Paleo Chicken Meatballs

If you want to wow your friends and family with a dish packed with intense flavor and free of allergens, then you have to try this!  It falls into our 30 minutes or less group, making it truly one of our favorite go-tos for a healthy, quick and super satisfying meal. We have replaced all flour, gluten and dairy with allergen-free ingredients, and use zucchini noodles in place of pasta, so this healthy dish is gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and Paleo. Score!

If you haven’t cooked with zucchini noodles yet, the main thing to watch for is not over cooking the “noodles”, so we toss the ribbons in at the last 5 minutes with this recipe so they have just enough time to soften up, but won’t lose their coarse texture that’s reminiscent of pasta. The easiest way to prep the zucchini noodles is with a mandolin or spiralizer (both will link to the ones we bought on Amazon). The mandolin is simple to use, once you get used to it, but just be careful to avoid the sharp blade, and definitely don’t let your kiddos use this one! If you prefer a spiralizer, this is our favorite! Sometimes I can be a big baby about the mandolin and want to use something easy, without sharp edge to worry about cutting myself on.

I can’t wait to hear what you think about this recipe, so please share your comments below!

Gluten-free, Paleo Marsala Chicken Meatballs

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 4-5 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Marsala wine
  • 1 lb ground white meat chicken
  • 1/4 cup grated manchego, plus extra for serving
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons almond flour
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 4 large zucchinis, cut into noodles

Instructions

  1. Preheat the broiler to high.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together 1/4 cup almond flour, coconut milk and 1 tablespoon marsala.
  3. Let soak for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the chicken, manchego, egg, parsley, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and the pepper.
  5. With your hands, gently mix together the ingredients until just combined.
  6. Form into tablespoon-size balls and place on an oiled baking sheet.
  7. Broil for 5 minutes, or until the meatballs are beginning to brown and are just barely cooked through.
  8. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  9. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium-high heat.
  10. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until the mushrooms are brown on all sides, about 5 minutes.
  11. Add the onions and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for another 2 minutes.
  12. Lower heat to medium and stir in the remaining almond flour and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
  13. Add 1/3 cup marsala wine and stir until smooth.
  14. Whisk in the chicken broth and simmer for 5 minutes.
  15. Add spiralized zucchini noodles to sauce and mix to coat.
  16. Add the meatballs and simmer for an additional 5 minutes to let the flavors blend.
  17. Serve hot, garnished with grated manchego.
http://inspiredeats.net/30-minute-meals-gluten-free-paleo-marsala-chicken-meatballs/

gbye gluten

For years now the word gluten has been a daily part of my daily vocabulary. When I first heard it muttered by my doctor six years ago, I imagined it as this long, drawn out and terribly blah-sounding word.

Glooooo-ten.

Since I say it so regularly now, I’m a bit immune to the heavy and unappealing sound of it. And now that it’s become a part of our daily vocabulary (pretty much world-wide), the awareness of a gluten allergy and sensitivity has risen, along with the danger of it not being taken seriously, since it’s often perceived as a fad.

Why the fad? Several reasons, really. Celebrities and public figures are claiming it to be a great way to ‘cleanse’ the body, and lose weight. And there’s the  growing popularity of Primal and Paleo diets, which shun gluten for it’s lack of nutritional benefits, and it’s negative effects on the body, regardless of an allergy or sensitivity to it. All of which is true by the way.  And products from soda water to maple syrup labeling themselves as gluten-free. So again, not that I think any of this is bad on it’s own; we’ve created a movement, an awareness of the importance of eating healthy, whole foods and of how key nutrition is to your overall health. But it’s also created a mindset that everyone is going gluten-free because it’s the latest and greatest diet fad. Try it, you’ll lose weight and feel great… which is probably true, but not helpful to those of us who truly suffer from an immune repose when we eat it.

Several years ago, I would talk to a restaurant employee who would take it very seriously, never asking whether it was a personal choice or an allergy. They would usually send the manager over to the table, who would discuss my options with me and educate me on how the kitchen handles food so I was aware of any potential cross-contamination issues. I could then make an educated decision based on what’s best for my health.

Fast forward to today, when ‘gluten-free’ is the rage, and restaurants are handing out gluten-free menus and the staff is often-times unaware of the severity behind the issue. In fact, recently while at a popular local chain here in Austin, I was told they no longer offer a gluten-free menu because they realized that using the same fryer for breaded items, and claiming to be gluten-free, wasn’t OK. If you think about it, some of the breading from the foods fried stays in the fryer, and attaches to the non breaded foods being fried next. So even though the foods they were calling gluten-free weren’t breaded, they were still mingling with plenty of residual breading left behind. Dangerous for those of us who need to only ingest a small amount of gluten to have an allergic reaction.

And by the way, did you know that US law allows for something to be labeled gluten-free if it contains less than 20 parts per million (PPM)? That means there may be slight amounts of gluten in the foods you’re eating, and assuming are OK. I was recently talking to someone who was complaining that she went gluten-free, but she’s still having migraines, fatigue, body aches and brain fog and couldn’t figure out why. When I explained that the replacement foods she’s eating are allowed to have trace amounts of gluten in them she was angry. Can’t say that I blame her.

To be clear, I’m grateful for the USDA’s movement to properly address a very serious health condition, and try to help us avoid foods that we’re allergic to, but I do wish they would realize that even the smallest amount of gluten, for some of us, can cause an allergic reaction. There are so many factors at play here, that I typically recommend someone just starting to eliminate gluten avoid replacement foods all together, so they can allow their body to truly heal. Once healed, they may be better able to handle the little bits of gluten from cross contamination or reduced PPM here and there.

I know there’s some confusion on what gluten actually does to the body, and why it seems like this is such a big thing now. I’ve heard it called a “rich person’s disease” and honesty, I get it. It does seem like its everywhere these days.

There’s a lot of talk online about why the rates of allergies have risen so dramatically since we started manipulating our food supply, and why we can’t handle eating foods we’ve eaten for generations. If you want to learn more, simply follow Robin O’brien for what I deem the most non-biased, grass-roots effort to help stop the contamination of our foods and require labelling of GMOs. She helps us understand why we’re suddenly seeing so many more cases of gluten sensitivities and Celiac disease. And by following her I’ve been able to piece together a few key points in my life.

The first is that I was always sick. I never really felt good, and my mom was taking me to doctors as young as 8 to help figure out what was wrong. I had chronic migraines, fatigue, social anxiety, weight fluctuations and more. I also had terrible gastric issues, which they labelled as IBS when I was 10. I now understand issues that my grandmother and great-grandmother had as well. They’re Italian, and so I grew up eating pasta and bread. With every meal. No wonder I was sick all the time. As I grew up, I realized that my friends and family were directly affected by my poor health and weakened immune system. I struggled through my teens and twenties with relationships that were affected by my fatigue and mood swings. And it’s nearly impossible to imagine explaining to a date why you have to spend 20 minutes in the bathroom after you eat. I went on a lot of first dates that were never followed by a second one. Not like I didn’t understand why, but it was definitely frustrating.

Last year I wrote about Jennifer Esposito being fired from CBS’ Blue Bloods. She collapsed due to health complications from Celiac Disease, and was fired. For those of us who have it, we get it. It’s not a fad, it’s not a trend – it’s a serious, life threatening condition that can lead to some pretty heavy things that we’d rather not think about.

Last year, Rachael Ray who is clearly someone who doesn’t worry much about the healthy aspects of her meals, promoted a recipe in her magazine as being gluten-free. Not only was it potentially not gluten-free (she used corn flakes in the recipe, the largest reseller of which is Kellogs, and their main ingredient is malt-flavoring — not gluten-free), but she used this line to address why she was prepping some gluten-free recipes…

raechel-ray-gluten

When did we all get so picky, she asks? As if having a gluten allergy is something we choose.

So while it’s great to have so much awareness tied into gluten allergies, we have to be even more diligent with our health thanks to the belief that it’s the latest craze. And while I love that some people are using their public voice to raise awareness to our cause, I cringe when I see it being presented as an opportunity to simply replace all your former gluten-full goodies with gluten-free ones.

Here’s one of the bigger culprits of that – Elizabeth Hasselback on the View, sharing her experience with going gluten-free after a Celiac diagnosis. Watch her broadly sweeping her arm across a table filled with some of the many gluten-free products that are on the market. She smiles and chirps her way through the segment declaring how these gluten-free products have made going gluten-free a tasty breeze.

 

I’m thrilled that Elizabeth Hasselback might be able to indulge in gluten-free cookies, pretzels, cakes and more without a reaction. But myself, and plenty of gluten-sensitive folks that I know,  aren’t so lucky.

And here’s why.

Cross reactive foods – that’s when your body can’t tell the difference between gluten and the most commonly used items in gluten-free foods such as tapioca, quinoa, millet, sorghum, potato and more. We eat them – we react just as if we ate gluten.

Cross Contamination – since many of these products labeled gluten-free are processed on equipment that processes wheat, the chances of cross-contamination are high, making it potentially just as bad for you to eat if you’re allergic/sensitive as an actual gluten-full food.

And let’s not forget that many of the gluten-free products out there are filled with sugar, and are truly no better for us than their gluten-full processed counterparts.

USDA Labelling laws: by law, a product is allowed to have trace amount s of gluten in it, and still be labelled as gluten-free. 20 parts per million, to be exact.

Beauty products – these guys are often times unsafe, having wheat and/or a by-product of gluten in their ingredients. Remember that most of what you put on your body, goes into your body, so the safest bet is to focus on products that are labelled gluten-free. Remember, double check the ingredients as well and watch for the most common hidden ingredients list. 

So the lesson here is buyer beware. Be cautious of a gluten-free label. Get to know your local restaurants. Check with the local Gluten Intolerance Group in your area and find out which restaurants are certified as gluten-free safe. You can also see a list here, though I haven’t updated in a while so it may be missing some of their latest updates.

Be mindful, be careful and be your own advocate. Don’t assume that just because something is labeled gluten-free, that it is. Eat clean, prep your own food as much as possible and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Only then can you truly protect your health.

Be well!

Jen

 

gluten-free whoopie pie

The other morning I caught a glimpse of a whoopie pie on a cooking segment on The Today Show that made this gluten-free girl jealous. There aren’t many deserts that I miss since the cravings went away years ago, but when I saw this delicious double layer chocolate cake with a cream cheese frosting smooshed in the middle, I had to admit. I wanted some.

gluten-free whoopie pie

Then they said that you can make these vegan or gluten-free too. Seriously? Could it be this decadence from my past could be enjoyed today?  Given the creativity of chefs today who accommodate food allergies I was pretty sure it could be done. The only concern I had was how dense they may be, since gluten-free flours tend to end up pretty dense. At least, they do when we bake them :)

Gesine Bullock-Prado is pastry chef and author of “Let Them Eat Cake,” says yes. In the quick today Show segment, she made it through a couple of her favorite chocolate dessert recipes — including cookies, whoopie pies and chocolate zucchini bread — with instructions on how to modify each recipe to make it vegan, gluten-free or just all around healthier.

She offers recipe variations for gluten-free or vegan versions for the Whoopies, Chocolate Zucchini Bread and her “Big Winooski”, and dense chocolate cookie  that I’m pretty sure our son will love.

gluten-free chocolate zucchini breadHead over to the Today Show to check out her recipes and the vegan and gluten-free variations to try.

I think I’ll be starting with the Whoopies!

Enjoy,

Jen

 

Paleo BBQ chicken meatballs

If you’re following the Paleo diet, you know how important prepping your meals ahead of time is. Otherwise you find yourself coming home from work,  starving, and grabbing whatever you can find to eat instead of taking the time to make a healthy meal. That basically means we spend our Sunday afternoons prepping meals for the week, especially ones that can reheat well and still be as good as they were when first made.

Like these guys.

I love meatballs. I can eat them on top of zucchini noodles, spaghetti squash or all by themselves. I like to make this BBQ version to change up the typical Italian meat sauce flavor and throw in a little Texas kick to our meals. You can use pork or beef as well, but chicken makes a great option and the flavors work so well together that we usually just stick with chicken. If you change it up at all, be sure to share so we can try your version too – Paleo love!

Paleo/Gluten-free Meatballs
1 lb Organic, ground chicken 
2-3 TBS flax meal (or coconut flour)
1 large free-range egg

Fresh garlic and basil make great additions, or you can season with Italian seasonings, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.  Season to your liking – I use around a dash to 1/2 tsp for each spice.

Instructions:

  • Preheat cast iron skillet to medium-high heat, and grease with coconut, avocado or MCT oil (best for high heat cooking)
  • Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.
  • Roll into golf ball size meatballs.
  • Drop meatballs carefully into the pan and allow to brown on each side for a few minutes.
  • Roll meatballs with wooden spoon so all sides are evenly cooked, or of approximately 15 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to low, and add BBQ sauce to the pan.
  • Simmer at low heat for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with extra sauce for dipping.
  • Enjoy!

 

 

Paleo BBQ chicken meatballs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s one of our favorite recipes for BBQ sauce…

Paleo BBQ Sauce

1 Tbsp Coconut oil
3 cloves mince garlic
1/2 medium-large sweet onion, minced
1 Tsp organic spicy/dijon mustard
1 Tsp smoked paprika
1 Tsp chipotle seasoning (optional)
1 Tsp cumin
1 1/4 Cup chicken broth(can also use veggie broth or plain water)
Juice of 1.5 limes

1.5 TBS Braggs or Coconut Aminos
6 oz can of ‘no salt added’ tomato paste

Instructions:

  • Heat coconut oil in a pan.
  • Add garlic and onions and saute till translucent/soft.
  • Add mustard, paprika, chipotle, cumin and continue to cook.
  • Add remaining ingredients and whisk till smooth.
  • Bring to a light boil, reduce to simmer and partially cover with lid.
  • Simmer 45 minutes and let cool.

Paleo BBQ chicken meatballs

Almond Flour Tortillas

I love tortillas. I use them in place of bread, as a treat topped with almond butter and apples or bananas, or toasted with some ghee and garlic to make a pretty great garlic bread alternative.

Paleo living means you get a little creative now and then :)

And since I’ve tasted so many kinds, I can save you some time and tell you these are by far my absolute favorite. Our son loves them and we’ve been known to top them with nut butter and fruit and roll into a crepe, or toast them and use them as a base for a Paleo pizza. So many options folks – trust me on this one!

 

Almond Flour Tortillas

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Almond Flour Tortillas (Gluten-free, Paleo)

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp olive or coconut oil
  • 1 tsp Guar Gum
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Note – you can also add a teaspoon of honey to help hold the dough together

 

Directions:

  1. Mix all ingredients in a large glass bowl.
  2. Place a strip of all natural wax paper on your counter.
  3. Divide dough and roll it into a ball with your hands (ball should fit into the center of your palm).
  4. Place the piece of dough in the center of the wax paper and place another strip of wax paper over the dough ball.
  5. Use a rolling pin to roll out the dough until it is as thin as you can get it without it falling apart.
  6. Oil a cast iron skillet with coconut oil and heat skillet to Medium heat (be sure to give the pan plenty of time to heat before adding your first tortilla – can take up to 10 minutes depending on your stove and skillet)
  7. Place tortilla onto pan and let it cook for 1-2 minutes, or until golden brown (the edges will brown and the middle will start to bubble).
  8. Flip and cook on the other side for another minute or less.
  9. Add more coconut oil as the skillet becomes dry and lower the temperature to medium-low to prevent burning if needed.
  10. Stack tortillas on a plate, allowing to cool

 

Tortillas will store in the freezer once cooled or can be kept them in the fridge in a glass container for a few days. To reheat, simply warm a cast iron skillet on low to medium heat and place on skillet for 30 seconds per side.

Note: (makes 8 small tortillas)

 

Enjoy :)

nadamoo_mint_coconut_milk_ice_cream

Austin’s very own NadaMoo! is in the race for VegNews Magazine’s Veggie Awards in the Favorite Vegan Ice Cream Category, and since we’re big fans of theirs, I wanted to share the news.

If you haven’t tried Nadamoo! you need to, and if you have you know they’re creamy, not overly sweet and rooted in goodness. They start with luscious, creamy coconut milk, known for its healthy fats and natural sweetness, add agave nectar and tapioca syrup, naturally low on the glycemic index and finally add the last bit of magic, blending in the flavors and ingredients that make NadaMoo! one of a kind.

 

nadamoo_mint_coconut_milk_ice_cream

This one’s our favorite!

Lotta Mint Chip

Classically craveable. Cool, refreshing organic mint is the perfect complement to packed-to-the-brim chocolate chips.

Ingredients: organic coconut milk, fair trade certified organic agave syrup, organic tapioca syrup solids, organic inulin, fair trade certified organic chocolate chips (organic cane sugar, organic cocoa liquor, organic cocoa butter, organic vanilla) organic mint extract, organic guar gum, organic spirulina powder (for color) sea salt, organic locust bean gum. CONTAINS TREE NUTS (COCONUT).

 

They would love your support in voting, as well as helping spread the news. NadaMoo! is the only locally-owned brand in the running, and we love to support our local companies whenever possible.

You can link to the survey and vote here – note that NadaMoo!’s under category 9 on the first page and you can get social with them too.

Twitter: twitter.com/NadaMoo

Instagram: Instagram.com/NadaMoo

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NadaMooCoconutMilkIceCream

 

Breyers Ice Cream, gluten-free

Sharing some exciting news that came across our desk today. If you love ice cream and were avoiding some of your old favorites from Breyers for fear they might contain gluten, you’ll love this. Check out the press release below for the ‘scoop’ – ha, couldn’t resist :) 

Click here to go straight to the list of Breyers Gluten-free flavors, and check out their lactose free chocolate and vanilla flavors too. Yum! 

breyers lactose free ice cream

Breyers Ice Cream, gluten-free

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21 Meals With Tons Of Protein And No Meat

Ran across this article for 21 Meals With Tons Of Protein And No Meat on buzz feed and had to share! I’m always looking for ways to add more protein to my diet without eating meat, and some of these look amazing. With at least 18 grams per serving, these meals give vegetarians, and those of us who just prefer not to eat too much meat, plenty of protein options!

Check out this one: Black Bean, Arugula, and Poached Egg Stuffed Sweet Potatoes – really?? I know what i’m having tomorrow for breakfast :)

Black Bean, Arugula, and Poached Egg Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Buzzfeed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Click the image below to head over to Buzzfeed and plan your next fave meat-free meal….

 

21 Meals With Tons Of Protein And No Meat

Buzzfeed

cauliflower pizza crust

Yes, it’s possible to be gluten-free and paleo and still love your pizza!

Last year I ran across a cauliflower pizza recipe which we tried while my mom in law was in town, and it was a BIG hit! We all loved it, though my only complaint was that it wasn’t sturdy enough to pick up and eat since I chose to leave out the cheese from the crust. But we all dug in with forks and knives, and while it wasn’t the same as the slices of heaven I used to love in NY, it was still a tasty version of pizza. Yay for options!

So here’s the original recipe; you can choose to eliminate the cheese from the crust as we did, but just be warned that it won’t be sturdy enough to pick up.

Note that I substituted goat cheese for mozzarella and instead of hawaiian style I added spinach and prosciutto. Delish!

Oh, and for those of you (like my husband) who don’t love cauliflower, no worries – the cauliflower flavor is undetectable :)

Enjoy!


cauliflower pizza crust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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zucchini burgers are gluten-free, paleo

Just ran across those guys thanks to Facebook, and I can’t wait to try them next week! One Lovely Life has created Chicken & Zucchini Poppers that are gluten-free, dairy-free, paleo and whole30 approved so just about anyone (other than my veg friends) can eat these too. Check out the recipe here and let me know if you get around to making them before I do!

I mean, come on… how good do these look??

zucchini burgers are gluten-free, paleo

Grate 2 tablespoons of zest from the lemons and squeeze out 1/4 cup of juice. Add the zest and juice to a food processor or blender along with the cilantro, parsley, mint, garlic, salt, red pepper flakes and olive oil. Pulse to blend the ingredients. If the sauce is too thick, add more oil and lemon juice. The sauce should be just thin enough to pour. Use immediately or store in a glass jar for up to one week.

For most of us, the senses of smell and taste are powerful in bringing back memories. Perhaps it’s a meal that reminds us of a favorite moment in life, a vacation you never wanted to leave, or a friend, former love or family member you haven’t seen in ages.  When I was in my 20’s living in New York city, I had a favorite Argentinian restaurant that I visited often. No matter what I ordered, I always asked for their chimichurri sauce on the side. And I wasn’t particular about what I used it on – roasted veggies, fish, grilled meats or salads. The food was amazing and their chimichurri sauce was a perfect blend of tang and spice that was too much for me to resist.

Chimichurri is a blend of olive oil and finely chopped parsley, oregano, onion and garlic, all seasoned with salt, cayenne and black pepper and is as common in Argentina as ketchup is in the US.  It’s naturally gluten-free and Paleo and I’m guessing will become a staple in your kitchen, as it is in ours.

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Eight Boston Gluten-free restaurants

This article from Eater highlights some of their fave Boston restaurants that are gluten-free friendly.

For those avoiding gluten but still craving things that are traditionally made with it, here’s a round-up of eight restaurants that offer gluten-free items that will satisfy that hunger, including pasta, pizza, and dessert.” Remember though – depending on how sensitive you are, be careful in a traditional bakery as there will be a high risk of cross contamination. While I can’t risk it with Celiac, my gluten-sensitive son seems to do just fine with cross contamination. Please comment below if you’ve visited any of these forward thinking restaurants! 

 

Eight Boston Gluten-free restaurants

Eater.com’s Eight Boston Gluten-free restaurants