Almost Paleo Roll Ups

Happy Tuesday! Here is a picture of how our Monday wrapped up..literally!

Almost Paleo Roll Ups-!!

I don’t know about you, but I am so tired of all this junk food! I have been eating very “clean” for probably the past 8 years and my body just doesn’t function on anything else. It’s like putting junk in my gas tank- it just wont go!

Almost Paleo Roll Ups-!! (1)

So to try to cleanse it out a little I made this all meat and all veggie dinner. Nothing else. Practically perfectly paleo. Doesn’t it look amazing! Yes- because it is . The best part is that you can actually do this ahead of time! You could probably even roll it up ahead of time. It is very very quick once you get the veggies cut up.

Almost Paleo Roll Ups

Not only do they look really cool, but they taste insanely good. I was literally salivating looking at the pictures… Oops!

Enjoy!

 

Almost Paleo Roll Ups
 
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Marinade beef in sauce at least 2 hours and up to overnight
Ingredients
  • For the roll ups:
  • 1½ pounds of THIN top round steak (1/4 inch) (Marinade in the sauce for at least 2 hours and up to overnight) Each package I bought contained two steaks and I cut each in half length wise
  • 2 small zucchinis, cut in half and then cut into matchsticks
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends cut off and cut asparagus in half
  • 1 red bell pepper, cut into matchsticks
  • 8 ounces pineapple, cut into matchsticks
  • 2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Toothpicks
  • For the marinade:
  • ½ cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
  • ¼ cup coconut sugar OR sucanat, OR brown sugar
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
Instructions
  1. MAKE SURE TO MARINADE YOUR MEAT FOR AT LEAST 2 HOURS.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet
  3. Add carrots and asparagus to the skillet and cook them on medium heat for about 2 minutes
  4. Add the rest of the vegetables to the skillet and cook another 2 minutes
  5. Add in the pineapple and cook for another 1-2 minutes until the veggies are somewhat tender- not soft!
  6. Take out the meat and fill each filet with the vegetable mix, then pin it with about three toothpicks
  7. Set them on a pan, grill pan, or if you are brave the BBQ!
  8. I cooked mine on a grill pan and poured the marinade over the whole thing
  9. Cook for about 2-3 minutes on each side
  10. Serve

 

Homemade Almond Milk

Almond milk (3)

Hi All!

It has been a very long time! It has been difficult getting back to this website. The days seem to just keep rolling and sometimes its hard enough just getting a meal on the table, let alone everything else that goes with it. Going forward I will try to get 1-2 recipes out a week!

Almond milk (2)

Most all of the things in our fridge are completely from scratch. We have been on rice milk and almond milk for quite some time. Not only is it actually pretty pricey, but it is filled with additives. I am here to tell you that you’re not getting 100% almond milk! The first thing my husband said when he tried my almond milk is ‘Wow it actually tastes like almonds!”

Homemade Almond Milk
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 cup unsalted raw almonds (soaked for 12 hours with a pinch of sea salt)
  • 4 cups purified water
  • 4 pitted dates or a heavy tablespoon of raw honey
  • ½- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt
Instructions
  1. Soak 1 cup almonds in water with a pinch of sea salt overnight or for 12 hours. Make sure to fully submerge the almonds in water
  2. In the morning drain and rinse the almonds
  3. Throw them in a high speed blender, like a vitamix
  4. Add 4 cups of water
  5. Turn the blender on medium at first and then high for about 7 minutes
  6. Strain the milk through a nut milk bag, cheese cloth or very thin kitchen towel
  7. Reserve the pulp for later use
  8. Rinse any pulp from the blender and then add the milk back to the blender
  9. Add in the dates, vanilla and salt
  10. Blend on high for a couple minutes until all the dates can no longer be seen
  11. Store the almond milk in a mason jar in the fridge

 

Yellow Curry

Hello, hello!

As many of you know I was not introduced to Thai food until I was way into my 20′s. Yikes! I missed out, for sure. Now, I feel like I am always trying to make up for lost time. I could seriously eat Thai food everyday, well maybe every other day! The point is I absolutely love it! I love everything about it and the best part is it’s actually pretty good for us.

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Thai food is very aromatic and powerful. It is not shy at all about it’s spices! Everything has a “POW!” factor. Most of the dishes are made with some kind of coconut milk base. Coconut milk or really anything coconut is very good for you. Coconut is great brain food and is an awesome fat metabolizer for anyone looking to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight! It is a win win because coconut adds such a nice texture and flavor to our food without having to compromise health.

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One of my favorite Thai dishes was yellow curry. I could eat yellow curry like you wouldn’t believe. In fact, I started making it at home because it was becoming costly to buy it every week and I may or may not have wanted it during closing hours some nights, like at midnight. No judgements here!

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Anywho, when I was about 5 weeks pregnant with Graeyson I suddenly lost my stomach for yellow curry. I had made a large batch at home the night before and then when I opened the tupperware the next day for lunch I immediately ran to the bathroom. I couldn’t even look at the dish. It sat in the back of my fridge for two weeks until one day I told Bobby to just get rid of it and wash it before I came home from the store.  It was awful, my favorite food was no more.

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I thought I would never be able to love yellow curry again until a couple weeks ago, Bobby’s cousin wanted to order Thai and I thought I would give it a try again. So I ordered my once beloved yellow curry, tried it and SUCCESS! I didn’t get sick! It only took me two years! So I thought I would give it a go for the blog and you know what? It is so much better than the version I used to make. I used corn on the cob slices that really sweeten it up and give the dish a nice little crunch!

Enjoy!

XO Nicole

Yellow Curry
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 can of unsweetened coconut milk, full-fat
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons yellow curry powder
  • 2 medium russet potatoes, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces (skin on or off)
  • 1- ½ pound chicken breast, cooked and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 piece of galangel (thai ginger)
  • 1 tsp xylitol granules
  • 1 - 1½ tsp fish sauce
  • 2 ears corn, cooked and corn removed with a knife
  • Brown rice, 2 cups cooked
  • Fresh Cilantro, leaves only chopped
Instructions
  1. Take out a large wok sized skillet or large pan
  2. Open the can of coconut milk, scrape off the thick cream and put it into the pan
  3. Heat the cream up and once it starts to bubble up add in your yellow curry powder
  4. Add the chicken and onions and coat them in the sauce
  5. Add the water and the rest of the coconut milk from the can
  6. Cook the chicken and onions on low heat for about a couple minutes and then add in the corn, fish sauce and Xylitol
  7. Cook for another two minutes on low/medium heat
  8. Taste and make any adjustments
  9. Serve over brown rice with a sprinkle of fresh cilantro

 

Chocolate Ganache Tart with Raspberries

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Happy Friday!

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Was it just me or do this week go by crazy fast? Yes, we are still unpacking and reorganizing. Will this ever end? We are starting to get adjusted to mountain life from having city life for so long. It is very different and is not so easy to get groceries when I forget something downtown. It takes me 20 minutes to drive to a store downtown. They have a market a mile down the road but you will definitely pay for the convenience and you will not have quite the selection as you would at a bigger store. You may not have a left kidney, but hey you got that garlic that slipped your mind while you were at the store earlier.

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In the mountains there isn’t a lot to walk to like there is in the city. In the city we were able to walk to stores, shops, restaurants, parks or someones house. The possibilities were endless. Here in the mountains, they are just kind of that, the end.

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We have a main loop we do in the “neighborhood”  and it takes us about 45 minutes. There is a house that has four dinosaurs. They are totally life size and made out of iron. The things people do with their money baffles me. Then if you go a little further you will hit Graeyson’s favorite spot, the horses! There is a family that has a ranch and they have three horses. Other than that, there’s not a whole lot more that’s overly exciting about living up here. Maybe I am just a city girl and I am not a fan of mud pies, unless they are made of chocolate of course, and sticks!

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Today we are going to a BBQ and Bobby volunteered me to make food. It’s probably best considering he would bring something in a bag if it was left up to him. We decided to bring my Crack Kale Salad and try out a new dessert. That makes sense right? One safe item and one risky one. Believe it or not there are still so many people that cringe when they hear the word “kale.” I don’t know if you remember a couple weeks ago for Graey’s party I made the Crack Kale Salad for one of the dishes. We had about 50 people and I used about 20 huge bunches of kale. There was so much kale I thought I was going to be in trouble. Lo and behold there was maybe two or three portions left and a couple friends ended up taking them home with them because they loved it so much.

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So the newbie recipe for the day should be no shock that it’s chocolate, I know right, gasp! But, because it’s kind of a special occasion I went all out and made ganache with organic raspberries on a homemade cookie crust. It doesn’t get much better than that! Wait, it does. It’s good for you, it takes no time to make and it only has 5 ingredients. Say what?

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It is so simple, yet really elegant and rich. I made this twice because I wanted to make sure I was bringing over something decent! So once I had the recipe down the second tart took no time at all to make this. The longest part is allowing time to set. I hate waiting for chocolate. I want it NOW!

Enjoy your weekend!

XO Nicole

Chocolate Ganache Pie with Raspberries
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 can coconut milk, full fat
  • 1- 11 ounce bag of dark chocolate chips, 65-75%
  • 30- 365 brand creme filled sandwich cookies (The Whole Foods version of Oreo's)
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted --> measured after melting!
  • 1 pint fresh organic raspberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Spray a 9 or 11 inch tart pan (9 inch will have a thicker crust, while the 11 inch will have a thinner crust)
  3. In a food processor with the "S" blade intact add 30 sandwich cookies and turn the food processor on for around 1-2 minutes until the cookies are dusty crumbs
  4. Once the cookies are crumbs slowly add in the melted oil while pulsing
  5. When the oil and crumbs are well combined dump it into the tart pan, spread it out and start pressing it down. You want to make sure the bottom is completely covered and then cover as much of the sides as you can. Go up at least half-way.
  6. Bake the crust for 10 minutes and then set out to cool
  7. In a medium sized saucepan pour an entire can of coconut milk and heat it up on the stovetop until the milk is lightly boiling
  8. Remove from heat and add the bag of dark chocolate chips
  9. Stir the chocolate chips and coconut milk until all of the chocolate is melted
  10. Pour it directly on top of the prepared cookie crust
  11. Cover with wrap and refrigerate for at least 3 hours
  12. If you want to add your raspberries before the chocolate completely sets, so the raspberries stick half-way inside the chocolate, then add the raspberries after about 1- 1½ hours
  13. This pie is best if it can set overnight!

 

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Yogurt

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Hi Guys!

I know it is hard to believe, but it is really me! Remember a couple weeks ago I took a week sabbatical? I apologized and promised you I was back. Well, here’s the deal. We ended up having to move pretty quickly after that, like the next week. I decided that instead of stressing out over the blog I was just going to take a little break. I wanted to try to unpack boxes and get a little organized. I am absolutely not even close to being there yet, but it’s a work in progress.

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I still don’t even know where all of my seasonings and pantry goods are, which makes it pretty hard to cook if you ask me. On Tuesday I made my famous Oodles of Zucchini Noodles Lasagna and I actually had to buy oregano, basil and parsley for it. How lame is that, the most common spices?

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On top of moving my husband started a new job this week. For those of you who didn’t know he was in San Diego in the military while I was up in the Bay Area raising Graeyson. Now we are finally back together again, but he started his new job this week and so we are transitioning again.

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Hopefully it will all settle down soon. I felt like I really needed to get back on the blog wagon because it gives me stability and I love it. It’s my way of blowing off steam. I love creating something in the kitchen, mainly because I can eat it afterwards, but more importantly so I can photograph it and write about it so others can try it! I may not be completely ready to get back into my three days a week like I was, but I am really going to try.

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I want to take a moment to thank everyone (if you’re still reading this –> thank you!) that has reached out to me and encouraged me. I really appreciate the encouragement, emails and notes everyone sends. I also just love everyone that is pinning, twittering and sharing my links on facebook! It is a huge help to me to get my recipes out there! So thank you!

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Alright, now that the housekeeping is done–> Today I introduce to you Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Yogurt. Does this sound strange to you?

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I promise you, if you love peanut butter, you will love this. Three of my most favorite things –> peanut butter, chocolate chips and bananas. You will think you have died and gone to heaven. I am totally embarrassed, but not ashamed, to admit that I sometimes have this twice a day. Eek! Don’t judge until you’ve tried it!

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The coolest thing is this actually helped me lose weight. This way one of the things that helped me blast off the rest of that baby weight. I will talk more about this in future posts and how you can eat better and lose weight too. For now, I know I have totally talked your ear off so I am going to head out now!

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Thanks for listening and I appreciate all of you that come to the NP!

XO Nicole

Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Yogurt
 
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I love Straus Greek Yogurt. The Non-Fat literally tastes like Full-Fat. It is ridiculously creamy and mild for a greek yogurt. You can totally try a different one, but you may not get the same consistency and flavor. So use at your own discretion! :)
Ingredients
  • ½ cup Straus Non-Fat Greek Yogurt (See Note Above)
  • ⅓ banana, mashed (about 2-3 inches)
  • 1 tablespoon chunky all-natural peanut butter (I used the 365 brand from Whole Foods)
  • 2 teaspoons Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Mix the above ingredients together and chow down!

 

Graeyson’s 1st Birthday Party

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Please don’t be upset with me for being MIA last week! Still be my best friend, okay! We finally threw Graeyson’s first birthday party! His birthday was May 17th, but my husband was living in San Diego at the time and we wanted to wait until he could be here. It just seems like by the time you find out when people are available you are ready to plan the second birthday party!

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Throwing a party is not easy! Hoy vey! All week I was busy working away between meal planning, thinking about decorations, thinking about activities and then purchasing everything and putting it together! We had about 50 people that were in our home on Saturday. It was crazy hot sticky weather, thank goodness we have a pool! We had food in about 4 refrigerators! We made food in two different kitchens! It was so crazy. I don’t think I will ever have a party that large again!

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Graeyson’s theme was trains! It was actually pretty fun putting it all together and between my creative juices and my husband’s aunt, we had done pretty well if I do say so myself! She was here with my until 12:30 am the night before the party and then Graeyson decided to wake up at 5:15am the day of the party. Hoy, that definitely hurt as the day went on.

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We had taken butcher paper to lay down on the serving table and had made trains and cabooses out of those aluminum trays. We made tracks out of electrical tape and made little crossing figurines by gluing them to wine corks. It was so so cute! I was very pleased with how it all turned out. I also made a photo booth in the living room. There was trains on the wall and balloons. In the middle there was an open laundry basket that said “Loads of Fun.” I mean, really, how cute is that! We set up the camera so that people could take pictures out there on their own. I really wish I had taken more pictures of the before and the food, but I got way too busy!

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So the big question I am sure you want answered was what kind of food did we serve. For appetizers it was mainly different kinds of crackers, chips, dips, veggies, that kind of thing. For lunch we had barbecued chicken, ribs, my Oodles of Zucchini Noodles Lasagna, my Crack Kale Salad, Organic Berries, potato salad and barbecue green beans. We had so much food leftover, but you know the two things that were practically gone were my Oodles of Zucchini Noodles Lasagna and my Crack Kale. I had several people asking for the recipes and I got to say those magic words, “It’s on nilsenpantry.com.” Having this website has saved my life from having to write out recipes and if people lose the recipe it is right there online for them to easily print off again. JOY!

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We want to thank everyone that came and helped make Graeyson’s birthday happen! He had the best day ever. My favorite part was when we sang Happy Birthday to him! He just lit up and was smiling and clapping like crazy. It was so sweet!

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Thanks again everyone!

XO Nicole

Crack Kale Salad

 

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I know crack salad isn’t really an appropriate name, especially for a salad, but this salad really isn’t very appropriate. It is not appropriate for a kale salad to be so addicting!

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Every once in while I get on a big kick with something. Usually it’s a fad and I get over it and move on, but once I started eating kale I haven’t stopped eating it and adding it to my food. It is definitely not a bad thing to be addicted to. When I first had Graeyson, I was nursing all the time and I never had enough time to eat, let alone cook! I used to roast kale and eat it for dinner. I know it’s super pathetic, but really I couldn’t have cooked anything better!

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When I first started using kale in salads I was using the curly kale. This type of kale is much tougher and has a very strong, bitter taste to it. Now, I only use that type of kale when making kale chips. For salads I stick with lacinato kale. This is a much softer, milder kale.

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The dressing on this kale is what gives it the “crack.” It has a light and refreshing taste. There is some “zing” from the lemon and a nice punch of heat from the red pepper flakes.

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I am telling you, you will be eating this salad for the rest of your LIFE and hey that isn’t a bad thing!

Crack Kale Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • 1 bunch of lacinato kale (not curly kale)
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons of almond meal
  • ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted sunflower seeds or pine nuts, toasted--> toast in a pan with a little olive oil until lightly browned
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper chili flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon + small pinch of Himalayan salt
  • ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. De-stem each stalk of kale (all the way to the top, you only want the leaf)
  2. Take a couple of the de-stemmed stalks of kale at a time and roll them up like a cigar (start at the thinner end and work your way to the other end {don't roll from the fat ends})
  3. You are going to chop the kale cigars chiffonade style (ribbons)
  4. Once all of the kale is cut and placed in a large bowl, drizzle about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and a very small pinch of salt into the bowl
  5. Using your hands massage the salt and oil into the kale for a couple minutes
  6. Set the kale in the fridge covered for at least 30 minutes
  7. Massaging and adding salt and oil to the kale will allow it to soften
  8. While the kale is setting, take out a small bowl for the dressing
  9. Add 3 tablespoons of olive oil, the garlic, red pepper chili flakes, ¼ of the salt and ⅛ teaspoon of the pepper
  10. When you are ready to serve the salad top it with the dressing, almond meal, parmesan and toasted sunflower seeds

Brussels Sprout Wraps

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The best part about summer has to be the get togethers and barbecues! When you go over to someones house what do you usually bring over? Is there something you are especially amazing at making?

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As a food blogger, there is never a dull moment as to what I would bring! I rarely make the same thing twice because I am constantly trying out new recipes. Some days I think it would be easier to just rotate through the same old meals like we used to when I was growing up.

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When I was growing up we had taco night, spaghetti night, chicken night and lets not forget Hamburger Helper night! What were my parents thinking, seriously. Hamburger Helper? How bad can someones diet get? How boring would life be if we constantly did this same rotation for 70 years? Do you really want taco night every tuesday!? I mean I really love tacos, but come on there are other types of Mexican food as well!

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When people go out to eat they like to order things that they would never make at home or that would be too difficult to make at home. What if some of those spectacular appetizers could be made quickly right in your own kitchen! Think it’s impossible? It totally is! Today I present you with an extremely simple, delicious and beautiful appetizer that everyone will go crazy for. Yup, major, major, cray cray! I mean come on, it’s bacon! Who doesn’t go crazy for a little bacon?

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Brussels Sprout Wraps
 
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Ingredients
  • 12 brussels sprouts, ends cut off and halved lengthwise
  • 12 slices of turkey bacon (possibly more depending on the length of the bacon--> plan on a few extra)
  • ¼ cup fig preserves
  • 24 toothpicks
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Take each brussels sprout and spread the flat side with fig preserve
  3. Wrap each sprout with bacon, ensuring the flat side of the brussels sprout remains down once it's wrapped
  4. Take a toothpick and stick it in to hold it together (make sure it pokes all the way through)
  5. Set all of the finished sprouts on a cooling rack and set that on a baking sheet. This will help catch any juices that come from the bacon so it doesn't get on the bottom of the oven.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until it's perfectly crisp!

 

Chocolate Banana Bread

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I just love when babies start saying their first words. Graeyson is sputtering out words like crazy now! He says dog, apple, hi, bye, Lola (our dog) and doggie. Sometimes it is just bits of the words, but he is definitely trying to say them!

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He is even doing a bit of sign language. He can sign diaper, eat, milk, drink, please, thank you and all done. Little Graey is a smarty pants! Teaching him sign language, or at least the sign language that we know, has been such a huge help for us to communicate with Graey. We have less tantrums and less screaming because he is able to tell us what he wants. It has been our saving grace!

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While my little bundle of joy was sleeping today, I wanted to use up some of these sweet brown bananas. I was thinking banana and chocolate. Yes, banana and chocolate loaf! Yes, yes, yes! You guys, this is totally healthy too! No refined sugars, white flours or unhealthy chocolate. This loaf is so flakey and tender you wont believe its actually good for you. If you can’t eat it all in one sitting then you can freeze the other half for later, but I highly doubt you will need to do that!

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Chocolate Banana Bread
 
Author: 
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Ingredients
  • 2 cups spelt flour
  • ¼ cup xylitol
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ teaspoon Himalayan salt
  • 6 tablespoons cacao powder
  • 2 cups banana, mashed
  • ¼ cup +2 tablespoons almond milk
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • ¼ cup agave
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • ½ -3/4 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Take out two bowls
  3. In one bowl mix together the dry ingredients (minus the chocolate chips)
  4. In the second bowl mix together the wet ingredients
  5. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients
  6. Grease a loaf pan and pour the mixture into the pan
  7. Bake for 50-55 minutes

I just

Sesame Edamame Salad

Happy Saturday everyone!

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My husband’s Grandmother is in town which means we are eating every hour and what we are eating is not what I would call “clean.” She lives in Norway and only comes out about once a year. Last time she was here I was 9 months pregnant with Graeyson. This is the first time she has met our little man and I must say she is in love!

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This salad has been my saving grace this week. Like I said before we haven’t been eating the best of the best! Everything is homemade, but there are a lot of creams, butter and oil. I know it’s not the best for you, but she twists your arm until it almost breaks! You just can’t say no to her.

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I have been eating my delicious Sesame Edamame Salad everyday for lunch to help get my veggies in. It is so good! So many flavors, crunchy veggies, yummy sesame sauce, mmm mmm all the way home!

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Sesame Edamame Salad
 
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Ingredients
  • SALAD
  • 4 radishes
  • 3 celery ribs
  • ½ parsnip
  • ½ red bell pepper
  • 3 cups edamame (shelled)
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
  • ¼-1/2 cup cilantro (depending on your taste preference for cilantro), leaves only finely chopped
  • 3 kale leaves, stems removed and leaves chopped (use only the leaves, not the stems)
  • DRESSING
  • 1 teaspoon sesame chili oil
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • ¼ cup brown rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil
  • 2 teaspoon coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds (white or black)
Instructions
  1. Using a Cuisinart with the slicing blade intact slice the radishes, celery, parsnip and bell pepper
  2. In a large bowl pour all of the salad ingredients in and mix until everything is evenly dispersed
  3. In a small bowl add all of the dressing ingredients and mix well
  4. Pour over the salad and mix well
  5. Serve!

 

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