Fall temperatures arrived early here in Minnesota this year, and I’m getting a serious itch to cook allllllll the things. Craving nachos one night but not really wanting to eat corn, I decided to use a couple sweet potatoes we had on hand and whip up some sweet potato nachos. Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite versatile vegetables for replacing grains in recipes.
I thinly sliced two sweet potatoes and tossed them in avocado oil, salt and pepper so they were generously coated and roasted them at 400 degrees until starting to brown (about 20-25 mins with one flip half-way through). Then I sprinkled shredded cheese and bacon bits on the tray of roasted sweet potatoes and popped them back in the oven to melt the cheese just a couple minutes.
Having previously prepped toppings, I let individuals make their own like a “nacho bar” style. Toppings included green onion, black olive, sour cream, etc. Really easy, and a big hit!
Garden produce season is alive and well here in the Midwest, which means since our house is the pit-stop in between my parents house in Iowa and our family’s cabin in Northwest Minnesota, we get regular produce deliveries from my parents. Right now we have yellow squash, zucchini, cucumbers and 5 million jalapenos. It’s been pretty hot and humid in Minnesota, so I’ve been eating fresh [cold] cukes a lot. I threw this salad together the other night, it’s really easy and has great flavor. The coconut aminos (soy sauce substitute) adds the perfect sweetness to the nutty sesame flavor.
Sesame Cucumber Salad
- Sesame oil
- Coconut aminos
- Sea salt
- Garlic salt
- Chili flakes
- Sesame seeds
Slice cukes and drizzle oil and coconut aminos over top (more or less depending on how much sauce you prefer, I wanted it to be a light flavor), then sprinkle with sea salt, garlic salt and chili flakes. Toss, and then top with sesame seeds last so they don’t get soggy.
I’ve been buying zoodles of all types to use in cooking lately – a way to eat more vegetables without the blood sugar spike of pasta, and the heaviness that comes with eating grains. I have a spiralizer, but for some reason buying them pre-spiraled just works better for me right now, plus they literally pack them in so tight there are a ton in each container! Currently in the fridge I have butternut squash, zucchini and beet zoodles!
I was wanting something warm and comforting the other night so I decided to make zoodles with marinara – simple, and tasty. I opened up my organic sugar free jar of marinara (good until August 2017), and there was what looked like a giant slimy booger on the inside of it…which later I think I determined was a “mother” that had grown? Still, not 100% sure what it was I tossed it and had to improvise. I ended up with an almost alfredo creamy garlic sauce with Italian flavors, and it was so good. Rich, hearty, full of healthy fats and there was none leftover.
Italian Zoodle Alfredo
- 1/2 stick grassfed butter
- 1 medium white onion, mince
- 2 TBSP minced garlic
- 6 oz heavy whipping cream
- 8oz chicken broth
- Butternut squash zoodles (eyeball it – maybe 2 cups?)
- Zucchini zoodles (same as above, use as many as you’d like!)
- 1 TBSP dried basil
- 1 pkg crespone (or any uncured salami), cut up
- 1 TBSP tapioca starch
- Salt/black pepper
Full disclosure, I had random things in my fridge I wanted to use up which is how this came about (the heavy whipping cream leftover from the holidays – still if I have any dairy in my fridge it’s usually the full fat stuff). Add the 1/2 stick of butter to a pan and melt, saute the diced onion and two TBSP of minced garlic for about five minutes, then add the heavy whipping cream and stir. This thickened pretty quick, which is why I ended up adding the 8oz of broth. Add the butternut squash zoodles and saute for a couple minutes, then add the zucchini zoodles and saute for another five minutes. Sprinkle with the dried basil, cut the crespone with kitchen shears directly into pan, add the TBSP of tapioca starch (it was a little too thin after the 8 oz broth, so I thickened it back up – if you don’t mind more of a soup texture feel free to leave this out or use less broth) and season with salt and black pepper. Continue stirring until everything is well heated, serve!
Typically Seth and I vacation each year over the week of Thanksgiving, it’s always a good time for us both to be away. Last year we had a long vacation to Peru and we’re in the midst of planning another long international trip next May, so this year we decided to stay domestic. Because we had such a wonderful experience staying with Belmond (properties) on our trip through Peru and were so impressed with their organization and handling of our itinerary, we decided to stay with them again in the US. They only have three properties in the US and one happens to be in Charleston, SC…where we decided to vacation this past Thanksgiving. We have close friends that used to live in Charleston, and have always heard wonderful things about the city (food, how walk-able it is, history, etc.).
We had a lot of fun while we were there, and for the most part ate our way through the entire city. We’re huge seafood fans so we consumed copious amounts of all things seafood while in town, including She Crab Soup – goodness that stuff is amazingness in a bowl.
Now that we’re back home and I’m not traveling for work for a while I’m cooking more again, and especially soups since Minnesota is all of a sudden frozen tundra. I put this soup together the other night and it is hearty and rich. It isn’t quite She Crab Soup but it has the flavor! I just wanted to substitute for some cleaner and more nutrient rich ingredients in mine.
Not Quite She Crab Soup
- 2 cans full fat coconut milk
- 32 oz chicken stock
- 1/3 cup sherry cooking wine
- 1 1/2 white onions, diced
- 3 TBSP minced garlic
- 6 drops of Tabasco sauce
- Couple shakes of cayenne pepper
- 1 stick garlic herb Kerrygold butter
- 13 – 16 oz lump crab meat (I used blue crab)
- 2 TBSP tapioca starch mixed with water (gluten-free thickener)
- Sea salt and fresh black pepper to taste
Combine everything except the crab meat and bring to a boil, continuing to stir so the onions cook and start to become transparent. Add the crab and let the soup simmer for 30 minutes or so until more crab flavor is incorporated. I drained one can of crab meat, but used the juices in the other can for more flavor.
I shared a picture of what I made for lunch today on my Instagram (@the3llls, those are L’s) and my personal Facebook page, mostly because it was too tasty and pretty not too and I’m obsessed with food. But for those that aren’t a part of either of those communities, I wanted to share here as well. I happen to have an abundance of fresh garden tomatoes from The Tomato Lady (aka, my mom), so I’m using them in all sorts of ways. Here’s a super simple lunch that’s quick, tasty, and filled with nutrients. Plus, the options are endless with avocado smash toast (I don’t eat bread often, but more in the summer for things like this or with radish sandwiches, etc.). Appreciating the last of what summer has to offer!
Avocado Smash Toast
- 2 slices gluten-free bread, toasted/broiled (I use Canyon Bakehouse)
- Grass-fed butter
- 1 avocado, smashed
- Garlic salt
- Sliced tomato
- Sea salt/black pepper
- Olive oil
Pretty simple, really. Toast bread, slather with grass-fed butter while bread is warm so it’s melty. Top with the smashed avocado and sprinkle with garlic salt. Top with sliced tomato and fresh ground sea salt and black pepper. Drizzle lightly with a really good quality olive oil. Holy hell! Enjoy 🙂