Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

The concept of “home” is an interesting one to me. Although I call Kansas City my home now, other places feel like home when I am surrounded by certain people.

Last weekend I took a short road trip through my home state of Oklahoma. My first destination was Tulsa where i spent a few days with three of my closest girlfriends from college for Estrogenfest…an annual tradition with no men, no children, lots of love, and lots of booze. It is like a boozy spa retreat for my soul. We talk. We laugh. We cry. We remember old times. We build each other up. We bring out the best in each other. It feels like home.

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I took back roads to get there from Kansas City. I like not traveling on the main highways during road trips so that I can see the forgotten pieces of slow American life. Slowing down is something I have to remind myself to do often. I was able to spend good quality time by myself and with my thoughts. I felt centered. I felt home.

After a few days, I left my girlfriends and headed further south to see my family. Being with my brother and two sisters is one of the biggest rewards I get in life.  I can sit for hours around them without saying anything and all feels right in the world. We laugh so much with each other…inside jokes get funnier, food tastes better, the hot summer breeze feels right. It feels like home.

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

After a few days in OKC, I headed back to Kansas City.  Even though I find comfort in the people that I see back in Oklahoma, Kansas City is my new home. When I am gone from here, I miss it more and more.  The streets are becoming more and more familiar to me.   I realize that other cities just don’t seem as pretty as Kansas City.  I miss my rituals when I’m gone. I miss the tall trees from my neighborhood. I miss seeing the same people every morning during my morning jog. I miss cooking. I miss playing chess at night with my husband while drinking good beer. I miss visiting the same friendly farmers on Saturday mornings and asking how their farms are doing. I miss my home.

Weeknight dinners at my home often consist of burger-in-a-bowl. It’s super easy and refreshing. This past week when I got back from trekking around OK, I whipped up this Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl using a slaw I made with red cabbage from the market and tons of herbs from our garden. This is heavily inspired by my Green Curry Burger. I hope you enjoy this comfy recipe as I share it from my home to yours.

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy/Medium
  • Print

Adapted from my green curry burger wraps.

Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl Ingredients

  • 4 burgers, grilled (see instructions below)
  • Cabbage and Carrot Slaw
  • Greens (Kale, Butter Lettuce, Chard)
  • Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing
  • 1 lime, cut in quarters
  • siracha
  • cilantro, mint, and basil

Burger Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

Cabbage and Carrot Slaw

  • 1/2 large head of red cabbage, shredded
  • 5 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seed oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon chopped mint
  • 1 tablespoon chopped basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Spicy Peanut Sauce Dressing

  • 1/3 cup unsalted creamy peanut butter (or almond butter)
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice wine vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon Siracha
  • ¼ Cup water

Instructions

  1. Making Burgers – Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix with hands until ingredients are distributed throughout meat. Try to handle meat as lightly and as little as possible so that the meat does not become compact and tough when cooking. You are making burgers, not meatloaf, people! Form the meat into 4 equal-portioned patties, about ¾-inch thick. Make a dimple in the middle of the patty, pressing down with thumb or fingers. This will keep the burger from bulging during the cooking process and maintains juiciness. Sprinkle with additional salt and pepper and set aside.
  2. Making Slaw – Combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well. Place in refrigerator while preparing everything else, mixing every once and awhile. Best if made at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead of time.
  3. Preparing the Spicy Peanut Sauce – Combine all ingredients in a small food processor or bowl. Mix well. Set aside.
  4. Cooking Burger Patties – Prepare a gas or charcoal grill to medium-high heat. When the grill is ready, place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, 3 to 5 minutes on each side.
  5. Assembling Thai Burger-in-a-Bowl – Divide greens among four bowls. Add about 1/2 cup of slaw to each bowl and then top with a grilled burger. Add desired amount of siracha and herbs on top of burger. Drizzle peanut sauce on top of assembled burger. Squeeze fresh lime juice on top of everything.

Advertisements

Picnic Perfect Herby Deviled Eggs

Picnic Perfect Herby Deviled Eggs / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I’m constantly looking for easier and more efficient ways to do things. Must be the engineer in me. Well today, I have an amazing genius picnic tip.

Use an egg carton to transport deviled eggs. Genius!

This weekend we had a tasty picnic with friends to celebrate the 4th of July. My hubby and I rode our bikes to the park and brought along some snacks, including deviled eggs. My solution to transport the deviled eggs was to use the egg carton as the perfect transport container.

I placed separate muffin liners in the carton to make these a less messy picnic dish. I also decided to use nearly the whole egg instead of cutting them in half. I cut the top third of the egg off and scooped out the yolk. The yolks were then mixed with greek yogurt (instead of mayo), herbs, salt, and Dijon mustard. I then scooped the yolk mixture into a baggy, cut off the edge, and pipetted the mixture into each egg white. Fancy pants picnic dish!

Picnic Perfect Herby Deviled Eggs / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I unfortunately do not have very many pictures of these puppies since I was running behind and had to rush to get these beauties loaded up in the egg carton and then head out on my bike to the picnic. But I will tell you that I will definitely be repeating this process for future deviled eggs that will be accompanying me to potlucks and picnics.

The only downside to this recipe is that deviled eggs go waaaay too fast. Womp Womp.

Herby Deviled Eggs (Grain Free, Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 12
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 12 eggs
  • 1/3 cup greek yogurt
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced chives (some reserved to sprinkle on top)
  • 1 teaspoon minced parsley
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Instructions

  1. Place eggs in a medium saucepan and add cold water until the eggs are covered by 1 inch of water. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove saucepan from heat, cover, and then let stand for 11 minutes. Drain the pot and run cod water over the boiled to cool them.
  2. Meanwhile, place remaining ingredients into the bowl of a food processor and mix together. Reserve some chives and parsley for sprinkling on top.
  3. Peel all of the eggs. To transport easily to a picnic, make whole deviled eggs by cutting off the top third of the egg. Remove yolks carefully with small spoon or butter knife, leaving the whites fully intact. Transfer yolks to bowl of food processor with greek yogurt mixture. Process until smooth.
  4. For easy picnic transport, line egg carton with individual muffin liners. Place intact egg whites into each separate muffin tin liner. Place egg yolk mixture into a sealable plastic back (like a ziplock). Cut the corner tip off of the bag for easy pipetting into each egg white. Sprinkle with remaining herbs. Place plastic wrap on top of filled eggs and refrigerate up to 8 hours.

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

Things have been pretty busy for me lately. We recently traveled to Pittsburgh to see two of our dearest friends and our twin godsons that are 16 months old! So adorable. It was a fun-filled weekend that had me taking naps EVERY day. Twin boys…whoooosh. Then I was in Omaha for work. THEN my two awesome kid sisters came and visited me.

When I’m running around full steam, on the road, and on air planes, I need a good snack. I recently tried SuperSeedz, gourmet pumpkin seeds, and I absolutely LOVE them. I took them on the road with me and shared my new addiction with everyone. They are so delicious and have tons of different flavors. They are one of the best gluten free and paleo-friendly treats on the market.

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

I’m typically not a big person on doing giveaways, but I am completely in deep smit with these pumpkin seeds.  So if you are looking for a tasty snack that is loaded with protein and nutrients, you have to try these!

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken

For a sweet treat, try the chocolate flavored Cocoa Joe! ERHMERGERD! Or spice it up with the Curry Flavored seeds. I really liked these seeds so much that I used the curry flavored pumpkin seeds as a nut crust for a paleo version of chicken fingers! Super kid friendly and easy for the whole family to help prepare.

SuperSeedz and I are giving away a FREE box of all of the delicious flavors that SuperSeedz offers! It’s an amazing snack box full of tasty treats.  There are two different ways to enter this giveaway.

Receive up to 2 entries if you:

  1. Subscribe to Big Eats Tiny Kitchen blog by email. 
  2. Leave a comment below about your favorite way to use pumpkin seeds. Extra points for creativity!

The fine print: You have until midnight CST on Sunday, July 6th, 2014, to leave a comment or subscribe to my blog for chances to win the box of tasty treats. I will notify the winner by email on Monday, July 7th, 2014. To claim the prize, the winner must reply within 7 days with a valid mailing address or another winner will be selected at random. Good luck!

Paleo Curried Pumpkin Seed Crusted Chicken (Grain Free, Gluten Free, Paleo-Friendly)

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Note – A food processor or blender is necessary for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs of chicken breasts or thighs, boneless and skinless
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds (I used Super Seedz Curry Flavor)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder (or any seasoning that you prefer)
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a roasting pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper. Set aside.
  2. Process 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds in a food processor for 1 minute or until seeds resemble bread crumbs. Add coconut, curry powder, and salt and pulse until combined. Pour pumpkin seed mixture onto a large plate.
  3. Whisk two eggs in a medium bowl. Dredge chicken in egg to fully coat. Take egg-coated chicken and lay onto plate with pumpkin seed mixture. Coat chicken on both sides with pumpkin seed mixture thoroughly. Place coated chicken onto roasting pan.
  4. Cook chicken for 35 to 45 minutes at 400 F (until chicken is cooked through), flipping halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven when cooked through and allow to cool for 5 minutes.

 

Tilapia Fish Tacos

Tilapia Fish Tacos  / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen
Tilapia Fish Tacos / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I still remember the first time I heard someone mention fish tacos. It was nearly 15 years ago. My face contorted and I wanted to vom in my mouth. Tasty, huh.  They didn’t sound appetizing…at…all. I imagined tacos that were a combo of Long John Silvers and Taco Bell…bleeeeeeh. But I went for it and took the fish taco challenge.

Thank goodness that was not what they turned out to be. They were fresh. They were NOT breaded. They were spicy with a fresh vinegary slaw on top. And did I mention the cilantro? and lime juice? And grilled corn tortillas? Ya, there was no turning back. I was a fish taco convert. I wanted to tell everyone about the magic of wrapping a blackened tilapia filet into a corn tortilla with cilantro and lime juice. I was ready to shove them in any doubters face.

Tilapia Fish Tacos (Gluten Free)

But now it is hard to go to a restaurant and NOT find fish tacos on their menu. I don’t have to convince anyone that they aren’t a greasy batch of deep fried fish wrapped in a gordita. Not a taco!

I make fish tacos all the time for solo dinners and for guests, blowing their minds and introducing them to the great fish taco movement. I make them similar to the first ones that I had in California so many years ago. Bursts of freshness are with every bite. Definitely don’t skimp on the lime or the cilantro! Top them with a great fresh vinegary slaw, such as this brussels sprout slaw or this cabbage slaw. I also love whipping up a mango salsa to accompany them.  Mmmmm. So what are you waiting for? Go start converting people to the fish taco revolution!

Tilapia Fish Tacos (Gluten Free)

Tilapia Fish Tacos

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground thyme
  • 2 teaspoons ground oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon chile powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 oz tilapia filets
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 limes
  • crumbled feta
  • Slaw – such as Brussels sprout and cabbage slaw
  • 8 corn tortillas

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine seasonings in a small bowl (paprika through salt).
  3. Pat the tilapia dry and then sprinkle seasoning on top and bottom of filets. Place tilapia filets on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, or until fish begins to flake apart with a fork.
  4. Remove the fish from the oven. Flake into large chunks.
  5. To prepare the tortillas, either place them in a single layer in the oven for just 1 to 2 minutes or place over an open gas flame to grill them slightly on the edges. I don’t like to microwave my tortillas because they turn out rubbery.
  6. Now it’s time to MAKE YOUR TACOS! Place fish into tortilla and top with slaw, fresh cilantro, and a generous fresh squeeze of lime juice.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons (Grain Free)

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Sorry for the long delay in between posts. Recently life has been tough at times but life also has been very good. When I am going through a roller coaster of emotions and dead lines and choices and what not, I consume chocolate and peanut butter. Doctors orders.

But when life is good…I also eat chocolate and peanut butter.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

The combination sends warm fuzzies through my body. It’s a choco-pb hug for my soul. I get my best soul hugs from those crack-like addictive Reese’s PB eggs that spring forth from every corner around this time of year. I can stay away from Reese’s (nearly) the rest of the year, but throw them in an egg shape! Holy frijoles, I can’t stop. My eyes pop out of my head all googley and I froth at the mouth and I protect them like a squirrel, hiding my Reese’s eggs in weird and unassuming places.

These cookies are the wonderful love child of two of my favorite cookies: No bake cookies + macaroons. Whoa. Whoa.

Let this happen.

Make them egg shaped. They are better for you than those other choco-pb eggs and just as addictive.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It will make you love life even when there are a few major down moments.

Chocolate and Peanut Butter Macaroons (Grain Free and Diary Free)

Adapted from Against All Grain

Makes 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons natural creamy unsweetened peanut butter*
  • 1 egg white
  • salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325F. Place a piece of parchment paper onto a rimmed baking sheet. Set the baking sheet aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the coconut, honey, cacao powder, peanut butter, and a pinch of salt.
  3. Place egg white and another pinch of salt in a medium bowl. Using a whisk or electric beaters, beat the egg white for about 2 minutes until soft peaks form. Combine meringue with other ingredients in the large bowl.
  4. Using a melon baller, scoop out cookies and place them onto the parchment paper. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 1 hour on a wire cooling wrack.

*Note – To make these Paleo friendly, use either almond butter or sunflower seed butter in place of the peanut butter. 

Dijon and Cider Braised Pork Chops with Dill and Roasted Cabbage

Cider Braised Pork Chops with Dill and Roasted Cabbage

When I was younger, I never really ate pork chops. I’m not sure why, but it just wasn’t a staple at our house.  And similarly, they aren’t a staple in my home. But put them on a menu and that will most definitely be the first thing that I order.

My husband grew up on smothered pork chops and other down home cooking, so whenever we get pork chops from our meat CSA (community supported agriculture) program, he is elated.  So I’ve been working on my pork chop cooking repertoire. My favorite pork chop recipe thus far is based on a Horseradish and Cider Glazed Pork Chop recipe from Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. It’s easy. It’s classic. It’s super yummy. I made a few tweaks to her recipe, where she calls for horseradish I subbed for Dijon mustard. A good Dijon tends to have a horseradish elemental flavor, so I figured this would be an adequate sub.   And what goes better with pork than cabbage? Not much…except Beer. 

I love beautiful purple cabbage, and I love it even more ROASTED. It’s so easy to drizzle cabbage with a tie bit of olive oil and then throw it in the oven to roast away while you cook the pork chops on the stove top. We scarfed this meal down in no time. It’s pretty and easy and special enough for company.  Plus you won’t be spending all of your time in the kitchen. I also whole heartedly recommend the dill…fresh dill! It’s the finishing touch and boy howdy does it deliver.

Cider Braised Pork Chops with Dill and Roasted Cabbage

Dijon and Cider Braised Pork Chops with Dill and Roasted Cabbage

Serves 4

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of hard apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 bone in pork chops (1/2-inch thick), trimmed of fat, patted dry and liberally salted and peppered
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill
  • Roasted cabbage (recipe below)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl, combine the cider vinegar, hard cider, Dijon mustard, and the salt. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in 12-inch skillet (cast iron works wonders), until oil just begins to smoke. Place pork chops into skillet and allow them to brown well on one side (about 3 minutes). Turn the pork chops and cook an additional minute on the other side. Transfer the browned pork chops to a plate and drain the skillet of any excess fat.
  3. Pour the apple cider glaze mixture into the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook until the mixture begins to thicken (about 2 to 4 minutes). Your spatula should leave a trail across the bottom of the pan when scraped through the glaze.
  4. Return the browned pork chops to the skillet with the thickened glaze. Turn the pork chops to coat both sides with the glaze. Continue to cook them over medium heat until the centers of the pork chops are cooked through (a temperature of 140 F). This should take about 5 minutes. Adjust seasonings in the glaze.
  5. Transfer pork chops to plates with roasted cabbage. Pour additional sauce on top of both the pork chops and the cabbage. Sprinkle with fresh dill.

Roasted Cabbage

Ingredients

  • 1/2 head of purple or green cabbage (i prefer the color of the purple cabbage)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for coating the roasting pan)
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Slice cabbage into 1/4-inch slices and place into a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with oil, vinegar, and salt. Combine well and place onto an oiled roasting pan.
  3. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring halfway through.
  4. Remove from oven and place equal portions on plates.

Creamy Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup (Gluten Free, Vegan, and Paleo-Friendly)

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I have a divided house when it comes to silky smooth soups that only contain vegetables and no cream. Pureed smooth, they show off the amazing flavor of just the vegetables without anything masking their natural deliciousness. I love them…a lot. They are creamy without being loaded with cream. They are smooth and comforting and light. I want them in my belly.

The other person in this house does not like them because, well…they are creamy without being loaded with cream and they are smooth and light and in his words, “like baby food”. He wants heartiness. He wants carbs. He wants meat. He wants cream. He wants butter. He wants bacon. Do I live with Paula Dean?

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

And I craaaave creamy soups that have NO cream but are just ALL vegetables. I love smooth and creamy tomato soup, or carrot soup, or butternut squash soup. And every time I make them, my poor hubs has to eat this nourishing amazing bowl of yumminess and smile and leave ALL the leftovers for me. GOOD. Best lunches EVER. He can have his can of tuna and weird packages of sardines for lunch. Meanwhile, I will enjoy my creamy roasted soups and everyone at work will smell them and say “whoa…what are you having?”. In a good way. At least, that’s how it plays out in my head.

I stumbled on this Parsnip and Apple soup the other day on the most beautiful blog called Golubka Kitchen and I instantly began drooling. I couldn’t get the soup out of my brain box. I adapted it to roast the parsnips and I swapped out the potatoes for cauliflower. I found fennel on sale at the store and so I through it in as well to round out the awesome white soup. I recommend saving some of the fennel fronds and some thyme for topping these delicious bowls of comfort. The soup is also yummy with a good drizzle of olive oil.

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

So despite knowing that I have a divided house on smooth and creamy dreamless soups, I MADE it. and I loooooved it. I recommend you do the same, because then you will have a few days worth of amazing lunches and they get stuck with canned tuna.

Creamy Roasted Parsnip, Cauliflower, and Fennel Soup (Vegan, Gluten Free, and Paleo-Friendly)

Adapted from Golubka Kitchen

Serves 4 as a side or 2 as a main dish

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower, roughly chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 large fennel bulb, sliced into 1/2-inch wide slices
  • 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into eighths
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (plus more for drizzling on finished soup bowls)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (plus more for seasoning)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (plus more for garnish)
  • 3 to 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Toppings: thyme leaves, olive oil, yogurt, quinoa

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F. Spray a roasting pan with nonstick spray or line with parchment paper.
  2. Place chopped parsnips, cauliflower florets, fennel slices, apple slices, and garlic cloves in a large mixing bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and salt. Toss to coat evenly and then spread evenly on baking sheet. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing at 15 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven. Place half of vegetables into a blender or food processor along with half of the chicken stock, cumin, and thyme. Blend well for 2 to 3 minutes until the mixture is smooth. Transfer the pureed mixture to a medium stock pot. Blend next batch of roasted vegetables and remaining chicken stock for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer remaining soup puree to stock pot.
  4. Heat soup in stockpot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Add additional liquid if soup is too thick. Adjust seasonings as needed.
  5. Distribute evenly into bowls and top with a drizzle of olive oil and thyme leaves. I added some quinoa to mine for a more substantial dinner.

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

We are all getting antsy around here. Am I right? I hate getting taunted with a few days of warm weather, then blasted with too many days of cold. It’s a terrible tease. Tulips are peaking out of the ground. Trees are beginning to bud. Patio weather one day and then fire-place/wool socks/snuggy weather the next. Ugh.

Does anyone else feel a little bipolar weather insanity coming on?  My body and cravings are in a constant state of flux… Sun!!!!! Give me fresh veggies! Give me fresh fruit! More spring greens!!!!

OOOOoooooh wait…clouds? Snow? Blaaaah. Carb me up it’s cold! Where’s the chili? Where’s the chowder? Salad, really???? Why is it not covered in cheese? Helloooo! I like my cupcake handles, thank you very much! Gotta keep some padding on this bod against the polar vortex!

Wait. But NO! Let’s think positive. Let’s all send out SPRING THOUGHTS. (Don’t roll your eyes! I’m trying to quit being so crabby….I said trying, people).

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Wish for camping. Wish for tulips. Wish for gardening. Wish for the smell of grills. Wish for the sound of neighbors chatting with each other. Wish that your lawn will mow itself (get a goat). Wish that those cupcake handles will magically disappear once bathing suite season rears its ugly head (or maybe swimming t-shirts will come back in style).

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

As you send out your good vibes into the world, here is my positive food vibe. I used one of my fave winter veggies, brussels sprouts, to make a springy slaw! Lime and cilantro pump this puppy up another notch. Red cabbage makes this a total beauty to serve.  Oh ya, give me a badge! Healthy and Hawt!

Personally, I love this slaw on my fish tacos. Mmmmmm….recipe to come later. So put down the carbs and chili for just a few minutes and try to get a positive spring mind.

Maybe if we all think positive, spring will finally move in for good. But summer will stay asleep for a loooong time.

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Lime Cilantro Brussels Sprout Slaw

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb medium-sized brussels sprouts, ends trimmed
  • 1/2 head small red cabbage
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onion, white and green parts sliced
  • juice of 1 large lime (about 2 to 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Instructions

  1. Remove any brown or spotted out leaves of the sprouts. The sprouts can be shredded several different methods: shredded in a food processor (using the slicing blade), sliced as thin as possible using a good knife, or using a mandolin slicer. Place in a large bowl.
  2. Shred half of a head of small red cabbage or slice as thin as possible. Add the shredded cabbage, cilantro, and green onions to the large bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk lime juice, salt, and olive oil together. Pour dressing over shredded veggies. Toss and allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to distribute the dressing. Eat up!

Grain Free Samoa Bars

Grain Free Samoa Bars

It’s Girl Scout cookie season. People are walking around with goofy grins, Do-Si-Do crumbs on their shirts, stupid Thin-Min-covered fingers, Tagalong-scented breath, and boxes of Samoas stuffed in their sock drawers so that no one else will get THEIR cookies. Or is this just me?

And who came up with those names anyways? Do-Si-Do? Tagalong? What is a Samoa even?

Grain Free Samoa Bars

But in reality I’m jealous. Seethingly jealous. I can’t have any of them. I just stare with dark, wide-eyed, frothing and foaming desire.

But this year, the ol’ Girl Scouts gave the gluten-free crowd a consolation prize and came out with a GF cookie. I was pumped, until I found out it was a shortbread. Womp womp. Really? Shortbread?  That all you got? No badge for you! Get back in the kitchen. TRY AGAIN.

Grain Free Samoa Bars

DSC_0384

Never fear. After being challenged by a friend that Grain Free Samoas would not be good, I woke up on Saturday morning with a mission. A cookie mission.

These cookies deserve a badge! A medal! An Oscar, even! They make you THINK they are the real deal, but alas…they have no wheat, no grains, no processed sugar. Ya…SUCK IT TRABECK!

Grain Free Samoa Bars

Instead of making single cookie-disks, I opted for bars. Because seriously, these puppies disappear so quickly into your mouth that cutting out little stupid tire shaped cookies is not worth it. Lets save time. Let’s make bars! The shortbread crust is perfect and crisp. I saved even more time by not dipping each bar in chocolate and instead spread the chocolate layer between the shortbread crust and the caramel coconut layer. The caramel coconut layer is a delicious concoction of honey and a smidge of molasses that has been cooked down to an amber-caramel-heavenly syrup.

These do take a bit of time to make each part. But the wait and work is WELL worth it. So make a batch, hide several (because they will go fast if you share them), turn on the Oscars, grab a yummy Samoa bar, and do your best Matthew McConaughey impersonation….”alright, alright, alright”.

Grain Free Samoa Bars

Grain Free Samoa Bars

Makes 16 small bars

Shortbread Crust Ingredients (inspired by Deliciously Organic)

  • 1 1/2 Cup almond flour (such as Honeyville)
  • 2 Tablespoons coconut flour
  • 2 Tablespoons arrowroot powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons honey

Chocolate Layer

  • 1 Cup semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped

Coconut Caramel Topping (adapted from Against All Grains)

  • 1/2 Cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon molasses
  • 2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 Cup coconut milk or heavy cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 Cups unsweetened shredded coconut

Chocolate Drizzle

  • 1/2 Cup semisweet or dark chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Place parchment paper in the bottom of an 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish. Set aside.
  2. Combine crust ingredients in a medium bowl until just combined. The mixture will be crumbly. Press the crust evenly into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Bake on the middle rack of the oven at 350 for 15 minutes or until light golden brown.
  3. Meanwhile, place the unsweetened coconut on a rimmed baking sheet in an even layer. Place on the top rack to toast. Toast the coconut for about 5 to 7 minutes, keeping an eye on it so that it doesn’t burn. Remove the toasted coconut from oven when golden brown and allow to cool on a wire rack.
  4. After the crust is finished baking, pull the crust from the oven. Turn the oven off. Sprinkle 1 cup of chopped chocolate onto the warm crust. Place back into the warm oven for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and use a rubber spatula to spread the melted chocolate evenly over the shortbread crust. Set on a wire rack and allow to cool. Place in refrigerator after cooled.
  5. For the caramel sauce, place honey and molasses in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low bubbling boil for about 7 minutes, swirling frequently to caramelize evenly. Remove from heat and stir in butter, coconut milk, and salt until smooth and completely combined. Stir in toasted coconut.
  6. Remove cooled shortbread crust from the refrigerator. Spread the coconut caramel mixture on top of the chocolate covered crust.
  7. Microwave remaining chocolate in a microwave safe dish for about 2 to 3 minutes, in 30 second intervals, stirring in between intervals. Once the chocolate is completely melted, drizzle the chocolate (using a spoon or fork) over the Samoa bars. Cool bars completely in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  8. Use parchment paper to pull out the bars from the baking dish. Place on a cutting board and cut into 12 to 16 bars. Place bar in hand and shove into mouth. Mmmmm. 🙂

Creamy Polenta with Braised Kale and Poached Egg

Creamy Polenta with Crispy Kale and Poached Egg

Lately I have been cooking and posting a lot of my comfort food recipes. Hearty soul-warming french onion soup, curry (this one and this one), creamy tapioca, lemon pudding…mmmmm. These are foods that not only keep me cozy, but also nourish my tired and warn out mind and body.

They may not be the typical comfort food that most american’s have come to know and love. No mac n’ cheese. No cream o’ something soups dumped in a casserole. Sorry, no big fat cinnamon rolls are coming out of my oven (womp womp). No biscuits and gravy piled on my plate. Although, there are a few times that I miss some of those items, I feel better feeding myself and my family cozy winter comfort foods that are wholesome, full of nutrients to keep our immune systems up, and not laden with preservatives or packed with empty calories.

Lately I’ve been on a polenta kick.  Erhmergerd. It’s creamy. It’s sensational. It can be cheesy. It can be buttery. Hellooooo! And all it is is slow cooked stoneground cornmeal, water, and salt. You can add butter (yes) and cheese (OH YA) as options to kick it into winter overdrive.

Creamy Polenta with Crispy Kale and Poached Egg

You will need to spend a bit of time upfront cooking the polenta, like 40 minutes. But you can swirl it, let it bubble away, then put a lid on the dang pot while it boils away (stirring every 10 minutes) and then it’s done. The great thing about polenta is that any leftovers can be reheated with a little liquid to return to its creamy holiness OR it can be cut and baked into awesome polenta cutlets.

Polenta can be topped with a myriad of things: braised short ribs, sautéed mushrooms, or, my fave, a poached egg with braised kale. This dish is perfect for both brunch or dinner.  Bonus, make it for brunch one day, and leftovers can be reheated for dinner the next day. Win Win!

Notes: For a great tutorial on easy poached eggs, check this out.

Creamy Polenta with Crispy Kale and Poached Egg

Creamy Polenta with Crispy Kale and Poached Egg (gluten free)

Adapted from The Kitchn

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup coarse ground yellow cornmeal (or polenta, not quick cooking)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 bunch of kale, inner ribs removed and discarded, coarsely chop leaves (wash and dry)
  • 2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
  • 4 poached eggs (I use this method)
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Place water in a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a vigorous boil. Add salt and stir. While wishing the water gently, pour the cornmeal into the boiling water in a steady stream. Turn the heat down to low and continue to whisk the cornmeal/polenta until it has thickened.
  2. Cover the pot and continue to cook for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring vigorously every 10 minutes. Once it is finished, stir in butter and cheese. Place lid on pot and let sit for up to 10 to 15 minutes until ready to use.
  3. While cooking the polenta, place a separate sauté pan over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the kale and season with salt and pepper. Stir the kale lightly until it is slightly wilted. Stir in the vinegar, cover the pan, and turn the heat to high. Cook the kale over high heat until it is tender (about 5 minutes). Turn the heat off and set aside.
  4. Poach or fry eggs according to desired consistency. For a great poached egg, follow these directions.
  5. To serve, place 1/3 to 1/2 cup of creamy polenta in bottom of bowl, top with braised kale, and one poached egg. Season with salt and pepper to taste.