Turkey “Pop into my Mouth” Poppers

28 05 2014

I love finger food and anything I can “pop” into my mouth. I also love anything that can be made ahead and eaten warm or cold. Some people don’t “Do” leftovers, I am all about the leftover.
I have been using old recipes on my blog a lot.. in the whole ‘Back to Basics’ mode I am in.. I actually refer to it as “Stop eating like an Asshole” but “Back to Basics” sounds like something I could say to my granny. A lot of my old recipes are solid, and still taste delicious to me five years out.

I presented this recipe at a cooking demo this past weekend and because I have made it numerous times, it should really be posted on my blog. It is officially “PART OF THE ROTATION”.
These little meat snacks can be snacks, an appetizer for a party with a side of tzaziki, hot mustard, peanut sauce or even guacamole, served as an entree with a side or used as a slider. I think these turkey poppers with some thai zucchini noodles may be a really good time. Don’t be surprised if you see that recipe floating into your inbox in the near future.

Turkey/Chicken Poppers

1 lb. ground chicken breast (or pre-ground turkey)
2cups grated zucchini, squeezed after shredding to liberate juice
2-3 green onions, sliced
3-4 Tbsp cilantro, minced
1 egg
1 clove garlic
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¾ tsp cumin
olive oil, for cooking


Toss turkey/chicken with green onion, cilantro, garlic, salt, and pepper (and cumin, if using). Grate Zucchini into a doubled paper towel. Take the corners of the paper towel and make a bag and squeeze the crap out of the grated zucchini over your sink. You aren’t going to believe the moisture coming out of this. Zucchini has a lot of water, and I find this mixture is wet enough without introducing water into it. Add the squished grated zucchini to the bowl and combine.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a medium pan over medium heat and cook until done OR if you prefer, bake in a 350 degree oven for about 25 minutes.
Test the done-ness by opening one of the poppers up. Raw turkey middle = an ER visit.

Serve with guacamole, salsa, or my favourite jalapeno popper dip!


HELLO Spring & Easter Lemon Bars

23 03 2014

Winter 2014 – please die!

My head space is into spring, and while the weather doesnt actually reflect Spring, my need to make springtime treats and foods is full on. We have had our first protein salad this past week and I am fixated on Easter treats, like carrot cake and lemony things.

When I am take out my KA food processor, I usually like to use it a couple of times before I wash it, because washing all those components are a DRAG. I decided to whip these up and then wipe out the processor to shred some carrots, daikon radish and cabbage to make a “bitey” coleslaw. I call it a twofer. Best thing about this recipe is that is NO BAKE!!

Paleo Lemon Bars

2 cups raw cashews (pieces are cheaper and whole cashews)
1.5 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup sugar free maple syrup
8 drops vanilla stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tbsp fresh lemon juice**(see edit)
2 tbsp lemon zest

**EDIT(May 29th, 2014) My friend Lisi has an aversion to coconut and asked whether you could sub in large flake oatmeal. I tested this out last night and the answer is yes. Add the cup of oatmeal at the beginning as per the instructions. Reserve the 1/2 cup until after all the liquid goes in. IF after you add the last of the oatmeal, the mixture isn’t coming together as a dough, ADD another tbsp of lemon juice

Grab your food processor and throw in all the cashews, 1 cup of the coconut (reserve 1/2 cup for the end), and pulse until it is broken up. Throw in the lemon zest, lemon juice, stevia and maple syrup and whip it up until you start to get a dough forming. Add the last 1/2 cup of coconut flakes and pulse until incorporated.

Line a 8 x 8 pan with wax or parchment paper and press into the pan picking off a bit to pop into your mouth. YUM. Let it chill in the fridge for a couple of hours and cut into AT LEAST 16 pieces.
lemon bar

Nuts on this are dependent on how large you cut your tray of spring goodness. I am quoting for 16 squares but ended up cutting my squares in half again.
So for 16 squares:
Calories 149, Carbs 6 (NET 4g), Fat 12g, Protein 5g, Sugar 2g
Suck it winter!

A Bit of the South in Your Mouth!

26 02 2014

While some people may think my title is a little “off-colour”, I can assure you it was a thought based solely on a very raunchy band we use to see at Lee’s Palace, called White Cowbell Oklahoma.
I kid you not… these guys were white trash Southerners way before Duck Dynasty and Moonshine Wars.

I have just come back from Tucson, Arizona, and had a fabulous time with my colleagues and may I just brag that the weather was F-ing awesome. After the grim weather this winter in Toronto, I was content to not have to wear socks.. let alone 85F weather every day. I didn’t pack the right clothing but I was not complaining about it AT ALL!
What I do miss when I am away is cooking, my husband, and my cranky cat Kelvin. I am home, and Ken has been eating freezer meals so the fridge is a bit sparse. I admit to getting a bit giddy when I have less stuff to use to make something… it is my own version of Chopped.
“Katherine you have two bananas, a carrot, 4 lbs of frozen pork shoulder and a crock pot, what will you make”… AHHHHH
So I have always wanted to make South Carolina BBQ sauce.. because I love a good mustard and let’s face it, the real southern tomatoe based ones are chock full of sugar. So looking in my fridge I had good ole French’s mustard, low carb ketchup and the wheels started turning.

South Carolina Low Carb BBQ Pulled Pork

1 pork shoulder, fat trimmed, and tied (ours was around 4lbs-no bone)
1 crock pot or large pot that is oven safe

1/2 cup French’s yellow mustard
1 tbsp Frank’s hot sauce
1/4 cup of sf maple syrup or honey if you use sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of sf or low carb ketchup *PC has an organic ketchup that is super low in sugar
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp liquid smoke
1/2 onion, grated into a pulp (so it mixes into the sauce)

SO this recipe is super easy to whip up but it does require some forethought as you need to marinate-neglect the pork coated with sauce in the fridge overnight up to 24 hours.

Rinse and pat dry pork shoulder, mix BBQ ingredients up and plop pork into a ziploc. Pour delicious BBQ sauce over pork and squeeze out all the air in the ziploc and toss it into the fridge overnight up to 24 hrs.

Fast forward to me making coffee the next morning. Grab porky ziploc and dump the entire thing into your crock pot OR (for better results) into a oven safe deep pot.
south pork
I added some slightly withered jalapenos because I figured they would impart flavour. I added about a 3/4 of a cup of water, and left the lid off.
Slip the pot into a 250 degree oven for 8 hours and let it do it’s thing. Pulled pork in the crock pot is dead easy but it lacks the formation of “bark” that crispy outer skin you get when you braise in the oven.
This is bark… that tasty crispy bit. You can also achieve this on the BBQ, but who wants to leave the BBQ on for like 8 hours?
Either way you prepare it, it is delicious.
Let cool, and shred. Mix some of the sauce back into the shredded pork and put some of the South in your MOUTH.
Wait until you see what we did with the leftovers *cue suspenseful music here*
For another blog post!!

Pot Roast: An Oldie but a Goodie

3 01 2014

An oldie but a goodie…. I had a 4 pound roast in the freezer and knew what sort of day I was in for; super cold, mega-hard Spinning at noon, Yoga this morning, and a husband that has a crazy cold. Not to mention it is change the sheet night.. Friday is my favourite sleep of the week when the sheets are pressed, the feather bed is fluffed and everything is soft and new. I couldn’t allow dinner prep to infringe on my sheet night.

I knew I needed an easy ready-when-I-got-home meal. I love this balsamic onion pot roast recipe, so much so I am re-posting it for all those who may have missed it the first time.
Am I a jerk for re-posting a recipe? Possibly. I get a lot of questions about what we eat on a normal day. This is normal for us.. jerky or not.

This roast can be done in a dutch oven all day, or in a crock pot… up to you. All I know is that it is paleo, and when accompanied with some roasted Brussels sprouts, it is a pretty fabulous after work meal. People need to hear me when I say it took about 10 minutes to throw this together this morning. I browned the meat when I was drinking my protein coffee, threw in the onions and sauce, and walked away. Eating well isnt about mega planning, but it does mean you need to think about dinner before you roll into the house after work.

The leftovers have been shredded and we are using tomorrow to make Topopo salad… which happens to be one of my favourite Mexican dishes. Hispanic food that translates into Volcano salad. Just awesome especially for a geologist. Look for that post coming soon…
Onto the recipe.. so nice, that I had to repeat it twice *i am such a jerk*

Onion Balsamic Pot Roast

2 lbs of beef, cut is up to you
1 large sweet onion, cut in strips

8 ounces of tomatoe sauce
1/2 cup of balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup of water
2 tbsp white wine OR white wine vinegar

2 tbsp of coconut oil or FOC

Seasonings: smoked paprika, garlic powder, black pepper

So I did this in a dutch oven on the stove, but you could easily do this in a crock pot. Throw in your coconut oil-fat of choice. Get out your meat and rub the meat with above spices. Wait until fat is hot and then sear each side of the meat. about 3 to 4 minutes per side, until completely browned. Take out of pot.

Whatever vessel you are using to cook this in, layer the cut up onions at the bottom of the pan. Add the meat sitting on top of onions like so.

Mix the water, vinegars, and tomatoe sauce together and pour over the beef and onions. If you are using the same pot as you used to brown, then make sure all those browned flavoured bits at the bottom of the pan get worked in.

Either set your crock to low, or pop the lid onto your dutch oven on medium stovetop for 6 to 8 hours, flipping the roast once if you can. Take roast out, and boil down the liquid to use as a gravy OR add a tablespoon of potato starch if you need/want to thicken it up. SO SO DELICIOUS

Un-Rice Pudding: Raisin Haters Move On

4 11 2013

The week of comfort food continues…
I love rice pudding..but rice no longer loves me. I miss a steaming bowl of warm rice pudding and I use to make it quite often. Probably one of the reasons why I needed WLS..lol

The fondest memory of rice pudding was at the cottage. As kids we use to head up to Crane Lake Resort every year for the last two weeks of summer. Three generations of Dunnells would be up there fishing, water skiing and running around with lighted cat tails (fire and children.. can you tell it was the 70s?)
Every night all 8 of us would head to the lodge and they would cook us a meal. One night they made rice pudding, still warm, and served it to us in cereal sized bowls. I remember after a long day of fishing and running off the dock swimming, that rice pudding was the perfect ending to a perfect day.

Can Cauliflower be the new Rice? Yes, yes it can.

I know some of you are highly skeptical of this dessert as it may *seem* like a weird pairing. If you were a hardcore rice pudding fan, like myself, this is a good substitute. This can be made for your morning “oatmeal”, snack, or a dessert. Based on an old weight watchers recipe, this version is way lower carbs, no sugar and uses coconut milk so make it friendly for the lactose intolerant.

Un-Rice Pudding

Adapted from a Simply the Best Weight Watchers cookbook

2 cups of rice cauliflower, uncooked
1 can of coconut milk, full fat
1/4 cup of Splenda, or sweetener of choice
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, large, beaten
1/3 cup of water
2 tbsp of arrowroot starch (or potato starch or if you must corn starch)
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp cardamom (optional)
a splash of rosewater (if you want)


Grab a pot and put it over medium heat on the stovetop. Add the riced cauliflower and stir occasionally. You are in essence steaming the water off the cauliflower. This should take about 10 minutes. Add coconut milk and Splenda and let the mixture come up to a simmer.

On the side in another bowl, mix the eggs, water and starch together. Once the mixture is simmering, add the egg mixture to the hot simmering mixture and stir until the the pudding thickens.

At this point pull it from the heat, mix in spices and raisins. This should make 8 servings or even less if you want to have a big bowl.

I based my nutrition on 8-1/2 cup servings.
Calories 132, Carbs 11g(NET 10), Fat 8g, Protein 2g, Sugars 7g

Pumpkin Guts Cheesecake

9 10 2013

This was another recipe we presented at the conference this past weekend and the one that garnered the most positive feedback. This is a good time, there is no denying it.

Depending on how you roll, this dessert can be morphed to suit your needs.

No carbs?? NO PROBLEM
Make the filling and bake them in ramekins without a crust for a crustless, holiday treat.

Use the almond flour crust version and ignore the fact you are consuming dairy in the philly cream cheese for some a nice treat.

Non-Diva in the Kitchen? NO PROBLEM
Grab a box of sf Peak Frean shortbreads, beat them with a rolling pin and you are on your way.

Just because I made this in a pan, doesnt mean it isnt a cheesecake. Ideally you should make it in a deep sided cheesecake pan, or brownie pan. I was serving 75 people so my cheesecake looks HUGE.. it was, because 75 people had a tiny little square to sample and I tripled the recipe.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Bars
1 cup almond flour or almond meal OR a cup of crushed sf cookies
2 tbsp sweetener (splenda) *omit if you used cookies
2 tbsp butter, melted
3/4 tsp maple extract

1 cup pumpkin puree ‘dehydrated’
8 oz cream cheese – one brick
1/2 cup sweetener
1/2 tsp maple extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ginger
15 drops stevia extract
1 large egg
1/3 cup heavy cream

For the crust, preheat oven to 325F. In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour and sweetener (or crushed sf cookies). Add butter and maple extract to almond flour mixture (or crushed cookies) until well combined and bake for 8 minutes.

For the filling, spread pumpkin out on a plate lined with several paper towels.

Top with another layer of paper towels and blot to remove as much moisture as possible.
The pumpkin ends up looking like this:

In a large bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Add in sweetener, maple extract and spices until incorporated. Beat in dried pumpkin puree and stevia extract, then beat in egg until fully incorporated. Beat in heavy cream. Scrape down beaters and sides of bowl as needed.
Bake at 325F for 15 to 20 minutes, or until bars are puffed and set. Remove from oven and let cool in pan. I added some pumpkin seeds on the top to be all festive.

Cookie Dough Bites: Not Tube Food

8 10 2013

I think everyone can relate to secretly eating some raw cookie dough at one point or another in their lives. I have the Martha Stewart of mothers, who makes everything from scratch. Her mantra is “I can do it better than buying it at the store” The fruit doesn’t fall far from the tree I guess..lol
As I got older and started shopping for myself, I was secretly excited to buy things like Kraft Mac & Cheese and Pillsbury cookie dough in a TUBE! How atomic age cool is that having food in a TUBE?

Fast forward to today and while I wouldn’t dream of touching the cookies in a tube because there are more chemicals in it than real food, I like the idea of having a version of it, especially if I am going to make some ice cream at home. Hi vanilla ice cream with cookie dough chunks!

This is my version of Chocolate Chip cookie dough from a tube… It is also Paleo, so as far as I am concerned.. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER!

Give this recipe a try and see how it stacks up against the tube alternative.

Cookie Dough Truffles
recipe by moi
½ cup of butter, melted
½ cup of sf maple syrup
1 cup of almond flour
¾ cup of coconut flour
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon (optional)
¾ cup of sf or high cocoa chocolate chips
Coating (optional): 72% or higher cocoa chocolate, melted in the microwave

Melt butter on stove or in microwave and add to a large bowl with the sf maple syrup. Add in the vanilla extract and then the two flours and give everything a large stir. You may need to add more flour, 1 tbsp at a time, until the mixture starts to pull off the sides of the bowl. Add the cinnamon and the chocolate chips.
Roll each into the desired size and pop into the fridge to chill overnight.

The next day you can melt chocolate in the microwave to coat or eat them as is. This recipe made 40 small balls, so definitely enough to bring to a party. The texture is a bit more grainy because of the coconut flour, but this is still a good time and an easy no-bake-but-looks-fun dessert to bring to a party.
Would you say no if someone handed you this??