Quick Dinners: Kale and Garlic Saute

Sometimes I’m just too lazy to cook. I’m up early in the morning, work a long day, do a bit of cleaning, catch up with the never-ending task of laundry/folding/dusting/wiping walls/ironing, tend to my little garden… and by the time I know it, it’s late in the day and I’m tired. And cooking? Heck. No.

Sound familiar? I have a feeling I’m not the only one who’s like this. Sometimes life just gets in the way of making a healthy meal. In my old days, when I was the pasta queen (seriously – I had one shelf in my cupboard dedicated to pasta), I would open a box of Barilla and a jar of Classico. 20 minutes and a bit of fresh shaved parmesan later, voila! Dinner was served. Now that I know that food was what was killing me, it’s no longer an option. Eggs are a good go-to. But… I sometimes tire from having eggs too much in my diet – I eat a few (ahem. 3.) a day for breakfast.


Now, this recipe is by no means a beautiful thing. Nor is it mind-blowing. It’s simply my “what I eat when I don’t want to cook but I don’t have leftovers to eat” meal. And after a bit of prodding from my boyfriend to put this up on the blog, here it is. He said it’s creative, I told him it’s out of necessity – end of the pay period meals are always interesting in my house. (Dave Ramsey, you should be proud!)

Anyway, enough of that. Here’s what I do when I’d rather not be cooking or whatever.

Kale and Garlic Saute

  • 1 bunch kale, rinsed, spine removed, and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 heads garlic, minced
  • ½ lb mild Italian pork sausage (cooked) or 1 cup minced ham
  • 1 cup soaked, sprouted, and cooked organic brown rice (If you have a hard time with sprouted rice, use 1 cup cauliflower “rice”)
  • ½ tsp smoked paprika
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
  • 1 ½ tsp Trader Joe’s 21 Seasoning Salute
  • 2 tbsp lard or grass-fed butter
  1. In a medium-sized skillet over medium heat, melt the lard or butter.
  2. Add kale and garlic and cook until kale is wilted.
  3. Add cooked sausage or ham and rice and stir to incorporate.
  4. Mix in spices and cook until warmed through.

    For dinner: Serve with steamed veggies and some sauerkraut.
    For breakfast: Serve with eggs and some sauerkraut.

Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Frittata

I made this frittata for Mother’s Day and it was a hit – except for the 11 year old who doesn’t like stinky cheese and my sister’s 24 year old boyfriend… who also doesn’t like stinky cheese. Haters gonna hate.

The frittata is a spin-off of a great restaurant here in Portland that is renowned for their weekend brunches. In fact, it’s usually an hour wait minimum on the weekends. Ouch, right? But in all seriousness, we love our brunch in Portland. So much so that they made a Portlandia skit about us.

So yea. Apparently we’ll do just about anything to get to a good brunch place.

Okay, so this frittata. It’s so easy. As are most frittatas. The main specialty item you will need is a well-seasoned cast iron pan (which should be a staple in any kitchen anyway) or a skillet that can go in the oven.

Choosing a mild Gorgonzola is key. It’s a stinky cheese and can easily overpower other flavors. I talked to the cheese counter dude at the local cheese shop… okay. New Seasons. I talked to the guy at New Seasons. I’m not that fancy, even though there are some FANTASTIC cheese shops in the Portland area. But, cheese people – they know their cheese. Tell them you’re making a frittata and want something mild that won’t magnify in the oven. They’ll know exactly which cheese to set you up with. If they don’t, find a new cheese guy. 🙂 If you’re doing level 3 of the 21 Day Sugar Detox, omit the cheese and also omit if you’re dairy free.


Finally, make sure you don’t toss your excess butter – by the time you’re done caramelizing the onions, it will be infused with onion goodness. It’s what makes this dish fantastic – that and the bacon and cheese.

Here goes!

Caramelized Onion and Gorgonzola Frittata

  • 2 onions, cut in half and thinly sliced into “half moons”
  • ½ cup organic grass-fed salted butter
  • 1 dozen pasture-raised eggs, beaten
  • 4 strips bacon, minced and cooked
  • ½ cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled (or any mild bleu cheese)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (wait until onions are almost done, it could take a while).
  2. In an 8" (or wider if your skillet is shallow) cast iron skillet, and over medium-low heat, melt the ½ cup of butter. Add onions and saute until onions are caramelized (see link if you need a great how-to from The Kitchn).
  3. Remove onions and set aside, being careful to keep as much of the butter as you can in the pan. Swirl the butter around so it coats the bottom and all of the sides of the pan.
  4. While pan is hot, pour in beaten eggs. “Sprinkle” carmelized onions, bacon and crumbled Gorgonzola on top.
  5. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Place in the oven and bake for 8-10 minutes, or until a knife in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Set aside and allow the eggs to set. Cut like a pie and serve warm.

Eating Fat for Breakfast

I know I get a few weird looks from some of my roommates (that’s right – I see you ladies) as I’m cooking my eggs in lard every morning or when I’m dumping a tablespoon of Kerrygold butter into my coffee and blending it into a delicious smooth and creamy latte. The amount of fat I consume any given morning is enough to make my college nutrition professor cry… or rescind that A I got in her class and give me an F.

So, why do I do it? Fruity pebbles sound so much better, right? Okay, I just made myself gag.

Now, not all fat is created equal. In fact, when I use the term fat or saturated fat, I’m talking about healthy well-sourced fat. Like the stuff in this infogram below:

Okay, so now that that’s established, let’s break down why I do what I do:

  • Saturated Fat is a good source of energy. No, seriously. I know this goes against anything you’ve ever learned concerning nutrition but it’s true. Fat takes the longest time to break down in your system, giving you sustained energy throughout the day. In fact, fat provides twice the chemical energy per gram as compared to carbs and proteins.

    Think of it this way: if you eat Fruity Pebbles for breakfast, do you ever really eat the recommended daily value and feel full and have lasting energy? I mean, really? Probably not. If you’re like most people, you’ll have quite a few bowls and then half an hour later after feeling like you could run a few dozen times around the block, you have a mega sugar crash, right? Sugar breaks down immediately in our system and is used quickly as the conversion process to a usable sugar type is immediate.

    Fat on the other hand, takes lots of time and energy (I’ll touch on this one in a bit) to break down into a usable sugar that the body can metabolize. Thus, it leaves you feeling full longer and gives you more energy to seize your day.

  • It’s provides cellular protection. For all the crap that it gets, I’m always amused at the gaping holes (pun intended) in nutrition and science. Human cells need fat in order to survive. We have this thing called the lipid bi-layer, also known as a plasma membrane, that acts as the first line of defense for our cells. In other words, the plasma membrane is our cell walls (we’re not plants so technically we don’t have cell walls but you get my point).

    So the old adage “you are what you eat” rings true with this one. If you consume poor quality fats, what are you giving your cells to work with? (hint: the answer is poor quality cells) They simply don’t have the materials they need to keep a strong defense up, allowing themselves to become susceptible to mega-molecules which disrupt cellular function, disease, infection, mutation, poor cellular replication, death, etc.

  • It’s brain food. Your brain is made up of saturated fat and cholesterol. A lack of regular replenishment leads to poor brain function which leads to poor regulatory function all over the body. Brains – they’re kind of important and we really don’t want ours to be this one: 

  • Vitamins, anyone? Proper fats help facilitate the absorption of vitamins A, D, E and K.
  • No insulin spike to digest. I love this reason. In modern times, we’re so used to starting off our day with a massive insulin spike. Going back to my Fruity Pebbles example, starting your day off with a high-carb/sugary meal sets you off on a massive roller coaster. We’ve all experienced days of highs and lows. And they’re not fun you so know EXACTLY what I’m talking about. Eating a healthy dose of fat for breakfast keeps us on an even playing field until we’re ready to eat again. And, it will be a while – it’s noon and I’m still feeling as content as I was when I ate at 7:30 this morning.

So what’s my take home? Starting your day off with a good portion of healthy fat is not just nice (let’s face it – fat tastes good) but it’s necessary for long-term health.

I can’t leave you with all that and no information to change anything. Here’s some ideas for ways to incorporate fat into your breakfast:

  • Bulletproof Coffee
  • Half an avocado with pink salt (Note: I’ll eat a whole avocado before going to CrossFit so I have a bit of an energy boost while I’m killing it)
  • Pasture-raised corn/soy-free organic eggs… cooked in lard.
  • Pasture-raised corn/soy/hormone-free organic bacon.
  • Fatty meats – like chicken thighs… cooked in lard.

And pulling it all together, this morning I had bulletproof coffee, half an avocado, two eggs fried in lard and three slices of bacon with a healthy side of my homemade sauerkraut. This pic isn’t the best but here’s what the plate looked like.

Cheers to your health! And to enough energy and mental clarity to more than get you through your day!

South of the Border Zucchini Pancakes

These guys. So tasty. I had plain zucchini pancakes recently and wanted to give them a little flavor kick. (I’m obsessed with savory for breakfast, what can I say?) So these babies were born. I originally served them with fresh pico de gallo, sliced avocados with pink salt and hot sauce. Always gotta have the hot sauce. After I’m done with my 21 day sugar detox, I’ll serve them with a bit of crème fraîche (French fermented cream that tastes a lot like American sour cream – you can buy it relatively cheaply at Trader Joe’s) or some whole milk cojita cheese. Latin American Sauerkraut would also taste fantastic with these. Enjoy!


A little note: conventional zucchini is a GMO crop (when at the grocery store, conventional crops start with a 4xxx, organic a 9xxx). Make sure you buy organic zucchini or buy conventional ONLY at Trader Joe’s as they do not carry any GMO products in their produce department. Their open statement on their commitment to non-GMO is only another reason why I love T.J.’s with all my beating heart.

South of the Border Zucchini Pancakes

  • 4 organic zucchini, shredded
  • 4 organic soy-free eggs, beaten
  • ¼ pound bacon, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup coconut flour
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  1. In a medium frying pan, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring often to prevent burning. Reserve the fat in the pan.
  2. While bacon is cooking and using a cheese grater, shred the zucchini. Add all of the other ingredients and stir until well incorporated. Once the bacon is done, add to the mixture.
  3. Over medium heat, and using the bacon grease in the pan, ladle about a 1/3 cup (pancakes should be about 3" wide) of the mixture. Cook each side until lightly browned, only flipping once.
  4. Serve immediately.

    Note: nightshades are not allowed for some on an anti-inflammation diet. If you do not tolerate cumin, red chili powder or cayenne pepper, simply omit.

Sauteed Cabbage

My best friend flew in late last night and I needed something quick to feed her for breakfast before she hopped her train north. I’ve also been on a cabbage kick – it’s a winter veggie and it’s best to eat veggies that are in season locally. They have the nutrients that your body needs to help you cope with whatever season you’re in. Sauteed cabbage is sweet and delicious and filling – especially when coupled with a protein. This morning, the protein came by way of salmon. Always a win in my book!


I tend to cook my cabbage in some way before I eat it and never ever eat it raw. For those who have thyroid health problems, namely hypothyroidism, it is best to avoid raw cabbage as it brings thyroid hormone levels down even more. I like avoid that and still get the vitamins A, C and K, phytonutrients (which act as antioxidants) and lots fiber, folate, calcium and potassium my body needs. Basically, cabbage is a powerhouse and one that I would rather not miss out on!

Sauteed Cabbage

  • 1 head green cabbage, shredded
  • ½ medium onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp bacon fat
  • pink salt and pepper to taste
  • a splash (about 1 tsp) raw apple cider vinegar
  1. In a medium skillet over medium heat, melt the bacon fat and add onion.
  2. Saute until onions are almost translucent and add cabbage.
  3. Add salt and pepper and vinegar and saute for about 10 minutes, stirring often.

Fermented Red Potatoes… Pt 2

A few days ago, I posted this bad boy. And a few of you messaged me to find out what I was talking about with the white stuff at the bottom. So, I took a picture of it the other day and here it is.


Mmmm… Sludge.

This stuff at the bottom is the starch and toxins that have been pulled out of the potatoes. Pretty gross, huh? There was even more when I dumped the potatoes into the colander to be rinsed out, but you get the drift.

In case some of you were wondering what I do with the potatoes once I’m done fermenting them: For this last batch, I roasted those puppies with olive oil, fresh rosemary and Pink Himalayan salt with truffles (from Trader Joe’s). 30 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. They were fantastic! (And once again, my roommates were lamenting that the house smelled like a restaurant. Sorry, ladies.)

Oven Bacon

Bacon. Is there anything more superb in the whole meat kingdom? (If any of you say “Yes,” we’re no longer friends… kidding. But seriously.) Anyway, my love of bacon is nothing new – my roommates know when I’m cooking it because the whole house smells like heaven. I’ve also been known to sport the bacon socks on a run or when I’m working out. And my friends in general hear me praise the meat almost non-stop.


However, I hate cooking bacon in the morning when I’m in a rush and have slept in. There are usually 15 other things I need to be doing on those days in order to get out the door and get to work on time.

To solve this little problem, I started baking my bacon. It’s fast, easy, and has minimal clean-up. Also, it’s easier to capture the fat to add to my mason jar that I keep in the fridge. By the way, I use the fat to cook everything – eggs, chicken, saute onion, pan fry broccolini, broccoli, bell peppers, cauliflower… the list goes on and I’m too lazy to write it all out.

Back to bacon, it’s important to select a good quality meat. A lot of the bacon you buy in packages at the store is crap. Absolute and total crap. Bacon is supposed to have a long cure time. The way many commercial producers make it forces a brining period of a few hours due to a massive use of chemicals. Mmm… chemicals. Tasty. Also, look out for the sweetener – a lot of bacon uses high fructose corn syrup to sweeten it. When you read those words, think “Chemical shit storm.” There’s really no other way to say it.

I generally buy my bacon from New Seasons here in the Portland area. They use a traditional brining process and a honey cure. It’s not pasture-raised meat (and I do buy pasture-raised when I can), but it’s the next best thing. They also sell their bits and pieces for a pretty steep discount – if you don’t mind cutting up chunks of bacon into thinner pieces, it’s definitely the way to go. Search out a vendor in your area that sells good bacon. You might end up paying a little bit more for it but sometimes you have to dish out money to get a better quality product. If you find that your vendor sells bits and pieces, buy those. Unless you’re cooking for guests or it’s a holiday, chances are you and your family aren’t going to care if your bacon is completely picturesque. They’re just going to want to eat it ASAP. Or, visit US Wellness Meats. (I don’t get paid by them… I just really like their products.) Best of luck!

Oven Bacon

  • Line a jellyroll pan (one that has the short sides) with aluminum foil or parchment paper.
  • Lay bacon onto the pan and place in a cold oven.
  • Turn the oven on to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 15-20 minutes, depending on the degree of crispy you like. Monitor closely toward the end.
  • Remove from oven and promptly remove bacon from the hot fat to stop the cooking process.
  • Allow the fat to cool a bit and then drain into a jar for later use or, let fat harden on the paper/foil and toss. Wash pan (which should be relatively clean) and you’re done!

And yes. Seriously. It’s that easy. Here’s some before and after pics from this morning. My pan was still clean when I was done – yey for no dishes! (Sorry for the pics, I slept in, was a in a rush and my trusty 4S came to my rescue.)


Grapefruit Torte

Fresh citrus in the winter is one of my favorite things. It’s dreary here in NW Oregon and the cloud cover and constant drizzle (this year it’s just cold, not a lot of drizzle), really puts a damper on the mood. It’s no wonder people around here take Vitamin D supplements, fake-and-bake and become snowbirds to beat the winter blues. I’m a fan of Vitamin D and take a large dose of it a day. I’m also a fan of eating happy fruit. I don’t know why, but I consider citrus happy fruit. This breakfast dessert is fantastic. And super easy to make. So easy, in fact, that most people will think you slaved over it when they eat it. When they make those comments, smile sweetly and say “Thank you” – this recipe will be our little secret. Unless you decide to share it with them.

For the crust, I use Danielle Walker’s, of Against All Grain, honey graham pie crust. It’s good. It’s easy. And it hasn’t failed me yet. If you don’t know who she is, check her out. Her story is fascinating and an inspiration to those of us with digestive health problems. I had the pleasure of meeting her a few months back – she’s so sweet and if I lived in San Fran, I’m sure she and I would be the best of friends. Or so I tell myself. She’d also have to share with me where she gets her shoes. They were so totally cute.


If you have never segmented and cleaned a grapefruit, here’s a short little video to help you out. It’s super easy. And looks fantastic. I squeeze the remaining fruit meat and drink it for a bit of fresh juice. 

And my sister being a super-nerd and getting excited for dessert:


Enough of my rambling, on to the recipe:

Grapefruit Torte

  • One honey graham pie crust
  • 1 package organic pasture-raised cream cheese, softened (8 oz)
  • 1/3 cup creme fraiche (it’s bacteria cultured – and is sold at Trader Joe’s for a reasonable price)
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • 1 tbsp grapefruit zest
  • 3 cups fresh grapefruit segments
  • Coarse sea salt
  1. Prepare the crust, per Danielle’s instructions on Against All Grain. If you don’t have a torte pan, use a spring form pan. Let the crust cool and leave in the pan.
  2. For the filling, combine the cream cheese, creme fraiche, honey, ginger and grapefruit zest and mix at medium speed with a mixer until smooth. 
  3. Spread mixture over crust.
  4. Line grapefruit segments on filling to cover.
  5. Sprinkle coarse sea salt over tart, slice and serve immediately.


Bulletproof Coffee

So. I have a confession to make. I like butter. Grass-fed Irish butter. It’s my favorite.

Okay, so that’s not much of a confession. However, I like butter….

… in my coffee.

Now, while I’m sure some of you are now gagging, and really, I gagged the first time someone introduced me to it. (Thanks, Mom.) I thought she was crazy and my exact words were probably, “Mom. You’re putting straight-up FAT in your coffee, not cream… but F-A-T.” If I didn’t say that, I definitely thought it. So… I tried it. And I’m hooked. However, I make mine a bit different. She just lets a glob of butter melt on top, I blend it. And she uses salted. I love you, Mom. But, ew ew ew. Sweet-cream unsalted for this chica.

So. Butter. Why do I use it? It’s pretty magical and I’m convinced that it was delivered to us by the gods. Or something like that. In reality, grass-fed butter is super super healthy for you. Here’s a short list.

Grass-fed/pasture-raised organic butter…

  • is an anti-microbial.
  • aids in activating the immune system in the gut.
  • actually helps you absorb the nutritional qualities of coffee.
  • aids in weight loss/management. True story.
  • contains short and medium chain fatty acids, which are ready-to-use and don’t have to be converted in the gut to other chain lengths. Thus, it provides quick-burning and sustaining energy.
  • is high in saturated fat. And that’s good for you. (Your brain is 60% saturated fat… it’s kind of important that it’s in your diet. And the whole saturated fat/disease thing is a lie. All massive, big fat, liar-liar pants on fire lies.)
  • is an anti-inflammatory.
  • has tons of Vitamin K2 (only found in grass-fed animal products) – which aids in DE-CLOGGING your arteries. (You might want to be sitting from this point on, your world is about to be rocked again.)
  • and, finally, it’s high in CLA, or Conjugated Linoleic Acid. It’s a naturally occurring trans-fatty acid. And no, contrary to what we’ve been told, not all trans-fats are horrible. This one is actually necessary, and isn’t made by some crazy lab scientists working with rancid seeds and toxic chemicals. This one just occurs. Naturally. And we need it for tumor suppression, heart health, and reduced belly fat/weight loss… which it could be argued then, that having grass-fed coffee in butter might counter-act the weight-gaining properties of coffee. Umm – if this is true, sign me up.

So, here’s what I do for my coffee in the am:

  1. I brew my cup of French press – you can use whatever method you like. I’m partial to my press. But, do make sure you’re buying good coffee. As in fair trade, organic. Chances are there are less toxins in the coffee. Living in Portlandia, I’m partial to Stumptown. It’s good. Real good.
  2. You can start with 2 tbsp organic grass-fed/pasture-raised non-salted butter (I use Kerrygold – it’s cheap at Trader Joe’s or they sell it in bulk at Costco) per cup of coffee until you are able to wean yourself down to 1 tbsp (the optimal amount). But, back to the instructions: Place 2 tbsp in a tall measuring cup and pour your cup of coffee in, making sure you have plenty of room on the side to blend… or get a mop ready. I warned you.
  3. With an immersion blender, blend until the butter has emulsified and is completely blended. If you want a little bit of sweetness, the slightest amount of raw and local honey can be added to the blender. But the goal is to get your energy from the fat, not the sweets. Pour into your mug of choice and enjoy.
  4. This should be your view right before you take a sip:


If it’s not, you’re doing it wrong. Enjoy!

Banana Nut Coconut Porridge

I might be the last person on this planet who wasn’t traumatized as a child with oatmeal. Trust me, my mother, like all mothers, valiantly tried. But I still love it. Now, when I say I love it, we’re not talking Quaker Oats oatmeal – that stuff… well, I’m pretty sure you can use it like superglue. We’re talking real, Irish oats (imported from Ireland, of course). There is nothing better – maybe it’s my Irish ancestry coming through. And until a few years ago, they were a staple in my life. Now… not so much, except for a “cheat” day. Or a day when I’m feeling like my system might not reject them.

So fast forward to today. And I got my early morning run in. (yey me!) It was dark. It was foggy. It was damp. It was really really cold. And when I got back, all I wanted was a stick to your ribs with warmth goodness that only oatmeal can give. I’m on the Whole30 challenge so my options were… well, cheat days aren’t allowed right now. Luckily, there’s this fabulousness that I make from time to time. The texture is similar and the flavor is amazing – as in, it tastes like Banana Nut Crunch. Minus the chemical crap storm. No joke. I hope you enjoy it! (Oh. And it’s vegan – for all of my vegan readers.)


A note: I make my own pecan flour from pecan pieces – I place them in a dedicated coffee grinder that is only used for nuts and blend until I’m happy with the texture. This morning, it was more of a pecan butter. Whoops.

Banana Nut Coconut Porridge

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened, unsulfured shredded coconut
  • ¼ cup pecan flour
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 banana, mashed
  • ½-¾ cup unsweeted coconut milk
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
  • dash of grated nutmeg
  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, mix all ingredients and let simmer until thick and creamy, stirring often.
  2. Let cool for a minute but serve hot.