Spring Clean Eats: Day 22, Moar Sushi

GF granola, blueberries, almond milk After spending two days in a conference room this past weekend, I very much needed a “me day”.  Or as I refer to them, Hermit Days.

Hermit Days mean the only person I’m talking to is Scott and sometimes the dogs.  It also means that I sack out on the couch and either read all day or watch Law and Order.

Yesterday was a Law and Order day.  I caught a few episodes of Criminal Intent and it’s like L&O from another planet.  I don’t really care for that version at all.  Thankfully SVU came on and was on for the rest of the day.

Mmm Stabler is much much better.

On Hermit Days I try to keep everything low key and as easy as possible.  Breakfast was the last of the grain-free granola (already on my to-do list to make more) with blueberries and some almond milk.

I did some work and researched some blog stuff then it was couch time.  The pups and I hung out all day.

Scott had to run out to mail some packages and when he came home, he came back with some sushi.

I did not complain.  Easy late lunch early dinner and I still got to watch SVU while eating.  Score!

Tempura Shrimp SushiTwo rolls of tempura shrimp with avocado and one avocado and cucumber roll.

It was a perfect and much needed recharge day.

Today the sun is out and the weather is supposed to hit the 70s.  The pups and I are going to hang outside all day long!

Spring Clean Eats: Days 19-21, Catching Up

I’m back!  Thanks for being patient while I was squirreled away for the weekend.  I was at the blogging conference put on by The Scoop Blogs this past weekend and when I got home in the evenings I was wiped out.  Sitting down at the computer was the last thing I wanted to do!

So I sat on the couch with Scott and the pups instead.

Let’s get caught up on the past three days!  I’m going to break this up by Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner.  A little easier that way.


Blueberries, GF granola, coconut creamDay 19: Blueberries, grain free granola, and coconut cream.

Scrambled eggs, mandarin orangesDay 20: Scrambled eggs and mandarin oranges.

Scrambled eggs and sausageDay 21: Scrambled eggs and sausage


Turkey, beets, asparagusDay 19: Turkey, golden beets, and asparagus.  All sauteed in ghee then I added a little splash of stock, dijon mustard, and maple syrup to create a sauce.  Delicious!

Duck poutine and 90 ShillingDay 20: Even though I was at the conference, I was still able to have Odell Day on Saturday!  Pulled Duck poutine with a maple bourbon gravy (From Common Link) and a glass of 90 Shilling.  Thanks to Kristin for being my lunch date!  Both of us were not about to pass up some duck poutine!

Day 21: An unpictured (because I was too hungry to take one) salad from Avogadro’s Number.  And a little side of sweet potato fries which were alright.


SushiDay 19: Sushi!  We tried out Jaws Sushi and loved it.  I had an avocado roll with cucumber and a shrimp tempura roll with avocado.  It wasn’t till after I ordered that I realized that the shrimp probably isn’t challenge friendly.  Regardless it was delicious! And I’ll probably have more. Sorry I’m not sorry.   If you’re curious Scott had their spicy tuna roll and  The After Burn roll.  He enjoyed both of those.

Chili and cheddarDay 20 & 21: Chili both nights!  I put together some chili on Saturday before I left for the conference because I knew I wouldn’t want to have to cook when I got back in the evening.  Thank goodness for prepping ahead and leftovers!







Spring Clean Eats: Day 17, Experimenting

Grain free granola, blueberries, coconut creamSame old breakfast which was totally delicious and filling!

Don’t worry, I’ll be sharing my recipe for the granola and the coconut cream sauce once the challenge is over!

Yesterday was pretty exciting around here, it turned into an impromptu kitchen day full of new stuff and experimenting.

  • Made stock
  • Roasted beets, prepping them for salads
  • Boiled some eggs
  • Cooked up some collards

I didn’t have a full lunch while I was in the kitchen, I snacked.

Califia Farms Almond Coconut Milk

First I tried out a new to me product, it’s almond and coconut milk by Califia Farms.  I’m still debating the dairy in my coffee.  Do I give it up or go strictly grass-fed?  Anyway as I was looking at milk alternatives at the store I spotted this line of almond milks.

One of my biggest hesitations going to back to factory made almond/soy/coconut milks is that they contain a lot of extra ingredients.  Preservatives and thickeners and all kinds of stuff I don’t really want.  This is why milk is more appealing at the moment because it’s just milk.  Period.

I looked the ingredients over on the Califia Farms almond milks and they are amazing.  They contain nothing but almonds and water.  Score! So I bought the almond and coconut milk combo.


It’s definitely different tasting but it’s not bad.  I decided to test it out in a smoothie.

  • 2C Almond Coconut Milk
  • 1C Frozen Blueberries
  • 1 Frozen Banana
  • 1 Large handful of spinach

Blend, makes 2 smoothies.

This was really sweet!  I probably could have used more spinach and either just blueberries or just a banana and it would have tasted just fine.  I definitely liked the milk alternative though.  I’m going to give their other flavors a try as well and experiment with it a little more.

Hardboiled eggs in water

I also snacked on a hardboiled egg (sitting in cold water after cooking) and an apple.

After doing all that it was time to start working on dinner.  Scott and I both are missing pizza and seeing commercials for it doesn’t help.   I decided to increase my cooking skills and play around with a grain-free pizza dough.

I found this recipe by The Domestic Man and used that as a base.  I made only a couple of changes (and kept my fingers crossed it would still work).

For the dough the changes I made were:

  • 1/2C milk instead of 1/4C Cream + 1/4C Water
  • 1/4tsp Garlic Powder and 1/4tsp Italian Seasoning instead of 1/4tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4C Tapioca Starch and 1/2C Almond Meal instead of 3/4C grated Parmesan

The recipe split the dough and made two pizzas.  I greased up a baking sheet with some butter and made this into one pizza.

The dough was interesting! I’ve never used tapioca starch before so I had no idea what to expect.  It’s smooth but it doesn’t really stick to your hands and you can manipulate how you like.

This wasn’t a dough I could roll out.  Instead I dumped the dough onto the baking sheet and spread it with my fingers until it filled the sheet. This took some time but it worked.  I made sure to make the dough thin but not have holes.

Grain free pizza

I followed the directions on baking and walked away with a pretty good looking pizza!

Grain Free pizza

You can see that this is a very thin crust.  It had a light chewy texture to it.  I didn’t go crazy with toppings because I had never worked with dough like this before and I didn’t know how it would turn out.  I still wouldn’t load it down with toppings but it could definitely handle more.

I would like to play around with the idea of a grain-free pizza dough, something that has a yeast base and could be rolled out and cooked on a pizza stone.  Can it be done?  I don’t know but I’d like to experiment and see!

Yesterday was a pretty good day!


Spring Clean Eats: Day 16, Run Done

Grain free granola, blueberries, coconut creamYou can expect to see this breakfast coming up a lot because it’s been a hit this week.  Plus with the warmer weather slowly starting to creep in, I want something a little cooler for breakfast.

Grain-free granola with blueberries and coconut cream.


This was lovely post run fuel!  Yesterday I ran my second full mile!  Whooo!  I’m going to start slowing increasing my mileage at this point and see how it goes.   So stoked to be at a full, albeit slow as hell, mile again!

Yesterday was one of those days where the time goes by so fast and you can’t seem to catch up.  After walking the dogs, working on a big project, and going to the grocery store, we finally got a chance to sit down and eat lunch.

But at this point it become dinner.


Big salad with purple carrot, cucumber, asparagus, and sliced almonds.  Unpictured on the side I had some Canadian bacon and mandarin oranges.

Not the most exciting day of meals but all of it was filling and tasty!

Spring Clean Eats: Day 15, Little Change Up

Paleo granola, coconut cream, blueberriesI needed a little change up for breakfast yesterday.  I didn’t feel like a protein heavy breakfast but everything else that I could have is not Spring Clean Eats friendly.  Oatmeal, traditional granola, and yogurt were all out.

What to do?

I looked around for some paleo and grain-free granola recipes.  I came across a few but most had way more ingredients than I want in granola.  Some used things I didn’t have on hand so I decided to create my own.

I made a grain-free paleo friendly granola and I also made a coconut cream sauce to go with it.  Added some fresh blueberries and this breakfast totally hit the spot!  I would have licked that glass clean if I could have!  Recipe coming up after the challenge is over.

I honestly didn’t think that this breakfast would keep me satisfied all that long and by lunch time I would be wanting to gnaw my arm off.  It lasted me all day and I didn’t even think about food again until late afternoon.  By that point I decided to heat up leftovers and make some fresh green beans.

Sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, pork ribs, green beans

I washed and trimmed the green beans, then I put them in a pot with an onion, some stock, and some water.  I let that simmer until they were cooked through (I like softer green beans vs. crunchy).  Drained the beans, put them back in the pot with some ghee, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.

Again, not the most flattering picture I know but styling my dinner isn’t really the main priority here.

Loved having leftovers ready to go for Monday’s dinner!  It made Monday go a little smoother.

Spring Clean Eats: Day 7, Vitamin D

GF Asparagus QuicheSince it was Sunday and I wanted to do something a little more fun and special for breakfast.  I wanted to make a quiche but needed some direction on how to make a grainfree crust.

Thankfully the internet is chock full of recipes!

I made a quick crust using the recipe from Elana’s Pantry.  This quiche will be a recipe once the challenge is over!

This crust was similiar to like a graham cracker crust, where you have to mold it around the pie plate. The crust worked out great though!  I’m going to tweak it just a tad to fit our tastes and I would like to make it so that I could roll it out. The coconut flavor from the oil was a little overpowering and I would like something more subtle.


GF Asparagus Quiche, Candian Bacon


This experiment worked out though and we had a delicious breakfast!  Asparagus quiche with some uncured Canadian Bacon on the side.

I split a gigantic apple with Scott later as a snack.  I dipped it in some almond butter for extra umph.  That breakfast was a hefty one and all the protein lasted me well until late afternoon.

My exercise for the day was getting some Vitamin D!  It was so nice out and the skies were clear, so the dogs and I headed to the backyard to catch some rays.

It was glorious!  Considering Saturday was a hot mess where it was cold and snowed all day, this was a nice change.

Dinner was quick and easy!

Roast chicken breast and sauteed cabbage

Chicken breast from a roasted chicken and some sautéed cabbage and onions.  Sometimes I think cabbage gets overlooked as a veggie.  Most people either use it in cole slaw or for making cabbage rolls.

But cabbage sautéed in some ghee with onions and a little bit of salt and pepper is a really great side dish.  It’s easy and it tastes amazing.  The cabbage gets a sweetness as it cooks that is surprising.

The evening was spent on the couch watching a really bad hockey game.  Scott and I snacked on dark chocolate chips paired with fruit juice sweetened dried cranberries.

Steve's Paleo Cranberries

I’m not a fan of chocolate and fruit (ew) but this combo is my favorite!  I picked up some of Steve’s Paleo Dried Cranberries.  These were the only dried cranberries in the store that didn’t have sugar added to them.

The. Only. Ones.

They are fantastic though!  Both Scott and I love them, and I hope they come in a bigger bag!  They are sweetened with apple juice so the sweetness isn’t overpowering at all.  The cranberries are huge whole dried cranberries so they pack a punch.  If you see them out, give them a try!

Disclaimer: I found these at the store and bought them myself. Opinions are my own.  Steve’s Paleo has no idea who I am.

Sorry that this post was delayed! We were rearranging our office yesterday and it wasn’t set up yet so that I could post!

Kale and Walnut Pesto

Kale and Walnut PestoA couple weekends ago Scott and I traveled to Boulder for a beer release.  On our way home we stopped by a Whole Foods there (huge and crazy packed!) to pick up a couple of things.

We also grabbed dinner which was pizza.  My pizza had kale pesto on it that I thought was unique and really tasty.

Because I love the concept of pesto and I love kale, this was a match made in heaven.  So of course I had to make my own version a couple of days later!

Andrea’s Kale and Walnut Pesto

  • Two Bunches of Kale**, stemmed and roughly chopped
  • 1C Walnut Halves (Raw or roasted, your choice)
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1C Olive Oil
  • 1 Pinch of Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 2tsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1/2tsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Big Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1C Grated Parmesan Cheese

Place half the kale, walnuts, and oil in a food processor along with all of the seasonings and cheese.  Process until it starts to break down and get creamy.  Add the rest of the kale, walnuts, and oil and continue to process until you have a smooth creamy paste.

Pour out into a glass container with an airtight lid.  Makes about 2-3 cups of pesto and will keep in fridge for at least four days.

Kale PestoThis pesto tastes like summer. It’s grassy, slightly bitter, and feels full of sunshine.

**I didn’t cook the kale and you are free to keep it raw or to blanch it a little first.  If you do blanch it, you’ll have to make sure that you dry the leaves as much as possible.  Otherwise you’ll have a watery and runny pesto.

Since the kale is raw there is a slight grassy bitter taste up front but it soon mellows out with the garlic, walnuts, and cheese.  It’s great as a dip, to use on pasta, or even as a spread on pizza.

I think it would also benefit from a little lemon zest and a little squeeze of lemon juice.  I didn’t have any on hand when I made this but next time I’m going to give it a try.

Pizza sliceI ended up having this pesto three ways, well four, if you count eating that little slice of bread up there with the pesto on it.

Next week, you’ll get to see the other delicious way to have this pesto.


Pecan and Walnut Rolls with Bourbon Icing

Pecan and Walnut Breakfast Rolls I am not by any stretch what one would call a baker. I make the occasional cookies, biscuits, and pie crust. That’s about it.

But sometimes I want to experiment and make something different.  Recently I couldn’t get the idea of cinnamon rolls for breakfast out of my head.

Gooey rolls filled with nuts and perhaps a boozy icing would be a great way to kick off a weekend morning.

While Scott and Avery were sleeping in all snug in bed, I was in the kitchen putting together some sweet dough for rolls.

And crossing my fingers that it would work because I’m still learning how to bake at elevation.

I’m pleased to say this experiment turned out and I’ll probably be making some more very soon!

Andrea’s Pecan and Walnut Rolls with Bourbon Icing

To Bloom The Yeast:

  • 1C Milk (I used whole milk but you can sub soy if you want)
  • 1TBSP Active Yeast (Not for bread machines)
  • 1TBSP Cane Sugar

Heat the milk until it’s just warm, you do not want it to boil or scorch.  In a glass bowl add the milk, yeast, and sugar.  Let sit for about 5 to 7 minutes to allow it to bloom.

For The Dough:

  • 1 1/2C White Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1C Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 2TBSP Cane Sugar
  • 1tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2C Milk

For The Filling:

  • 1C Pecan Halves*
  • 1C Walnuts*
  • 1tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 2tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 3TBSP Brown Sugar
  • 4TBSP Unsalted Butter, cut into cubes
  • 1TBSP Milk

*Make sure to use unsalted pecans and walnuts.

Bourbon Icing:

  • 1/2C Powdered Sugar
  • 1TBSP Bourbon

Mix together so that it forms an icing that can be drizzled.  Add more bourbon if necessary.

Making The Dough: 

In a stand mixer, add all the dry ingredients for the dough and whisk together mixing it well.  Attach the dough hook, add in the yeast mixture and slowly mix the dough.  Add in the additional milk and vanilla letting everything mix together.

The dough will be very sticky and soft.

Set aside and let the dough rise for one hour.


Making The Filling:

In the meantime, in a food processor add all the ingredients for the filling and pulse until a paste forms.


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

When it’s time to roll out the dough, sprinkle a surface with flour and flour a rolling pin.  Roll out dough to about 1/4 of an inch thin and in the shape of a rectangle.  About 20 inches long and 20 inches wide.

Spread the filling onto the dough and roll up lengthwise.  Slice the roll in about 2 inch pieces. You should get about 12 rolls.

In a buttered or greased cast iron skillet (I used a 9 inch skillet) arrange the rolls.  Allow to rise for 1/2 hour.

Place in oven and bake for about a half hour or until the dough fully sets.

Remove and let cool for 10 minutes.

Drizzle with bourbon icing and serve!

Yields about 12 rolls.

Pecan and Walnut Rolls with Bourbon IcingIt seems like a lot when you are first looking at the recipe but I promise it’s not hard at all.  It does take time but oh man fresh nut rolls with boozy icing on a weekend morning are totally worth the effort.

Scott was happy and I was so pleased that this experiment worked!  As much as I loved the icing it ended up being a little sweet for me.  However if you love bourbon then make extra icing, trust me.

I did put an eggwash on the rolls before baking them but that is completely optional and not required.

Now that I have the baking bug, I’ll have to see what else I can bake up this week.

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food! Enjoy!



Keep It Simple: Kale Salad with Walnuts and Parmesan

I love having salads at lunch but sometimes I need to mix things up a little bit to keep from getting bored.

Salads are great but can get a little stale after a while.

Since I love greens and they have been plentiful at the farmer’s market lately, I decided to use some kale to make a simple salad for lunch.

I don’t have exact measurements for the dressing because the amount is dependent on how much kale you have and how much dressing you prefer.

We lean more towards “lightly dressed” salads verses heavier dressed salads so the amount I used for this dressing wasn’t much.  The amounts listed below are guesstimations.

Andrea’s Kale Salad with Walnuts and Parmesan 

  • 1 Big Bunch of Kale, stemmed and ripped into bite-sized peices
  • Walnuts
  • Grated Parmesan

For the Dressing:

  • 1/4 C Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 TBSP Whole Grain Mustard
  • 1 TBSP Maple Syrup
  • 1 TBSP Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large deep bowl add the kale.  Mix the dressing ingredients together and pour over the kale.  Toss to coat, cover, and place in fridge for at least an hour.

Portion out into bowls, sprinkle with crushed walnuts and grated parmesan.  Serve and enjoy!

It’s best to let the kale sit in the dressing for a good bit of time.  The vinegar helps break down the kale (which can be quite chewy when raw) and remove some of the bitterness from the leaves.

I tend to put this salad together early in the morning and then when lunchtime rolls around all I have to do is portion it out!  It’s ready to go when we are ready to eat.

It’s even better as leftovers!

You certainly can up the protein by adding in some salmon, an egg, or even leftovers from a previous meal.  The kale provides a nice base for whatever you would like to add to it.  A favorite addition here is salmon and white beans.

Remember meals don’t have to be complicated or time consuming in order to be satisfying!

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies are my newest obsession.  They are so easy to make and bake up in no time.

They also taste mighty damn fine.

These cookies have been popping up lately all over the food blogs and I finally decided to give them a shot.  Mine are just a little different because I use more peanut butter.

I’ve never been a fan of these so-called peanut butter cookies that only use like 3/4C of peanut butter in them.

That’s not a peanut butter cookie, it’s a cookie with some peanut butter in it.

Big difference!

These cookies are also perfect to use with all natural peanut butter, you know, the kind you have to stir.

Andrea’s Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 16oz Jar of All Natural Peanut Butter (no sugar added)
  • 1/2C Brown Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2 1/2tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1tsp Baking Soda
  • Pinch of cinnamon if you feel spunky

Preheat oven to 350.

Dump all ingredients in your stand mixer bowl and use the paddle attachment.  Mix until everything is well incorporated.

Roll into small balls, about the size of a bite-size meatball.  Place on cookie sheet and then flatten with a fork to make criss-cross pattern.

Place in oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until the edges start to seem crispy.  They will harden further once they start to cool down so pay attention that you don’t burn them or overcook them.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before eating.  Enjoy!

Can this be any easier?

Scott and I give these two thumbs up!  They are perfectly crumbly like a peanut butter cookie should be and full of peanut butter flavor!

I am not much on sweets so my cookies generally do not have a ton of sugar in them (and really it’s not needed).  So be advised that these are not super sweet cookies.  They have just a hint of sweetness to them.

I highly suggest you make these this weekend and then make another batch just for good measure.

Have fun guys, and remember, always play with your food!  Enjoy!