She called me the day before the big day—turkey day—to laugh about the comical size of the turkey. My older sister Lily had just picked up a pastured turkey from our favorite farm in Central Oregon. It weighed in at a measly seven pounds…
Compared to the twenty-five pound bird we had the year before, we weren’t quite sure if the seven pound bird would feed our hungry bellies. Only a couple of weeks early, my oldest sister Lily and I decided we wouldn’t make the trip from Oregon to California for Thanksgiving. My other sister Daisy and my dad would be celebrating with family friends in the bay area while the Oregon crew (Lily, my brother-in-law, Kristian and Lil’s in-laws) would be celebrating turkey day in the barn on their ranch. Because of our last-minute decision to stay in Oregon, we were a little late on ordering a turkey. Luckily, we got the very last turkey at rainshadow organics farm. However, that did mean only a seven pound turkey…for six people. Oops. Didn’t I read somewhere that you need 1.5 pounds per person? I’m one of those people who always thinks we will need more food than we really do. I panic at the thought of a bowl of empty mashed potatoes or going back for seconds only to scrape the pan of roasted veggies for the last few left behind…
I wasn’t panicking. No. It’s going to be ok. NO big deal. Nope. Totally fine. We’re alllll good.
I was in charge of Thanksgiving this year. I planned the menu, spatchcocked and roasted our lovely (mini) bird, mashed, roasted, sautéed, baked. You name it, I did it. And guess what? I had an absolute blast. We had a fully AIP compliant Thanksgiving and the very non-paleo in-laws exclaimed about the moist turkey, decadent mashers, delicious pumpkin cake and all the sides. I can’t lie, I was kind of proud of myself for how well everything came together. Aside from cooking, there was also plenty of wood chopping, playing with the dogs, nibbling on bacon wrapped dates and warming up in front of the fire. The air smelled of pine needles and mountain snow. All was right in the world and we were certainly all grateful to be together. And just for the record, a seven pound turkey ended up being the PERFECT size for our group. Silver linings and positive energy people. We even had enough turkey left on the bird to make a turkey soup and stock.
I won’t be sharing any recipes this year but will be sharing our menu. I am already looking forward to comparing this years first annual AIP thanksgiving and second annual GF thanksgiving with next years feast.
Thanksgiving 2014 Menu
Appetizers: best party meatballs, ever, peeled rainbow carrots, bacon wrapped dates and cured meats
Drinks: spiced apple kombucha, sparkling water, champagne
Sides: roasted green beans with shallots, duck fat mashed white sweet potatoes with crispy shallots, sweet mashed yams, grain-free stuffing, creamy gravy, ginger-orange cranberry sauce
Main: citrus and herb spatchcocked turkey
Dessert: pumpkin spice cake with gingersnap crust + coconut cream
We have soooo many deep conversations over on Instagram—we talk about our successes, share when we are feeling down and celebrate the little victories like a batch of perfectly crisp kale chips or cracking the code to the most delicious meatballs. Hint, hint, I’m sharing that today. The autoimmune paleo community on Instagram has been such an amazing source of support for me on my healing journey. I want to give every single one of you beautiful souls a giant hug. Thank you for your kind words, for your unconditional love and for lifting me up with your solidarity. The solidarity makes this journey that much more exciting and enjoyable. I love my insta-family. Isn’t it crazy how technology can unite us despite geographical barriers? Sometimes, technology just blows my mind. It gives me the shivers; it is so powerful. You might be sitting behind your screen like “…yeah, okay crazy.” But really, who said digital friends are anything less than real friends?
Anyways, about those meatballs…how fabulous would it be if you could go to a holiday party and there were tons of healthy, clean, even dare I say AIP options available? That would be SOOO rad. Likely? Maybe not! With Thanksgiving a meer TWO days away and Christmas in exactly one month, I wanted to share a little tip I have picked up for attending holiday parties. HOLIDAYS can be hard; there is no doubt about it. Why not volunteer to bring a platter of food!? Not only will the hostess appreciate your generosity but you will also be able to bring food that you can eat. In my mind, the easiest and tastiest platter would have meatballs with cute little toothpicks for easy eating, peeled rainbow carrots, cuties (they’re easy to peel!) and an assortment of different types of olives. DID I MENTION MEATBALLS WITH CUTE LITTLE TOOTHPICKS? Everyone loves finger food. A couple of weeks ago I guest blogged for the whole30recipes Instagram account; I shared one of my favorite recipes for meatballs and it was a huge hit. Everyone loved them. I love them. I’ve made two batches in the last, ugh, two days. I think you will love them too. They are the tastiest most succulent balls of meat so make these, stick toothpicks in them and then bring them to a party. That is all.
The Best Party Meatballs, Ever
1 lb ground beef
1 tsp smoked salt—LOVE this brand!
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1/4 cup packed curly parsley, chopped
1. Heat oven to 375 F and cover a baking sheet with a piece of unbleached parchment paper.
2. Combine all ingredients and then form into small meatballs—I love using my stainless steel scoop for this task. Place meatballs on baking sheet with at least 1/2″ between each meatball.
3. Bake for 15-25 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of the meatballs. Check them around 15 minutes by cutting one in half to see if it has cooked through—if not, let them cook longer.
On a warm fall day, a couple of friends and I headed to Detering’s Orchard with baskets in hand and a sparkle in our eyes for one of the best activities of the fall season—apple picking. I was working on a fun, fall-inspired editorial project for 1859 Oregon’s Magazine, and couldn’t wait to capture the happiness and joy of the fall harvest…
We walked excitedly through the long rows of apple trees, picking the beautiful, sweet smelling fruit. We loaded our baskets with pounds upon pounds of apples until we could no longer carry them. After testing multiple varieties, we decided the Black Arkansas and Envy apples were our favorites—those we kept for eating fresh. With the rest, I used them to make an oat and apple crumble for Kristian’s birthday and then threw the rest of the apples in my slow cooker with apple cider and cinnamon to simmer over night. The result? A divine slow cooked apple sauce. If you find yourself with too many apples, throw them in the slow cooker on low for ten or so hours with enough apple cider to cover about half of the apples. Magic will happen.
Also, if you happen upon a copy of 1859 Magazine, check out my Tiny House feature and Fall Harvest photo gallery. Here is a little excerpt from the article: “AT THE HEART OF HARVEST is the celebration of bounty after another season of hard work. Food photographer Charlotte Dupont set out to capture the moments that exhaust and gratify every farmer—colorful root vegetables emerging from dark soil and bulbs of fruit landing in baskets. From Rainshadow Organics in Central Oregon to Deterings Orchard in the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s bounty is finding its way into recipes and ovens around the state. Loved ones solidify relationships over the chopping block and around the dinner table, one savory squash dish and one apple crisp at a time. Dupont shot the cooking scenes among friends and family in her home kitchen in Eugene.
I practically pulled an all-nighter on Monday night. By an all-nighter, I really mean I went to bed at 12:30am and woke up at 5am. I had a massive research paper due Tuesday morning that I put off until the eleventh hour. My sister told me that 1/3 of people can function really well with little to no sleep, 1/3 are okay at dealing with it, and 1/3 basically lose it with no sleep. I have no idea if this is actually true or not, but if it is, the last one is definitely me… After my version of pulling an all-nighter, I was feeling less than fabulous. Sleep has become one of my greatest allies on my healing journey and anything less than eight hours means brain-fog, puffiness and skin flares for the next four or five days. I needed a BOWL FULL OF LOVE and this squash soup came and saved the day. It is pretty much a hug in a bowl and really will make you feel better. Soup has the power to do that, you know. ALWAYS GET SLEEP. But when you can’t, here are some tips for recovering from a sleepless night:
1. Hydrate when you wake up with a large glass of warm water—continue drinking water throughout the day 2. Have a nutrient-dense breakfast, lunch and dinner—don’t skip meals and avoid sugar, coffee or other stimulants 3. Be kind to yourself, it’s okay to be tired 4. Choose an early bedtime for the following night 5. Power off your electronics 2-3 hours before your chosen bedtime; turn off the noise in your life 6. Take magnesium, it seriously helps achieve a stellar night of sleep 7. Have a cup of tea like chamomille or peppermint to help soothe your body and mind 8. Take at least an hour to wind down from daily tasks; take your time with your bedtime routine or read a book 9. Fall into a deep slumber and repeat for the next few nights…
Ginger-Orange Squash Soup
—inspired by Martha Stewart’s Butternut Squash Soup—
> 2 tablespoons coconut oil
> 1 yellow onion, chopped
> 1 leek, chopped
> 1 piece of 2″ ginger root
> 2 cloves garlic, chopped
> 5.5 cups mashed butternut squash (or other winter squashes like red kuri, pumpkin, acorn, etc.)
> 1.25 cups fresh orange juice
> 32 fl. oz./4 cups chicken stock (I used Pacific Food’s Turkey Bone Broth for this recipe!)
> 2 tsp sea salt + more to taste
> Extra virgin olive oil and chives, finely chopped for garnish
1. Bake and render your own squash puree via my tutorial How to Roast a Butternut Squash
2. Using a large, heavy bottomed pot—I love my Le Creuset for this—heat 2 tablespoons of coconut oil over medium heat. Once it is melted and beings to sizzle, add chopped onion and leeks to the pot and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until translucent and fragrant. Next, add chopped garlic, mashed squash and broth to the pot. Using a a microplane, zest ginger root into the pot and then combine everything. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes so that the flavors combine.
3. Turn the heat off. Using your immersion blender, puree the soup. Add 1.25 cups fresh orange juice and combine.
4. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and chopped chives.
I was writing a paper on Saturday night. Oh yes, the drudgery. The deadline was midnight on Saturday and SaturDAY got the best of me. Sigh. Apparently going to the butcher, slow cooking a pork shoulder and making PUMPKIN SPICE MILKSHAKES was more exciting to me. As I was researching my topic, I was hankering for something sweet—just a little treat. I was thinking I would have a few dates stuffed with coconut butter, definitely a favorite of mine. When I went to get the coconut butter, I noticed that it was hard—coconut butter and coconut oil harden at anything below room temperature. I filled up a bowl with hot water and stuck my jar of coconut butter in the hot water to help liquify it; this usually takes a solid five minutes or so. While I was waiting, I glanced into the fridge and noticed I had an open can of pumpkin puree that definitely needed to be used. Next, I saw my jar of coconut milk. The rest was history, really. I had already figured out a fantastic AIP pumpkin pie spice blend that does not include nutmeg (nutmeg is a seed spice and I am not doing seeds right now.) I combined pumpkin puree, coconut milk, AIP pumpkin pie spice, a pinch of sea salt, maple syrup, collagen, coconut butter, ice and viola!
Pumpkin Pie Milkshake
It’s utterly drab outside. I’m hovering over the kitchen sink as I take bites of a crispy sweet potato pan-fried in bacon grease. Damn—that’s good. It’s 10:30 am and I’m supposed to be in class but I’m playing hooky today…Do people still call skipping school hooky?
I was feeling way too inspired to go sit in my literature class. I glanced into my fridge; I forgot I had that chicken. I’m leaving Friday—I should probably cook that today. I scavenge for some green onion stuffed in the very back corner behind all the other veggies; they’re fridge frozen, but they will do. I grab a couple of cloves of garlic. And some carrots I randomly chopped and then never used. Oh! and about those onions I have accidentally been hoarding…
…I munch happily on a piece of overcooked bacon. I take the bag of gizzards outside of the chicken. Keep those. That’s the good stuff. The tea kettle is boiling. Crap! I forgot I put the kettle on. I pour myself tea. Earl Gray—a favorite on rainy days. I put the chicken, and the gizzards, in my slow cooker, along with chopped onions, smashed garlic, sage leaves and carrots. Also, apple cider vinegar. Can’t forget the vinegar. It helps draw out the nutrients from the bones, remember!?
I have nearly forgotten about my tea. Oh, good, it’s still warm. I turn on my slow cooker. Low and slow for about eight hours. Wait, no. Make that six hours. I take another bite of my sweet potato—yup, still good. I’ll clean the plate later…
Slow Cooker Chicken and Broth
The ingredients listed here are totally just suggestions—feel free to improvise with what you have on hand. Don’t try flavoring the broth with cruciferous veggies —that makes for a bitter broth. And remember the apple cider vinegar, that is important. Salt is not included in this recipe because this is not a recipe for chicken soup but rather chicken broth and slow cooked chicken meat that can be used to make a delicious soup. Salt accordingly.
> 1 whole chicken + gizzards
> 5 carrots, roughly chopped
> 1 yellow onion, quartered
> 1 bunch green onion
> 4 cloves garlic, smashed
> 1/2 bunch of sage leaves
> a splash of apple cider vinegar equivalent to two tablespoons
> optional: 1 pound chicken backs, 1 pound chicken necks, 1 pair of chicken feet
1. Place all ingredients in slow cooker/crock pot
2. Use enough water, preferably filtered, to just barely cover the chicken
3. Set to cook on low for roughly six hours
4. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it from the broth and let it cool before pulling the meat off of the bones. While the chicken is cooling, strain the broth into mason jars and place in refrigerator to cool—this should give you two quart sized mason jars filled with broth. Once you have removed the meat from the chicken bones, place the remaining skins and bones back in the crock pot. This is where you add the optional chicken backs, necks and/or feet. Cover with just enough water to barely cover the remaining bones and turn on low for another eight to ten hours for another batch of broth—if you do this, repeat the same process you did for the first batch (eg. strain the broth, place in the refrigerator, once it cools scrape whatever fat has solidified on the top off.)
5. After four or five hours, check on the broth that is cooling in the refrigerator; a solid layer of fat will most likely have formed on the top of the soup—it will appear white and thick. Just scrape this off and save the chicken schmaltz (chicken fat!) for pan-frying veggies—yum. You want to remove the fat from the broth because oily soup isn’t very appetizing.
6. You just made slow cooker chicken + a big batch of broth. You can use both the slow cooker chicken and the broth to make a nourishing soup. Alternatively, the slow cooker chicken can be used to make a chicken salad, used on-top of green salads for protein, etc. The broth can be used for a big batch of soup, to freeze for later use or for a nourishing start to your day in place of coffee.
For the past couple of years, I have been greatly inspired by the work of Aran Goyoaga, who is a Basque country native living in Seattle. Her blog, Cannelle et Vanille is filled with beauty, a sense of nostalgia for a simpler life and photographs that tell a strong narrative. Over the summer, I just so happened to visit Aran’s blog the day she posted about a workshop she would be hosting in Seattle with Leela Cyd. I had been dying to attend one of her workshops for years and they sell out fast, so in a moment of inspiration, I booked a spot for myself in her one-day food styling and photography class…
Walking into Aran’s studio was like entering into her little corner of the world, or better yet, her instagram gallery. Her studio is beyond words. It was bright and white, with pastel accents and the most gorgeous dewey light. I can’t even begin to summarize what I learned at the workshop because in all honesty, it was really more about what I saw. Aran and Leela bring so much joy and passion to their work, something that I really resonated with. We watched as they styled and photographed multiple different food scenes. We listened as they told us that it is more than just sharing a recipe, it is about sharing a story. We played with Aran’s gorgeous ceramic plates, textiles and a the most lush berries, aged cheeses, herbs, flowers and flakey pastries that we had ever seen. One of the best parts of the workshop was chatting with all the wonderful like-minded people. I came home with a full heart, content with knowing that these are my people. I was surrounded by the very people who get excited about prop styling, low aperature, gorgeous plump heirloom tomatoes and the blogging industry, just like me. For me, that was really the biggest takeaway. After graduation, which is coming up in less than six weeks, I will be pursuing my passion for all things creative and thus will be doing what I know is right in my heart, and that is to be creative every damn day. It is to follow my dreams, not someone elses. It is to listen to my gut instinct because it has never let me down.
A couple of weeks ago, Kristian and I ventured from Eugene to White Salmon, Washington for a mushroom foraging workshop hosted by Wild Craft Studio. I found Wild Craft Studio on instagram many months ago and have been swooning over their vibes ever since. I met a lovely girl (hi, renée!) at Aran Goyoaga and Leela Cyd’s workshop in September, who mentioned she had attended one of Wild Craft’s workshops and that it was awesome, which totally solidifed my desires to attend a workshop. Fast forward a couple of weeks and the social media gods places a link on my twitter feed for a mushroom foraging workshop hosted by Wild Craft Studio. PERFECT! I thought. Kristian’s birthday was coming up and what better way to celebrate then to keep with our adventurous summer spirit and head to the Colombia Gorge to play in the woods and learn how to forage for mushrooms. Plus, I have been dying to go mushroom foraging for the past…um, four years. Ah—it was such a magical day in the woods with the lovely Rachel, our mushroom guru, a fabulous group of girls and the birthday boy…
Kristian and I seriously had the best time ever. Since our foraging adventure, we have gone in search of mushrooms multiple times. We have yet to find any chanterelles—which is like finding the golden egg at the easter egg hunt—but have found some fun non-edible mushrooms and have had a blast while being out in nature. Mushroom hunting forces you to be VERY present in nature, which is one of the reasons I think I have fallen in love with it. It’s totally not about finding the most pirzed mushrooms or even ones that are edible but rather exploring nature with a purpose and being utterly engaged in each moment because…mushrooms could be anywhere, so you become very focused on looking versus letting your mind wander. It’s sort of a meditation, if you will.
Kristian and I came home from the Wild Craft workshop with loads and loads of mushrooms. We hit the chanterelle motherload during that day of foraging and even gave some away. Mushrooms should not be washed too much because then they become uber slimey and waterlogged (no bueno!) My chanterelles were absolutely covered, COVERED, in dirt, so I followed this chef’s fabulous insight into cleaning chanterelles and they turned out wonderfully (unlike a prior experience a couple of weeks earlier where I totally waterlogged some chanterelles and tried to pretend that the slimey mushrooms were tasty…yeah, not so much.)
Pan-fried Chanterelles with Rosemary
When you have something as amazing as chanterelle mushrooms, you keep the cooking simple and let the natural flavors shine through. Make sure to clean your chanterelles but also accept that some dirt may remain on them. Do not wash them. Read above and watch the youtube tutorial.
> as many chanterelle mushrooms as you’d like to eat in one sitting—this recipe is best eaten right away
> fat of choice: if you can have butter or ghee, use it!! otherwise, beef tallow worked beautifully!!
> fresh rosemary, chopped
> coarse sea salt—I love Jacobsen’s Sea Salt!
> heat fat of choice over medium-high heat in a skillet, preferably cast-iron.
> once skillet is hot, place mushrooms in oil and lightly combine. let cook for about two minutes and then stir them for another 1 minute or so. It is imperative to not over cook them. they will most likely only need 2-4 mintues.
> once the mushrooms seem done, toss rosemary into the pan and combine with the mushrooms and then remove mushrooms and herbs from the skillet and place on a plate to cool.
> garnish with coarse sea salt and serve immediately.
Tuna sandwiches remind me of elementary school. They use to be my favorite thing to have for lunch but then very quickly, probably around third grade, they went out of style—fast. For some reason, tuna fish became embarrasing to have for lunch because, I don’t know, kids are weird and it was fish and it was smelly? Either way, I still loved tuna, I just preferred to bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to avoid awkward stares at lunch. Many years later and ironically, in my last term of college, I have rediscovered tuna as one of my favorite weekday lunches.
As you know, my diet is pretty strict these days as I’m working on putting my autoimmune conditions into remission—this is no small feat! I developed this recipe to be utterly reminiscent of my past love for my mom’s tuna salad sandwich, without the mayo, bread, or celery because I never liked celery in my tuna salad. I added capers because CAPERS! I love them! And a nice big squeeze of lemon juice because tart citrus flavors totally make me swoon. And I just want to put it out there that savoy cabbage leaves are a beautiful thing; they definitely make the best lettuce wrapped…anything. They are durable, subtly sweet and perfectly crunchy so go get yourself a savoy cabbage, stat.
Tuna Salad Wraps
> 1 can tuna (no salt added and in water), drained
> 1/2 small avocado
> 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
> A sprinkle of garlic powder (or about 1/8 of a teaspoon)
> 1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
> 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (more to taste if desired)
> 1/2-1 tablespoon capers (add more or less depending on your taste preference. I LOVE capers so I went for 1 heaping tablespoon plus a few more!)
> 1/4 of a small red onion, diced
> 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
> 3-4 leaves of a savoy cabbage
1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together.
2. Once combined, taste and make any necessary adjustments and then spoon tuna on top of savoy cabbage leaves, as pictured.
3. Top with extra dill or lemon zest (optional!)