Pleasantly Surprised

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I feel like I haven’t written about food (food that I’ve made, that is) on here in so long! Let’s remedy that before heading out for Labor Day weekend. Well, I’m actually laboring for 2/3 of Labor Day weekend- so before YOU ALL head out!

The strangest thing about the whole me not posting recipes/food lately situation is that I’ve been cooking a ton! And I’ve been more experimental than ever both at home and at work. On the home front I’ve been delving more and more into a primal way of eating // At work we’ve been focusing more on vegan eats. Both of these eating lifestyles push me out of my comfort zone and make me try lots of new things.

I have been absolutely loving The Paleo Kitchen cookbook. I’ve made ten different things so far and they’ve all been delicious. The paleo granola, fig and blueberry jam, and banana bread recipes are so wonderful.P1040400P1040399P1040452I also should admit, I am addicted to pistachios. For most of my life I thought I hated them (what!) and never ate them. Now I eat them… everyday? If not everyday, pretty close. How did I not know they were so good! They’ve been going on my banana bread quite often.Banana Bread

Same goes for figs! I tried them for the first time two years ago and was all BLEH over them. I think maybe because I was used to a different kind of sweetness from refined foods and these babies just didn’t cut it for me. They were too much of a subtle sweetness that just didn’t jive with me. But now- I LOVE. Cannot get enough! They’re so perfect. They’ve also been a great banana bread topper.P1040455

ANYWAY.

Jam and granola and banana bread… those food items aren’t so out of the ordinary for me. I make and eat some variation of those things fairly often. What has been new has been following recipes that have zero grains and trusting that my body (and mind) will be cool with that.

The biggest surprise deliciousness from The Paleo Kitchen was the sage sweet potato noodles and meatballs. I was skeptical. I was so wrong to be skeptical. I added some roasted broccoli to the sweet potato noodles + meatballs… heaven.P1040448The meatballs were a mix of pork and beef, rosemary, sage, and salt/pepper.P1040449The most beloved flavor combination from The Paleo Kitchen that has made its way into multiple dishes at home has been butternut squash, coconut oil, and dill. I made the fries version- da bomb. And then last night I just cubed squash and did the same flavor combo- equally as good. Lucky for you guys- the recipe is online šŸ™‚P1040467I’ve also been playing around with recipes from Practical Paleo. I made the sweet potato pancakes to have for breakfast and pre-gym morning snacks- such a good call. I wish I had a magical fairy who could come into my kitchen and make a batch of these for me every week (I know I know… that magical fairy is me).P1040446P1040447I also made the citrus macadamia nut sole– but I used ground cashews and cod instead.P1040445P1040444The most nerve wracking recipe I attempted this week at home, however, were these spicy tuna cakes from Nom Nom Paleo. It’s an award winning recipe from an amazing foodie… but I was still hesitant to try these out. Tuna mixed with sweet potato? I wasn’t sure about it. Orange patties? Ehhh… I don’t know. BUT I went in full force, made a batch (and listened to commentors on the recipe that to prevent muffin tin stickage, it’s a good idea to shape them into patties on a baking sheet and just cook them in the oven that way), andĀ devouredĀ them this week for lunch.Tuna CakesIt made four lunches and I was so happy it did! The recipe wasn’t complicated at all and it was SO GOOD. I was nervous about feeling full and like it was enough- but with some avocado, roasted broccoli and brussels, and a little cup of berries… this lunch was really satisfying. I was really impressed with how full it kept me.

Outside of recipes, I also tried two new products this past month that I am nowĀ obsessedĀ with.

1. La Croix flavored water. AH! Where has this been for the past few years of my existence?! Not in my kitchen, that’s where. I love that the flavor tastes likeĀ actual flavorĀ and not something artificial. Like this grapefruit one tastes like a lil grapefruit was szqueezed into some sparkling water. I have no idea how to pronounce it (oh, French) but it’s my newest addiction.P10404642. Bagel Spice. OH EM GEE. This stuff. I put it on eggs… and its basically like an everything bagel in seasoning form. There are poppy seeds, sesame seeds, dehydrated garlic, etc. It’s sooo good.P1040465And I’ve fallen head over heels for plantains. I cooked with them for the first time this summer and now I buy them every week. I can’t wait to try more recipes featuring them because I think they are the greatest! Lately I’ve been eating them sauteed in a little bit of coconut oil and cinnamon, alongside eggs (topped with bagel spice seasoning).P1040466Work food- well that’s been really surprising in a good way too! I made Jeanine’s sunflower seed “cheese” to be paired with heirloom tomatoes that were on sale at the store- holy cow was it impressive! It was so delicious. I didn’t take pictures because my hands were covered in suncheese (what a fun name, right?) but trust me on this one- it’s good.

And then I was able to turn processed almonds into a “tuna” salad courtesy of Angela’s recipe. I couldn’t believe my eyes- it really looked like tuna just on its own. And then once the almonds were combined with the vegan mayo, green onions, celery, lemon, and kelp granules- it looked exactly like tuna salad. People couldn’t believe their taste buds.

Almonds 2AlmondsAlmond Tuna 2Almond Tuna

I also used to totally turn my nose up at raw food altogether. I remember that episode of Sex and the City where Samantha took the other ladies to this raw restaurant (and where she met Smith Jerrod!) and all I took away was that the food was gross and trendy and weird.

But this past year I’ve definitely learned that raw food can be delicious when prepared the right way. All you need is a good recipe. Thank God for Angela (yet again). Her Rad Rainbow Pad Thai salad wowed and amazed customers at the store this week. Pad Thai in salad form? Yes!rainbow pad thai

And now you know what I’ve been cooking up these days!

The more I cook, the more I really believe that- good food is justĀ good food–Ā it doesn’t matter what “label” it falls under. Cooking all different stuff and constantly being surprised by food is a really great way to think outside the box and not be so judgmental when it comes to all the different ways of eating.

If it tastes good, was made with what I consider real food, and made well and with care/love, I don’t care WHAT the label is.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

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