mango.berry & avocado.cuc salsa

Fresh. Sweet. Crunchy. Summery. Fully loaded with flavour.  There are many words to describe this little number that I could go on forever.  It turned out so amazing, because it has several wonderful ingredients that compliment one another so nicely.

The inspiration for this recipe really came from the simple fact that every time I walk into our local veggie/fruit market, the pile of ripe mangoes are right in the doorway, staring directly at me, totally screamin’ pick me.  It’s really funny, because I think each time I stroll through that doorway, I actually do stop…give one of ‘em a squeeze, but end up setting them back down and continue on my merry way into the shop.  Reason being…I LOVE mango…but to be honest I don’t eat loads of fruit, so this salsa is a real treat.

So good in fact, that you can eat it on it’s own.  That’s what ‘the duster’ did!  It could also serve well as a yummy condiment to pretty much anything.  We are absolute guacamole fans, so we plop that on just about everything we make on a daily basis.  The beauty of this salsa is that it offers a nice change from our usual.  A perfect match for grilled fish, pork or on eggs (like I had this morning)!  Why not even throw some on top of a bed of greens and grilled chicken and call it a day?!?  The options here are really endless.  Do you have a bbq to attend this weekend?  Are you hosting Father’s day brunch?  Family gathering?  Regardless…give it a go!!!

P.S.  The strawberries were a last minute addition to this recipe, but I just couldn’t resist because they are local now (Ontario grown) and super scrumptious.

Makes a large serving.

mango.berry & avocado.cuc salsa
Recipe Type: side, condiment
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: many
Ingredients
  • 2-3 ripe mangoes – cubed
  • 1/2 pint of fresh strawberries – cubed
  • 4 mini cucumbers – cubed
  • 3-4 ripe avocados – cubed
  • 1/3 large red onion – finely diced
  • 1 orange pepper – cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves – crushed
  • 1 lemon – juice freshly squeezed (can add in some zest if you wish as well)
  • 1 lime – juice freshly squeezed
  • 1 small navel orange – juice freshly squeezed (optional)
  • lots of fresh cilantro – chopped
  • sea salt and ground pepper – to taste
  • fresh ginger – grated (optional)
  • splash of olive oil
Instructions
  1. take all ingredients from the list that need cubed and chop them into fairly small bits.
  2. put them in a medium sized bowl and mix together.
  3. next, add in the garlic, grated ginger, freshly squeezed lemon/lime and orange juice and a splash of olive oil.
  4. lastly, add in lots of freshly chopped cilantro and sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper.
  5. stir all ingredients together and allow to cool in fridge before serving.
  6. enjoy!
Notes

• I made this salsa yesterday…and then let the flavours meld together in the fridge overnight! It is even tastier the next day!!!

triple love salad

I was at work, on my break, when I received a text from our friend Stew.  No words…just a pic of his lunch.  I responded with “mmmmm…looks yummy, what is in the salad?”  He replied…”bacon, garlic, tomato, red onion, olive oil, balsamic and salt/pepper.  So good!”  I continued on the conversation, by declaring, “oh my!  you are making me hungry!”  Then the bell rang.  Break time was over.  The afternoon continued on…In the meantime, I honestly couldn’t get the image of this dish out of my head.  What a fab combo of ingredients, I thought.  In there, were 3 of my top 10, all-time fav foods…bacon, avocado and roasted garlic.  Triple love…hence the name.  End of the day came, and I text-ed back once again…”I am fully making a version of your salad tonight!”

Btw…I love it when my friends send me pics of their paleo(ish) meals.  Kinda nerdy you might say…I say nothing short of wicked!  I get so happy when I see people enjoyin’ and lovin’ amazing food!!!  Sooooo…on my way home from work, I decided to make a pit stop at the market near our house to pick up a few of the ingredients I didn’t already have in the kitchen.  I was good to go with most of it…which was a bonus!  I stuck to to most of his recipe, but decided to switch it up a tiny bit, based on things that I needed to use up…plus some leftovers aka…shredded chicken from the night before.  Fully inspired by Stew’s salad, while adding a few things and subtracting a couple…this is the concoction that I came up with.

triple love salad
Print
Recipe type: appetizer, side
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 35 mins
Serves: 2
Ingredients
  • shredded chicken (leftover from whole cajun chicken the night before. Also see, dutch oven chicken)
  • bacon – cooked and torn into bits (use as much as you desire here)
  • 2 avocado – diced (chunky)
  • 1/2 red onion – thinly chopped
  • tomato medley – quartered (one container contains various types)
  • roasted garlic cloves – I did these on the same pan as the bacon!
  • olive oil
  • 1 lemon and 1 lime – freshly squeezed juice
  • sea salt and ground pepper
  • fresh cilantro – chopped
Instructions
  1. arrange slices of bacon on a tin foil-covered baking sheet and cook for 25-30 mins at 375 heat – keep an eye on it, as thickness of the bacon can vary cooking time
  2. when cooked, set aside to cool
  3. in the meantime, quarter the tomatoes, thinly chop the red onion, and peel and dice the avocado
  4. put all of these ingredients into a large salad bowl
  5. next, tear up the bacon slices into and shred the chicken into pieces
  6. then, add the protein into the mix
  7. drizzle with lots of olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice
  8. sprinkle with sea salt and group pepper
  9. garnish with freshly chopped cilantro
  10. use tongs to mix thoroughly
  11. plate and enjoy!
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Modifications:

  • I omitted using balsamic vinegar, because I left it at work! Lol!!!
  • Instead, I added in freshly squeezed lemon and lime juice (wanted to use them up!)
  • Also, added in some chicken, because I had made a whole chicken the night before.
  • Finally, I added in some fresh cilantro, just because I LOVE it so much!  (I know Stew definitely
  • wouldn’t as he is NOT a cilantro fan!!!)

I totally encourage you to try this one!  It is so fresh, easy and a solid addition to our weekly repetoire… that is forsure!!!  Devour with love…

meaty taco salad

I am in the midst of putting together a compilation on recipes that are ‘quick & easy’ for busy families, people on-the-go, as well as those who work and get home late!  Basically EVERYONE…LOL!  This recipe requires little explanation, but definitely delivers, with a mouth-watering punch of flavour and total satisfaction.  We love to make this dish.  It is totally in our weekly rotation and every time we whip it up, we play around with it a little bit, to create different variations.  Try it out and make it this weekend!

Quick – adjective

1. done, proceeding, or occurring with promptness or rapidity, as an action, process, etc.; prompt; immediate: a quick response.

Easy – adjective

1. not hard or difficult; requiring no great labour or effort

Salad and meat mix

meaty taco salad
Print
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 20 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 1 container/package of mixed greens or baby spinach
  • 1-2 lbs grass-fed (if possible) ground beef
  • 1 white onion – thinly chopped
  • 1 package of mushrooms – chopped
  • 1 red pepper – finely diced
  • several cloves of garlic – finely chopped
  • various spices
  • freshly chopped herbs (optional, but extra-added yumminess)
Instructions
  1. on medium heat brown the ground beef
  2. when done, set aside
  3. then, saute the onion, mushroom, red pepper and garlic
  4. when finished, re-add the ground beef and throw in some spices to kick it up a notch (you can basically use whatever spices you want here)
  5. in the meantime, toss a bunch of mixed greens in a bowl
  6. add in a few big splashes of olive oil and some freshly squeezed lime and/or lemon juice
  7. sprinkle with sea salt and ground pepper
  8. (second) lastly, plate a huge heap of greens and then smother with a mound of ground beef mixture
  9. finally, make it pretty by topping it with salsa and guacamole
  10. enjoy!
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Dressing:

  • olive oil
  • 1-2 lemon and/or lime juice – freshly squeezed
  • sprinkle of sea salt and ground pepper

Topping:

bacon n’ dill sweet potato salad

Make it your own.  Cooking paleo-styles doesn’t have to be all that difficult.  It is quite simple actually.  Read on to see how easy it can be.  This may be especially helpful to you if you are new to paleo.  Substituting for paleo ingredients is highly doable in most cases.  Take an old family recipe and make it your own.  Grab a friend’s go-to dish and make it your own.  Spruce up a meal idea from your past, by adding a new somethin’-somethin’ and make it your own.   Shake up meals that you see being prepared on T.V, by mixin’ and matchin’ and make it your own.  Or…….even try, transforming an entree from your favourite restaurant and make it your own.  Have a looksy at a recipe from a cookbook and make it your own.  Add in your own twist or flair, to make it unique. ’Own it’, by adding in ingredients that suit your tastes and desires.   ‘Own it’ by being upfront and giving credit, when and where credit is due.  When inspired by someone or something, be sure to make note.  Although most of the dishes I make, I think up on my own or create by throwing random ingredients together…this one was not a PALEOdISH  ’original’ to speak .

I purposely choose to post this one because – a) I love it so much and b) – knew the initial ‘store-bought version’ (source of my inspiration) wasn’t fully paleo.  It was my mission then, to make a more paleo-ish recipe.  You can do this too!  Why re-invent the wheel!?!  Let’s face it, we have all done this before.  Is it copying?  Naww…not in my books.  Again, just be sure to show appreciation and acknowledgment towards the ‘thing’ or the ‘being’ that gave you the idea in the first place.

I first tried this salad quite some time ago (last year), when I was competing in the Element CrossFit Challenge.  We were running behind and crunched for time…(as per usual), so I decided to pick up a few things to bring with me from the grocery store down the street.  I walked in…did my littl’ stroll about and grabbed some ‘sweet potato salad’ from the “meal-to-go counter” (some of you from Toronto, may know the salad I am talking about – think Loblaw’s or ValuMart).  In my mind, I thought this would be a quick, easy and yummy ‘post-wod’ meal.  So off I went…and was good to go.

Since then, I have been meaning to ask them what the exact ingredients were…and from there, substitute ‘this and that’ in order to make my own.  So, this is exactly what I did.  Many people are hestitant or afraid to ask store owners, farmers, restaurant managers etc…what is in their food!  Don’t be!  Most places have the information readily available and are happy to provide it to you.  Alright, on with the story…I proceeded to ask the young lady behind the counter and she responded by pulling out a big binder from beside the meat slicer.  She flipped to the appropriate page and rhymed off the goods…the salad included: sweet potatoes, green onions, cranberries, raisins, sunflower seeds, minced garlic, cilantro, canola oil, balsamic vinegar, mixed herbs, salt and pepper….and SUGAR.

After reading/hearing the list of ingredients, I thought to myself…meh…not too…TOO bad, but I can def make it more paleo and geared towards my taste buds.  So this is what I did.  I was influenced by the basic foundation for the recipe, so I obviously stuck with the roasted sweet potatoes and green onions, but made the following modifications.  I took out the dried fruit…and added bacon.  Why bacon?  Well because it is wicked in damn near everything.  Then I threw in pumpkin seeds, rather than sunflower.  I wanted to try pine nuts, but they were nowhere to be found!  Kept the garlic, but roasted the cloves instead.  Yum!  Switched the cilantro for fresh dill, because it is my fav!  Ixnayed the canola and opted for olive oil instead.  Stayed on par with a splash of balsamic and a sprinkle or two of sea salt and fresh ground pep.  However, gave the mixed dried herbs the boot and added in some chili flakes instead, to kick it up a notch.  I totally garbaged the sugar, while wondering why it was really even in there in the first place!?!  Oh ya…I also squeezed in some fresh lime juice, because lately it goes in just about everything!!!

As you can see, a few  minor changes here and there, but they def made a noticeable and fairly drastic change in the end product’s taste.  I would have to say that the 3 ingredients that altered it the most were – the bacon, the fresh dill and pepper flakes.  The roasted garlic was a close 4th, as that flavour was more prominent in my concoction.  Again, back to the real purpose of my post.  I wanted to show you that recipes are ever-changing.  One individual person does not ‘own’ the only ’egg frittata’, ‘beef stew’ or sole ‘roasted chicken’ recipe.   Be creative, don’t over-think it and experiment with an array of amazing substitutes.  Cooking can be an old pastime, a new venture or something to be shared among family and friends.  Find a way to make it your own.  Make it fit your lifestyle.  More importantly, find a way to make it enjoyable.  It is possible…explore a little.

Signed,

the gal who never used to like to cook

bacon n’ dill sweet potato salad
5.0 from 2 reviews
Print
Recipe type: appetizer, side
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 30 mins
Total time: 40 mins
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes – chopped and roasted
  • 4 cloves of garlic – chopped and roasted
  • olive oil for roasting and dressing
  • 8 slices of thick bacon – cooked and ripped into pieces
  • Dressing:
  • 2 limes – freshly squeezed juice
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 green onions – thinly chopped
  • a handful of fresh dill – chopped
  • a dash or two of pepper flakes (optional)
  • a few sprinkles of sea salt and fresh ground pepper
  • garnish with a handful of raw pumpkin seeds
Instructions
  1. arrange slices of bacon on a tin foil-covered baking sheet and cook for 25-30 mins at 375 heat – keep an eye on it, as thickness of the bacon can vary cooking time
  2. when cooked, set aside to cool
  3. next, peel and chop sweet potatoes and garlic into cubed-like chunks
  4. toss in some olive/coconut oil and arrange on another baking sheet and roast for 30 mins or so at the same heat, until slightly browned
  5. remove and set aside to cool
  6. in the meantime, chop up green onion, fresh dill and prepare the other ingredients to form the dressing mixture in a bowl. Stir all dressing ingredients together.
  7. once the roasted sweet potatoes and garlic are cooled, proceed by adding in bacon pieces.
  8. finally, pour in dressing and mix everything together thoroughly – I like to use my hands here to make sure all is coated well!
  9. garnish with raw pumpkin seeds or other nut/seed of choice
  10. can be stored in refrigerator and is even more delicious and flavourful if served cold the next day!
Notes

• as with any dressing, feel free to taste and tweak it as you go!

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Lastly, I want to leave you with a fabulous post by Mark Sisson, who outlines and discusses various Primal Substitues for Non-Primal Foods.  Enjoy!

mango and cucumber salad

Whipping up your own dressing isn’t arduous.  Play with oils, spices, herbs and the fruit juices.  To make it creamier add eggs, coconut milk, mustard or avocado.

Rewind back quite some time now to a wonderful evening when family friends of ours had us all over to their house for dinner.  We found out when we got there, that they thoughtfully prepared a “Paleo themed” meal.  They knew that my husband and I eat this way, so they took the time to read up on it, go out and buy “special” ingredients and from there created an amazing dins that was Paleo-friendly.  I have to say we were extremely touched and appreciative…what a nice gesture!  The dining room table was even decorated with “caveman” accessories…haha!  It was adorable!!!  Regretfully, I didn’t bring along my camera….arghhhhh.  Shocking, I know! ;)   Regardless, the whole experience was very memorable.

I have yet to get the recipes from that evening, but I will look into this.  Inspired by the salad that she made, I decided to go ahead and to try to create something similar.  Without really thinking too much about it, I just tossed various veggies/fruit together and made a homemade dressing to compliment them.  It turned out to be one of those add and taste as you go kinda deals…and the end result was DELICIOUS!!!  The leftovers for my lunch the next day were even better, after being “marinated” in all the juices overnight.  At first glance, you may think the flavours wouldn’t go together, but trust me they are great.  To sum it up in one word— FRESH!!!

mango and cucumber salad
Prep time: 15 mins
Total time: 15 mins
Serves: 2-4
Ingredients
  • SALAD MIX
  • 4 small yellow mango- finely diced (small cubes)
  • 1/2 container spring mix- I used baby romaine leaves
  • 1/3 red onion- finely diced
  • 4 mini cucumbers- shaved with veggie peeler (I love them like that for some reason)
  • 1/4-1/2 container alfalfa sprouts
  • sesame seeds to top
  • ground pepper to taste
  • DRESSING (measurements may vary according to taste preference)
  • 2 limes- juice squeezed
  • 1 navel orange- juice squeezed
  • 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp grainy mustard, maple syrup or a couple spoonfuls of mashed up ripe avocado (optional)- helps to offset the tartness of the lime juice
  • sea salt and ground
Instructions
  1. start by finely chopping the mango and red onion into a seal-able container
  2. add in some spring mix, shaved cucumbers and alfalfa sprouts
  3. in the meantime combine dressing ingredients and whisk thoroughly
  4. pour dressing over salad in container- do this in stages as you don’t want too much
  5. then put the lid on and shake!
  6. on a serving plate, make a “bowl” out of lettuce leaves
  7. pour mango salad on top
  8. then, top with sesame seeds and serve
  9. enjoy!
Notes

• you may also want to add grilled salmon or tuna to this dish…I bet it would be amazing!

roasted beet and avocado salad

Wow! Just look at the vibrant colours in this dish! I have to say that Fall has some of the yummiest and most versatile foods in it’s season. From various types of squash, to boatloads of apples, and from brussel sprouts to swiss chard…you just can’t beet it! Beets…with an earthy flavour, this very nutrient dense vegetable can be eaten raw, boiled or slow-roasted.

When looking back, I have so many fond memories of my mom’s amazing cooking. Ah, all those delicious Sunday meals. I specifically remember her making boiled beets for my dad and brother regularly (at that time, they were the only ones that liked them…everyone else thought they were weird because they made your pee turn pink/red! haha). Some say that this may be linked to an iron-deficiency…hmmmm…

Anyways, as I stood in my kitchen the other day, scrubing my stained hands like crazy, I was flooded with emotion. As I was doing this, I could vividly see her doing the exact same thing, back in the small town home I grew up in. It is funny how different experiences, scents or songs, for example, can make you think of people dear to your heart that have passed on. Beet-stained fingers made me remember how much my mom loved cooking for her family and how hard-working and dedicated she was. She always wanted others to be happy and always went above and beyond. Miss you so much mom ~xox~ Extra love was poured into this dish, as I attempted making beets for the first time. It definitely won’t be the last either. Roasted enough to have for leftovers as well…

Serves 2-4
Roasted Beets
Ingredients:
  • olive or coconut oil
  • bunch of beet – trimmed and washed
  • coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Prep:

  • pre-heat oven to 375-400 degrees
  • trim and wash beets thoroughly
  • cut 2 large pieces of tin foil to make a double pocket for roasting
  • using a silicon brush, coat the layer or tin foil with oil
  • arrange beets on the tin foil
  • coat with more oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  • fold sides together tightly and then tuck in the ends to close the foil envelope
  • place on baking sheet and roast for 1-1.5 hours (depending on size and number of beets)
  • use a fork to check if they are done
  • let cool for 15 minutes and remove skins
  • enjoy!

Lemon & Thyme Pork Chops

Ingredients:

  • boneless pork chops (I used 3 small ones)
  • coconut oil
  • 1 lemon
  • a few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Prep:

  • brush both sides of pork chops with coconut oil
  • on high heat pan-sear pork chops until brown on both sides
  • reduce heat to medium
  • cut a whole lemon and squeeze juices into the pan
  • wash a few sprigs of fresh thyme and add for flavour
  • finally, add salt and pepper to taste
  • let cook on low-medium heat for about 15 minutes (do not overcook)
  • when done, let stand before slicing
  • enjoy!

Salad

Ingredients:

  • large handful of mixed greens – I used a sunflower mix (sunflower, radish, mustard and shungiku)
  • 1-2 large avocado – sliced
  • handful of pomegranate seeds – I bought them out of the fruit, in a container! =) less mess…
  • 1-2 carrots – shredded – I used rainbow carrots (purple, orange, red varieties)
  • 6 roasted beets – sliced
  • lemon and thyme pork – sliced

Prep:

  • on a plate, arrange a large handful of mix greens
  • using a peeler, add some shredded carrot to the mix
  • next, add a layer of sliced avocado
  • then, place strips of sliced pork and top with roasted beets
  • sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and garnish with fresh thyme
  • enjoy!

Salad Dressing

Ingredients:

  • olive oil
  • freshly squeezed lemon and orange juice
  • a couple small spoons of grainy mustard
  • coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Prep:

When making salad dressing…I honestly usually just “wing it”! These are the basic ingredients that I use, whisk everything together and then usually use my taste buds to gage when it is done to my satisfaction. Play around with different dressings and have fun with it. ENJOY!!!

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