Mediterranean Salad

Mediterranean salad

It started when I was in high school: my core group of friends began doing dinners together for special occasions--birthdays, prom, etc. Most dinners had a similar landscape, including a main pasta dish with some sort of protein, a salad, and dessert (cheesecake). And Being a lover of cooking and feeling at home in the kitchen, I helped with all three dishes. But, one of those nights, I was proclaimed the Official Salad Maker. 

Now I sort of thought, salad... boooooring. But they said look, you can even make salad taste good, and that's crazy! So I moved on with no complaints. I guess it was a compliment.

Mediterranean salad

Flash forward to 2016 and I'm the first to bring a salad to a party. No one is bringing salad? Don't you worry! Official Salad Maker to the rescue! (I no longer use that title, but somehow, I can't help but be the salad bearer to this day).

I have left many of my old hat tricks for salads in the dark and moved on to more innovative efforts. Candied pecans are out and extravagant ingredients from the antipasti isle are in. So are homemade vinaigrettes. Those jarred roasted red peppers in the ethnic foods section? To die for! Why don't we put those on more things? This salad doesn't last long on a table.

Mediterranean salad

Mediterranean Salad

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print This Recipe

This salad has so many delicious ingreidents--it will be everyone's favorite!

Serves: 5   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 heart of romaine
  • 1/3 cup roasted red peppers, sliced thin (found in near the olives and pickles or in the Italian section in the store)
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, sliced
  • 1/2 english cucumber
  • 1/4 cup feta, crumbled
  • Sprinkle of dried oregano
  • Sprinkle of dried basil
  • Roasted red pepper dressing (I used a store-bought version)

Directions:

  1. First, wash and dry the romain using a salad spinner. Then, chopped the ingredients: chop the romaine into bite-sized pieces; drain and dice the red peppers, drain and halve the olives; if you prefer, peel the cucumber, and then dice.
  2. Arrange the ingredients on a serving tray in rows, including 1 row for crumbled feta cheese. Lightly sprinkle salad with herbs.
  3. When serving, drizzle with dressing to taste, and then toss salad until everything is well mixed.

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)

The first time I made Nanaimo Bars, I had no idea what I was in for. It was an assignment, per say, and I was just along for the ride. Guys, I'm just going to spoil the story now and tell you that in this case, trusting in the journey was the right move --> those bars were amazing. 

A few months later I made Nanaimo Bars again, but this time it was my own inspiration that got me in the kitchen. I want to put a little twist on the classic Canadian dessert. I added lime zest to the custardy filling and topped each slice with candied lime peel. Those bars were 💛💚💛💚💛.

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)

So of course I didn't just move on when I dropped grains from my diet: I found a way to make a whole-food, real-deal Nanaimo Bar. One that uses unrefined sweeteners (maple syrup nonetheless, to make these Canadian bars even more Canadian!), grain-free flours, and no custard powder (which is a key ingredient in most Nanaimo Bars), and real cocoa powder (I used this cocoa powder, from Anthony's Goods). 

If you're guessing that these real-deal bars are even better than that first batch I ever made, you're right! 💯 There is no reason to go back to the other bars. 

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)
Real Deal Nanaimo Bars (Primal)

Real Deal Nanaimo Bars

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print This Recipe

This dessert is a traditional Canadian dessert. My spin used grain-free flours and maple syrup, for real-deal flavor.

Serves: 12   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

    Base layer:
  • 1-1/4 cup almond meal
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)

  • Middle Layer:
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 2/3 sticks butter, sliced into 1/4-inch pats

  • Top Layer:
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and prepare your baking pan: line a 9x9 baking pan with parchment, or grease it well with coconut oil. Then, prepare the base layer: In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the almond meal, cocoa powder, shredded coconut, coconut flour, salt, and baking soda. Then, stir in the melted coconut oil and the honey until a consistent dough forms. Press dough into 9x9 pan in an even layer. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove from heat and set on cool wrack.
  2. Next, make the middle layer: whisk the egg yolk until frothy in a medium-sized mixing bowl with an electric mixer. Pour the maple syrup into a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Boil until a candy thermometer reads 240°F or the syrup just begins to reach the soft ball stage (drop a bit of syrup into a glass of cold water—the syrup should stay as a drop, rather than dissolving immediately into the water, however it should be moldable between your fingers). For the next part, move quickly: while beating the egg yolk with an electric mixer, slowly pour the maple syrup into the bowl in a steady stream. Doing this slowly will allow you to whisk the syrup in with out getting scrambled eggs! Once the syrup has been poured in, continue to beat for 5 more minutes. Then, add the butter 1 pat at a time to the bowl, beating the whole time. Once the pat is creamed into the maple mixture, add another. Repeat until all of the butter is creamed in and the frosting is fluffy.
  3. Wait until the base layer is 100% cool to the touch before adding the frosting (I let mine cool in the fridge for several hours). Then, spread the frosting over the cookie layer. Place in freezer.
  4. Finally, make the topping: melt coconut oil and maple syrup in a small sauce pan. Once melted, whisk in cocoa powder. Set aside to cool at least 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove bars from the freezer and pour the chocolate mixture over top, gently spreading it around so that the entire top is covered. Return to freezer for 15 more minutes before slicing into squares and serving. Store in freezer in air-tight container.

Roasted Potato Salad with Grain Mustard and Bacon

roasted potato salad with bacon

About a year ago, I was prepping for a trip to Germany--what a trip it was! This year, with no big travel on my horizon, I instead cook my way to vacation: Thai curry, tacos, German Potato Salad. You get the picture. 

It's rare that I crave potato salad, but this day was different: my mind started daydreaming about mountains with restaurants on top and fresh baked strudel. And yes, potato salad. But not just any kind of potato salad. My day dreams where filled with a special vision that included roasted potatoes, grain mustard, and bacon... lots of bacon.

When I finally could no longer take the torment of those daydreams, I bought a sack of fingerling potatoes, grainy mustard and that pack of bacon. Mini staycation, here I come! 

roasted potato salad with bacon
roasted potato salad with bacon

Roasted Potato Salad with Grain Mustard and Bacon

Paleo, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free,    |       |    Print Friendly and PDF

The perfect picnic side!

Serves: 4   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 pound small rainbow potatoes, quartered
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil (or reserved bacon grease)
  • 2 slices bacon, cooked
  • 2 tablespoons stone ground mustard
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 3 green onions

Directions:

  1. Begin by washing the potatoes and cutting them into quarters, or bite sized pieces. Place in bowl, and toss with melted coconut oil (or reserved bacon grease), mustard, and paprika. Once the potatoes are evenly coated, spread them out on a baking sheet. Bake at 400°F for 45 minutes.
  2. When the potatoes are crisp on the outside and soft through, scrape them into a heat-proof bowl. Dice up the bacon (cooked) and mince the green onions. Add both the bowl and toss. Season with salt & pepper; serve.