because of budgetary reasons, so if this isn’t authentic enough, too bad. You can change it.
Tom Kha Gai (Thai Coconut Soup) (serves 4-6)
2 quarts homemade chicken, beef, or fish stock
8oz ramen or rice noodles (optional) plus an additional 2 C water
8oz button mushrooms, sliced
several handfuls of baby spinach, washed and roughly chopped
2 cans additive-free, full-fat organic coconut milk (or 1 quart homemade coconut milk)
several cloves of garlic, minced
2 C pre-cooked chicken or shrimp
unrefined salt and freshly-ground pepper, to taste
fresh lemons or limes
fresh cilantro, chopped
turmeric, fresh or powdered (be sure to pair with black pepper to get the full benefits)
1 sheet of toasted nori (seaweed), broken into pieces
fresh ginger, minced
chili paste or hot sauce or sriracha, though I’ve never tried it*
Bring stock to a gentle boil; add the mushrooms and spinach, boiling until tender (if using noodles, add them and the water here too, cooking until slightly underdone). Stir in the coconut milk and garlic and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and add salt, pepper, chicken/shrimp, and fresh-squeezed lemon/lime juice to taste. Add in your favorite extras to send the soup over the top. My favorites are cilantro, turmeric, and lots of fresh ginger.
*Check ingredients carefully if being healthy is your goal!
Did you know you can make a whole pie — crust, filling, and topping — out of coconut? To heck with those wussy diner “coconut” cream pies that are basically sugar pies with a little coconut flavor (maybe) and shredded coconut sprinkled on top. This dessert lives up to its name and leaves you satisfied. That’s the only kind of treat worth indulging in, in my opinion.
Check out the ingredients — healthy too! My hubby likes his (real) coconut cream pies extra sweet, so this recipe calls for more coconut sugar than I think is necessary. I use real whipped cream because we prefer it, but you can substitute whipped coconut cream just as easily.
This pie is not too complicated if you have the right appliances. It does require forethought for the separate baking and chilling times, however. The coconut flavor here isn’t like what you smell in shampoos and candles; it’s warmer and toastier with smooth vanilla notes. The filling makes a great coconut pudding on its own, cold or warm. But if you hate the texture of coconut, move on to a different dessert recipe.
True Coconut Cream Pie (serves 8+)
Coconut Flour Pie Crust
1/2 C melted unsalted butter, coconut oil, or a combination of both
3/4 C coconut flour
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp unrefined salt
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 9″ pie dish with butter or coconut oil.
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl or food processor (a stand mixer is easiest). Press evenly into bottom and all the way up the sides of the greased dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes. Crust is finished when toasty brown along the edges and middle is stiff (though it will remain slightly soft). Cool on countertop and store in the fridge.
Sorry I don’t have pictures of this. Scroll down for how it should look when pouring the filling in.
True Coconut Cream Pie Filling
Two 14.5oz cans full-fat coconut milk (just under 4 C)
1 C coconut sugar
3 large eggs
5 Tbsp arrowroot starch
1/4 tsp unrefined salt
4 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 C unsweetened finely shredded dried coconut
Combine coconut milk, sugar, eggs, arrowroot, and salt in your blender or food processor and blend it all up real nice. It should look like a thick, foamy latte. Have your butter, vanilla, and shredded coconut ready to go nearby, for you’ll be standing at the stove for a while. Pour the coconut milk mixture into a large saucepan and whisk constantly over medium heat.
Do NOT leave it sitting for more than 10-15 seconds without whisking, especially as it warms up and gets hotter. The eggs will scramble and you’ll have nasty runny-but-lumpy pie filling. My old recipe called for a complicated series of steps to make a traditional custard by tempering the eggs and everything, but this way is so much easier.
Before long, the foam will suddenly disappear and your custard will thicken considerably. It should be bubbling and steaming. Keep stirring and turn off the heat. Add your butter and gently mix it around as it melts.
Then stir in the vanilla and shredded coconut until it is all incorporated.
Pour the filling into the prepared coconut crust.
Then stick it in the fridge uncovered to chill for a few hours. When ready to serve, prepare the topping.
Coconut Cream Pie Topping
1 C heavy whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
1 Tbsp coconut sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 C unsweetened finely shredded dried coconut, toasted
2 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted
Combine the cream, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl and whip until stiff peaks form. Spread all over the completely chilled pie. Sprinkle the toasted coconut and then the almonds all over the surface. It’s ready!
Here is a slice. The filling is a thick, caramelly, delicious coconut pudding. Between the layers of a coconut cookie-like crust and sweet, foamy whipped cream with crunchy morsels on top, this pie makes a great special-occasion treat for health nuts like me.
I once used a natural coconut extract in the filling when I could find it, but it didn’t really add much more flavor than the pie already had. I’ve never tried fake coconut flavor, but feel free to try if you’re comfortable with those kinds of things.
I will admit I have wondered what it would be like to coat the inside of the baked pie shell with a thin layer of dark chocolate or chocolate ganache. The filling would have to be chilled before scooping out into the crust (an extra step), but how delicious does that sound?
This is a breakfast that motivates me to get out of bed in the morning. It’s not really a recipe, but it makes scavenging for food in the morning simple and something to look forward to.
When I cook rice for dinner, I usually make extra so we have leftovers for breakfast and lunch the next day. (Lunch is always leftover dinner from the night before around here.) Obviously avoid it if you’re on a strictly grain-free or low-carb diet. If you’re like me, however, and you either can’t afford grain-free right now or your body is demanding more carbs because of stress or more physical activity, here is how I cook rice to maximize its benefits.
Assemble your bowl(s) of rice with butter while your eggs are poaching. Drain and serve the eggs on top, and use your fork to break them open so the yolks soak into the buttered rice. Sprinkle a little salt and/or pepper on top.
Even if runny yolks ick you out now, please try this at least once. Served this way, their velvety lusciousness will probably win you over.
I’ve made this with homemade Spanish rice before as well. It is delicious with sliced avocado and salsa added.