Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

Things I love: dinner parties, artichokes, finger foods, mushrooms. Of course, this list is not exhaustive, but these mushrooms are so many things I love in one bite that I can't get over them. Do you know what happens when you stuff a mushroom cap with artichoke dip?! Ooey, gooey, finger-food-sized bite of goodness. You don't even need a plate. 

Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms
Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

As a kid I remember being pulled to holiday cocktail parties, and my mom would always gush over the artichoke dip. Maybe this is why artichoke dip has a sort of halo of goodness to me-- I associate it with so many warm things. What I like about serving it in mushrooms caps is it feels a little bit cleaner: not only do I love LOVE mushrooms, but eating this dip with mushrooms rather than chips or toast feels like it's up a few notches on the good-for-you scale. Not that it matters much at holidays parties, where cookies and eggnog rule the day. But hey! I tried. 

Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms
Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

Artichoke Dip Stuffed Mushrooms

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

Stuffing artichoke dip into mushroom caps is the best of both worlds: you get a warm, gooey morsel of dip and the earthiness of a roasted mushroom in one bite, and you can pick the whole thing up with your fingers.

Yields: 32   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 (8 ounces) block cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 (14 ounces) can artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
  • 1/2 onion
  • 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 cup grated white cheddar
  • Dash hot sauce
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper
  • About 32 crimini mushroom caps

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Finely dice the onion and mince the garlic. In a small sauce pan, heat the coconut oil. Sauté the onion and garlic until the onion is translucent and the garlic begins to brown. Set aside to cool.
  2. Strain and dice the artichoke hearts into small pieces. Place in mixing bowl along with the cream cheese, cheddar cheese, and yogurt. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, and add a dash of both the hot sauce and the Worcestershire. Once the onions are cool, scrape them into the bowl as well, and mash everything together until combined.
  3. Prep the mushrooms caps: wash each cap, and remove the stems. Place caps hollow-side up on a baking pan. Sprinkle with salt & pepper. Using two spoons (and your hands as needed), fill each hollow with artichoke dip, creating a mound in each mushroom. Place baking pan in oven and bake for 15 minutes. Serve.

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Late Fall Salad

Late Fall Salad

I spent the last week experimenting a bit with what I ate. Driven by curiosity, I spent a week eating all of the traditional breads and grains. Months ago, I had wanted to see how my body reacted to eating wheat bread because, having chosen a more "paleo" diet out of lifestyle choice rather than because of any allergic reaction, I didn't really know what my body would do with it. 

So, I made fresh focaccia and smothered it with avocado, just to see what would happen. A headache ensued, and I figured the two were related. Still, results didn't seem conclusive, since a few weeks later when I tried again, seeking some sort of pattern in reaction, I got no headache at all. Which of course begged the question: was it the bread that caused the headache in the first place? 

I had to know. This last week I wrote down everything I ate, adding in some bread here and there. To be honest, I'm in such a habit of not eating grains that I had to make a real effort to buy bread rolls. I wrote down exactly how I felt afterwards, and tried to just generally listen to my body.

Have any of you done this before? A week-long experiment to see how you feel? It was harder than I thought it would be: Hard to change the way I eat, for one, but also hard to feel sure of yourself as you write anything down. I found myself doubting what I was feeling and what I wasn't. 

Late Fall Salad

Honestly the swirls of doubt muddied my conclusions. My journal would go like this: 

  • 1 piece of bakery bread toasted with goat cheese, steamed asparagus. Reaction: sharp headache. But I also think I drank too much coffee. 
  • 8 crackers, Cauliflower Parsnip Soup, Grass-Fed Sausage. Reaction: none. I did only eat 5 crackers though. 
  • Ciabatta roll with goat cheese, tomatoes with basil, balsamic reduction. An apple and a square of chocolate. Reaction: Pounding headache and brain fog. Am I just stressed?
  • And on. Every bullet clouded with a line of doubt. 
Late Fall Salad

How is anyone supposed to draw any conclusions when they are filled with this much conflicting information! So instead I am going to focus on what I know: 

  1. Eating a couple of crackers here and there (or, ehem, crust on pumpkin pie) will likely not make me feel horrible
  2. Eating a full piece of bread for breakfast might give me a headache, shorten my patience, and just generally cause inflammation. But since I'm not positive, I should continue listening to my body and feeling out what works and what doesn't. 
  3. My body knows best. I should listen to my body and try not to doubt it. I should also be open to what it's telling me, and maybe do something about all of that stress I noted, because that can't be good. 
  4. Sometimes you just need a big old bowl of veggies. And when that's what you need, you should make this salad. 
Late Fall Salad

Late Fall Salad

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

So many of fall’s favorite flavors in one bowl!

Serves: 6   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch dinosaur kale
  • 10 ounces arugula
  • Perils of 1 pomegranate
  • 1/4 pound brussels sprouts
  • 1/4 cup pepitas
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese
  • 2 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil
  • Salt & Pepper
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Balsamic vinaigrette

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Toss the cubed butternut squash in the avocado oil and spread out on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until squash is tender through and crispy on the edges. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and set aside to cool.
  2. Remove stems from the kale and chop into bite-sized pieces. Place in the bottom of your salad bowl, and drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, rug the oil into the kale to begin to soften the leaves.
  3. Add the arugula to the bowl and toss with the kale. Top mix of greens with crumbles of goat cheese, pomegranate perils, pepitas, and cooked butternut squash.
  4. Slice brussels sprouts into think slices, as if to shred them. Add to the salad.
  5. When ready to eat, drizzle salad with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette and toss.

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Cheesy Sweet Potato Stacks

Sweet potato cheesy herb stacks

In the summer, the mini-town of Nathrop brings rafters and kayakers and hikers to it's valley. Stuck between two slightly larger towns, Nathrop doesn't have much to offer aside from easy access to the Arkansas River. We didn't go in the summer though, at least not often. In the winter time Nathrop becomes far less: off the beaten path, to say the least, and frozen over at an altitude of 7,680 feet. This is when we visited Nathrop: in it's slow, snow dusted, crisp-air months. 

We would bring groceries from the next town over, stock the fridge, and pile into the cabin. My mom and I would cook a Thanksgiving meal fit for 5, even though we were only 3. It would be snowing outside,and icy winds would billow through the valley, but inside it was all biscuits, turkey, and gravy, oh my! We clipped recipes from magazines and made do with what ingredients we could find in the small mountain grocer.

Sweet potato cheesy herb stacks

Between the biscuits, one November we made potato stacks. Like scalloped potatoes, thin slices were baked in a creamy sauce and served hot. Our stacks had a touch of thyme, and crisped up along the edges. 

I'm not sure what made me remember those potatoes recently, but I did, and then began wondering how wonderful it would be to use sweet potatoes and Creamy Toscano cheese. Oliver says I should name these "Little Stacks of Joy," but I was worried that name would be to vague. So here you have them: the most joyful potato stacks you'll ever find. 

Sweet potato cheesy herb stacks

Cheesy Sweet Potato Stacks

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

Thinly sliced potatoes are cooked with cream and butter until crispy on the edges and soft through the middle. Then they’re topped with cheese and thyme for the ultimate potato stack.

Yields: 12   |    Total Time:



Ingredients:

  • 2 sweet potatoes (Look for ones that are thinner in diameter so they fit into a muffin pan when sliced.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter + more for greasing your pan
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • Salt & pepper
  • A few dashes of nutmeg
  • A few dashes of dried ground sage
  • Spring of fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup shredded Creamy Toscano cheese or similar hard cheese (I buy the Syrah variety at Trader Joe’s)

Directions:

  1. Grease a muffin pan and preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Wash the sweet potatoes, and roughly peel them. Using a mandolin or the slicing attachment of your food processor, slice the sweet potatoes into thin rounds. Stack the slices in the greased muffin pan.
  3. In a small sauce pan, heat cream and butter in a small sauce pan until butter is melted. Whisk together, and then divide evenly among each stack of potatoes (pour about 2 teaspoons over each). Season liberally with salt, then sprinkle with pepper, nutmeg, and sage. Sprinkle about half of the cheese over the potatoes, reserving the other half for later.
  4. Place pan in oven and bake until cooked through, 40-50 minutes for a standard muffin pan (longer for a deeper muffin pan).
  5. Once potatoes are cooked through and edges are crisping, remove from oven and set aside to cool. Top with remaining cheese so that it melts, and a few fresh thyme leaves.

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