Super Green Spring Salad

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

It’s spring! And my garden is blooming and booming. I’ve been eating this Super Green Spring Salad every chance I get since all of the ingredients are directly from my garden… delicate lettuce, baby kale, bright broccoli with pretty tiny yellow flowers, crisp sugar peas, mint, chives. This salad is less of a recipe, and more of a throw-together spring green treat!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But, I should pause and preface this delicious garden post with the fact that I am not a good gardener. Seriously. I’m bad. Plants shrivel at my touch. They tell their other plant friends to run and hide when I decide to buy them. Any success I have at gardening is not my doing. Plants thrive in my garden in spite of me. I just wish I was a good gardener like my grandmother was. She could make anything grow and she could make you think that you could do it too. *sigh*

The first year we moved to Kansas City, I decided that I wanted to BE A GARDENER! (p.s. I said this with both hands on my hips and in a booming voice).  This is a laughable statement because at the time I killed anything in a pot in my house and at one point was scared to even get a pet because I couldn’t even keep a plant alive!

But, dangit, I was going to finally try to grow a garden and feed myself and eat healthy and get dirt in my fingers and sweat and love it and bring bushels of food in at the end of the day and sigh and say “way to go me!”.  So I bought three tomato plants and marched into the backyard of our new rent house with a shovel and a prideful grin on my face.  Like a blind settler deciding on their perfect plot of land, I just shoved my shovel into the hard clay ground next to the fence and dug three holes. That’s it. I just stuck the tomato plants in the ground as if I were planting flowers.  But, despite my ineptitude and lack of reading up on “how to grow tomatoes“, I ended up with some darn good tomatoes that year. Those plants grew over 8 feet tall! I even canned tomato sauce! Yeah. All that from just digging three holes…..and praying like hell and battling thieving squirrels!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Basically, I kill any plant that is not in the ground. If it is up to me, all plants would die. However, after I put the plant in the ground, I cross my fingers that mother nature will take over and that she’ll be the true gardener.  I depend on her to water my garden too. I’m not saying that’s the right thing to do…it’s just what I do…as a bad gardener!

Also, as a bad gardener, I don’t weed. I should…but I don’t. I feel like everything should be given a fighting chance.  My husband goes out to my garden and tries to weed things and I freak out. FREAK out. I’m scared that he’s going to pull a baby beet or a baby kale or maybe just a baby, hell I don’t know. “NOOOOO! That’s a blah blah blah and I wanted it there…. yeah. I WANTED that weed.”

Sorry, I’m super protective of my garden… even if it’s a weed box. Back off!

As a bad gardener, I plant things too close together. My husband always tries to correct my eagerness to cram as much as possible into our tiny raised beds. But I tend to say, “Space shmace. If you want to survive, you gotta try harder Mr tomato!!!!”.   This doesn’t always work out….buuuut, I won’t admit that to him.

But this year, six years into BEING A GARDENER, my garden is growing like a REAL garden!  Thank you again, mother nature. I have one of the biggest lettuce crops (which love these cool temps and tons of rain that KC has gotten this spring). I also have gorgeous broccoli heads! Oh and peas! I have snow peas climbing a trellis (actually it’s a defunct hand rain I pulled off my outdoor stairs) and tiny pea pods dangling everywhere! Kale is coming up like a champ! Baby beets are gearing up and their greens are getting taller.  I’m even growing brussels sprouts and cauliflower for the first time. Way to go me! I hope my grandma would be proud. I think she’d also really love this Super Green Spring Salad that I’ve been making from all of my garden goodies!

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I mention my lack of gardening skills in order to encourage anyone that loves fresh produce but may be scared to begin their own garden because, like me, they are terrible with plants. But don’t be scared. Just go do it!  What do you have to lose? A few bucks on a pack of seeds? You’ll fail, but you will also succeed and learn from those mistakes.  Man, I sure sound like an after school special, don’t I?  Anyways, I love seeing what new things I can grow. Nothing is better to me than walking outside my door to my own farmer’s market!

On this Memorial Day weekend, I encourage you to branch out, dig a whole, plant something.  Plant something in honor of the one’s that you have loved and in their memory.  And then every time you go out to tend to it and get dirt on your fingers and sweat on your brow and harvest your fresh amazing produce, you can remember them and realize that their memory lives on. But also, don’t forget to give yourself a high-five from them and say “way to go!” (but say it with both hands on your hips and in a booming voice).

Super Green Spring Salad // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Super Green Spring Salad

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Note – This salad does not really have a set list of ingredients and can morph into whatever you have on hand. I have provided a gentle guide for what I like to use, but feel free to mix and match with whatever greens you have on hand or can spot at your local farmer’s market.  

Ingredients for the Salad

  • Four generous handfuls of spring greens mix (such as, leaf lettuce, baby kale, arugula, beet greens, etc.), gently rinse and dry
  • Handful of fresh sugar snap peas or snow peas
  • Two small heads of broccoli
  • Handful of fresh herbs (such as mint, dill, chives, cilantro)

Ingredients for the Lemon Vinaigrette 

  • Juice of 1 large lemon (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 teaspoon of finely grated lemon zest
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon of kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Slice the snow peas or sugar peas in half or into bite-size pieces if they are large. If they are small, you can keep them whole. Whatever you choose.
  2. Chop the broccoli florets from the stalk. Chop the florets into small portions. Cut off the bottom fibrous portion of the stalk and chop the tender portion into 1/4-inch bite-size pieces.
  3. Place the lettuce, peas, broccoli, and herbs into a large bowl.
  4. Place all vinaigrette ingredients into a lidded jar. Shake vigorously until well mixed. Just before serving, drizzle about 1/3 cup of the dressing over the salad and toss gently. Place leftover dressing in the fridge or add more if needed.

Suggested toppings:

  • Optional Protein Toppings: chicken, quinoa, boiled egg, chicken sausage, fish
  • Optional Misc Toppings: sunflower seeds, roasted nuts, crumbled feta, shaved parmesan, goat cheese

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Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce (Gluten Free)

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

I really have to admit that, honestly, this Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce is one of my favorite dishes that I have ever made.

Honestly. Ever. I don’t know whether the magic of the sauce is from the morels or from the sherry-based sauce..or the heavy cream. Who knows. It’s good. Real good.

I came home to a huge bag of fresh picked morel mushrooms on my doorstep! A friend of mine foraged for them and thankfully decided to share his treasure! These puppies can go for as much as $40 per pound! We are eating like royalty over here!

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

With such a large bundle of morel mushroom-delights, I decided to prepare a recipe that was provincial and special: a french morel mushroom sauce.  This sauce deserves a trumpet of announcement. It deserves to be served in a bowl with amazing a crusty baguette, if you can have it. Sop it up. Don’t waste this sauce. With only 1/2 cup of heavy cream added at the end, the sauce is not heavy but it is substantial. I also think that adding champagne vinegar or lemon juice at the end really brings this sauce home with a small acidic kick.

Note – If you are unable to get fresh morel mushrooms, either substitute the mushrooms for equal quantity of cremini or shiitake OR go online and purchase about 2 oz of dry morels. If using dry morels, you will need to rehydrate them. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil over high heat. Turn the heat off and add the morels to the saucepan. Cover the saucepan and soak the mushrooms for 30 minutes to rehydrate. Remove the rehydrated mushrooms out of the soaking liquid using a slotted spoon, gently squeezing out the excess liquid back into the saucepan. Reserve the soaking liquid. 

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

Chicken with Morel Mushroom Sauce

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: Moderate
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  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or butter
  • 3 pounds of bone in chicken thighs or breasts (skin removed)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion or shallot
  • 1 pound fresh morel mushrooms, washed and cut in half if large (this is how I wash my morels)*
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon Champagne vinegar or lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Instructions

  1. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper up to one day in advance.
  2. Add olive oil (or butter) in a large skillet placed over medium-high heat. Add chicken to skillet bone side up, and cook about 6 minutes per side, turning once.  Allow the chicken to become golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken and place on a plate.
  3. Lower the heat to medium. If needed, add another tablespoon of olive oil and then add onion (or shallots). Sauté until soft and translucent, about 2 to 3 minutes. Then add washed morel mushrooms and sauté for a few more minutes. Use a slotted spoon and transfer the mushrooms to a separate plate. Add dry sherry to skillet and bring to a boil. Allow the sherry to reduce by half (about 2 minutes). Add chicken stock and chicken to skillet and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the skillet with a lid placed slightly ajar. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Check chicken after 20 minutes. After cooked through, transfer the chicken to a platter.
  4. Add the mushrooms back to the skillet. Add cream, vinegar, and thyme. Simmer uncovered for about 5 minutes or until sauce begins to thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste. To serve, pour the sauce over the chicken on the platter. Sprinkle with additional cracked pepper and fresh thyme, if desired.

Notes – recipe adapted from here and here.

The Best Flourless Brownies

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I’m so sorry.

INCREDIBLY sorry.

I have been M.I.A. for a month. I need to grovel and ask for your forgiveness….

soooo….. I made brownies.

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Nothing says I love you and I’m sorry for being away like chocolate + butter + nuts. Am I right?

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I’ve been a little off kilter lately and super busy with life and work.  It became increasingly difficult to find additional time (and motivation) recently for posting new recipes.  Maybe it was lack of sun and seasonal depression. So I took a break. I went back to just cooking for the fun of it. I stopped worrying about whether or not it was good enough for the blog or whether I had to cook it at the right time so that I had enough natural light to photograph it.  I just cooked for me.

I think I go through this every winter. I have to realign myself with what is important to me.  Give myself a new focus. In turn, I have also given this blog a renewed purpose.

I want to thank those of you who reached out to me and encouraged me to continue cooking and creating in this space.  I received some lovely emails and words of encouragement.  This is supposed to be a space of creativity and sharing.  I want this space to be several things moving forward and not just a food blog. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely still want it to be a space where my inner grandma gets to cook, feed others, and then sit back and bask in the joy of nourishing the one’s I love.  But I also want to focus on discovering, exploring, and escaping comfort zones.

Thank you for letting me cook for you and provide nourishing recipes for the past three years. Also, thank you for giving me satisfaction and fulfillment.

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

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And with that…. let’s talk CHOCOLATE AND BUTTAH AND HAZELNUTS.

Get out that good butter and good chocolate. Turn on your oven. We are also going to throw in hazelnuts into our brownies to add some flare!

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V.D. is coming up… I mean, Valentine’s Day. And what better way to celebrate your loved ones and friends (or just you) than to serve up a plate of uuuuuuuhmazing gooey gooey brownies.  These brownies are adapted from a past recipe of mine (Paleo Flourless Brownie Bites) and a recipe from my favorite pastry chef, Dave Leibovitz.  The results are fabulously out of this world.  But, as LeVar Burton would say…. Don’t take my word for it.  Make them yourself and share the love.

The Best Flourless Brownies (Grain Free) // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Flourless Brownies (Grain Free)

  • Servings: 12 to 16
  • Difficulty: Easy
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  • 6 tablespoons salted butter (or use unsalted and add 1/8 teaspoon salt)
  • 10 oz semi-sweet chocolate chunks
  • 2 eggs (room temperature)
  • 2/3 cup coconut palm sugar (or unrefined cane sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup chopped nuts (I used roasted hazelnuts)
  • coarse or flaked sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 8X8 baking dish and set aside.
  2. Add coconut palm sugar, arrowroot powder, and cocoa powder to the bowl of a food processor. Process for about 1 minute to make sugar mixture super fine. Set aside.
  3. In a metal saucepan over medium heat, melt butter until it begins to crackle.  Add 2/3 of the chocolate chunks (about 8 oz) and remove pan from heat. Whisk constantly until chocolate is completely melted.  Add eggs one at a time and whisk constantly.
  4. Pour chocolate mixture into food processor with sugar mixture.  Process for at least one minute. Mixture will be glossy and thick. Add 1/2 cup of nuts and pulse once or twice to distribute. Use a rubber spatula and spoon out mixture into greased baking dish. Sprinkle remaining nuts, chocolate chunks, and flaked sea salt on top. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 F, or until just set.  Do not overtake.

Note – If you do not have a food processor, then you will need to adapt the recipe slightly.  Add the sugar to the butter and chocolate mixture before you add the eggs. Remove the saucepan from heat. Add eggs one at a time, then add sifted cocoa powder and arrowroot powder straight to the saucepan.  Stir with a whisk briskly for at least 1 minute until the mixture becomes glossy and begins pulling away from the sides of the saucepan.  Stir in your nuts and then spread the mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with nuts and chocolate and bake as directed above.

Crockpot Beef and Mushroom Stew (Gluten Free and Paleo-Friendly)

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I have been in an alternate universe, my friends. A universe where people never sleep, the air smells like strawberry perfume, puke, and alcohol and no one seems to care that a burger costs $22. Ya….I speak of Vegas.

One of my oldest friends was getting hitched last weekend there. It was great to see him and his new wife as well as many old friends from college.  It’s funny getting back together with friends that you don’t see that often, but when you do see them, it is as if no time has passed. But then the problem is that I feel like I have to cram so much fun into a condensed time span.

So what do you get when you concentrate fun in Vegas?  Drinks that should never be THAT big, beer pong rallies (be sure close to your eyes when the ball hits the floor so that you don’t vom in your mouth), mechanical bull riding that felt like it lasted 10 minutes (I pulled a groin muscle doing this because I’m OLD), no sleep no sleep no sleep.  It took only 12 hours for me and my husband to quickly realize that we were in our mid 30s, not early 20s. Ouch.

Crockpot Beef and Mushroom Stew // Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

As a result, mama is in major decompression mode. No bright lights, no floral smells, no alcohol, no loud noises. All I need right now is to be wrapped up in a blanket like a human burrito while I listen to soul music on the record player. Put it on repeat please.

I also need a massive helping of this warm comfy soup to combat the outside temps that are in the teens!

Crockpot Beef and Mushroom Stew (Gluten Free and Paleo-Friendly)

  • Servings: 4 to 6
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 2 lbs beef stew meat (seasoned with salt and pepper)
  • 2 onions, sliced in 1/4-inch slivers
  • 10 oz baby bella mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 large carrot, sliced
  • 2 cups diced potatoes
  • 1 Tablespoon thyme
  • 6 cups beef stock
  • 1/2 cup dry sherry (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Place first six ingredients (stew through beef stock) in a crockpot. Cook on low for at least 8 hours.
  2. In a small bowl, stir arrowroot powder into sherry until a smooth paste is formed. Add sherry mixture to the crockpot and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Fresh and Easy Salsa

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Put me in front of a bowl of chips and salsa, and it would take the strength of ten mules on steroids to pull me away. I’m serious. Chips and salsa are my go to snack…

Not saying it’s a good thing. Just sayin that your hand maaaaaay get gnawed on if you go for a chip or scoop of salsa while I’m diving in. Seriously. I can’t stop this dipping train!

And now that tomatoes are so prevalent in my garden, it’s time to get this crazy SALSA train started!!!

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

I used fresh roma tomatoes, but other varieties are juuuust fine. Plus, I’ll tell you a secret. This recipe can even be made in the winter with (gasp) canned tomatoes.  I have used some that I canned from my garden, but if you only have store-bought, go for the good kind! Muir Glen is my fave. The secret to this salsa is definitely good tomatoes AND lime juice.

I whip up my salsa using a food processor but if you love to chop chop chop, then feel free to dice away. I like to reserve my energy for diving head first into the salsa bowl. If you do end up chopping up the ingredients, your salsa will just be more chunky….which is what I’m going to be if I don’t get my face out of this bowl of chips and salsa soon!

Give me more!

Fresh and Easy Salsa / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Fresh and Easy Salsa

  • Servings: 4 Cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 4 cups diced fresh tomatoes (about 15 roma tomatoes)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 2 jalapeños (chopped and seeds removed if you want mild salsa)
  • 1/4 bunch of cilantro
  • juice of 2 limes
  • 2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)

Instructions

  1. Place tomatoes in bowl of food processor and pulse a few times until tomatoes are fine diced. Transfer tomatoes to a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Place chopped onion, garlic, jalapeños, cilantro, and lime juice to bowl of food processor. Pulse for 15 seconds or until everything is chopped fine. Transfer contents to the medium bowl with the tomatoes. Stir well and add salt to taste. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be made ahead of time.

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
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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.

 

Carne Asada Salad (Paleo Friendly and Gluten Free)

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Have you ever lost your mojo? Felt lost?

If you are frequent reader or friend of mine or even someone I have passed on the street, it has been a bit too obvious that I have lost my mojo.  I’m typically so goal-driven, mega type A, and awesome…or anal, whichever you deem it. But not for sometime. For a while I have felt like a feather in the wind with no direction, which is TERRIFYING to me. I think we all have a threshold of how much willpower we have and how much we can endure. And then one day you snap…for me it was the lack of ketchup in our house when I had made sweet potato fries…. FOR THE LOVE OF PETE WHY CAN”T I HAVE WHAT I WANT!

Too dramatic? naaaah.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

But there has to be a certain point when you just have to realize that life just is what it is. We get handed certain things in life and we can either roll around in it like a stinky pile of poop or we can make poop pie and throw it at someone that deserves it. I’ve decided to quite rolling in poop and throw it. Wait…I don’t think that came out right.

Well, you get what I’m saying right?  Take out your frustrations on others, am I right? That’s what friends are for? right? Friends? Thanks for being there for me. 🙂 No really. Thanks.

This week has been operation “get my mojo back”. If you have often felt like your mojo is gone, I challenge you to get it back by realizing that we can’t compare ourselves to others (even past versions of ourselves). We are where we are and we have to try to enjoy these moments, even the hard ones, because our time is short and our love is vast.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Here are a few of the things I did to get mojo back this week that you can try:

  • Exercise – Go for a walk. Listen to the birds, see the trees in bloom, embrace the now.
  • Treat Yo’ self – Hello mani/pedi.
  • Cook – Try something simple and fresh for yourself and family. Your belly will thank you.
  • Laugh – This is the most important thing of all.

As part of my “get my mojo back” week, I decided to cook something fresh and simple. I thawed out a strip steak from our purchase of 1/4 of a COW. (I don’t know which fourth I got, but he’s tasty.)  Strip steaks are nice and thin and are great for carne asada! So I whipped up a quick carne asada marinade when I got home from work. Fresh limes are key to the marinade. Let your steak marinade for at least an hour and up to 4 hours. Fresh greens are abundant in the farmers market and in my garden so I decided to create a fresh salad instead of tacos.  I used fresh baby butter lettuce, baby kale, and cilantro that is growing in our garden and some other goodies that I picked up at the market to create a Carne Asada Salad that was quick, delicious, and something that I will be making many times during this grilling season. Feel free to modify your toppings, but focus on fresh and good quality items.

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Carne Asada Salad / Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Strip steaks are thin and will not require a long time on the grill. For medium, you will likely only need to grill it 4 to 5 minutes per side, or less. Keep an eye on it. You could even cook your steaks inside in a cast iron skillet or grill pan if you don’t have a grill.

Carne Asada Salad (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Marinade Ingredients

  • 1 lb strip steak (flank steak would work too)
  • 1 large clove of garlic, smashed and minced
  • juice of 1 large lime
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Salad Ingredients

  • Mixed greens (baby kale, spinach, arugula, butter lettuce, etc)
  • 1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
  • green onions, diced
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, diced
  • crumbled feta (optional)
  • fresh limes
  • avocado
  • salsa

Instructions

  1. Place the strip steak in a large glass bowl or baking dish.  Do not use metal because it may react with the acids in the marinade. Salt and pepper on both sides. Combine the marinade ingredients in a small bowl and pour over the steak. Make sure that all of is covered and saturated with the marinade. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 1 to 4 hours. Pull out of the refrigerator and allow the steak to come to room temperature (about 30 minutes). 
  2. Preheat your grill or grill pan using medium-high heat or flame. Brush the grates of your grill with a bit of olive oil so that the steak does not stick to the grates. Remove the steak from the marinade and place onto the hottest part of the grill and cover the grill. Grill until the underside of the steak is browned, about 4 minutes depending on the thickness of your steak.  Flip the steak and cook on the other side for another 4 minutes.
  3. Remove the steak from the grill and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice the steak across the grain on a diagonal. This will help the steak from being chewy.
  4. Prepare four salad bowls and place sliced steak on top. As another option, prepare these as tacos using grilled corn tortillas. Mmmmm! Happy eating!

 

Detox Salad Bowl with Lemony Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing

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I’ve lost my mojo and I just feel lost. I even feel lost in the kitchen. Of all places, that was a place I felt I could always turn to and whip something up full of desire and love and enjoyment. But not lately.

I went three weeks without going to the grocery store. THREE WEEKS. We were down to just a dozen eggs and frozen green beans…. worst omelette ever!

I couldn’t bring myself to go to the store. Even if I had gone, I would have just stared blankly at the isles and probably came home with another dozen eggs. It was the weirdest feeling to open my refrigerator and not have anything fresh in it…and then to not want to immediately drive my sorry little butt to the store or market and stock up on something…ANYTHING!

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

And then a friend asked me a magical question….She asked me to cook with her. Zing. Cook. With. Someone. That was it! I needed a cooking partner! Someone to inspire me!

Her idea was to pick a delicious recipe in one of our old food magazines and to cook it with her in her AMAAAAZING kitchen. So I slowly started reopening and rereading my old dust-collecting magazines. And then slowly but surely, I started getting ideas. I felt my cooking desire was like the Grinch’s heart slooooowly expanding and growing. It just kept growing and growing and growing until I found myself at the farmers market on Saturday buying fennel, golden beets, radishes, arugula, kale….frothing at the mouth at all the herbs!  it was like a veggie frenzy!

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Who knows how all of these vegetables will fit together but I’m feeling mighty salady and detoxy right now. It was great to finally NOT eat eggs for every meal. I whipped up a quick Detox Salad Bowl of fresh spring vegetables and devoured it. Now I’m dreaming and dreaming of the new salads that I can create with my rag tag bunch of vegetables. Maybe I can get out of this funk one recipe at a time.

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Detox Salad Bowl with Lemon-Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Paleo Friendly)

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients

  • 4 cups of greens (spring greens, spinach, kale, arugula, chard, etc)
  • 2 medium carrots, shredded
  • 1 cucumber, sliced thin
  • 1/4 head of red cabbage, sliced thin
  • 1/2 fennel bulb, sliced thin
  • 1 avocado
  • Lemony Dill Sunflower Seed Dressing (recipe below)
    • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
    • 1/2 cup warm water
    • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
    • juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
    • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped dill

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients except avocado into a single large bowl or into separate serving bowls. Slice avocado and distribute evenly among bowls.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine sunflower seeds and warm water for 10 minutes. Pour soaked sunflower seeds, soaking water, cider vinegar, lemon juice, and dill in the bowl of a food processor or high speed blender. Blend well for about 3 minutes. Makes about 1 cup.
  3. Pour Lemon-Dill Sunflower Seed dressing over salad and enjoy. Place leftover dressing in the refrigerator.

Grain Free Cranberry Banana Bread Muffins

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Christmas is approaching quickly and I am hosting! Pray for me. I’ve already caught a dishtowel on fire and burned my butcher block.  I will soon have a house filled with kids, love, hugs, ham, chocolate, pie, fudge, nuts, cheeselogs, stockings, egg nog, and so much more. Mmmmmm.

I’m trying to bake a few things ahead of time to prepare for the coming family. I whipped up this batch of muffins this week and have placed them in the freezer ready to be pulled out and rewarmed at a moments notice. Gotta love short cuts.

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

AAAAnd, you gotta love bursts of cranberries in these muffins. Well, everyone except my husband…dat’s weeeahd. But’s he’s weird anyways people. I mean, who puts their shoes in the freezer? Anyone? ya…him.

And who’s favorite christmas movie is Die Hard? Him! Well…and likely most dudes.

Ok ok ok…I love Die Hard too, but what about Jingle All the Way? Most people’s fave holiday movies are Home Alone and Christmas Story. But Sinbad and Arnold give the fabulous gift of I-haven’t-bought-anything-for-anyone-yet-so-I-will-buy-a-not-so-meaningful-but-expensive-Christmas-gift-on-Christmas-Eve-style Christmas spirit. Check it out. And don’t you dare go buy Christmas gifts ON Christmas Eve! Learn a lesson from Arnold, people. Or else you will end up driving around town, being robbed by washed up Santa’s, threatening a radio show host, and trying to steal presents from under other people’s trees. But then you end up dressed like a superhero at the end, so I guess it’s all worth it. But I digress….

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

If you haven’t gotten gifts at this point in the game, don’t do it. It’s a fart in the wind, friends. Make these muffins instead. Put them in a pretty box, tie some kitchen twine around them, and write a thoughtful note. When you present these to others, they’ll eat them and say “wow, that was so thoughtful and so delicious” in the voice of Ma Brady.

Now, isn’t this so much better than fighting the crowds and buying a crappy import mug with two year old hot cocoa mix and crouton-like marshmallows?

Cranberry Banana Muffins (Grain Free, Nut Free, Paleo Friendly) - Big Eats Tiny Kitchen

Back to these awesome muffins that you are making for “the ones that you love”, remember?!?

These muffins come together just using the food processor! It’s easy! No need to dirty multiple bowls. I adapted a recipe from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grains cookbook (best grain-free cookbook around, folks), swapping out the almond flour for tapioca flour for a nut free muffin version. I also added fresh cranberries for a fleck of holiday red and a punch of perfect tartness.

Oh Oh OH…AAAAND, even thought these muffins contain NO oil, they are uber moist. So there…you just made tasty AND healthy holiday treats for people and didn’t have to punch someone in the face at the store on Christmas Eve. You are a good person. Pat yourself on the back and enjoy a muffin. Because, of course you made a double batch so that you could keep some for yourself. We aren’t heathens around here. Sheesh.

I hope you have a happy Christmas and a merry New Year.  Muah!

Paris 2013

Paleo Cranberry Banana Bread Muffins

Adapted from Against All Grains

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 Tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sifted coconut flour
  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (such as coconut milk or almond milk)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 F. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with muffin liners and set aside.
  2. Add the cider vinegar to the coconut milk and set aside for at least 5 minutes.
  3. In a food processor or blender, add bananas, eggs, honey and vanilla extract. Process for 1 to 2 minutes until eggs are frothy. Add coconut flour, tapioca flour, baking soda, and salt to the bowl of the food processor with the frothy egg mixture. Blend/process until well combined.  Add the vinegar/coconut milk mixture to the batter and process for an additional 30 seconds until well mixed.
  4. Add the washed fresh cranberries and whole walnuts. Pulse the mixture a few times (do not over process or the cranberries will be too chopped) to distribute the cranberries and walnuts throughout the batter.
  5. Spoon 1/4 cup of muffin batter into prepared muffin liners. This recipe makes 12 muffins.
  6. Place the muffin tin in the preheated oven. Bake the muffins at 325 F for 30 to 35 minutes or until the top of the muffins are light golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove muffins from muffin tin and allow to cool further on a wire rack. If freezing, allow to cool completely before placing in a ziplock freeze bag or container. Microwave or reheat in oven to thaw. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store leftovers in refrigerator and/or freezer.