Watermelon salad?? I know what you’re thinking, “hmm, that’s a little different.” Well it is, but in a totally fun and delicious way. Adding watermelon to a salad is so refreshing and summery. This watermelon salad with roasted almonds and fig balsamic dressing will be your new best friend, I promise! The fresh greens paired with the juicy watermelon slices, luscious figs, crunchy cucumber and toasted almonds is a match made in heaven!
I used raw almonds from my grandfather’s farm here in Northern California. They make this salad feel even more special. I love adding them to my recipes whenever I get a chance. If you have access to quality almonds, definitely use them in this salad. Using the freshest ingredients possible will make this salad really shine.
I also love the figs and fig balsamic dressing in this salad, figs are one of my favorite summer fruits along with watermelon. They remind me of my grandmother because they were her absolute favorite. As a kid I never understood why, I really hated them (shhh, don’t tell anyone)! As I grew older and my taste buds changed (for the better), I fell head over heels in love with them! I just found a fig tree in my neighborhood and foraged these beautiful ones right off the tree. I absolutely love all the fresh produce in the summertime!
One thing I love about watermelon is that it’s about 90% water, so it’s great for keeping hydrated in the summer heat. I’m not sure about where you live, but summers here in the Sacramento valley are HOT, HOT, HOT. Watermelon anything in 100 degree weather always makes me a happy camper!
This salad is whole30 friendly and pairs beautifully with any meal. Not to mention, it’s super easy to make but looks like something you would see served at a fancy restaurant. Go ahead, impress all your friends and family, just don’t tell them how simple this salad really is to whip up! And don’t forget to pin it for later so it’s easy to find! Happy summer!
Remember how I teased you a few posts back about a fun bloggers trip I went on? Well, first I wanted to apologize for teasing you, that wasn’t nice 😉 But I know I can make that up to you with this post because now I can share all of the “juicy” details!! Last month California Strawberries invited me and a few other bloggers on a retreat to learn all about your favorite berry! It was an incredible experience, to say the least!
When I think of strawberries, I can’t help but be transported to summer and my childhood. We grew strawberries in our backyard, along with plums, peaches, nectarines, tangerines & lemons, but the strawberries were always my favorite. It seems as though summer wasn’t official until that first sweet bite. Strawberry juice drizzling down my chin, that’s when summer began for me! Being a native Californian I didn’t realize how good I had it until I packed up for college out of state and missed a few summers at home. Little did I realize back then just how important my beautiful state was in producing this luscious little berry!
The strawberry retreat started out in the heart of Cannery Row. We checked into the gorgeous Intercontinental The Clement in Monterey California for our stay. The ocean view from the rooms is stunning, and is a great reminder of why strawberries thrive in this area. The ocean helps create perfect moderate temperatures for these beautiful berries year round!
Shortly after checking in we were whisked away to Montrio for dinner. The talented Chef Tony Baker created so many heavenly dishes inspired by strawberries. Tony & his team work closely with local farmers, ranchers and fishermen making it possible for those who dine at Montrio to be able to enjoy only the freshest most sustainable ingredients. You can definitely tell that the food is farm to fork because it tastes so fresh & flavorful!
This strawberry panna cotta with scallop ceviche was a favorite appetizer of mine! The flavor combination was unreal! Have mercy! I had no idea how delicious these pairings would be together!
Here’s me and Kristen of Living Loving Paleo in true paparazzi style, trying to capture this delicious ceviche.
One of my favorite dishes of the evening was this dreamy crispy pork belly with balsamic compressed strawberries, poison oak honey and feta. Truly delicious! Look at that glistening pork belly! I mean, COME ON?! I dipped those luscious strawberries into that honey shortly followed up by a mouthful of that pork belly, flavor explosion!
The next day we had a delicious breakfast together where we learned some pretty amazing things about strawberries from the California Strawberry Commission. Like that fact that 90% of the Nations strawberries are grown in California, MIND BLOWN! Also, did you know that there is no such thing as a commercially grown GMO strawberry? Pretty awesome! Strawberry farmers are also very progressive and really care about our environment, they are leaders in research on ways to conserve water, protect soil and reduce fertilizer & pesticide use. More than any other commodity group in the world, they continue to invest millions of dollars in non-chemical farming methods, go strawberries!
After breakfast and a little strawberry 101 we headed out for an unforgettable tour around one of their strawberry farms. As you can see in the picture below, we got up close and personal on the farm. I have dirt on my knees from picking handfuls of berries right off the plants & photographing the beauty from the ground up! It was also so fun to have Michelle from The Whole Smith’s & Kristen from Living Loving Paleo on the trip, as well as many new blogger friends!
The tour took place at one their inspiring grower’s farm, Jesus Alvarado. Jesus’s story is one that will stick with you and warm your heart. He has worked with strawberries in some form since the age of 8, starting out in Mexico. Eventually he left his family to come to the U.S. were he worked for many years as a picker. He learned English along the way, and is now the owner of an 80 acre strawberry farm, Fresalva Berry in Salinas California. Jesus is an incredibly determined and successful man, yet very humble with a smile & laugh you won’t soon forget! Plus he still has mad picking skills, check him out in the video below. If someone thinks that picking strawberries isn’t a skill, I beg to differ! He reminds me a lot of my grandfather who has been a California farmer for most of his life. Both coming from humble beginnings and acquiring success from passion and hard work, men who respect the land and treat their employees like family. Jesus produces conventional as well as organic strawberries. His biggest client being one I’m sure you’re familiar with, Driscoll’s.
After the tour we were invited to a strawberry inspired lunch in Pacific Grove. Chef Jasmine Wolf drove her famous food truck all the way up from Los Angeles. I love that Jasmine tries to buy organic, local, and humanely-treated produce as much as possible. “Comfort food with a conscience” and that it was. We ate ribs with a strawberry bbq sauce (must recreate) which were to die for!
More ceviche and strawberries but this time with shrimp and served in these cute avocado boats! Almost too pretty to eat!
And these tempting stuffed strawberries with a balsamic reduction and bacon dust, BACON DUST my friends, Uh-May-Zing!
As if you needed more reasons to eat strawberries, here are some cool ones you may not know. Like did you know that one serving (about 8 strawberries) have more vitamin C than an orange? Put down that orange and grab your 8 a day! Also, one serving contains only 7 grams of sugar & 45 calories per cup! Strawberries tend to be thought of more as a dessert, but this yummy berry is perfect in many savory dishes as well. Not to mention, they’re a nutritional powerhouse packed with essential vitamins, dietary fiber, potassium and phytochemials.
Strawberries are so fun for a paparazzi to stalk This is what I looked like 98.9% of the time during the trip, thank you Robert Durell for capturing so many memorable moments, and a big thank you to my wonderful friends at California Strawberries and Modern PR for making this happen!
Check out this awesome video to see some fun moments from the retreat!
And of course I couldn’t leave you without a recipe including strawberries. With so many dishes on the trip including strawberries and balsamic vinegar I thought I’d create an easy recipe with a fun little twist. Strawberry balsamic coconut cream popsicles. Don’t let the balsamic vinegar scare you though, you won’t exactly taste it, but it undeniably brings out the sweetness in the berries. I hope you enjoy them as much as we do in our house!
I was excited when the Whole30 team asked me to create 3 tasty dishes for your 4th of July BBQ’s/ Potlucks. I know how hard it can be to feel like your missing out on all the fun foods when a holiday pops up. That’s why I created an appetizer, a salad & a meat dish to make celebrating this holiday a little easier. Plus they are your typical 4th of July recipes, so if you don’t mention that they are whole30 friendly, no one will be the wiser! I’ve got you covered so don’t worry! You will not feel deprived at all, promise! Head over to the Whole30 website to get all 3 recipes! So off you go now…go get your BBQ on!
Last week I had the opportunity to attend a fun blogger’s retreat in gorgeous Monterey, California. We toured an incredible strawberry farm and ate the most delicious food all made with, you guessed it, strawberries. I cannot wait to share with you what I learned! Stay tuned for that post soon!
While I was there, I was able to reflect on why I eat the way I do, and the healing that has come from years of eating real foods that make my body feel so good. I started my paleo journey with a Whole30, that soon turned into a love of making and eating food the way it was intended to be eaten, preservative & chemical free.
The whole30 really changed my life and I will forever be grateful for that gift. That is why I just adore creating whole30 recipes. They are simple yet so flavorful and they give me the energy I need to get through the day without crashing.
I have gotten so many compliments on this recipe. While I don’t have kids, many moms tell me that their kids LOVE them, and that makes my heart sing! They’re the perfect finger food and once you pop, you can’t stop (I had to) They’re seriously the funnest thing ever to eat!! They make me feel like a kid all over again, and I love that so, so much!
I think the great thing about them, is that everything is packed into one delicious bite, the protein, fat & veggies! That way you don’t have to worry about you or you little ones eating everything on the plate, because you get it all in each bite you take! How awesome is that?! Finger lickin, chicken good!!
I’m so excited to finally have this recipe on the blog!! It’s one of the many recipes that I have shared on my Instagram, my Facebook page as well as the Whole30 recipes social media pages. I am slowly getting all my Whole30 recipes on here so you can find them easier and also pin them from here to Pinterest. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my little family does…the cat even likes them 😉 Total score!
Line a pan with foil and grease with a bit of olive oil. Set aside.
Add a bit of olive oil to a pan and sauté minced garlic until fragrant. Set aside.
Grate zucchini and carrots in a food processor and set aside.
Wash chicken and pat dry.
Put chicken thighs, grated zucchini, grated carrots, green onion, dill, sautéed garlic, cumin, Coconut aminos and salt-and-pepper into your blender/food processor and grind up together for a few minutes until all ingredients are Incorporated.
Scoop a heaping tablespoon of your meat mixture onto your greased baking sheet and use hands to flatten and mold a bit.
Brush tops of chicken poppers with oil.
Bake at 400° for approximately 25 minutes, or until they are cooked through.
You can broil for an additional 3 mins. If you want them to brown up a bit more.
Serve with a side of guacamole, salsa or an aioli sauce. I like mine with a garlic dill aioli.
When I first started cutting out as much processed junk as I could, mayo became one thing that was kinda hard for me to part with. I grew up on Best Foods mayo and it was kind of my thing. Like, i’m almost positive I was born with a jar of it in my hand. I grew up making potato salad and tuna salad at least once a week, and processed mayo was my best friend, no pun intended. It was cheap, easy and creamy! But, I knew I had to give it up because it has processed oils, especially soy, something I HAD to cut out for sure because of my problems with endometriosis. Not to mention it contains preservatives, um, no thank you! My recipe for mayo is packed full of good healthy fats and protein minus the nasty additives. Say hello to easy homemade Paleo Mayonnaise!
When I began making it on my own, I only had a basic counter top blender and I used the slow drizzle method. Now don’t get me wrong, this method works perfectly fine (you can even do it by hand, hello arm cramp) and many people make it this way. But once I realized it was SO much easier to make it with an immersion stick blender, those days became a thing of the past. It takes literally seconds instead of minuets to make, and this method makes it much harder to mess up. Watch the video to see just how simple it really is! Now go get your mayo on, and slather that creamy goodness all over everythang! Because fat is the new black, oh yeah! P.S. this mayo is also Whole30 friendly and will save your life when doing one because you can use it as the base for many sauces!
Since natural products are such a draw for me, especially within the last few years trying to remove as many toxic things out of my lifestyle. A wooden watch seemed like the next good thing. First I started with food, and migrated to beauty products, then cleaning products and the journey continues on with clothing and fashion. What we wear can have an impact on our health just as food can. It can contain chemicals that could be absorbed through the skin, which is no bueno!! I will be the first to admit that I am no where perfect when it comes to having a closet full of organic, non-toxic, sustainable clothing and accessories. Guilty as charged! What I think counts is that i’m heading in that direction, as well as so many of you reading this, and that is what matters!
When Jord contacted me to review their beautiful wooden Cora watch, I was excited! I love that Jord values sustainability which is truly refreshing. When you go to their website and click on materials, it tells you the sustainability factor of each type of wood used to construct their collections, many are sustainable. They also let you know exactly where they source their wood. I did some research on the sustainability of the hawaiian Koa wood that is used to handcraft this beauty! According to the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) redlist, it is one of the woods of least concern and considered sustainable! It was perfect for what I was looking for. Plus their are many styles of food bowls carved out of Koa wood and if its safe to eat out of, it’s safe to be in contact with your skin throughout the day!
When you flip the watch over, the back of it is made of a gorgeous sapphire glass so you can see the delicate workings of the mechanical pieces inside – it’s so mesmerizing. What makes sapphire glass even more incredible, is the fact that it is second only to diamonds as the hardest and most scratch resistant materials on earth. Such a unique feature! The wooden box that it came in is so lovely and a perfect place to store it in. It looks handmade and well crafted, just like the watch itself.
The first watch they sent had a tiny ding in the wood and even though it was very minor (I almost didn’t even mention it) they had me send it back. I was so impressed with their customer service and how quickly they replaced it with a brand new one! They wanted me to be completely happy with my watch. Their customer service is incredible and I was very satisfied with the care they took. I wear my watch almost everyday because wood goes with everything, just like bacon!
Do you miss the crunch of a hard shell taco but not the greasiness that usually follows? These Jicama street tacos have all the crunch minus the grease. When I’m doing a Whole30, I’ve got this meal on repeat because it doesn’t involve Paleo baking to achieve a tortilla, just a real, whole food, tortilla alternative…a thinly sliced jicama shell!
Sometimes you just get plain tired of lettuce tacos day in and day out, and this meal kicks it up a few notches so you don’t get bored too easily! It will keep you on track to complete the full 30 days of your whole30 challenge, I promise! A mandolin slicer will help you create perfectly thin round disks to use as the base for your tacos, I highly suggest you get one if you haven’t already! Just be sure to use a safety glove because those babies are sharp! It’s why they’re so effective 😉
So what is jicama you ask? It’s a tuberous root, sometimes referred to as a Mexican yam bean or Mexican turnip. Some of you may be thinking, well isn’t jicama a legume? And if so, why would that be Whole30 approved? To clear up any confusion, Melissa Hartwig, co-founder of the Whole30 program sheds some light on this matter as found HERE on the author of Well Fed, Melissa Joulwan’s website:
The potential downsides of legumes are all found in the seed. The anti-nutrients, inflammatory compounds, phytoestrogens (in the case of soy) and carbohydrate density (in the case of many legumes) are all packed into the seed.
When you eat jicama, you’re eating the root, which has none of the same issues as the seed. (As an aside, you’d never, ever eat the seed of a jicama – it’s actually quite toxic.) This is the same logic by which it’s okay to eat bean sprouts (the grassy part that grows out of the seed), but not the beans themselves.
You may be curious what jicama taste like, well it’s actually slightly sweet and tiny bit nutty in flavor. Sort of like an apple but with an even milder flavor. That’s why it’s a perfect flavor vehicle for food, it doesn’t overpower anything! It has a similar texture to a turnip and while it maybe referred to as a Mexican yam, it’s skin is not edible like a yam. The skin is thick, tough and will need to be removed before slicing. The best ones to buy are firm and round in shape. You’ll want those ones for this recipe!
The rest of the recipe is pretty simple, once you get past the peeling and slicing. I just used a clean packaged spicy sausage to create the main filling so it’s not too fussy. If you can’t find a clean spicy sausage, you can just buy original and make it hotter with some spices you already have in your pantry! My favorite part of this recipe is the dairy-free “sour cream” I love that tangy flavor mixed with the spicy heat of the sausage and salsa! I hope you love these cute little mini tacos as much as me and my family!
You can’t go wrong with chocolate for Valentine’s day, and if you make said chocolate from scratch, your valentine will be super impressed and all that mushy stuff, wink, wink! This Paleo chocolate hearts recipe is really easy to whip up and requires only 5 ingredients, plus a pinch of salt. If your looking to make something that isn’t complicated and looks like it was purchased from a fancy chocolate shop, I got you covered! Impressing people with simple homemade treats is right up my alley!
Before we go any further, I feel I must confess. I was that girl. The one who used to eat my weight in store bought waxy chocolate. Man am I glad those days are over, what was I thinking? I was eating fake chocolate and I didn’t even know it, GROSS! How come someone didn’t warn me sooner, shove a piece of REAL chocolate in my mouth and say, “you’re welcome!” ?? Well if they had, I’m sure I would have started singing “A whole new world” from Aladdin, lol! It only took 30+ years, but I’m never going back! Raw chocolate is where it’s at!
These raw chocolate hearts are the healthi-fied (is that even a word?) version of the chocolate hearts you find in the stores but you won’t even notice because they taste so naughty. They’re made from raw, pure ingredients so you reap all the “love” and goodness from that! Coconut oil is packed full of healthy fats and raw cacao contains of magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium and so much more! You can thank me later 😉 Happy Valentine’s day!!
*These are made with freeze dried strawberries, so you can make them any time of the year! Feel free to switch up the ingredients. There are too many yummy combinations you could use such as coconut, raspberries, banana, nuts, mint, etc.
Ok, so I feel as though I need to make a confession…I may have a little problem you guys! I can’t stop making marshmallows!! I want to make them in every flavor and cover the earth with them, Lol! I recently created some pumpkin pie marshmallows for fall and knew that if I tweaked the recipe a wee bit, I could easily make them into gingerbread marshmallows. I have been putting them on literally everything and I don’t know if I will be stopping any time soon. My husband and I have been having some interesting conversations over marshmallows, like “did you have 2 more than me?” and “are you SURE that you divided those up evenly??” We have serious conversations about food in this house, hahaha!
Marshmallows are really not that hard to make, I think that’s why I can’t stop making them, plus they’re fun to eat and when supplies are low, the morale in this household just isn’t quite the same, wink wink! I use a good quality pasture-raised gelatin to make them, I love this brand because I find it it dissolves easier than most. And even though this is considered a treat because of the sugar, I still have a good feeling knowing that I’m getting my gelatin in for the day!
This particular flavor is amazing for the holidays, I almost named them holiday marshmallows, because they have all those yummy warm spices that evoke memories of Christmas lights, opening presents around the tree and being with the ones you love. And if you put them in a mug filled with hot chocolate, it feels like a hug in a cup, no joke 😉 You can even dip them in melted chocolate to make them even more special! But if you REALLY want to take it to the next level, you can make a batch of my Gingersnap Cookies and make some delicious holiday s’mores. I’ve been having way too much fun making these s’mores with my kitchen torch (early Christmas present from my husband) I have directions for both the chocolate dipped marshmallows and the s’mores below, I got your back! If you try either of these, get ready to have your mind blown! Consider this my Christmas present to you! Merry Christmas! 😉
3/4 teaspoon Gingerbread Spice Mix (see below to make your own)
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla powder (can sub vanilla extract)
Pinch of sea salt
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder for dusting before cutting
1 tablespoon arrowroot power mixed with 1/2 teaspoon Gingerbread spice for dusting after cutting
Gingerbread Spice Mix:
3 tablespoons ground ginger
3 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon ground cloves
(place in a jar with a lid and shake to mix)
Line an 8x8 pan with parchment. Grease pan and lightly dust with arrowroot powder. Set aside.
In your stand mixer, add 3/4 cup of filtered water (reserve the remaining 1/4 cup for later) and 3 Tbsp of Vital Proteins gelatin. Mix together and set aside to set up while you prepare the other ingredients on the stove top.
In a pot combine remaining 1/4 cup filtered water, maple syrup, honey, gingerbread spice, vanilla powder, lemon juice and sea salt. Bring mixture to a boil over med-high heat. Keep an eye on it as it will get foamy and can boil over easily. Boil for about 10-15 mins. You can use a candy thermometer to be more precise. Boil until it reaches 240 degrees (soft ball)
Using your stand mixer and whisk attachment (A hand mixer is fine, just takes a bit longer) turn mixer on medium-low speed. Slowly pour the boiled mixture into the gelatin mixture on the side of the bowl. When done incorporating, Turn mixer up to the highest speed and mix for approximately five minutes. After five minutes stop the mixer and check the consistency. If the mixture is cool to the touch, light and fluffy and falls off the whisk slowly, it's ready.
Quickly pour mixture into your lined pan and smooth with a spatula. Lightly dust top of marshmallow mixture with arrowroot powder.
Cover dish and let marshmallows firm up in the fridge or on your counter. Takes about 3-4 hours.
When marshmallows are firm, use a knife and slice into small squares. Take your arrowroot & Gingerbread spice mixture and lightly toss marshmallow squares in a large bowl. Make sure to coat all sides. Shake off any excess and enjoy right away, or store in an air tight container for a day or freeze for later use.
-For Chocolate Covered Marshmallows: Melt a large chocolate bar (we like Coconut Secret's Peruvian Crunch) place in a shallow bowl, dip marshmallows in melted chocolate and place in the fridge to harden up.
-For Holiday Gingerbread S'mores: Make a batch of my Iced Gingersnap cookies Melt a large chocolate bar (we like Coconut Secret's Peruvian Crunch) place in a shallow bowl, dip bottoms of cookies in melted chocolate, lay them chocolate side up on a plate or baking sheet and place in the fridge to cool. Roast marshmallows (I use a kitchen torch) and place them between 2 cookies. Enjoy!
Christmas is just around the corner, so I wanted to share some fun gifts for those foodies in your life, or maybe just for you 😉 That’s OK too! If you’re like me you’re still shopping, yikes! I’m sure many of you can relate, this month has been crazy town! The days have been flying by faster than I can say Santa Clause! It’s down to the wire now though and if you’re perplexed about what to get for that special someone in your life who loves to cook, read on for some cool last minute gifts I’m sure they will fall in love with!
Instant Pot Pressure Cooker-This piece is essential in every kitchen! You can cook bone broth in 2 hours, applesauce in 2 minuets and can make even the toughest piece of meat like butter, need I say more?!
Dansk Kobenstyle Saucepan– This retro pan is so lovely, I use it as often as I can because is gorgeous and well made. It was popular in the 50’s and the lid can be used as a trivet, very cool!
Marble Serving Board- A beautiful piece to have in any kitchen, we love it for serving appetizers at parties. It would be perfect for a NYE party!
Yes & No Stackable Mugs– These porcelain mugs are just too cute to pass up. Enjoy your coffee or tea without saying a word!
Lodge Enamel Dutch Oven-This cast iron pot is a must have! Take any recipe and it can be made better in a dutch oven. It’s chip resistant and lasts forever!
Foodie Dice-Having trouble deciding what to cook for dinner? The foodie dice will rescue you every time. Just roll the dice and you’re covered!