Honey Vanilla Chia Seed Pudding

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I don’t know how people can wake up 30 minutes before work starts and still get there on time. My summer mornings involve coffee, a shower, makeup, emptying and filling the dishwasher, watering the garden, walking the dog, and cleaning up whatever mess is on the counter so I’m not thinking about it at work all day. And this is just me — I really don’t know how people with children do it.

Lately, though, something has been making my life a little easier: chia pudding. I first discovered this recipe when I was Paleo, because chia seeds soaked in coconut milk form this tapioca-like substance that is about as close as you can get to yogurt on a strict Paleo diet. However, when you’re going through three or four $3 cans of coconut milk every week just for breakfast, the cost soon becomes prohibitive.

Luckily, I’m not Paleo anymore. Continue reading

Kil’t Kale

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I don’t want to suggest that the only way to eat kale is when it’s smothered in bacon grease and bourbon. But I think it probably is the best way.

This is a recipe originally available from Garden and Gun (online here), passed on to me by a coworker who, like me, was sick of kale salad after kale salad. Again, not that there is really anything wrong with kale salad, but every once in a while, you want something a little more tender, more meaty, something easier to convince your loved ones to eat.

The foundation of the dish is something called “bacon jam,” a concoction of bourbon, bacon, bacon grease, vinegar, and a little bit of sugar. Once you’ve got that mixture, you toss in your chopped kale and wait for it to wilt. It practically melts into the bacon jam, leaving you with an amazing sweet/sour/bitter combination. Remember how I said that all flavor is a combination of fat, salt and acid? This is a perfect example of a good balance among the three. Continue reading

Perfect Hardboiled Eggs

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It shouldn’t be so difficult to hard-boil eggs.

I have never been able to do it. The yolk always, always, gets hard and weird and chalky. And while that’s not awful if you’re just throwing a hardboiled egg into a potato salad or an egg salad, it’s not great for things like Cobb salad or simply snacking on, when the texture really shows.

Other people must have the same problem, judging by the number of people on Pintrest resorting to “boiling” their eggs in the oven. In case you, too, struggle with Overcooked Egg Syndrome, I have found a foolproof method for hardboiling that will give you exactly what you want every time.  Continue reading

Bison Bacon Burgers

paleo gluten-free bison bacon burger oh manBear with me. I promise, you want to make these, you just might not know it yet. Bison is maybe a little unusual for people who are not living in rural areas where people regularly shoot and kill and eat everything from snow geese to antelope.

That’s not to say that there are actually wandering bison where I am, but when you live in a place where people regularly throw game dinners and eat moose, elk, venison and doves, you get to be more open-minded. The standard beef, pork and chicken triumvirate is demolished. Continue reading

White Bean and Ham Soup

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March and April are apparently “the hunger season,” when most of the cold storage crops are gone and nothing fresh has come out of the ground yet. It’s also the period in my life when I generally start feeling gloomy and sad, wanting it to either snow and be pretty again like December, or warm up and get sunny like spring and summer are supposed to be.

Really the only thing for this uncomfortable time is to make soup. Soup can make you forget how gross and gloomy it is outside, help you feel better about curling up inside with a book, and make you so happy to be using up the beans stored in your pantry that you almost forget how angry you are to not be wearing your favorite new spring flats. Continue reading

Peanut Veggie Stir-fry

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I knew my upcoming trip to Austin was going to involve meat, fried things, queso, and more meat. I wanted to eat salads for a week or so to preemptively make up for the damage I was about to do to my body. But…it’s March. In Idaho. Even though it has been sunny and the snowpack has melted off, it’s not the kind of warm yet when you’ll have a carrot for dinner and call it good.

Plus, I have a husband to feed. And despite my best efforts, “vegan” is a four-letter word to him. He will balk at any dinner that too blatantly seems to be made entirely of vegetables and microwave a frozen lasagna instead, which makes me feel like a total failure and like trying to make a nutritious meal is a waste of time. So. I try to stave this off.

It immediately became clear that stir-fry was the only option. Continue reading

Salami Chips with Dijon-Thyme Dipping Sauce

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Like a lot of my favorite recipes, these crispy salami chips are a copycat recipe from one of my favorite places in the Wood River Valley.

I make up recipes sometimes, sure. And sometimes I just go out to eat and then try to copy the ideas of more talented chefs than I. It’s a sickness. But it also results in a ton of delicious recipes, like this Konditorei Salad from Sun Valley Resort, this beet salad inspired by a dinner at Trail Creek Cabin with my mother-in-law. Oh yeah, and this butternut squash and kale salad (and this one), inspired by one at my favorite sandwich place, Bigwood Bread.

I enjoyed these salami chips at a wine bar in my new town called diVine, which is more famous for their delicious wine and indulgent fondue. Continue reading

Crispy Cranberry-Almond Granola

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Granola, when I make it, normally turns out kind of heavy. It’s dense — tons of oats and nuts and fruit and all kinds of stuff. While that’s great, sometimes I want less, just a little crunch and burst of flavor with my yogurt, you know? Something lighter, that doesn’t feel like I just swallowed a literal sack of oats. Maybe some thing I can eat by itself like a normal cereal.

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This “granola lite” came about by accident, when I was trying to make power bars only to have them crumble and fall apart. In frustration, I almost threw them out, but instead, I dumped the crumbled bits on a baking sheet and threw them in the oven.

What came out was a little miracle. Light and crispy from the puffed rice, substantial thanks to the oats and a little bit sweet from the craisins, it goes beautifully with yogurt, as a snack, or just in a bowl with the milk of your choice.

And guess what? It also has a little protein punch from the nut butter and the protein powder. Depending on what protein powder you use (I used Tempt in the Vanilla Spice flavor), this is vegan, gluten-free, soy-free and free of refined sugar. Just keep an eye on it in the oven — the edges of one of my pans burned a little bit. 

Crispy Cranberry-Almond Granola
 
Author: Kate Wutz
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 15 mins
Total time: 25 mins
A delicious vegan, gluten-free and soy-free granola with a punch of protein to get you going.
Ingredients
  • 3 1/2 cups rice cereal
  • 2 1/2 cups gluten-free quick-cooking oats
  • 3/4 cup craisins (original)
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 scoop protein powder
  • 1 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup nut butter of your choice
Instructions
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine cereal, oats, craisins, almonds, salt and protein powder in a bowl. Heat maple syrup and nut butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring, until smooth. Pour mixture over the oat/cereal mixture and stir very well, until everything is coated and starting to clump.
  3. Spread granola onto two foil-lined baking pans. Bake for 15 minutes, switching the pans and stirring occasionally to prevent burning.
  4. The granola will NOT be crispy when you remove it from the oven, but will crisp as allowed to cool. Once cool, store in an air-tight container for up to a week.
 

 

Curried Butternut Squash Soup (and roasted chickpeas)

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Guys. I promised you a vegetable. Here it is. 

I know, it’s not green. It doesn’t even look like a vegetable, really. What it looks like is what it is — an incredibly decadent, velvety, tummy-warming combination of butternut squash, spices and a little crispy surprise on top. 

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But…it’s all vegetables. I mean, there’s some stock in there, but that can be vegetable, too, if you want. There’s no dairy or gluten at all in this. In fact, it’s even Paleo if you leave off the chickpeas and replace it with, oh, shrimp instead. Which would be awesome, no kidding.

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This huge pot of soup also took me about 45 minutes and $8 to make. That’s like $1 a serving, which is amazing when you consider you’d probably pay $6 a cup for this little number at your favorite local restaurant. Good food on a budget? I am totally in. 

Curried Butternut Squash Soup (and roasted chickpeas)
 
Author: Kate Wutz
A velvety dairy-free and gluten-free soup with vegan and paleo options. Totally the solution to that cold front you’re about to get hit with.
Ingredients
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil or butter
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp coriander
  • 1 medium butternut squash, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 medium carrots, cut into 1″ pieces
  • 3 cups good-quality stock (bone broth, beef stock, or vegetable stock)
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1 Tbsp oil of your choice
  • pinch salt, pepper, cayenne
  • red pepper flakes for garnish
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a stockpot over medium heat. Add onions, curry, salt, turmeric, paprika and coriander and cook until onions are soft, about 4 minutes. Add butternut squash, carrots and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the squash mushes easily. Remove from heat.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse your chickpeas, then dump them between two tea towels and gently rub until dry. Toss with oil, salt, pepper and a little cayenne pepper, then spread onto a foil-lined baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes, or until golden and crispy, tossing halfway through so they cook evenly.
  3. Once the chickpeas are done, use an immersion blender (or a regular blender, in batches) to puree the soup. I left a few chunks in mine because I find perfectly pureed soups boring…some people like them. It’s up to to you.
  4. Ladle into individual serving bowls. Top with chickpeas and a smattering of chili flakes. Serve.
 
Notes
To make it paleo, omit chickpeas and substitute cooked shrimp.

 

Best Recipes of 2014

You guys all have a sweet tooth, you know that? I went to look up my Top Ten Recipes of 2014 and was floored by the fact that of the 10 most-viewed recipes, seven were desserts.

Not that I am complaining, by any means. If you are like me, you’re always looking for sweets with less guilt. Without further ado, I bring you — the most-viewed recipes of 2014!

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Grasshopper Bars

These little Paleo beauties combined avocado, coconut and dark chocolate for a festive bar that tastes like spring. They also just so happen to be vegan (if you use maple syrup and not honey).

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Prune Spice Cake

This one stunned me. Prune cake, you guys? But I bet you loved the spicy, dense cake with the date caramel frosting. Paleo, gluten-free and grain-free.

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Greek Zoodle Salad

This one is also Paleo, vegan and gluten-free! Though, um, if you are not Paleo, I suggest putting a little feta on it. I replaced the pasta in Greek pasta salad with zucchini noodles, boosting your veggie quotient. You are welcome

Mulligatawny

Credit for this one goes to Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo. I think it’s delicious, and you guys must have agreed!

Secret Brownies

Gluten-free brownies that are almost Paleo — most of the sugar is replaced with prunes and apple juice. Shhhh.

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Homemade Fig Newtons

Dare I say it? These are almost better than those that come from the store. Paleo, vegan and gluten-free.

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Fig Butter

Inspired by a trip to Trader Joe’s, this fig butter is the reason I made the Fig Newtons in the first place. Yum yum yum.

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Bee Sting Bars

I love these so much, and I’m glad you liked them, too! Honey and almonds spread over a Paleo, gluten-free shortbread.

The Best Gluten-Free Brownies

Oh yeah. My favorite brownie recipe ever, made gluten-free. Enjoy!

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Kale with Balsamic and Bacon

Thank you all for overlooking that terrible, terrible photo and pressing on to enjoy the deliciousness that is kale sauteed with bacon, mushrooms and balsamic vinegar.