Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I can beg until the cows come home... my body won't digest dairy. {coconut milk recipe + bonus: coconut flour recipe}

Whew! That's one doozy of a title! Anywho...

I didn't "go paleo" and then discover I had several rather sever food allergies / intolerances / sensitivities... I first went paleo because I was tired of typing "gluten free dairy free recipe for XXX". I knew that if I stuck to paleo recipes, I would be safe from my two biggest irritants.

Later on, as I discovered more and more about the philosophy and science behind the paleo lifestyle, I adhered to the plan more and more - and no longer just for the recipes!

But, still, I do love the food we get to eat while following this lifestyle! And while I was sad to say goodbye to my beloved cows milk... I was more than happy to say hello to coconut milk! I had never really bothered to use coconut milk before, thinking it was just for Asian curries. When I actually tasted it and started using it, I knew I had been missing out.

Not only is coconut milk a great source of healthy saturated fat, but it also provides many vitamins and minerals! Also, being naturally lactose free, it's perfect for peeps like me!

There are two things I don't like about coconut milk though: the price and the can.

The cheapest I've found coconut milk to be is just under 1€ per can. Now, some of you might be thinking to yourselves, "That's a great price!" Maybe it is. But I can sometimes drink up to a can a day, if I'm on an iced coffee kick - and 1€ a day adds up pretty quickly! {Not quite as quickly as my old Starbucks Coffees at $3.50+ per day, but still, faster than I'd like.}

As for the can... the ingredient list is clean for the brand I buy {coconut + water} but I'm more worried about the BPAs the can itself may be hiding. BPAs are not my strong point, but many studies have shown they may be the cause of many problems, including cancer. I'd rather avoid this little chemical if at all possible...

The coconut has soaked and it ready
to blend into delicious coconut milk!
But don't despair, for I have a simple solution for these two problems: homemade coconut milk.

It's simple. All you have to do is heat water and blend.

It's cost effective. I can get coconut flakes for around 10€ a kilo. I've never really measured it out completely, because I never use all the coconut flakes I buy for milk making, but I'll guess I can get at least 30 cans worth from a kilo. Plus, I get coconut flour in return. Less than a kilo, yes, but still, worth it.

It's delicious. And I can flavor it any way I like, should I choose to do so. I can also choose the fat content - I use less coconut to make it stretch even further, or more coconut if I want some really creamy goodness.

And yes, the fat does separate and float to the top, just like the canned stuff. I'm telling you, there is no good reason to not make your own coconut milk. {Just so you know, this is great for making quiche, pudding, pastry cream, shakes, pancakes, caul-o-meal or adding to your coffee!}

So, without further ado, here is the recipe - and, as a bonus, I'll also tell you what do to with the leftover pulp!

Homemade Coconut Milk (makes about 1 standard can)

Ingredients:
  • 1/2-1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes, depending on desired creaminess/fat content
  • 2 cups water
Method:
  1. Heat water until just boiling and allow to cool slightly (so there are no more bubbles).
  2. Measure out one cup of very hot water into a high-power blender, add the desired amount of coconut, then top it off with one cup of very hot water.
  3. Allow the coconut to soak for a couple minutes, or until it begins to sink to the bottom of the blender.
  4. Blend on high for about 3-4 minutes. Strain well. Store milk in fridge, covered, for up to 5 days.



Homemade Coconut Flour

Ingredients:
  • leftover coconut pulp (from milk making)
Method:
  1. Spread the coconut pulp out on a baking tray and bake at 150°C for 20 minutes, or 25 minutes if you'd like toasted coconut flour.
  2. Remove from oven and allow to cool, then grind in a coffee grinder or high power blender to create a fine coconut flour.
  3. Store in a cool, dry place.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Not that veggie again! {celery slaw}

I love picking up my weekly veggie basket, and I love being surprised each week by the different veggies and the new ways of preparing them.

But there's one veggie I dread seeing in that basket. Celery.

You see, the hubster doesn't care much for celery. And I like it, but only loaded with nut butter or something like chicken salad.

And let me tell you, only having those two options was getting pretty old.

I had tried it braised once. And I hated it. I could sneak a stalk or two into sauces, but that still left me with the rest of the bunch.

I decided to try dressing it up a bit.

I made a simple mayo-based dressing and sliced it all up.

It was delicious - and even hubster approved! He took the leftovers to work for his lunch the next day!

And now, instead of dreading my next bunch of celery, I'm actually kinda looking forward to it...


Celery Slaw

Ingredients:
  • 1 small bunch of celery, leaves removed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp homemade mayo
  • 3/4 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Wash and slice the celery.
  2. Mix together the mayo and vinegar, season with salt and pepper.
  3. Drizzle the dressing over the celery and toss to combine.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Dining Out, Paleo-Style {Liege, Belgium - Atahualpa}

As some of you know, the hubster and I recently celebrated 7 years of marriage {and therefore, 8 1/2 years as a lovey-dovey couple :p}. We're high school sweethearts, even though he's Belgian and I'm American. He was an exchange student in my high school, we met and fell madly-truly-deeply in love, I followed him overseas and the rest is history! {I've never truly understood that expression, but I think I used it correctly :p}

For the last couple of years, we have been apart on our anniversary for one reason or another {most of the times it was because I was on a week long field trip with my students}. This year though, we could finally spend it together! We were so excited and went restaurant hunting that evening...

Unfortunately, we hadn't really thought things through. You see, our anniversary was Monday, April 21st, and restaurants are typically closed Mondays here in Belgium. On top of that, it was Easter Monday. As you can guess, we didn't find anything special enough for our anniversary dinner. We ended up going home {and eating this}.

We vowed to make up for this deception though, and went out to eat Thursday at the Atahualpa. We like to try new foods whenever we can, so when we heard about this South American / Latino restaurant not too far from where we live, our choice was quickly made.


First off, the decor was amazing! I really felt like I was on vacation, and the Latino music playing in the background was a nice touch. There were fresh roses at every table, and the lights were dimmed so the lit candles could work their magic.

Second, the owner was just about the nicest and most caring person I have ever met working in a restaurant. His wife does the cooking and he works the floor. I explained my dietary needs to him and he was more than willing to change things up for me and even verified a couple times with his wife in the kitchen to make sure she didn't forget to make the changes.

Third, the food. Oh man. This stuff was out of this world! We really can't wait to go back there again, and we can't say for sure if we'll try new dishes or order the same things as last time - it was that good!

We started out the meal with a shared appetizer. Usually we don't order one, but since this was a special occasion, we decided to splurge a bit. We chose the Cebiche, which was described as being "fish marinated in lime and spices". I'd describe it as "nom nom nom!" It was served in a bed of lettuce {which I used as wraps to eat it} and with little dishes of "pesto". I don't know exactly what was in those little dishes {olive oil, peppers, cilantro, onions...} but it was divine! There was also a basket of warm bread, which the hubster ate a bit of. He said it was good bread, but he would have rather seen a more traditional bread, such as corn tortillas or the like.


For my main course, I chose the Moqueca de peixe, which was a Brazilian fish cooked in palm oil, topped with a delicious mix of coconut milk, onions and bell peppers. This dish is usually served with rice, but I asked for a salad instead. Also, the fish is usually floured, but the owner simply asked his wife to not flour it. The fish was fried to a crispy perfection, the sauce was heavenly and the veggies were fresh! If we had been at home, I would have licked the plate.

Sorry for the low-light photo - I try to be discrete when photographing my plates while eating out.

For his main course, he chose the Anticucho curico, which was the Argentinian beef marinated in rum and cilantro. He also had a side of seasoned rice and fresh veggies. I did taste his meat {even though I'm doing a Whole30 and it was marinated in rum - haters gonna hate but I don't really care :p}. That meat. Not only was it the most tender piece of beef I had ever chewed, but it was also the most flavorful! And every so often you would crunch down on a piece of fleur de sel... it was heavenly!


We had planned on ordering a dessert to share {I know, I know, Whole30, so shoot me :p}, but we were too full to take another bite! If we had ordered a dessert, it would have been the Banana Rum Flambé. But, that will be for another time.

So, to sum things up, if you're in the area and looking for a mini vacation and some seriously good food, the Atahualpa is the place to go. The prices are reasonable, the owners are amazingly caring and the cuisine will blow your mind!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Coffee Can't Havers, Rejoice! {for I bring you blended tea goodness}

Look at that mousse!
Alright, so I've been posting a lot of pictures of iced coffee lately... and that's because I've been drinking a lot of iced coffee lately. That apparently makes me a hipster, but being a hipster tastes so good that I don't even care.

Sadly though, a lot of my IG followers mentioned the fact that they can't stomach coffee for one reason or another. First, this made me sad for them, because, well, coffee. Coffee is just plain delicious. Then I was sad because I didn't have an alternative recipe to offer them. I mean, I'm trying to achieve food-blogger status here, and I don't even have an alternative to iced coffee.

So, I mixed up an iced coffee for myself, which made me happy again, and got busy brainstorming a tasty alternative for those who cannot have coffee.

Then today I received two packets of tea from a co-worker. {Yes, just two packets. We're always passing each other a pack or two of especially yummy tea as we taste a new one.}

It was described as a red fruit and herb infusion {so if you can't even have tea, you're still in luck!} and it was just the push I needed to put my alternative to test.

The results were delicious. I kinda feel as if I'm cheating on my Whole30 drinking something so yummy - and the pink color only adds to the impression!

If you're doing a Whole30 and really want to break free of the death grip desserts and snacks have over you, maybe you'll wanna wait to give this yummy drink a go.

If not, go for it. Now. You'll be glad you did.


Blended Iced Tea

Ingredients:
  • tea or infusion of choice
  • 1 cup of water
  • a handful of ice
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
Method:
  1. Boil 1 cup of water and brew your favorite tea or infusion. Once cooled, place in fridge at least until cooled, but overnight works too.
  2. Once cold, put tea, ice and milk in a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Drink and enjoy!

P.S. This method would work wonderfully with coffee as well, for a super yummy blended coffee treat! :p

Friday, April 25, 2014

Does this make me a hipster? {cold brew coffee}

I've been seeing Chameleon Cold Brew popping up all over my Instagram feed for a while now. And anyone who follows my blog or IG regularly knows that I'm a major coffee addict lover. {I already have two coffee recipes posted here and here for you, as well.}

Anywho, I figured that if everyone else loved this coffee so much, then it must be good, and, therefore, I wanted to taste it.

Then I thought to myself, "does this make me one of those so-called 'hipsters'?" I'd heard the term a few times before, but I wasn't quite sure what being a hipster entailed, so I decided to Google it and see what was up.

Definition:
hip·ster1
ˈhipstər/
noun
  informal
noun: hipster; plural noun: hipsters
  1. 1.
    a person who follows the latest trends and fashions.


Well, I guess if we follow that definition, I could, at times, be considered a hipster. I decided that it really didn't matter all that much though because coffee was at stake here!

I jumped online and headed to the Chameleon Cold Brew website... and, once again, had my hopes and dreams destroyed. Much like many other amazing products out there {Epic Bar, Pit Paste...} you had to live in America to find them in stores, or else pay exorbitant shipping prices to get them to where you were.

I didn't let this little bit of bad news bog me down for too long though. If I couldn't waltz into a store and buy a bottle of the cold stuff, I was just going to have to make some myself.

I researched looked at a couple recipes and decided on my technique: I was going to make a small batch of coffee concentrate in my French press {to help with the filtering process} using freshly ground coffee beans that had been roasted in a small shop just down the street from my apartment.


Don't push down the filter
if you use a French Press
like me - the coffee needs
time to soak in the water.
I also decided that I would figure out how to drink it later, as I am a Libra and can never make decisions. {I had plenty of time to decide as well because the coffee needs to sit for about 24 hours for maximum flavor.}

I gathered my tools and supplies and got to work.

The results was a rich, deep, delicious coffee concentrate, ready to be stored in the fridge and to be used as I see fit. This stuff is delicious as is {if you need a caffeine fix :p} or diluted about 50/50 with either water or your favorite milk.

And while the Chameleon Cold Brew site says you can also enjoy their concentrate hot, I personally find making a coffee concentrate at home to drink hot to be a lot more work than necessary. But, if you want to heat this baby up, by all means, feel free to do so.

But, if you're like me and simple want a tasty iced coffee, just fill a glass up with ice, add coffee concentrate to about halfway, then top off with milk, water or a combination of the two. Bam. Delicious in a glass.


Cold Brew Coffee Concentrate
save this

Ingredients:
  • 50-60 grams coffee grounds
  • 1 liter boiling water
Method:
  1. Pour boiling water over the coffee grounds, stirring well to make sure all the coffee gets mixed with the water.
  2. Cover and let sit for up to 24 hours.
  3. Strain well and store in fridge for up to two weeks.
  4. Use straight or diluted with milk and/or water.


And no, this doesn't mean I've given up fresh, hot coffee.

But, this does mean I can give up my expensive {and less-than-healthy-not-even-a-little-bit-paleo} Starbucks indulgences. This stuff is that good, especially with a bit of homemade coconut milk poured over the top! 

Not to mention, it's super quick to thrown together in the morning. No waiting for the Senseo machine to warm-up, then make my coffee... No grinding my own beans then waiting for them to brew in my French Press... Just open the freezer for some ice, pour over the coffee and milk, and go!

{Someone, please tell me why I didn't do this before?}

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Whole30 Check-In {I'm lovin' it}


When I saw the image above, I was on Day 3 of my Whole30... and yes, I was feeling a bit homicidal. I was even wondering why in the world I ever thought I could or should survive without sugar. I wondered if I was losing my mind. Annnnd, I might have snapped a time or two at the poor hubster...

Then I woke up on Day 4 and remembered why I didn't need sugar. I knew I wasn't crazy to think this way. And I was super nice to the hubster.

I'm halfway through my second Whole30 now, and I'm feeling great. The hubster is being really supportive {probably because he was getting sick of my mood swings, the poor man} and I think certain family members are starting to accept the fact that I just don't eat sugar.

This doesn't mean I'm free from pushy {well meaning} people in my life, but I'm finding it easier to stay firm and not give in to foods that will do me more harm than good just to please others.

I have learned a couple things about myself and my diet already, as well.

  • I was a slave to the scale. For this challenge, I put the bathroom scale away in the hubster's closet... and found my eyes still went to the empty space where it used to sit every time I went into the bathroom. For the first couple days, I went to weigh myself automatically first thing in the morning. Now, I greet myself in the mirror and find something positive about what I see. I've learned to love myself - not a number.
  • I was depressed. I didn't realize it, but now that I feel so inexplicably happy, I know that I wasn't really happy before. Apparently, sugar brings me down big time.
  • There are some fruits I can eat sensibly and others I can't. For example, I bought some strawberries and ate them little by little over the course of a few days. I felt no adverse effects from this. On the other hand, I once ate a small portion of raisins... then I "needed" a dried fig... then continued by eating four prunes... then I binged on several handfuls of nuts. The dried fruit triggered major carb cravings - not to mention the hanger and mood swings that followed...
  • Speaking of nuts, I love them, but they don't love me. I find it extremely easy to overeat when it comes to nuts, and the effects they have on my digestive system, even when I keep the portions small, tell me they need to be few and far between.

I've seen many, many other improvements and I've learned other things as well, but I'll try to do a complete run down at the end of my challenge. For now though, I'll just leave you with this: I'm on the right track.


Head on over to the Whole30 website and start your path to better health as well! You won't regret it!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Annnd... I still have hard boiled eggs... {sweet & savory devils}

As we all know, the hard boiled egg fun continues loooong after the egg hunt has finished. This doesn't bother me one bit though, as I get to experiment with new and exciting deviled egg flavor combos!

I already have a recipe for creamy Avocado Deviled Eggs, and a recipe for spicy Salsa Deviled Eggs, so I thought I would go a slightly sweeter route with these babies. Since I'm about halfway through my second Whole30 though, I couldn't actually go the sweet route.

I looked in my fridge to see what I had to work with, and my eyes fell upon a bit of leftover red bell pepper and a bowl of grated carrots.

Perfect.

I got to work, chopping and cooking, and was very pleased with the end result! It's definitely savory, what with the egg, black pepper and sea salt, but it also has a delicious sweet side to it that is a nice change of pace from traditional deviled egg recipes.

The recipe below is for one hard boiled egg, but due to the slightly labor-intensive side of this recipe, I would suggest scaling the amounts up and making a few batches at once. They should keep just fine in the fridge for a few days, or you could serve them as a yummy appetizer or even as part of a kid-friendly lunch.


Or, as always, feel free to chop the egg whites up with the filling and use it as a spread, in lettuce wraps, on endive boats... this stuff is serious noms!

Sweet & Savory Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:
  • 1 hard boiled egg, peeled and cut in half
  • 1/2 tbsp homemade ghee
  • 1 tbsp grated carrot
  • 1 tbsp finely diced red bell pepper
  • 1/4 tsp parsley
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tbsp homemade mayo
  • Sea salt and black pepper
Method:
  1. Saute the the carrot, bell pepper, parsley and paprika in the ghee until softened.
  2. Using an immersion blender, mix together the veggies, mayo and egg yolks until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon into the egg white halves and serve.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Happy Back to Work Tuesday! {Scotch Eggs - something else with deviled eggs}

It's Tuesday, the day after Easter Monday, which translates to my first day back at work after SEVENTEEN DAYS OFF. It doesn't feel like I just had a 17 day holiday, but seeing how grown up my students seemed to look today makes me think it's true.

But besides all that, we're still just a couple days after Easter... and you probably still have a shizz ton lots of hard boiled eggs left. Maybe you tried out my Avocado Deviled Eggs, or maybe even my Salsa Deviled Eggs... or maybe you're plain sick and tired of deviled eggs and want something entirely different.

{The latter was the hubster, by the way.}

If that's you, you're in luck. I just so happened to have fresh ground beef sitting in my fridge and the hubsters' upcoming trip to Scotland inspired me to give Scotch eggs a go. {Do they actually eat Scotch eggs in Scotland? Or is it like Belgians calling steak tartar "filet américain" even though the USDA would crack down big time on anyone caught eating raw ground beef? But I digress.}

I read a few recipes, but I really wasn't into any of them. Then I decided to use a few of my favorite paleo inspirations to create a recipe that was uniquely my own {or should I say ours?}.

First up, Russ {aka "moderncaveman_au" for the IGers out there} and his amazingly fail-proof recipe for burgers. I use his seasoning guide nearly every time I make burgers. Or meatballs. Or meatloaf. I've even seasoned chicken thighs using these spices. It really is a winning combo.

Second, Ben Hulet {aka #coffeewithben for the IGers}. All of his food pics inspire me {and I've shared more than one coffee with him}, but I think the most life changing picture was this one where I learned that the best meatballs have their #sidestouching. Mind. Blown.

Third and lastly, I had to put a little touch of myself into this recipe, so I added a bit of {nut}Meg. I believe that little spice is what sends these bad boys over the top.

The meat mixture ended up so deliciously flavorful, I couldn't stop eating it raw {does it make me a cannibal if I love filet américain?} and it cooked up beautifully. And yes, these are hubster approved as well. They're that good.

Below is the recipe for one egg, only because I had 700 g of ground beef and used 7 boiled eggs, but since 7 is such an odd number for a recipe, I preferred to give you the amount for just 1 and let you decide from there how many you'd like to make.

And if you don't have eggs, these would naturally make killer hamburgers or meatballs. 

As for when to serve these, I made them with the intention of the hubster using them as snacks and/or breakfast, but as this picture proves, they are also quite tasty for dinner and are even "fancy" enough for a wedding anniversary dinner when in a pinch {happy 7 years and 1 day to us!}.

Happy #eggScotchin' !


MC Ballin' Scotch Eggs

Ingredients:
  • 1 hard boiled egg, peeled
  • 100 g ground beef
  • 1/2 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • A glug of olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Method:
  1. Mix together the meat, spices and oil until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  2. Flatten out the meat as if you were making a thin hamburger and place the egg in the middle. Gently fold over the meat and cover the egg completely.
  3. Repeat as many times as necessary if making more than one egg.
  4. Place meatball(s) into an oven-safe baking dish (with the sides touching if you're making more than one) and bake 30 minutes at 200°C (400°F).
  5. Enjoy hot or cold.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Easter Monday! {salsa deviled eggs}


Today is Easter Monday, also known as "Renewal Monday". I find that name very fitting for at least one thing: hard boiled eggs!

If you're like me, you have an abundance of beautiful, naturally dyed Easter eggs in your fridge. Now, while they're almost too beautiful to eat, they are quite tasty... so let's "renew" them into deviled eggs! {Now that I think about it, it is pretty ironic to be eating Devil eggs the day after Easter... oh well!}

If you like, you can make plain old boring deviled eggs by mixing the yolks with a bit of my homemade paleo mayo, sea salt, and pepper to taste.

If you're feeling a bit more adventurous, you could give my Avocado Deviled Eggs a whirl.

Or, if you're looking for a real taste bud pleaser, you could try my Salsa Deviled Eggs.

These babies are fresh, creamy, zingy and pack just the right amount of heat for a punch of amazing salsa flavor, all neatly packaged in perty finger food form.

I'm giving you the basic recipe for one egg here, but feel free to double {or triple or...} the recipe to suit your needs. These can be stored in the fridge, covered, for about three days. But I doubt they'll last that long :p

Salsa Deviled Eggs

Ingredients:
  • 1 hard boiled egg, peeled and cut in half
  • 1 tbsp finely diced tomato
  • 1/2 tbsp finely diced shallot
  • 1/4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/8 - 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp homemade mayo
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • *optional: sliced green onion to decorate
 Method:
  1. Mix together the egg yolks, tomato, shallot, lemon, cayenne and mayo until smooth.
  2. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Spoon into the egg white halves and top with sliced green onion.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Dining Out, Paleo-Style {Liege, Belgium - La Frite}


The hubster loves burgers. And by love, I mean his life goal is to find the best burger ever. (He thinks he's found it at The Homeplate, Dixon, Missouri - if you're local, check out out! The owners are great and the food is even better!)

Because of this love for burgers, and the never-ending quest for the perfect burger, we have tried a lot of burger joints.


We tried a new one recently, even though the place has been open for quite awhile now. Formerly known as "Chez Maurice", La Frite had taken over and changed things up a bit, transforming the joint from average Belgian fry place serving questionable deep-fried sticks of "meat" into a cosier, home-style place affectionately called La Frite Aime Maurice à la Folie. We had eaten their fries and loved them, but we had never made the jump to burgers.

That was a big mistake. These burgers are good!

And not only are they good, but they are also good for you!

Note - The prices have gone up slightly since this photo {generally no more than 50 cents}
and a few items have been added to the assortment {such as more homemade sauces!}.
The meat {ground beef, bacon and chicken} comes from a local butcher shop, just down the road from the burger joint {Chez Colson for the locals reading this}. All the burgers and meatballs are 100% pure beef.

The veggies come from a local group called La Ferme-Fourchette, which means "The Farm-Fork", so, basically, the veggies go from the farm to our forks!

Now, on to the fries. If you tolerate white potatoes, these are a must-try! They are hand-cut and fried in beef tallow. Then, they are salted with your choice of salt - fleur de sel, black tea and lavender...

And the sauces. The burgers come with a "special sauce" that tastes just like I remember fry sauce back home tasting. There are many other homemade sauces as well, such as olive oil mayonnaise {my personal fave} and tartar sauce {the hubster's fave}.

The pickles were icky and sweet though, I didn't eat them.
The rest was fab - I love the homemade quality of it all!
There are many other items on the menu, but I have yet to taste them all :P

As for ordering, they didn't even bat an eye when I asked for a "classic, no bun" and even gave me a couple extra leaves of iceberg, though this may have been a coincidence {be sure to ask for extra lettuce if you're going the bunless route, just to be on the safe side}.

I happened to have an avocado in my purse {it seems I always have random items in my purse, check out my Instagram for other examples like this and this :p} so I supplemented my burger with some of that green goodness!

{We were sitting behind a wall, and therefore hidden from the owners, or the hubster never would have let me whip out my avocado box and start smearing that green goodness all over that patty! That man can be such a party pooper at times :p And yes, I do have a special box reserved for transporting and storing my avocados.}

Needless to say, we both loved it, and while it's not THE best burger ever, it's still pretty darn good and not too pricey, especially for the quality of the ingredients. If you're in Belgium, you need to hit this place up.

And if you're not in Belgium and can't make it to La Frite, don't hesitate to ask for your favorite burger at your local joint to be served bunless - I've found that most places are more than willing to oblige.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

I heart Idaho {fauxtato salad}

I'm very happy here in Belgium, and I don't care to leave any time soon.

But.

A piece of my heart is, and always will be, lost somewhere deep in the beautiful wilderness of Idaho.

And for some strange reason, every time I think of Idaho, I think of potatoes.

And thinking of potatoes usually makes me think of my Momma's potato salad.

All of this led me to a bowl of warm, freshly mixed together, fauxtato salad.

The recipe is simple, but the possibilities are endless. Feel free to mix up the seasonings to suit your tastes - or to mimic your own momma's delicious recipe!



Fauxtato Salad

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup homemade mayo
  • 1/2 tbsp yellow mustard
  • 1/2 tbsp parsley
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1 tbsp pickle juice
  • 1/4 cup pearl onions
  • 1/4 cup mini vinegar pickles
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 1/2 a head of cauliflower
Method:
  1. Chop the cauliflower into smallish pieces. Steam until fork tender and set aside to cool.
  2. Mix together the mayo, mustard, parsley, garlic and pickle juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  3. Chop the onions, pickles, and egg. Add this to the cauliflower pieces and drizzle with the sauce.
  4. Toss to combine ingredients and adjust seasoning as desired.
  5. Serve immediately. Keeps in fridge for up to 3 days.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Simple can still pack a punch {cucumber salad}

While visiting my folks this past summer, I introduced them to many of my favorite meals here in Belgium that we don't necessarily eat in America, or at least not in my family.

One of those was this simple tomato salad, and another was the recipe I'm about to share with you now.

I first made this in America to accompany a BBQ - and I believe that was when I first tried it here in Belgium as well.

This dish is better the longer to sits in the fridge, so this is the perfect side to make ahead of time, making it great for BBQ's and family dinners because it leaves you with more free time before the meal to spend with friends and family - there's no last minute work to do!

I personally prefer this salad served at room temperate, so I always take it out of the fridge about 30 minutes before serving, but it's also quite tasty cold, fresh from the refrigerator.

It will even keep well for a day or two in the fridge, so you can make it the night before or make up a few batches for that weeks' lunches. 

Feel free to scale the recipe up as needed - I usually only make enough for myself because cucumber is one of the few foods the hubster refuses to touch! I'm not going to complain though - that just means there's more for me!


Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste
Method:
  1. Slice the cucumber. 
  2. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar, tossing to combine.
  3. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Serve or store in fridge for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

No Poo Update {you missed the oil slick}

Well, actually...
I still like using baking soda as toothpaste!
I figure it's about time to bring you all up to speed with my no-shampoo-no-toothpaste habit...

I'm still using a simple baking-soda-and-water mixture to brush my teeth, and its still working marvelously. No bad breath, no yellowing going on, my teeth feel super smooth even just after eating... I'm loving it! (Plus, it's so much cheaper! I can get a decent-sized box of baking soda for about 1€50... and it lasts a very long time!)

My no-poo story is, well, a different story. Everything was going just fine. I was loving the volume, the shine, the softness... and the lack of product! I peacefully went to bed one evening... and woke up to the greasiest hair I had ever had!

I should have taken a picture, but snapshots were far from my mind at that point! All I wanted was to quickly take a shower and wash that oily mess away!

Now, you may be asking yourself, "How oily could your hair have been?"

Well, my friends, it was nasty oily. It was touch-my-hair-and-my-hands-came-away-shiny oily. It was helmet head oily. It was bad.

I searched the Internet for explanations, but apparently I'm the first one to have had this particular experience. (Oh, lucky me.) A great article written by Cave Girl Eats gave me a couple ideas (the water is very hard here), but nothing explained my oil explosion.

Needless to say, I'm back to shampoo. I'm currently using this one with this conditioner. It's by Avril Beauté, which I've spoke about before, and is a pretty good quality commercial shampoo. I wash my hair every Sunday, so I'm still able to go long periods between washings.

I'm not sure I want to try no-poo again. I would like to find a truly chemical-free shampoo though - or, better yet, make my own.

But don't let my experience discourage you! It works for many people, such as Cave Girl Eats and Primal Bliss. Give it a go - you may find it's your perfect hair solution!