Farm Veggies with Romesco Sauce (and Poached Eggs)

It is the absolutely, hands-down, best brunch to serve, ever! Think about it: a huge pan of fresh, in-season roasted veggies, a ton of poached eggs (or eggs of choice), and a delicious sauce to pour on top. Perfect. Use the left over sauce all through-out the week. Bonus!

FarmVeggiesEggsRomesco

Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 40 min
Total Time: 50 min
Ingredients
  1. 4-6 fresh eggs (or more, for serving more people)
Romesco Sauce
  1. 1 cup Muir Glen fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  2. 1 cup roasted red peppers, drained
  3. 1 garlic clove, crushed
  4. 1/2 cup raw slivered almonds
  5. Himalayan sea salt
  6. 2 tsp paprika
  7. Spicy Option: 1 tsp cayenne pepper
Vegetables (I buy in-season fresh vegetables)
  1. Asparagus
  2. Carrots
  3. Brussels Sprouts
  4. White Sweet Potatoes
  5. Onion
  6. Spinach
  7. 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  8. Sprinkle Himalayan sea salt

FarmVeggiesEggsRomesco2

Instructions
  1. 1. Preheat oven to 400
  2. 2. Clean and chop veggies
  3. 3. Line vegetables on baking sheet, sprinkle oil and salt and mix to coat
  4. 4. Roast for 40 minutes or until tender
  5. 5. While roasting, combine Romesco Sauce ingredients in your food processor, pulse until combined and thick, pour into bowl and set aside in refrigerator until ready to serve (note: this makes more sauce than you’ll likely need)
  6. 6. Make poached eggs
  7. -Fill a small/medium size pot with about 2 cups of water and 1 tbsp vinegar
  8. -Crack eggs individually into a ramekin
  9. -Once water is boiling, stir water with spatula until water is spinning slightly in a circular motion
  10. -Slowly pour egg into the spinning water; use spatula to slightly move it together if you need to
  11. -Let cook for about 3-4 minutes until egg white is opaque; spoon out with slotted spoon and set aside
  12. 7. When veggies are done, transfer to serving plate and serve with eggs and sauce!

FarmVeggiesEggsRomesco3

(Source: http://www.lexiscleankitchen.com/2014/04/20/farm-veggies-with-romesco-sauce-and-poached-eggs)

Spicing things up

INFOGRAPHIC GUIDES TO FLAVORING WITH SPICES

Spices allow you to be adventurous and creative in your cooking. They add instant flavor, not to mention beautiful colors and aromas. We created the infographics below as your ultimate guide to flavoring with spices and spice blends. They’ll show you some of the most common spices that are hiding in your cupboard and how to use them, what flavors they add to your dish, which spices go well together, and what spices make up your favorite ethnic flavors.

Spices serve several purposes in cooking and can be used to:

  • Add Flavor and Aroma. Spices can transform a meal by adding a range of flavors, from a hint of sweetness to a kick of heat. They also give beautiful aromas that are often our first determining factor for whether we want to eat a meal or not.
  • Enhance taste of food. We always think of salt as our go-to when a meal tastes too bland, but there are other spices, like cumin, that bring out the natural flavors of food.
  • Change or enhance color. If you’ve ever eaten at an Indian restaurant you may have noticed that many of the dishes have a deep yellow, orange or red color. That’s because the spices used in typical Indian cooking, such as turmeric and paprika, give color to the foods making them more bright and appealing.

Seasoning with spices can be intimidating if you’re not familiar with it but – like painting – with the right tools and practice, you’ll be cooking up a masterpiece in no time.

Spices vert.

Along with standalone spices, there are also a variety of spice blends that combine complementary spices to create a whole new flavor. While you can recreate each of these spice blends on your own, sometimes it’s nice to have the masters make some mixes for you. We recommend picking 2 or 3 depending on your favorite ethnic cuisines.

spice blends

Many ethnic cuisines are distinguished by the spices used in preparing them. If you’re trying to make a Mexican dish, try using the spices found in the “Mexican” section of the infographic below to create those traditional Mexican food flavors you love. If you’re following a recipe for an ethnic dish and the result is too bland, try adding in more of the spices in the respective section to achieve your desired taste.

With these spice combinations, you’ll be whipping up dishes from all over the world!

spices by cuisine

(Source: www.cooksmarts.com/cs-blog/2014/09/ultimate-infographic-guide-spices/)

When you’re too heavy-handed with the chili peppers…

What to do if a dish is too spicy?

Tame the heat

Maybe you accidentally added too much cayenne or hot sauce. Perhaps you were heavy-handed without realizing it, those peppers were hotter than you realized or it could be that you love spice but it turns out your guests don’t. Whatever the case, there are a few ways to tone down the spicy food and get you out of this kitchen pickle.

If that pot of chili or arrabiata sauce is hotter than you can handle, don’t dump it out and start over. You can save it from the fiery depths of the garbage with a few easy tips. Some of these will even work if you’re eating out and realize that you’ve been served something too spicy to handle.

too spicy

Add acid

Although not an obvious firefighter, acid can work wonders to reduce heat. Depending on the dish, try adding some citrus juice (lemon or lime work best with most flavors), vinegar, chopped pineapples or tomato juice or sauce.

Add veggies

Some people swear by adding shredded carrots or cubed or shredded potatoes to temper heat. The sugar in them helps to fight the heat while their porous texture may help to absorb some of the spice.

Add nuts

It may sound nuts (pun intended!) but adding peanut or almond butter or tahini (a sesame seed paste) can go a long way toward toning down that piquant dish. Of course, this will work much better in a spicy coconut curry than it would in a spicy salsa.

Add sweet

Sugar can help counteract the spice in a dish. Try adding a teaspoon of granulated sugar, a spoonful of honey or even a squirt of ketchup to tone down the heat. Be careful to add only a bit at a time so you don’t end up with dessert.

Add broth

If the hot dish in question is a chili, sauce, or anything that can take being thinned down then add a ladleful of broth or other mild liquid. This will spread out the heat more per serving, thus diffusing it.

Add dairy

There’s a reason sour cream is so common in Mexican food and that Indian cuisine abounds with yogurt sauces (called raita) — dairy tempers spice. Stir in a tablespoon at a time of yogurt, sour cream, milk, coconut milk (a great nondairy alternative) and/or a mild cheese like Parmesan to counteract overly hot flavors.

Make more

If you have extra ingredients on hand and don’t mind a double batch, you could add more of every ingredient except the spicy one to diffuse the heat. The same amount of spice in a bigger dish will be less piquant.

How to prevent it: To prevent making an overly spicy dish in the future, be sure to add just a little bit at a time and taste as you go. Don’t measure out spices over the dish to prevent them from spilling. If using hot peppers, taste a little bit first to get a sense for how hot it is.

(Source: www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/964475/in-a-pickle-what-to-do-if-a-dish-is-too-spicy)

What oil to use… and when

It’s important to know the smoke point of the oil you’re cooking with so that you don’t set off your smoke alarm and ruin your food…

Healthy oil cooking guide

With so many options for cooking oils, how do you know which one is best to use? The answer isn’t as simple as you think, according to KnowMore TV’s nutrition expert and author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies, Erin Palinski-Wade, R.D., C.D.E.. “The type of oil you should use varies based on what you’re cooking and how you’re using the oil, ” she says. Some oils are best to use when chilled or at room temperature and can be unhealthy when heated. Other oils are more versatile and provide health benefits whether you’re sautéing, frying, or baking.

“Since different oils contain different smoke points, which is the temperature when the oil starts to smoke and breakdown,” explains Palinski-Wade. “You want to avoid heating an oil beyond it’s smoke point since you can create toxic fumes and free radicals that can be harmful body.” In general, the more refined an oil is, the higher the oil’s smoke point.

Here’s a breakdown of the four most common cooking oils, their health impacts, and how to best use them in the kitchen.

Healthy oil cooking guide middle

Olive Oil

  • Extra virgin olive oil: This form of olive oil comes from the first pressing of the olives and has the lowest smoke point of all olive oils. The smoke point for unrefined, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil is typically under 200°F. For this reason, this oil should only be used chilled or at room temperature.
  • Refined oil: This oil is derived by the use of chemicals to extract the oil from olives. Since this oil is refined, it contains a higher smoke point of about 450-468°F.
  • Pure olive oil: This term refers to a blend of refined and virgin olive oils and typically has a smoke point of 425-450°F.

Due to the moderate smoke points of refined and pure olive oil, it is best to use these oils in baking,oven cooking or stir frying and avoid using them for higher temperature cooking methods such as searing. “Olive oil is a terrific source of monounsaturated fats, which have been shown to increase the levels of healthy HDL cholesterol while keeping the levels on unhealthy LDL cholesterol down,” says Palinski-Wade. It also can also boost your intake of antioxidant polyphenols, which can help to protect the heart.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats and has a higher smoke point, so it’s a smart alternative to virgin olive oils when cooking foods at medium-high heat, such as baking or stir frying. Although canola oil does not contain as many antioxidants as virgin olive oil, it offers the omega-3 fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) which is great for heart health. Canola oil is also versatile since it contains a neutral flavor and a light texture. Some people have concerns about canola oil being genetically engineered. If you have concerns, it’s best to choose certified organic varieties of this oil, recommends Palinski-Wade.

Flaxseed oil

Flaxseed oil contains one of the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids, including ALA (like canola oil). “Flax is the richest source of ALA in our diet which is good news for those looking to improve heart health since it helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels, helping to decrease your risk for heart disease,” says Palinski-Wade. Flaxseed oil has also been found to benefit those suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease and colitis, as well as Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder. Flaxseed oil, however, has a low smoke point so it’s best to use it in dressings, marinades, and dips and should not be heated.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has been under scrutiny because some groups believe it has many health benefits, while others recommend avoiding it due to the high saturated fat content. This oil contains a unique blend of lauric and myristic acids; lauric acids may negatively impact heart health, while myristic oils have heart health benefits. Some studies on coconut oil have found that it can actually raise the levels of healthy HDL cholesterol, but it was also proven to raise unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels as well. Coconut oil contains 12 grams of saturated fat per tablespoon, which is significantly higher than the saturated fat found in one tablespoon of butter (7.5 grams), however this oil may contain beneficial plant chemicals that have yet to be discovered, according to Palinski-Wade.

So what’s the bottom line with coconut oil? In terms of cooking, one of the benefits is its high smoke point so you can cook with it in a way that you can’t with olive oil. You can bake, fry, and sauté with it, and it can be a replacement for vegetable oil and butter. “Keep in mind that it may make a healthier alternative to other sources of saturated fat, such as butter or cream, but as with all saturated fats, no more than 10% of your total calories should come from these fats until further research indicates additional health benefits of coconut oil,” states Palinski-Wade.

(Source: http://www.knowmore.tv/food/the-top-4-healthy-cooking-oils-and-how-to-use-them)

Skinny Omelette Recipe

In and out of the kitchen in less than twelve minutes, counters cleaned, dishes done. And for those of you who are gluten-intolerant or can’t have gluten, these could be considered gluten-free crepes.

Favorite pesto, a small handful of greens, and crumbled cheese in addition to the omelette-egg base. That being said, there are a million ways you could remix this omelette recipe. You can add spices, seasonings, tiny grains, herbs, curry pastes, and infusions to the eggs before cooking. You can play around with different spreads, cheeses, mashed beans, tangy yogurt, salsa and/or avocados as filling. If you like Thai flavors, use Thai ingredients. If you like Japanese flavors, integrate those ingredients. The potential combinations are endless.

Ricotta spiked with lemon zest and some herbs would be a perfect, easily spreadable slather for this recipe as well.

2 large (preferably organic) eggs
a tiny pinch of fine grain sea salt
a few tablespoons of chopped chives
a dollop of pesto
a bit of goat cheese or feta
a small handful of mixed salad greens

Skinny Omelette Wraps

Use a fork to beat the eggs and salt in a small bowl. Beat well, until the eggs are mostly uniform in color – they seem to run around the pan more evenly when there aren’t huge patches of yolk vs. whites.

In your largest non-stick skillet over medium heat (this is one of the few occasions I actually use non-stick) pour the egg mixture and give it a good swirl so that they spread out thinly across the entire pan. Alternately, you can use a crepe pan or crepe maker – this works beautifully as well. Sprinkle the eggs with some of the chives and let them set, this happens quickly depending on the heat of your pan – 15 seconds to one minute. Run a spatula underneath the omelette and slide it out of the pan (flat) onto a countertop, large cutting board or Silpat-line cookie sheet. Do this with confidence (or practice). Spread the pesto across the surface of the omelette (if you have a thick pesto, thin it a bit with water to make it easily spreadable), and then sprinkle with the cheese and salad greens. Starting with one end, roll the omelette away from you. Cut in half on a deep diagonal. Season with a bit more salt if needed and serve garnished with a few chopped chives.

Serves one or two.

(Source: www.101cookbooks.com/archives/skinny-omelette-recipe.html)

Vanilla-Almond Chia Breakfast Pudding

Once the ultimate energy food for ancient Mayans and Aztecs, chia seeds are an excellent source of antioxidants, omega-3s, calcium and fiber. Plus, they absorb over 10 times their weight in water, which makes them an unlikely hydration source too. In this recipe, chia seeds are soaked in almond milk (see almond milk recipe below!), which transforms them into a luxurious and creamy tapioca-like pudding. Top this easy-to-make chia puddingwith some fresh seasonal fruit, and you have yourself an incredibly nourishing breakfast.

Vanilla-Almond Chia Breakfast Pudding

Yields 2 servings

Prep time: 5 minutes
Soak time: 1-8 hours

The Skinny

Per serving (without fruit):

  • 309 calories
  • 20 g fat
  • 45 g carbs
  • 12 mg sodium
  • 29 g fiber
  • 15 g protein

Vanilla-Almond Chia Breakfast Pudding

Ingredients

2 cups unsweetened almond milk, homemade or store bought (see recipe for homemade almond milk below)
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or raw honey
Seasonal fruit for topping (blueberries, peaches, figs and plums are pictured here)
Almonds or other nuts for topping

Preparation

  1. Combine almond milk, chia seeds, vanilla and sweetener in a bowl. Mix well until combined and the mixture begins to thicken. Store covered in the refrigerator overnight or for at least an hour.
  2. Stir well before serving and add a bit of water to the pudding if it becomes too thick. Top with fresh fruit and nuts of your choice.
    Note: This recipe makes enough for two large servings, but feel free to double the recipe and keep it in your refrigerator so that you have breakfast for a few days in a row. It will keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.

Bonus Recipe:

Homemade Unsweetened Almond Milk

Yields 1 quart

Prep time: 5 minutes
Soak time: 3-8 hours

What You’ll Need

1 cup raw almonds
4 cups water

What to Do

  1. Put almonds in a bowl and cover them with water. Let them soak in the water for at least three hours, but preferably overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse the almonds and put them in a blender with 4 cups of water. Blend on high for one minute.
  3. Strain the almond milk through a fine mesh strainer or a nut milk bag into a container of your choice. Cover and refrigerate for up to five days.

(Source: http://www.dailyburn.com/life/recipes/chia-breakfast-pudding/)

11 Delicious Paleo Recipes To Make In A Slow Cooker

Just because you eat like a caveman doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take advantage of modern conveniences.

1. Crock Pot Chicken Pad Thai with Vegetable Noodles

Crock Pot Chicken Pad Thai

Better than take-out. Recipe here.

2. Shredded Beef and Cabbage Bowls with Avocado Salsa

Shredded Beef and Cabbage Bowls

Instead of using store-bought mayo (which isn’t usually paleo) for the cabbage slaw, make your own (here’s how). It’s healthier, more delicious, and easy as long as you’re willing to whisk a little bit! Beef and cabbage bowl recipe here.

3. Chocolate Chicken Mole

Chocolate Chicken Mole

This deeply flavored chicken stew is almost too good for a weeknight. Almost. Recipe here.

4. Salmon Head Soup

Salmon Head Soup

Next time you’re shopping for salmon fillets, buy the whole fish instead. You can have the fishmonger fillet it for you, but ask for the carcass and head in a separate bag, then use them to make this soup. Recipe here.

5. Paleo Slow Cooker N’Oatmeal

Paleo Slow Cooker N’Oatmeal

Instead of oats, this n’oatmeal is made with nuts, butternut squash, and apples. it’s more of a textured breakfast stew than a hot cereal, but it’s delicious and filling all the same. Recipe here.

6. Slow Cooker Kale and Ham Hocks

Slow Cooker Kale and Ham Hocks

The recipe calls for bacon grease, olive oil, or vegetable oil. Steer clear of the vegetable oil, since it’s not paleo. And, you know bacon grease will taste best, anyway. Recipe here.

7. Paleo Crock Pot Lasagna

Paleo Crock Pot Lasagna

Recipe here.

8. Braised Lamb Shanks & Eggplant

Braised Lamb Shanks & Eggplant

Recipe here.

9. Crockpot Carnitas on Red Pepper “Nachos”

Crockpot Carnitas on Red Pepper “Nachos”

Snacktime. Recipe here.

10. Sweet Potato Mash with Pecans

Sweet Potato Mash with Pecans

Anyone who thinks that pecan-topped sweet potatoes are a just for Thanksgiving needs to seriously reassess. Recipe here.

11. Simple Shortribs

Simple Shortribs

Easy enough for a Monday night dinner alone, but fancy enough for a dinner party. Recipe here.

(Source: http://www.buzzfeed.com/christinebyrne/paleo-slow-cooker)