Creamy Cauliflower Turnip Soup

Hi! It has been over four months since my last post, and I am excited to get back into regular recipe testing this summer! I traveled extensively for work this winter and early spring, and am still getting back into the swing of my normal cooking and workout routines.

I have not been very creative with my meal planning these last few weeks, and have been sticking with mostly boring salads, lettuce-wrapped burgers and Mexican take-out food. Sometimes I forget how delicious the most simple recipes can be, like this cauliflower turnip soup. This soup is one of my favorites, and is reminiscent of a creamy potato soup. Soup is not something I would normally crave this time of year, but the weather has been dreary this week, and is currently in the 60s, so this soup fit the bill.

Cauliflower Turnip Soup
Makes 4 servings

1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
2 small turnips, peeled and cubed
2 cloves of garlic, cut in half
1/2 yellow onion, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup of low sodium chicken stock
4 strips of bacon, cooked and chopped (for garnish). Reserve bacon grease.
Green onions, chopped (for garnish)
Salt and black pepper

1. Bring water to a boil in a steaming pot and add cauliflower, turnips, garlic and onion. Lightly salt cauliflower and turnips, put cover on pot and steam for 25 minutes, or until everything is fork tender.
2. Add steamed items to a blender and add in chicken stock and a tbsp of the reserved bacon grease. If you like your soup very hot like I do, heat up the chicken stock before adding to the blender. Carefully puree for a few seconds until everything is blended well and soup is a creamy consistency. Salt to taste. (You may need to do this step in two batches if your blender is small.)
3. Pour soup in bowls and garnish with black pepper, green onions and bacon.


Balsamic Vinaigrette

Balsamic Vinaigrette

I started off the new year eating squeaky clean paleo as I indulged way too much during the holidays. I think it’s necessary to hit the reset button every once in a while when I feel like I’m straying away from a clean diet. A couple of weeks ago, I spent several hours prepping homemade stocks, soups, cauliflower hummus and chopping vegetables and fruit to put in the freezer for easy access during the busy work week. I think spending a few hours on a Saturday or Sunday prepping for the upcoming week is a huge timesaver and helps me to stay on track.

One of my favorite side dishes is a simple green salad with balsamic vinaigrette. Most store-bought vinaigrettes and salad dressings contain sugar and other unnecessary things, so I always prefer to make my own. Making homemade balsamic vinaigrette is so easy and uses ingredients you probably already have at home.

Balsamic Vinaigrette
Makes about 6 servings

1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
1/2 tsp dried Italian herb seasoning (blend of oregano, thyme, basil, garlic, black pepper, tarragon, red bell pepper and chives)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar, seal tightly with a lid and shake until ingredients are well combined.
2. Serve over salad greens or other vegetables and store leftovers in refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.

Holiday Nuts

I am loving DC in December. Christmas trees and beautiful window displays all over the city, Christmas markets and free performances every week…it’s wonderful! I love walking by houses and seeing beautifully lit Christmas trees through lovely bay windows. The cold weather makes me want to drink hot cocoa, eat sweet treats and watch marathons of Christmas movies all day. It’s what this season is all about, right?

One of my favorite sweets this time of year are candied nuts. Chocolate covered, honey-glazed, cinnamon sugar…you name it, I love it. I decided to make some sweet nuts that would satisfy my sweet tooth, but not make me feel horrible after eating a handful. My family visited us a couple of weeks ago and brought us some delicious pecans from my Aunt’s trees that I used to make delicious honey apple cinnamon pecans. I also made honey pumpkin spice almonds a while back that I’m barely getting around to posting. Both recipes are super easy and delicious, but I’m warning you, they are addicting!

Honey Apple Cinnamon Pecans

Honey Apple Cinnamon Pecans

1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup apple sauce (no sugar added)
1 1/4 cup roughly chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, add the honey, salt, cinnamon, vanilla and apple sauce and whisk together until well combined. Add pecans and coat them well in the mixture.
3. Pour pecans on baking sheet and space them out on the sheet. Bake for 25 minutes and let them cool for about 15 minutes before eating.

Honey Pumpkin Spice Almonds

Honey Pumpkin Spice Almonds

2 tbsp raw honey
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Dash of sea salt
1 1/2 cup raw almonds

1. Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and pour them on to baking sheet.
3. Bake for 15-20 minutes, shaking or tossing nuts with tongs at the halfway point. Let cool for about 15 minutes before eating.

Paleo Nachos

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a recipe! These last few months have been insane. After a couple of months of living apart from my husband and cats due to job reasons, we have finally reunited and relocated to Washington DC! I’m super excited about exploring this beautiful city and getting to experience real fall and winter weather!

Lately, I have not had the best eating or exercise habits. As you can see from my Instagram feed, I have been indulging in too many gluten-free treats and other bad stuff. I am getting back into the swing of things and hope to be back to my regular eating and exercise routines soon!

This is my go-to meal when I’m craving nachos or not in the mood for cooking a complicated meal. These nachos are super easy to make with fresh or leftover fajita, chicken or ground beef and store-bought plantain chips. You can also use homemade tostones. Add some raw cheddar or other cheese if you feel like indulging. 🙂

Paleo Fajita Nacho

Paleo Nachos

Paleo Nachos
Makes 2-3 servings

1/2 lb cooked fajita
Plantain chips or tostones
1 1/2 large avocados
2 limes
1 large tomato, diced
1/2 cup Romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1/4 cup green onions, chopped

1. Mash avocados in a bowl, squeeze in juice of 1 lime and add a bit of salt to taste.
2. Use a spoon to put a serving of avocado on each plantain chip and place on a large plate.
3. Cut fajita into bite size pieces and top each chip with a few pieces of fajita.
4. Cover nachos with lettuce, tomato and cilantro and squeeze lime juice on top.

Jicama Mango Ceviche

Jicama mango ceviche

I can’t believe Labor Day is in a few days and summer is almost over! It may not get cool here in Texas until late October, but I’m ready for the weather to drop under 100 degrees! I’m closing out this busy week with this super fresh and light ceviche. The crunchy texture of the jicama and onion coupled with the creamy avocado and mango is amazing. Speaking of avocados, Central Market had the large ones on sale today for 77 cents! Needless to say, I filled my cart with avocados. 🙂

1 lb white fish fillets
1/4 of a large jicama, peeled and sliced thin
1 large mango, cubed
1 large avocado, cubed
1/4 of a red onion, diced
1 cup cilantro, chopped
1 small jalapeno, deseeded and minced
Juice of 2 limes
1 tbsp coconut oil

1. Add coconut oil to a pan and turn on heat to medium. Season fish with a pinch of salt and add to pan. Cook for about 10 minutes, turning half way through, until fish is cooked. Remove to a plate and let cool. Once cooled, roughly chop fish into bite size pieces.
2. Combine jicama, mango, avocado, red onion, cilantro, jalapeno and fish in a large bowl. Add lime juice and salt to taste.
3. Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before serving.