Nom Nom Paleo Let’s Go! Simple Feasts + Healthy Eats

Michelle Tam and Henry Fong, the James Beard Award nominated creators of Nom Nom Paleo, a website and award-winning cooking app, newest cookbook, Nom Paleo Let’s Go! Simple Feasts + Healthy Eats (Volume 3) features more keto-friendly, Whole30, and plant-based recipes.  Published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, it’s a fun book but serious as well, with 2000 step-by-step instructions, lots of photos and illustrations, and a dash of snarky humor.

It’s the third in their series of cookbooks, the first two of which were both New York Times bestsellers. Tam, who holds a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of California, develops recipes based upon the Cantonese meals her mother cooked for the family when she was growing up and the immigrant cuisine of the San Francisco Bay area where she grew up as well as such American teen basics as cheeseburgers and French fries.

Tam and Fong operate on the premise that weeknight suppers should be healthy and flavor-packed as well as fast and simple. Weekends and celebrations, on the other hand, are the perfect excuse to craft elevated (but easy) crowd-pleasers. Nom Paleo Let’s Go! offers crazy-delicious recipes for all occasions, and every single one is free of grains, gluten, dairy, and refined sugar.

Fong is an attorney who does the photography and illustrations for their books as well as the over all design. In all, they both seem to have a lot of fun in the kitchen and in writing their cookbooks.

All three books coordinate with a multitude of specialty diets—paleo, keto-friendly, vegan, nut-free, Whole30, and plant-based and every single recipe is free of grains, gluten, refined sugar, and dairy. But if it all sounds too healthy, no one you’re cooking for needs to know how nutritious the dishes are. And they won’t know based on the taste either as it’s all seriously yummy.

As always, Nom Nom Paleo’s recipes reflect the diverse cuisines Michelle grew up with and culinary ideas from her travels. Often Asian-inspired, Michelle’s unfussy recipes maximize flavor, optimize whole foods, and are presented with photos of each step so they’re absolutely foolproof–even for novice cooks! New recipes include: Cantonese Roast Duck, Nom Nom Chili Crisp, Bacon Cheeseburger Casserole, Chicken Karaage, Instant Pot Balsamic Beef Stew, and Paleo-Friendly Cream Puffs.

Hash Brown Fish

Umami Stir Fry Powder

  • ⅔ cup dehydrated chopped scallions
  • 6½ tablespoons kosher salt
  • ¼ cup dried shiitake mushroom powder
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • ½ teaspoon ground white pepper

Hash Brown Fish

  • 1 pound Russet potatoes, peeled
  • ½ cup scallions, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup avocado oil or ghee, divided
  • 2 teaspoons umami stir fry powder or kosher salt, divided
  • Four 5-ounce skinless sea bass or cod fillets, each about ¾-inch thick
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges

MAKE THE UMAMI STIR FRY POWDER (IF DESIRED): Toss all of the ingredients into a mini food processor or spice grinder. Blend to make a fine powder, scraping down the sides occasionally to make sure the dehydrated green onions are totally powderized. (This seasoning will keep in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to 6 months.)

MAKE THE HASH BROWN FISH: Grate the potatoes with a food processor or by using the large holes of a box grater.

Bundle the shredded potatoes in a clean kitchen towel. Then, wring out the potatoes and discard the liquid.

In a large bowl, toss together the shredded potatoes, scallions and 1 teaspoon of umami stir fry powder or kosher salt.

Pat the fish dry with paper towels. Sprinkle the other teaspoon of umami stir fry powder or kosher salt on the fish fillets.

Heat a large cast iron or nonstick skillet over medium heat, and then add 2 tablespoons of oil or ghee to the hot pan.

Add two ⅓-cup mounds of potatoes to the pan and flatten them into rectangles, approximating the size of your fish fillets.

Smush a fish fillet onto each potato layer and cover each one with a thin layer of shredded potatoes.

Fry for 5 to 8 minutes or until the bottom layer of potatoes is crisp and golden brown.

Carefully flip the fillet packets over with a fish spatula and cook for another 5 to 8 minutes on the other side.

Once the other potato layer is nicely browned and the center of the fish registers 135°F on an instant-read thermometer, transfer to a plate.

Repeat steps 6 to 11 with the remaining fish and potatoes and serve with lemon wedges.

Ginger Scallion Sauce

This salty, herbaceous condiment is exponentially greater than the sum of its parts. It’s traditionally served with whole poached chicken, but growing up, I would put it on everything! This sauce is transformative, lending massive flavor to any savory dish.

Makes 1 cup

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup finely minced scallions
  • 3 tablespoons finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper
  • ½ cup avocado oil

Method:

Toss the scallions, ginger, salt, and white pepper in a large heat-proof bowl or 2-cup measuring cup.

Stir it all together.

In a small saucepan over high heat, warm the oil until it’s shimmering but not quite smoking. 

Add a tiny piece of scallion to test the heat of the oil. If you see lots of little bubbles, the oil’s ready. (Or just check that the oil reaches 375°F on an instant-read thermometer.)

Pour the hot oil into the scallion and ginger mixture a little at a time. It’ll sizzle and boil, so be careful!

Stir well and let the sauce cool to room temperature. The sauce can be refrigerated in a sealed jar for up to 2 weeks or frozen in an ice cube tray for up to 3 months.

All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce

Despite its name, my All-Purpose Stir-Fry Sauce isn’t just for stir-fries: it’s a fundamental component in recipes of all kinds. This ultra-versatile sauce keeps in the refrigerator 

Makes 2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup coconut aminos
  • ½ cup fresh orange or pineapple juice
  • ¼ cup paleo-friendly fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

Method:

Combine all the ingredients in a measuring cup or jar. Mix it all together.

Char Siu (Chinese Barbecue Pork)

Makes 8 servings

  • ½ cup plum, peach, or apricot jam, sweetened only with fruit juice
  • ¼ cup coconut aminos
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon almond butter
  • 1 tablespoon honey (optional, not Whole30)
  • 1 teaspoon paleo-friendly fish sauce
  • ½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 pounds boneless pork shoulder roast
  • 2  teaspoons Diamond Crystal kosher salt 
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (optional)

Pour the jam into a small saucepan. To stay paleo-friendly, be sure to use a high-quality, 100% fruit jam.

Next, toss in the coconut aminos, tomato paste, almond butter, honey (if desired), fish sauce, Chinese five-spice powder, and ground ginger.

Whisk the marinade as you heat it to a simmer over medium heat.

Once the marinade is bubbling and smooth, transfer it to a measuring cup and let it cool to room temperature. (Not ready to roast the pork? You can store the sauce in the fridge for up to 4 days.)

Next, prepare the pork. Blot the pork shoulder with a paper towel. Then, slice the pork shoulder into 2-inch strips of even thickness.

The pork strips should be roughly uniform in size. It’s fine to have fatty pieces of pork because: (1) it’s tasty, and (2) you don’t want to end up with dry char siu. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of kosher salt all over the pork pieces.

Place the pork in a large bowl or in a zippered food storage bag. Pour all except ⅓ cup of the cooled marinade onto the pork. Cover and refrigerate the reserved marinade.

Use your hands to coat the marinade all over the pork strips. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for 2 to 24 hours.

When you’re ready to roast the pork, heat the oven to 350°F with the rack in the middle position. Arrange the pork on an oven-safe wire rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, flipping the pork pieces at the halfway point. Take the pork out of the oven and increase the temperature to 400°F.

Brush half of the reserved marinade on the tops of the pork pieces. Pour enough water into the bottom of the pan so that you have a thin layer coating the bottom. This will keep the drippings from burning while the pork cooks.

Roast for 25 minutes. Then, flip the pork pieces over and brush on the remaining marinade. Cook for another 20 to 30 minutes or until the pork is slightly charred on the edges. Rest the pork for 10 minutes, and then slice against the grain into bite-size pieces.

Arrange the pork on a serving dish and garnish with 2 sliced scallions, if desired.

Sheet Pan Pineapple Chicken

Serves 4

This easy sheet pan meal is my riff on Huli Huli Chicken, a classic Hawaiian barbecue staple featuring a sweet and savory sauce made with pineapple juice, ketchup, and soy sauce. Believe me: no one can resist a pan of sticky chicken and pineapple, especially when it’s re-imagined with healthier, paleo-friendly ingredients. Don’t substitute fresh pineapple and ginger for canned pineapple and ground ginger! The fresh stuff contains enzymes that break down proteins, so if you use ’em, they’ll make your chicken mushy!

Ingredients

  • 1 (13.5-ounce) can pineapple rings in pineapple juice
  • ½ cup paleo-friendly ketchup
  • ½ cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon paleo-friendly fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1½ pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • ¾ teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds 
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced

Method:

Open up the pineapple can and set aside the pineapple rings.

Pour ½ cup of the pineapple juice from the can into a large measuring cup. (We won’t be using the rest.)

Add the ketchup, coconut aminos, rice vinegar, honey, fish sauce, sesame oil to the pineapple juice in the measuring cup. Toss in the ground ginger and minced garlic. Whisk it all together to form a marinade.

Place the chicken in a medium bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Pour in ½ cup of the marinade. Set aside the remaining marinade.

Toss the chicken well. Cover and marinate for 30 minutes or up to a day in the fridge.

In the meantime, pour the remaining marinade into a small saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Then, decrease the heat to maintain a simmer for about 20 minutes until the liquid has thickened into a sauce. Remove from the heat and set aside. You should now have about 1 cup of sauce. 

Set aside about ¼ cup of the sauce to baste the chicken, and save the rest to serve with the finished dish.

Heat the oven to 400°F on convection mode or 425°F on regular mode with the rack in the middle.

Arrange the chicken thighs and the pineapple rings in a single layer on a rimmed, greased or parchment-lined baking sheet. 

Bake for 15 minutes. Then, rotate the tray and brush the reserved ¼ cup of cooked sauce onto the chicken thighs and pineapple rings. 

Bake for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until the thickest part of the thighs register 165°F on a meat thermometer.

Garnish the chicken and pineapple with sesame seeds and scallions. Serve with the reserved sauce!

Excerpted from Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go!  © 2022 written & photographed by Michelle Tam & Henry Fong.  Reproduced by permission of Andrews McMeel Publishing. All rights reserved.

Having Your Cake and Eating It Too: Healthy Eating

Using Blossom Monk Fruit and erythritol sweeteners, Scratch Pantry Essentials has created cake, cupcake, frosting, and other mixes  as well as sprinkles and chocolate chips that are free of sugar, bleached or processed flour, gluten, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, synthetic colors, or hydrogenated oils. The sweetener used is a zero-calorie sugar with a taste very similar to table sugar.

The mixes require just a few additions. For example both the Blueberry Lemon Loaf and Vanilla Cake which calls for butter, water, and eggs. Both have a 100 calories per serving. Or you can use the mixes to create more desserts such as Easiest Baked Donuts (recipe below), Chocolate Peanut Butter Chunk Cookies, and Vegan Salted Brownies.

Easiest Baked Donuts

DONUTS

  • 1 package of your favorite Scratch Cake Mix
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 5 tablespoons butter, softened OR coconut oil
  • 3 large eggs OR flax eggs

GLAZE

  • 1/2 cup Blossom Powdered Sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons milk OR plant milk of choice
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder* (*optional – for chocolate icing)

MAKE ’EM A MASTERPIECE

  • 1/4 cup Scratch Sprinkles

FOR THE DONUTS

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour non-stick donut pan. (either traditional flour or 1:1 GF baking flour work best)

Whisk together Scratch cake mix ingredients as instructed on the back of the package.

Pour batter into greased donut pan, filling each 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes, or until they pass “the toothpick test”

FOR THE GLAZE:

In a bowl, combine powdered Blossom, cocoa powder*, vanilla extract, and milk of choice. Stir until smooth. Glaze should be thick, but a pourable consistency.

Glaze donuts by simply dunking the (cooled) donuts in the glaze bowl.

TOP ’EM OFF:

Top off your glazed donuts with Scratch Sprinkles while glaze is still wet.

Gluten-free and Easy-to-Make

Remember when gluten-free usually meant taste-free? Thank goodness so many great gluten-free products are now available. I’m constantly trying new ones, not because I’m on a gluten-free diet (lately I feel like I’ve been on a glutton-plus diet but that’s a different post) but because people are always asking what I recommend.

So I was happy when my friend Aly Nardini of Chicago sent me samples of products made by Pamela’s, a leading purveyor of great-tasting, gluten-free mixes for breads, muffins, flours such as almond, cassava, tiger nut, and coconut, cookies, cakes, ramen noodles, pasta, grain-free pancake mixes using nut flours, and more. Pamela’s website is very informative and for each item, there’s a list of ingredients as well as recipes so there’s always something new to try. Besides that, the site provides substitutions so if you’re using, say tiger nut flour, you can use it both as a one on one substitute for other flours or, since tiger nuts aren’t really nuts but a milled vegetable root with a flour consistency, it can be used instead of nut flours such as almond flour. How handy is that?

I always try any recipe before I post it.For example, using Pamela’s Baking and Pancake Mix, I made their Fall Sheet Pan Pancake with apples and cranberries. According to the website, the mix packet contains brown rice flour, white rice flour, cultured buttermilk, natural almond meal (may appear as brown flecks), tapioca starch, sweet rice flour, potato starch, grainless & aluminum free baking powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, potato starch, sodium bicarbonate), baking soda, sea salt, and xanthan gum. According to their Allergen Information, their mix contains milk and almonds and was manufactured in a gluten-free certified facility, on equipment that processes tree nuts, coconut, eggs, soy and milk. Manufactured in a peanut-free facility.

The following are recipes that I’ve made using Pamela’s Products. They’re all available on her website under the recipes tab. Just click here.

Fall Sheet Pan Pancake

Recipe courtesy (@uncomplicatedchef)

2 cups of Pamela’s Baking & Pancake Mix (follow package instructions for the batter
1 apple, sliced
1/4 cup of fresh cranberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Maple syrup for serving


Make the pancake batter as per package instructions.

Slice the apple. In a bowl mix apples and cranberries with sugar and cinnamon.
Bake in preheated oven 350 degrees for about 20 minutes until nice and fluffy. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Lemon Bars

This gluten-free recipe from @soulfooodie features Pamela’s Honey Grahams and Coconut Flour and is a delightful rift on a personal favorite.

CRUST:

  • 2 cups @pamelasproducts #glutenfree Honey Grahams
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of @pamelasproducts #glutenfree Coconut Flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt

LEMON CURD:

  • 5 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon @pamelasproducts Coconut Flour
  • Powdered sugar for dusting

Crust:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease pan and set aside.

Mix graham cracker crumbs, coconut palm sugar, coconut flour, and salt. Then pour in melted butter and mix until thoroughly combined.

Pour mixture into pan and press crumbs into pan.

Bake crust for 10 minutes. Let cool before adding the lemon curd.

Lemon Curd:

Whisk together eggs and sugar until smooth. Then whisk in lemon juice and zest.

Add in coconut flour and whisk together until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Pour lemon curd mixture over the cooled crust and bake for 36 minutes. Cool & serve.

Kabocha Empanadas with Gruyère & Thyme {Gluten-Free}

Recipe courtesy of Snixty Kitchen.

Gluten-free Crust

  • 1¼ cups Pamela’s All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 8 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon sized pieces
  • 8-10 tablespoons ice water

Filling:

1 small kabocha squash (1-1.5lb and you’ll still probably have some left over!), seeds discarded and cut into ¼ to ½-inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil

¼ cup shredded gruyère cheese

3 tablespoons chopped shallot (1 large)

1 tablespoon minced garlic (3-4 large cloves)

5 sprigs of fresh thyme

Salt & pepper

Egg wash

1 egg

1 tablespoon water

Gluten-free crust:

Pulse together the Pamela’s All-Purpose Flour, sugar, xanthan gum, and salt in the bowl of a food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can whisk by hand).

Add the cold butter, but don’t pulse. One tablespoon at a time, dribble ice water into the food processor, pulsing after each addition, until the dough holds together when pinched with your fingers. Add water until it just holds together, but is not sticky.

If you need more water, add a teaspoon at a time. (If working by hand, mix the butter into the flour with your hands, breaking up the butter until the largest pieces are about the size of a pea. Mix in ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough just holds together).

Form the dough into a flat disc and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour.

Meanwhile, prepare the filling as directed below.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to ⅛-inch thickness. Use a 4-inch cutter to cut dough rounds and transfer each round to a large parchment-lined baking sheet. Roll out the scraps and repeat until you have 10 dough rounds.

Filling

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

Spread the kabocha squash cubes on a large parchment-lined baking sheet and toss with olive oil and about ¼ teaspoon each of salt & pepper. Bake for about 15 minutes, until just tender when pierced with a fork. Place the cooked squash in the refrigerator to cool before filling the empanadas.

When the dough rounds are ready, place filling components in the following on one half of the round: about 1 teaspoon of shredded gruyère, 1 tablespoon cooked kabocha squash, 1 teaspoon chopped shallot, a pinch of minced garlic, and leaves from half a sprig of thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Prepare the egg wash by whisking the egg and water together in a small bowl.

Lightly brush the edge of one half of one dough round with the egg wash, fold the round in half around the filling, lightly crimping the edges together with your fingertips. Repeat with all 10 empanadas.

Brush the egg wash over the top of each empanada.

Bake your empanadas for 30-35 minutes rotating the baking sheet halfway through, until the tops are lightly golden brown. (Tip: Keep an eye on your empanadas after 20 minutes, as the color of your baking sheet can vary the baking time!).

Serve warm.

  • 4½ cups chicken or turkey stock
  • 1½ tsp dried thyme or 1 TBSP fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1½ tsp dried sage or 1 TBSP fresh sage
  • 1 tsp dried marjoram or oregano or 2 tsp fresh marjoram or oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • olive oil for sautéing
  • 1 cup white wine or broth
  • ½ cup butter or butter alternative
  • ½ cup All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend
  • 1 lb or 3 cups cubed or shredded chicken or turkey
  • 2 cups carrots, diced and cooked (if using frozen, cook according to package directions)
  • 2 cups red or Yukon potatoes, cooked and cubed (if using frozen, cook according to package directions)
  • 1 cup peas (if using frozen, do not cook first)

Pie Crust

 FILLING:

Heat chicken or turkey stock with all the spices on the stove or in microwave (this gives the seasoning time to release the flavors). In a 3½ to 4 qt. heavy pot, sauté onions in a little olive oil until soft, add wine to deglaze the pan and reduce by half. Remove from pan for later use. In the same pot, melt butter and add the All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend, stirring constantly for a minute or two. This is the base for your roux.

Once roux has cooked for a minute or so, slowly add hot liquid, constantly whisking as it thickens. This will take a minute or two. Once thickened, add onions back in and mix well. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes until fully thickened. Remove from heat and let it cool until just warm.

In a large bowl, gently mix together the chicken or turkey, carrots and potatoes, and then pour the warm sauce in and gently mix well until incorporated. Last, add frozen peas. Store in refrigerator until totally cool — overnight is best, or you can freeze.

MAKING INDIVIDUAL POT PIES:

You will need ramekins or glass baking cups/bowls, large enough to hold enough filling for 1 person, about 1 cup. You will need approximately one recipe pie dough from either Pie Dough with All-Purpose Flour Artisan Blend or Pie Dough with Bread Mix. Depending on the size of ramekins used, you may need to double the crust recipe.

Mix together pie dough according to directions. Divide dough in half. Pat one half into a square, wrap in plastic wrap, and set aside.

Spray a piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap with non-stick spray and flatten and pat the remaining dough into a rectangle or square. Spray another piece parchment or plastic wrap and lay it on top. Roll the dough to desired thickness, no thicker than ¼ “. Place rolled dough on a sheet pan and refrigerate while rolling the second piece. It is easiest to cut and remove scraps when dough is chilled and stiff. Using a pot lid or knife, cut desired size circles. You want the dough 1½ to 2” bigger than the top of your ramekin. Cut as many circles as you can, then re-roll scraps and repeat process until all dough is used. Keep circles chilled, covered, and with wax paper in-between, until ready to use.

ASSEMBLY:

If cooking right after assembly, pre-heat oven to 425°. Take out dough to let rest a minute until it warms up just a little and can easily be manipulated with your fingers. Spray ramekins with non-stick spray, fill almost to the top with chilled filling, and repeat until all are filled.

Cover each ramekin with a dough circle slightly larger than top. Gently try to pull dough flat so the crust is not all lying on filling. Using your fingers press the top dough over the rim, crimp the dough up like a pie crust, then press the remaining dough down onto the sides of the ramekin, so it sticks to the sides. Make sure it is securely attached all the way around to prevent seeping sauce down the sides. (You can leave the edges plain with no crimp, and then add a decoration of small shapes cut from the extra dough with very small cookie cutters.) Place on parchment-lined, rimmed sheet pan in refrigerator to chill and let edges of dough set. Repeat until all pies are completed and chilled. Once the dough is chilled and hard on top, cut 3 or 4 slits in the top. Bake, or wrap well and freeze.

Optional egg wash: Brush tops with one egg yolk mixed well with 1 TBSP milk or water for a nice brown top.

BAKE:

Bake in pre-heated oven at 425° for 15 minutes, then turn oven down to 375° for about 20 minutes until crust is golden and the filling is bubbling a little under the crust.

Chef’s Note: left over filling is great served with rice.

Holiday Stocking Stuffers for Food Lovers: Great Gifts That Do Good

This holiday season, give some fascinating food products that also give back to needy causes to the food lovers on your list.

 COFFEE CHAI CHIA PUDDING (w/ P.B. COFFEE CHAI SMOOTHIE on top) with Blue Lotus Chai

Blue Lotus Chai, a spiced tea free of all sweeteners, additives, artificial flavorings, or colorings, comes in an assortment of masala blends—Traditional, Golden, Mint, Rooibos, Star Anise, and Mandarin. Caffeine-free, it’s easy to prepare, and contains anti-oxidants. This year, Blue Lotus Chai won the Specialty Food Association’s 2020 sofi™ Award for innovation and taste in the 48th annual awards. They donate 10% of their net profits to charitable organizations such as Doctors Without Borders, American Cancer Research and A Hope for Autism Foundation.

bluelotuschai.com/

Blue Lotus Chai

8 ounces coconut creamer (or milk of your choice)

½-¾ teaspoon Blue Lotus Chai powder

1 tablespoon coconut sugar (or sweetener of choice)

½ teaspoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon hot water (enough to dissolve chai powder & sweetener)

A few ice cubes

In a measuring cup, dissolve Blue Lotus Chai powder and sweetener in hot water; stir.

Add it, along with milk of choice and ice cubes, into a blender. Blend until ice is well crushed and milk is frothy. Add chia seeds, stir, and let sit for a few minutes. Pour into a glass and enjoy!

Note: If you prefer, you can add the chia seeds to the dissolved mixture before adding milk and mix them up in the blender. This adds to the creaminess, with no crunch & chew from the seeds.

Sacred Sauce

            Another company that donates 10% of all company profits, in this instance to the Rainforest Trust, Sacred Sauce is a medium-heat sauce made with serrano chilis, cacti and blood oranges containing only vegan-friendly, organic, and natural ingredients. Their Sacred Salad Sauce is probably one of the few medium heat sauces for salads. Made with habanero and serrano chilis, mashed up mango flesh and citrus tangerines giving it a sweetness with out having additives such as sugar or artificial sweeteners. The spicy taste contrasts well with the coolness of salad greens.

Neither Sacred Sauce nor Sacred Salad Sauce contain any preservatives, chemicals, xanthan gum, extracts or concentrates.

https://sacred.site

SkinnyDipped Lemon Bliss

            With the mission to leave the world a happier, healthier place, the mother and daughter team who founded SkinnyDipped offer a variety of whole nuts “skinnydipped” in thin layers of a dark chocolate, milk chocolate or white chocolate. There’s cashews skinnydipped in a dark chocolate salted caramel, Milk Chocolate Peanuts, almonds in dark chocolate espresso and their Lemon Bliss–almonds in white chocolate with lemon. Low in calories, the ingredients are also non-GMO verified, gluten-free and contain no artificial ingredients. 

SkinnyDippers are now available nationwide at @walgreens! Snag a bag of Peanut Butter + Cocoa Almond to keep yourself fueled up when you’re on-the-go! To find out where else they’re available, click here.

SkinnyDipped Daughter & Mom

SkinnyDipped Peanut Butter Banana Pudding

• 2 cups almond milk

• 1 box (3.7 oz) organic vanilla instant pudding

• 2 bananas, sliced

• 1/2 cup natural peanut butter

• 1 cup Peanut Butter SkinnyDipped Almonds

To garnish:

• 4 dollops of whipped cream

• 1 tbsp natural peanut butter

• 1 tbsp crushed Peanut Butter SkinnyDipped

1. Start by preparing the pudding. Pour 2 cups almond milk into medium mixing bowl, add vanilla instant pudding and beat with an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Set aside.

2. In four jars, layer sliced bananas, peanut butter, SkinnyDipped and pudding mixture. Repeat layering until all ingredients have been used and refrigerate.

3. Before serving, top each jar with a dollop of whipped cream, a peanut butter drizzle and some crushed SkinnyDipped. Enjoy!

skinnydipped.com

Omaha Steaks Cooked the Whole30 Keto Way

Sometimes cooking cuts of quality meat can be daunting prompting what I call fear of the grill–trepidations to go beyond our typical cooking repertoire. Typical doesn’t even begin to describe the box of Omaha Steaks in thanks for watching their webinar about Omaha’s eclectic and happening food scene. File the latter under who would have known Omaha was such a culinary capital?

But after listening to the webinar about Omaha Steaks and discussions from three local chefs with outstanding credentials about how they cook steaks made me realize it was time to up my game.

And so I turned to my current favorite cookbook, The Primal Gourmet Cookbook: Whole30 Endorsed: It’s Not a Diet If It’s Delicious © 2020 by Ronny Joseph Lvovski sent to me by my friend Bridget Nocera of Houghton Mifflin.

It’s a great book because Lvovski has created each of his recipes to be compliant with an amazing amount of diets including criteria for Paleo-friendly, Whole30-compliant, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free and Sugar-Free. Lvovski goes into great detail about how he developed his recipes and why he made changes so they are user friendly for those following certain dietary regimes as well as being delicious for all of us. After reading his recipe for steak au poivre I decided what better honor could I give my steaks than transform them into a classic French bistro dish?

Omaha’s trendy dining scene. Photo courtesy of Visit Omaha.

According to Lvovski, steak au poivre typically consists of grilled filet mignon covered in a rich and creamy green peppercorn sauce made with plenty of heavy cream and butter. Instead he lightened things up a bit and kept it Whole30-compliant and Paleo-friendly by using ghee and coconut milk.

Omaha’s trendy dining scene. Photo courtesy of Visit Omaha.

“The secret to making things taste as close to the original as possible is to cook down the coconut milk with the shallots,” he says in the introduction to his recipe. “This will mellow the coconut flavor, which might otherwise overpower the dish.

Ronny Joseph Lvovski

“When it comes to cooking the steaks, I’m a big fan of the constant-flip technique, which was popularized by Heston Blumenthal years ago,” says Lvovski, who struggled with a lifetime of obesity, failed diets, and low self-esteem before discovering the Paleo diet. “I have to admit that I resisted it for a very, very long time, preferring instead the tried-and-true flip-once technique. That is, until one fateful day when I was faced with the task of cooking a fairly thick steak without the benefit of an oven and my preferred reverse-sear technique. The result was a perfectly cooked center and evenly caramelized crust. Since then, I’ve been a convert, but there’s a time and place for everything.”

There are a few things Lvovski recommended before considering which method to use. First and foremost, he says the constant flip works best on bigger steaks, those that are at least 1½ inches thick, because you need time to raise the internal temperature of the meat while simultaneously developing a crust. If your steak is too thin, you will overcook the center before the outside has had a chance to caramelize. The constant flip also works better for steaks cooked in a well-seasoned cast-iron pan on the stovetop rather than on the grill.

“Most grill grates are made from stainless steel, to which meat will stick until it develops a crust,” says Lvovski. “Therefore, you are better off only flipping steaks once if you’ recooking them on a grill. Well-seasoned cast-iron pans, on the other hand, are virtually nonstick and are more forgiving when it comes to flipping meat before it has developed a crust. As long as you keep the above considerations in mind, you should have great results using the constant-flip technique when cooking your steak. It safeguards against the fact that all stovetops and skillets perform differently, which can result in one side of the steak cooking more or less than the other.”

Steak Au Poivre

2 (10-to12-ounce) filets mignons (or substitute your favorite cut such as bavette, rib eye, skirt, porter house, flat iron, or New York strip), at least 1½ inches thick

Kosher salt

3 tablespoons avocado oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

¼ cup full-fat coconut mil

½ cup chicken stock

1 tablespoon green peppercorns in brine, drained

1 teaspoon loosely packed fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

1 tablespoon ghee

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Whole30 Keto-Friendly, Paleo Grain-Free, Sugar-Free.

Time: 20 minutes, plus 1 hour of marinating

Pat steaks dry with paper towels and liberally season all sides with salt. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and set aside for 1 hour at room temperature. When ready to cook the steaks, heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 5 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high and pour in 2 tablespoons of the avocado oil. Heat until oil is shimmering and carefully place the steaks in the skillet.

Cook, flipping the steaks every60 seconds, until the internal temperature registers 130° to 135°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 8 minutes. Remove the steaks from the pan and transfer them to a wire rack to rest for 10 minutes. While the steaks rest, wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel, then place it over medium heat. Pour in the remaining 1 tablespoon avocado oil, then add the shallot. Cook, stirring, until softened, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the coconut milk and cook, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced by about half, about 2 minutes.

Add the stock, green peppercorns, thyme, and a pinch of black pep-per. Cook until the sauce has reduced again by half, about 4 minutes. Fold in the ghee and stir until it has melted. Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper as desired. Slice the steaks against the grain and arrange them on a serving platter. Spoon the green peppercorn sauce over the top and serve.

SERVES 2

Excerpted from “THE PRIMAL GOURMET COOKBOOK: Whole30 Endorsed: It’s Not a Diet If It’s Delicious’ © 2020 by Ronny Joseph Lvovski. Photography © 2020 by Donna Griffith. Reproduced by permission of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.