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!


Cabbage Roll Soup & Bulk Barn Addiction

28 02 2014

I can’t be trusted in Bulk Barn. This is a hard place for a recovering sugar addict.. I cruise the aisles looking at all the candy and remembering how it all use to be my best friend. I can’t go into these places without some morale support and wont kid myself to think I can just “pop” in to buy some nuts and be done with it. The memories are too strong in those places, that I need a buddy.
The sobering truth is while I am healthy and almost five years out from my W.L. surgery, I have to be more vigilant about where I came from and how easy it could be to slip back into old ways.

It has been f-ing cold this winter so after my dodging and weaving at the Bulk Barn, I needed some comfort food. Enter Cabbage Roll Soup. It has all the components I love, cabbage, chorizo, and horseradish bitey-ness. I will also add it is pretty darn low in calories and mighty delicious. Ken had two bowls and said “blog worthy” so we make it again. Fart-tastic as well.. your colon loves cruciferous veggies. This is like kimchi in soup form… YUMMO

Cabbage Roll Soup
adapted from Anna Olsen’s recipe

3 strips diced bacon or pkg of PC chorizo
1 medium onion, diced
1 celery stalk, diced
1 medium carrot, grated
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef or pork
1 clove garlic
6 cups diced green or savoy cabbage
1 28oz tins diced tomato
2 cups sodium reduced chicken stock/broth
1/4 cup cider vinegar
2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
1 tbsp sweet paprika
2 bay leaves
to taste salt and pepper
garnish sour cream

Cook diced bacon or chorizo in heavy bottomed soup pot until crisp and the fat renders out. Add chopped onion and let the onions cook for 5 minutes until they start to get soft. Add celery, carrot and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the ground meat and garlic and let it all brown. Pull off any excess fat coming off the meat (or not) depending on how you are feeling.
pork cabbage
Stir in the cabbage, tomatoes, chicken stock, cider vinegar, horseradish, paprika, and bay leaves.

Bring to a strong simmer and then turn down to low simmer and neglect until the cabbage is yielding. This soup gets better the next day so let it simmer all day or make it the night before and reheat. Garnish with sour cream and serve.

This makes about 10 cups of soup, serving size is 1 cup. Ken, who doesnt believe soup is a meal, ate two bowls and told me he really liked it.
Nuts are as follows made with chorizo and ground pork. This will change with bacon and lean etc.
Calories 217, Carbs 10 (7g NET), Fat 12g, Protein 18g, Sugar 5g

Sweet Potato Pie & Public Television

27 02 2014

While I do get to do cool things at work all the time, and every day is something cool which makes you feel grateful for working at such an interesting place, I sometimes get asked to do SUPER cool things, like be on TV. So a year ago the metals conservator at work asked me to participate in this segment of Fakes and Forgeries on Museum Diaries. She has an Asian Zun metal pot that was a pastiche, meaning it was a Frankensteined piece put together from one excavation site. Back then, they werent as exhaustive about grid-ding up a site as today.
blog pork
So part of the gig was to see if all the parts of this pot that had been shoved together were compositionally the same, or not.
You’ll have to watch the episode to find out whether the Zun pot was real or not!
me on tv

So while we watched the episode, we ate Sweet Potato Pie. How does one deal with leftovers post WLS? It is a reality, because you dont eat the way you use to, and pork shoulder is usually a pretty meaty-large cut. You make a pie out of it!

Sweet Potato Pulled Pork Pie

(say that 10 times fast)

1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed (~1.5 to 2 cups)
Cooking spray
salt and pepper

2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 bunch of green onions
2 tbsp oil
2 cups shredded leftover pork or any meat you have going

3 to 4 eggs, scrambled

So I did this in parts because I wanted to hit the gym on my way home leaving Ken to assemble this and pop it into the oven. So the night before I sprayed a pie plate with cooking spray, pre-heated the oven to 375 and molded the mashed sweet potato into the dish like a pie crust. I squirted the pie with some more cooking spray and popped it into the oven for 20 minutes to bake up.

While that was baking in the oven, I heated the oil, and sauted both the onions and mushrooms until they were yielding. Threw in the leftover pork, gave it a good mix and plopped the whole thing into a storage container for the night. Pie crust came out of the oven, I left it to cool, and them saran-ed it and popped in the fridge for the next night. I can make this all in one shot, just read on. No cooling necessary.

The next night, Ken pre-heated the oven to 375, plopped the pork-veggie saute into a bowl, cracked 4 eggs in and mixed it around. Poured that into the sweet potato crust and popped it into the oven for 30 to 40 minutes.. just until the eggs set.
sweet potato pie

The interior “Money” shot. Look at all that crispy pork. SO delicious.
sweet potaoe pie 2

This makes 8 servings and would be fabulous for a brunch crowd.
Calories 257, Carbs 15(14g net), Fat 16g. Protein 14, Sugar 4g

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

Pumpkin Truffles = A Taste of Fall

24 10 2013

Those who read my blog regularly know I have a slight pumpkin obsession which kicks into high gear in the Fall. Right on schedule, the temperature dips and I am craving my fibreous pumpkin friend to beef up soups and stews to make my belly feel warm and happy. Pumpkin is fabulous for our systems, is versatile enough to throw into savoury things like chili or into desserts, which creates bulk and can replace grain flours in your favourite dessert.

Pumpkin is a miracle food with the exception of anything that Starbucks does with pumpkin. I am sorry Starbucks but pumpkin products should ACTUALLY contain pumpkin.

For those who read my blog regularly you also know I have a thing about truffle and bite-sized desserts. I haven’t met a baked good yet that I has left me gagging with disgust so portion control is a bit thing for me. A whole slice will be eaten, so scaling things down to bite-sized portions makes for better grab and go as well as better on the waist-line.

I am really watching what I eat at the moment as my weight is slightly up and we are heading into the holidays. Ken and I recently had a tragedy and put down our lovely girl Winnie cat. She had been suffering from renal failure since the summer. Worst-Best (for her) thing that I have ever done. I never wish the experience on anyone. We had been playing cat nurse for months, and I often opted to head home to spend time with her then to head to the gym. I let my exercise and food choices slide a bit. After the sickness had ended, I grabbed a can of pumpkin from the pantry and got back on the horse.

I hate that pumpkin is in 28 oz cans. That is A LOT of pumpkin to deal with all at once. In one can I made pumpkin biscotti, pumpkin chia pudding, pumpkin brownies and pumpkin truffles (featured here). Opening a can of pumpkin is a COMMITMENT.
So the next time you need 1/2 a cup of pumpkin and are trying to use the rest up, make up a batch of these for the fridge.

Pumpkin Protein Truffles

1/2 cup of pumpkin puree
1/2 cup of almond butter (or any nut butter-cashew would be awesome in this)
2 tbsp sf maple syrup
1 tbsp coconut oil (or FOC)
1/4 cup of vanilla protein powder
1 cup of almond flour + more if needed (see instructions)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
10 drops stevia
a dash of salt

Optional: 70% or higher chocolate bar (to melt for coating)

Mix almond butter, coconut oil (or FOC) with pumpkin until they are incorporated. Add maple syrup, stevia, and mix. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and give it a good stir. The consistency should be like a dough and when you mix the batter, it should be coming off the sides of your bowl. If not, then add 1/4 cup of almond flour at a time until this happens.

This seems loosey-goosey but it has a lot of do with what nut butter you used (some have more oil than others) and what type of almond flour you use (some are milled finer, absorb more liquid and therefore you use less)
Pumpkin spice cake mixed with cream cheese frosting

Roll into 30ish balls and pop in the fridge to chill overnight. I tested one for poison before they went into the fridge. You can leave it as is, or the next day nuke some chocolate, dip in the pumpkin truffle and coat. These are a good time.. they are spicy from the pumpkin spice and good for your soul. Nutrition on these varies dependent on nut butter and how much almond flour you ended up using.

For me I got for two large truffles : 171 calories, Carbs 6 (NET 3g), Fat 14g, Protein 8g, Sugars 2g
Winnie would have approved of this dessert! She liked when I puttered in the kitchen, always at my feet hoping for a little nibble.


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??