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Maple Bourbon Baked Beans

Maple Bourbon Baked Beans






My adorable nephew came over recently to hang out with auntie and his cousins. I sure miss the days when my kids where that young, snuggly and innocent. Now my not-so-innocent angels are traveling to different states with the grandparents and going off to overnight […]

The Mindful Path to Clean Eating

The Mindful Path to Clean Eating






Happy Friday everyone!!  I’m just going to call this first-time-for-everything-Friday. For the very first time, I’ve done a podcast! Many of you know that I also contribute clean eating recipes for the amazing athletes on the Breaking Muscle website. So today I’m excited to share this […]

Chicken Satay Skewers

Chicken Satay Skewers

Who can resist grilled food on a stick?!? (If you just raised your hand, I don’t think we can be friends anymore… j/k!). Indonesian in its roots, this version of satay is the slightly spicier Thai version that is popular around all of Southeast Asia. Marinating meat and giving it a light char on the grill or with a broiler has the universal effect of making people want to eat it, especially if it’s finger food prepared for easy eating on a skewer. These little chicken satay skewers will be an impressive addition to your backyard barbeque. Especially when they’re served with a creamy dreamy sauce.

Traditionally, satay is served with a peanut sauce but with my son’s nut allergies, that’s no-go. This sauce tastes just like the famously known peanut sauce but is made without nuts. Making a nut free peanut sauce, I thought, would be a huge challenge but it’s surprisingly easy. Sunflower seeds and sesame seeds are an easy stand in for similar nut-like flavor but since they are seeds, they can safely be substituted for nuts for anyone with nut allergies. In this case, I used SunButter which is a peanut butter type of spread made from sunflower seeds. I’ve also successfully used tahini (a spread made with sesame seeds) as a substitute as well in this recipe.  Having made it both ways, I prefer the taste of the SunButter over tahini in this application as I think it tastes the most similar to the original sauce. In fact, you may not be able to tell the difference at all!

I really love Thai cuisine to have authentic taste so in this recipe I’ve used a few items you may not be familiar with. The recipe will work fine without these ingredients but the flavor profile is more authentic and well-rounded with those included. Lemongrass is a delicious edible grass that is used in many Asian cuisines but most notably in Southeast Asia. It has a light, almost sweet, lemon flavor that pairs perfectly with curries. I usually purchase the stalks of lemongrass but you can also find lemongrass paste in some supermarkets for easier preparation. I’ve also taken to using tamarind when I make Thai foods and first discovered it when I was attempting to make the perfect pad thai. Tamarind is hard to find in whole form here and it’s a lot of work to soak and prepare to make juice for recipes. Because of this, I always purchase it as a tamarind concentrate and it keeps for a long time in the fridge. The last seemingly odd authentic ingredient I regularly use is kaffir lime leaves. I’ve never been able to find them fresh up here in Minnesota so I get them dried and just crumble them like dried herbs when I use them in recipes. These lovely leaves impart a light lemon/lime/orange type of aroma and flavor to the sauce.

Authentic Thai flavors and food on a stick! Chicken satay skewers with this unique nut free peanut sauce are super perfect served with a side of Thai Cucumber Salad.

Chicken Satay Skewers
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Appetizers
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • MARINADE:
  • 1 pound chicken chicken breast, sliced into strips
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon tumeric
  • ½ teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon tamari soy sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste or ½ stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce
  • NO NUT PEANUT SAUCE (SUNBUTTER SAUCE):
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 cup SunButter or tahini
  • 1-2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon lemongrass paste or ½ stalk lemongrass, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ - 1 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 3 kaffir lime leaves, finely chopped or dried and crumbled (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon tamarind concentrate (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients for the marinade and place in a bowl.
  2. Add chicken and coat with marinade. Marinate the chicken in fridge for 2 hours or up to 24 hours.
  3. Preheat a grill to medium high heat or start a broiler.
  4. Skewer chicken pieces and arrange on a broiler sheet if broiling.
  5. Grill skewers directly on grill grates 8-10 minutes per side or broil skewers on a broiler pan about 10 minutes per side.
  6. While chicken is cooking, prepare sauce.
  7. Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.
  8. Heat in a saucepan until boiling and keep boiling until thickens slightly.
  9. Serve hot.
Notes
The sauce serves many more. Serving size is about 2 tablespoons. Either refrigerate the leftovers or you can freeze it and reheat for future meals.
Nutrition Information
Calories: 402 Fat: 30 Carbohydrates: 10 Protein: 22

 

Honey Lime Margaritas

Honey Lime Margaritas






Nothing says weekend to me more than a delicious cocktail. Hello, Friday… Is it happy hour yet? Being it’s going to be a marvelous 3 day weekend, I plan on starting the weekend-ing a bit early with these awesome honey lime margaritas. This tart and […]

Thai Cucumber Salad

Thai Cucumber Salad






I told myself I wouldn’t be emotional on my son’s last day of preschool. But here I sit with a small well of tears threatening to spill out of the corner of my eye. He was sent home with a binder of all of his […]

Slow Cooker Smoked Carnitas

Slow Cooker Smoked Carnitas

Oh man, you guys are in for a treat! These may not be one-hundred percent authentic Mexican but dang are they good. You will NOT be disappointed. This recipe originally comes from my sister so I have to give her credit for the basic rub ingredients in these carnitas. From there, I subbed in coconut sugar instead of the more traditional brown sugar and added in juniper berries, bay leaves and lime juice during slow-cooking.

The first step is mix up the spice rub and massage it into the pork loin. I like my carnitas to have a little smokiness to it so I’ve used smoked salt in this rub but you can certainly use a fine sea salt or pink himlayan as well. I then sear the loin on a hot grill for about 5 minutes per side before placing in a slow cooker. Alternately, you could sear this in a large cast iron pan or under a broiler. This gives the outside a nice brown color and you’ll end up with a few intensely delicious crusty bits in each bite.

After searing the loin, slow cook for about 6-8 hours on low until it is easily shreddable. If you prefer it chopped, take it out a little sooner and chop it into bite size pieces of awesomeness. I always do the shredding right inside the slow-cooker so the carnitas can re-absorb all of the juices. This creates a super tender and never dry shredded meat that is so unbelievably perfect!!

For those of you who are masters with a barbeque smoker, I’ve also made this in a smoker on occasion and it turns out amazing. The only change is to skip the juniper berries and bay leaves and add lime juice after shredding to taste. Shred it, chop it, stuff it in your mouth. These carnitas are a tender tasty morsel in fajitas, tacos, salads, nachos and huevos rancheros. The options are endless. Top it with black bean and corn salsa, a fresh pico, shredded lettuce, and queso fresco to complete the meal. Whatever way you choose to eat these carnitas, you can’t go wrong. Serve it up authentic style with a honey margarita on the side!

Carnitas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Recipe type: Main Dishes
Cuisine: Mexican
Ingredients
  • 3-4 pound pork loin or shoulder roast
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut palm sugar
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican oregano (regular will also work)
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons smoked salt or pink himalayan salt
  • 2 teaspoons juniper berries
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
Instructions
  1. Combine all spices except the juniper berries, bay leaves and lime juice in a small bowl and stir until mixed.
  2. Rub this spice mixture on all sides of the pork loin. You may have extra rub leftover. Save it until after meat is cooked for additional seasoning if desired.
  3. Heat a grill to high heat.
  4. Sear meat about 5 minutes on each side. Alternately, sear in cast iron pan or under a broiler.
  5. Place meat into a slowcooker and add the juniper berries, bay leaves and lime juice.
  6. Slow cook on low 6-8 hours until meat is easily shreddable.
  7. Shred meat with a fork inside the slow cooker to allow the meat to re-absorb the juices.
  8. Taste and add more of the spice rub if desired.
  9. Serve in tacos, fajitas, on a salad, or with huevos rancheros!
Notes
Any leftovers can easily be stored in the fridge for a few days or frozen for easy heat and eat meals!

 

 

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

Black Bean and Corn Salsa






Gimme a huge scoop of this black bean and corn salsa and I’m instantly transported into a beach chair with my feet in the ocean fronting the Riviera Maya. So colorful, and SO extremely delicious, this black bean and corn salsa is the perfect compliment […]

Preparing the Garden for Spring

Preparing the Garden for Spring






Standing in the middle of my grandmother’s strawberry patch, I pick up the red fruits eager to make jam with her. To my left are many rows of tomato plants, beans, cucumbers and a lot of other plants that I have yet to learn their […]

Raising Spring Chickens

Raising Spring Chickens

Spring is time of renewal and new life. I see new life in the form of buds on each of my orchard trees and witness baby animals of all kinds emerging from the woods behind us. Raising chickens is a unique experience that is linked to my life on the farm as a kid. I can’t resist the baby animals so have not been immune to the need to raise new feather babies. Raising chickens has quickly become a part of my families goal to be more self sustaining and it’s as enjoyable as it is rewarding.

Last spring, my wonderful hubby built a large coop with a spacious attached run so we could begin raising chickens for eggs last spring. It’s really important to me to know where my food comes from and so I’ve entered into the role of raising chickens. I raise our own chickens for eggs so that I know that these happy hens have been treated well, are able to roam their run and in our yard freely eating their natural diet and therefore providing more nutritious eggs for my family.

These hens have stolen our hearts. My three kids lives (and mine) have been positively enriched by having them around. Raising chickens teaches the kids respect for nature, responsibility and about the food cycle. These happy hens are great therapy when you need a break from reality. They entertain us with their antics as well as generously provide my favorite breakfast food. Chickens lay eggs whether you want them to or not and their egg production increases when the amount of sunlight increases so I’m currently getting plenty to share with family and friends.

I told myself I didn’t need any more baby chicks this year but there’s a phenomenon called chicken math where once you have one they seem to multiply in number. I now have 14 laying hens from last year (I was only going to have 8 total… I don’t know what happened!) and now we have six adorable new baby chicks. I blame my chicken loving daughter for these last additions as she wanted baby chicks for her birthday. And so it goes. I set up our homemade brooder made from a plastic tote bin and some hardware cloth, added pine shavings and dug out the heater from last year. I use the Eco-Glow heater instead of a hanging lamp as I didn’t want the risk of starting my basement on fire. I started them in just one bin with the food and water in the same bin. Now that they’re getting bigger and need more room to roam, they have a second bin expansion with a tunnel to get to the other side.

 

These spring chickens are between 2-3 weeks old and are eating machines! They are beginning to get their real feathers (replacing the fluffy down from being a baby chick) and will be able to be slowly introduced to their other friends and join the “big girls” coop in about 4-6 weeks. Mora, my feather friend below with a fluffy hat, is totally excited to meet them when they’re ready 🙂

 

Confetti Fish Cakes

Confetti Fish Cakes






In an attempt to eat more fish and make it fun for the kids, I tried my hand at forming fish cakes, which are basically a hamburger patty but made with fish. They are not as difficult as one might think. These pretty little patties are full […]


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