Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Butternut Squash + Tahini Spread (March Cookbook Club)

I'm back for another installment of the Cookbook Club series I'm doing in collaboration with my friend Allie over at Key Ingredients. This month's book is Jerusalem, by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi, former residents of Jerusalem and now well-acclaimed London restaurateurs and chefs. It's is filled with mouth watering Middle Easter recipes and I want to make them all. Next to Italian and Mediterranean food, Middle Eastern cuisine is my runner up. 

I've seen very few cookbooks that are as stunning as this one. The pages are filled with authentic and unique recipes. Some are easy and some require a little more work, but if you're into cooking and this type of cuisine, this book is a must add to your cookbook shelf. 

I went to bed thinking about this dip and woke still thinking about it. I want to find everything I can and dip it in this spread. Hummus is a favorite around here, but I love mixing it up. And since beans are a legume and a bit harder on the digestive system, using butternut squash here is a nice break from the heaviness of beans. 

The roasted squash and cinnamon caramelizes just enough to give this a sweet yet slightly smokey flavor. I opted out of the date paste drizzle on top and swapped it for a simple maple syrup swirl on top just before serving. I think it added a little sweetness without being too much. You better believe I will be making this again and trying the date paste, too. If sesame seeds aren't your thing, leave those off (I did). I also garnished with a tiny handful of cilantro. To make this dip dairy free, grab your favorite dairy free yogurt or use full fat coconut cream as an alternative. 

Enjoy this spread as an starter with warm laffah bread or use it as the base in a hummus bowl. The options are endless! 

Butternut Squash + Tahini Spread

1 large butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
5 Tbsp. tahini paste
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 tsp. mixed black and white sesame seeds (optional)
1 1/2 tsp. maple syrup (or date syrup)
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Spread squash out onto a roasting pan. Toss with olive oil, sprinkle with the cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of salt. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil. Roast for 60-70 minutes, tossing halfway through. Remove squash from oven and let cool.

Transfer squash to food processor, along with tahini, yogurt and garlic. Pulse until it reaches your desired consistency. I opted for a smoother spread, but you can leave it chunkier if you like! I added a little more olive oil as I was processing.

Serve in a bowl or on a flat plate. Drizzle with maple syrup and sprinkle with chopped cilantro.

Grab the link below and add your recipe to our linkup! Thank you for coking along with us

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Salmon Burgers

Salmon cakes? Salmon burgers? Salmon patties!? Whatever you want to call them, here's my new favorite recipe. I've scrolled right past these SO MANY TIMES but decided to finally give them a try. Why did we wait so long!? Mark asked the same thing after the first time I made these. We are loving these lately! The flavor is great and if you don't love that fishy flavor you are in luck because these burgers are super mild. 

It turns out that canned salmon is a thing and it's much less scary than it sounds. You could certainly use fresh salmon, cook and form into patties, I love the quick and easy route when using the stuff right out of the can. Bonus points because this also makes it a very budget friendly meal. Cannot get enough of these and they make for the BEST lunch the next day. Serve them on top of a salad with a side of sweet potato wedges and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. 

Thanks to my friend Allison for sharing this recipe with me! 

Salmon Burgers

2 6oz. cans wild salmon, drained
2 eggs, beaten
2 Tablespoons minced shallots
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons green onions, finely chopped
1 tsp. salt/herb mix (I used salt + herbs de provence)
2 tsp. whole grain or brown mustard
2-3 tsp. coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut oil

Combine all ingredients except coconut flour and oil in a mixing bowl. Add coconut flour in 1 tsp. increments until the mixture isn't "wet". 

In a large pan over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Form salmon mixture into patties and place in the pan of hot oil. Allow patties to brown before flipping- about 5-6 minutes on each side. Cook all the way through and serve. 

Monday, March 5, 2018

Monday Trader Joe's Haul

Monday, Monday! We are still riding the weekend high, coming off of a wonderful few days with family. We spent almost the entire weekend outside, except while we were sleeping, and it was glorious. We had a wonderful time.

I went a little crazy on my Instastories today sharing my favorite Trader Joe's finds of the day.  My sister called me out and I said just you wait- next week I'll do a LIVE UN-BAGGING! Totally kidding but then again, maybe not. I always enjoy seeing what everyone else picks up at Trader Joe's- that place is such a gold mine! When I walk in, it's so hard to not ditch the list and get only what I came in for. Like, why don't I just let Joe tell me what I NEED!? 

Here are a few new things I picked up this week!


I already ripped these open for my 3pm snack break and they are delicious! The perfect little bite sized snack and they come individually packed inside the big bag. No strange ingredients and I think Will and Kate will love them, too.

This cauliflower tabbouleh did not disappoint! I've had this on my radar for awhile and finally remembered to pick it up today. I had some for lunch with the jalapeno chicken sausage from Trader Joe's (another favorite).

We have been on a citrus kick at our house all Winter so I always make sure that we have plenty. These mini mandarins are tiny and perfect for little hands and super sweet, too! Also great for kid lunches and snacks on the go.

Cold brew coffee chocolate bar WHAT!? I can't wait to try this. I know it's going to be a winner.

I don't always drink white wine, but the warmer days make me want to swap out my usual red blends for Pinot Grigios or Sauvignon Blancs. This one came highly recommended by a friend and I have it chilling in the fridge now in preparation for tonight's MOST DRAMATIC BACHELOR FINALE EVER. 

Here's the last of my haul! This cauliflower fried rice situation looks like such an easy weeknight meal! Just add in some protein and we will be good to go. Excited to give this a try. I love these small cans of wine. I always get the pinot grigio but picked up the rose to have, too. It's the perfect single serving and great for when you don't want to commit to drinking a bottle over a few nights during the week. The coconut lime mints were an impulse cash register find! Cannot wait to make these shishito peppers tonight with our salmon burgers! And since I'm a product junkie, the hair mask had to come home with me, too. 

And lastly, because I can't leave Trader's without some fresh flowers!

Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Paleo Asian Lettuce Wraps

Another Instagram post, another recipe. I love scrolling through all of the delicious dinner posts I see on Instagram and I've been posting our dinners on my stories more. I seriously get so many questions when I post pictures of our dinners so why not post them here with the recipes included!

These Asian Lettuce Wraps are from 2011 and were a favorite staple dinner in our Illinois kitchen. I loved the PF Changs version so much that I found a copycat recipe online years ago and always found myself wanting to make them. They are easy, fairly healthy and full of flavor. The addition of Hoisin sauce adds wonderful flavor but unfortunately, lots of added sugar and sodium. 

Several years ago, I cleaned up my lettuce wrap recipe for what I'm posting here. Lean turkey, lots of veggies and coconut aminos make this a wonderful Paleo and Whole30 alternative! Ground chicken and lean beef work equally as well with this recipe- I used good quality ground turkey this week and it was delicious. You can also add whatever veggies you have on hand! We love the combo of onions, carrots, mushrooms and water chestnuts. Iceburg lettuce used to be my go-to for the wraps but lately I've been buying Boston bibb and it works so much better! If you want that slightly nutty flavor that you miss without the Hoisin sauce, a Tablespoon or two of almond butter in here gives it just that! 

These are delicious on their own, or served with an asian cucumber salad on the side! Just toss the cukes with some coconut aminos, rice wine vinegar and sesame seeds (another PF Changs recipe replica!)


Paleo Asian Lettuce Wraps

1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 cup chopped mushrooms
1 can chopped water chestnuts
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. ground ginger
1/4 cup coconut aminos 
Olive Oil
Bibb lettuce, for serving

Coat the bottom of a large skillet/saute pan with a few swirls of olive oil and place on medium heat.

Add garlic, onions, carrots and ground ginger and saute until the vegetables start to get soft and fragrant, about 5 minutes. Adding the ground ginger early on allows for the flavor to get nice and toasted and really amplifies it! Add mushrooms and cook for an addition 5 minutes. Season with a little bit of salt and pepper and transfer cooked vegetables to another bowl. 

Keep heat at medium and add ground turkey. Break up the turkey as it cooks. Once meat is cooked through, add the vegetables back in and add the can of water chestnuts. Add coconut aminos and toss it all together. 

Remove from burner and serve in lettuce cups!