squash & sweet potato soup

We love soup over here in this house.  In all honesty, we could eat it and enjoy any night of the week…and any season for that matter.  Homemade soups are probably one of the easiest and yummiest meals to make.  What it boils down to (pun intended) is basically choosing your veggies of choice…washing, peeling and chopping them up, and then throwing them in a pot.  Next, add in some liquid goodness, a couple herbs/spices…puree and voila.  Easy peasy, lemon squeezey.  This simplification isn’t far off.  Super quick to make, yet filled with comfort.  With a few simple ingredients, you can create a warm and soothing dish that your family will love any day of the year.

squash & sweet potato soup
Appetizer, Side
4 +
  • 1 butternut squash – skin removed and cubed
  • 2-3 large sweet potatoes/yams – cubed
  • 2 small- medium onions - finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic – minced
  • 1-2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 4 cups or 1 tetra container of vegetable stock (homemade or store-bought)
  • coconut oil
  • a pinch or two of ground nutmeg and cinnamon
  • ground pepper and sea salt
  • a few dashes of hot sauce (optional)
  • fresh chives - chopped for garnish
  • bacon – chopped for garnish
  1. begin by taking your cubed butternut squash and sweet potato and roast in the oven at 350 degrees until slightly browned (toss in coconut/olive oil and fresh rosemary, in a large bowl and then spread out cubes on a baking sheet)
  2. in the meantime, sauté the onion and garlic in coconut oil on low-medium heat on the stove-top, in a LE CREUSET/dutch oven, until softened and translucent
  3. when done roasting, take your butternut squash and sweet potato and add them into the dutch oven/pot
  4. next, pour in your vegetable broth and bring to a boil
  5. reduce heat and season with a few teaspoons of ground nutmeg and/or cinnamon (sorry, I didn’t measure the amounts here, but I wasn’t shy)
  6. then, take an immersion blender and puree the soup until smooth
  7. at the same time, add in the coconut milk slowly, and continue blending until desired consistency is reached (if too thick...add in some broth or water)
  8. allow time to simmer on low/medium heat for flavours to meld together - stirring occasionally
  9. serve it up in a bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and ground pepper
  10. finish with a few dashes of hot sauce if you want a little bite!
  11. finally, garnish with some freshly chopped chives and crumbled bacon (sweet vs. salty flavouring = wickedness)
  12. enjoy!
• I am using onion, garlic, chopped up squash and sweet potatoes…but you can basically choose any veggies you like…add in some broth and coconut milk (if you want it creamy) and grab a handy immersion blender to mix it up and you are laughing. You can also play around with different spices and fresh herbs if you like as well. If you aren't into 'creamy' type soups - skip the coconut milk step and ditch the pureeing business. • Also, you can modify the consistency of your soup by adding in a little bit more broth or water, if you find it's too thick. Have fun with this one…choose some veggies that are in-season and you are off to the races. Any type of squash is always a good bet as well!!! Oh ya…when re-heating the leftovers (this makes a ton), I also added in some more liquid to even things out.

Time-saver: • If you want to save time, you can do without the roasting of the veggies...and pretty much chop them up and cook them in the dutch oven on the stove-top as you go. The choice is yours, although I find roasting them add more flavour to the dish. YUM!

loaded beef & bacon chili

We made this concoction up last night for dins.  Slightly similar to a previous chili recipe of mine, HOWEVER def jazzed up with more flavour and bacon!  I have to say…the bacon was a solid addition.  Today, it has served me very well as a breakfast, lunch AND dinner.  I kid you not!  Some people get all weirded out my eating the same kinds of meals several times in a row and making use of their leftovers.  Not this gal.   More specifically, when it comes to stews, chilies and soups…sometimes they are even better the next day.  Anyhoo, I am keeping in short and sweet tonight.  Hitting the hay…and off to the states tomorrow to do a little shoppy shops!!!  LE CREUSET outlet store…here we come!  TA TA for now…

loaded beef & bacon chili
4 +
  • coconut/olive oil- for cooking veggies
  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 8-10 slices of bacon - or more if desired!
  • 1 can diced tomatoes- organic (just tomatoes- look at ingredients)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes- same as above
  • 2 package mushroom- quartered into chunks
  • 3-4 large carrots- coined
  • 3 stalks celery - chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion- thickly diced
  • 3 zucchini- diced into chunks
  • 2 red pepper- chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic - minced
  • 1 tbsp ground smoked chipotle chilies
  • loads of chili powder - add and taste - repeat (to reach desired flavour and colour richness)
  • fresh cilantro- chopped for garnish
  1. start by browning the ground beef, on medium heat in a frying pan- set aside
  2. in the meantime, bake the bacon in the oven at 325 degrees, until fully cooked - set aside to cool, then break into chunks
  3. in a separate dutch oven (large), sautee all the veggies in coconut/olive oil on medium heat, until cooked (softened)
  4. drain most of the liquid from the veggies, as you don't want it too watered down
  5. then take the ground beef and bacon pieces and add both to the veggies in the dutch oven
  6. next, add in both cans of tomatoes and stir throughly
  7. then, sprinkle in desired amounts of spices (taste test as you go - we put in lots as that is the way we prefer it!)
  8. let cook on low-medium heat- stirring occasionally
  9. dish and garnish with fresh cilantro
  10. enjoy!
• The above recipe is wonderful for freezing smaller portions, because of it's size. I also enjoy using the leftovers as a yummy topping on eggs or over greens. • One of my 'readers' the other day, suggested that it may be a tasty topping for my twice baked chipotle sweet potato. Good call!

pumpkin, sweet potato & leek soup

Wakey, wakey, eggs and bakey!  I woke up early this past Saturday morn and decided to make a trip to the Evergreen Brickworks outdoor farmer’s market.  Did a little texteroo with one of my friends (who actually picks up the phone and calls people anymore?  I know I should more…) and arranged to meet up at her place and drive over together.  So, we did just that.  With reusable bags in hand and cash in our pockets, we were good-to-go!

When we pulled in, the market was already in full swing.  We were fortunate enough to squeeze into a parking spot that someone was just pulling out of.  Fantastic timing.  Next, we made our way into one of the buildings that just opened up a new cafe, to get the much needed americano.  It was delish.  While warming our fingertips…fall was definitely in the air, we strolled around taking our time to check out all the vendors.  Now, when I say, taking our time…I really mean it.  While chatting it up with people, looking at different products and enjoying the company of one another…we fully and completely lost track of time.  I love that feeling.  Yes!  Three hours went by in a flash.

If you know me…I have a very difficult time focusing on one thing at a time.  I am a total distracto at the best of times.  There was a lot going on…so in the end, I think we did about 800 laps of the market, just to make sure we didn’t miss a thing.  Nearing the close of our visit, we stopped by an apple orchard stand that was selling apples (of course!) and hot apple cider with cinnamon!  Yep…that’s it…that’s all…just those two ingredients.  I am usually not the biggest fan of cider, but to say that it was unreal is an understatement.  Definitely a little somethin’ to write home about!!!  Oh…and I bought some of their MacIntosh apples.  Small, some weirdly shaped and NOT shiny!  Yes folks…that’s what apples are supposed to look like!

Anyhoo, after realizing the time, we decided that we better make a push for home.  We were both super proud of our wicked hauls and 100% pleased with all the yummy goodies that we just reeled in.  I left feeling so warm and fuzzy inside (kinda corny I know), but good food excites me!  What I love even more, is knowing where my food is coming from and also supporting local farmers.  If you live in the Toronto area or will be visiting soon…seriously check out the Evergreen Brickworks on Saturdays.  You will be glad you did!

With the cool breeze blowing through my hair on this venture and the inaugural sportin’ of the fall jacket, I was inspired and decided to wrap my arms around what is ever so closely upon us…FALL/AUTUMN…whatever you may call it.  This recipe screams warmth, comfort and coziness all in a bowl!  I am a huge soup fan any day of the week, but this one’s flavours are especially delightful this time of year.  P.S – Not gonna lie…I love fall sweaters. Don’t fight it…embrace it!  Get some stuff and make some soup.

This week’s big ass market haul:

pumpkin, sweet potato & leek soup
appetizer, side
6 +
  • 1 small cooking pumpkin - cubed
  • 6 large leek stalks - finely chopped
  • 6 medium sweet potatoes/yams - cubed
  • 4 medium carrots - chopped
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 container of vegetable stock (I used about 800 mL)
  • 5 cloves garlic - thinly sliced
  • ½ red onion - thinly sliced
  • coconut oil
  • ground nutmeg and cinnamon
  • ground pepper and sea salt
  • a few dashes of hot sauce (optional)
  1. start by sautéing the onion and garlic in coconut oil on low-medium heat on the stove-top, in a LE CREUSET/dutch oven, until they are translucent
  2. follow by adding in the leeks and let cook until softened
  3. next, take your chopped pumpkin, sweet potato/yams and carrot and add them into the pot
  4. pour in your vegetable broth and bring to a boil
  5. reduce heat to medium and continue until these veggies are throughly cooked
  6. season with a few teaspoons of ground nutmeg and/or cinnamon (sorry, I didn't measure the amounts here, but I wasn't shy)
  7. then, take an immersion hand blender and puree the soup until smooth
  8. at the same time, add in the coconut milk slowly, and continue blending until desired consistency is reached
  9. allow time to simmer on low heat for flavours to melt together
  10. serve it up in a bowl and sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt and ground pepper
  11. finish with a few dashes of hot sauce if you want a little bite!
  12. p.s - I added in an extra spoonful of coconut milk to give it a pretty swirl in the end
  13. enjoy!
• feel free to play around with the spices if you wish • some cumin or paprika would probably be a nice touch • also, you can modify the consistency of your soup by adding in a little bit more broth, if you find it is too thick • have fun with this one...choose some veggies that are in-season and you are off to the races • any type of squash is always a good bet as well • oh ya...when re-heating the leftovers (this makes a ton), I also added in some more liquid to even things out

rosemary elk stew

The long and short(ish) of it is this…

We have had a slow cooker (Crock-Pot) tucked away deep, deep in our kitchen cupboard for a serious long time.  I am talking…we haven’t even ever really touched this bad boy!  Took it out of it’s box years ago…and never used it!!!  Who knows why???  Didn’t bust it out until NOW…a Crock virgin no-longer.  Crazy talk right!?!  Sure is!  I honestly can’t believe what we have been missin’.  A sweet ass invention, a set-it-and-forget-it kinda deal!  It doesn’t get much better than that.  Ohhhh…the possibilities…Stay tuned for a yummy pulled-pork recipe that is in the works!

So, if you have one…take my word and use it!  If you don’t own one…a damn good investment.  A friend inspired me to dust mine off and give it a whirl.  So glad I did.  The elk meat ended up being so tender, basically melt in your mouth/fall apart styles.  YUM!  The rosemary and red wine combo also adds an abundance of flavour.  Honestly, one of our best recipes yet.  We put this in the slow cooker last Sunday night before bed…and it was ready in the morning (the to-die-for smell actually woke us out of our sleep mid-night) and lasted us both (husband and myself) for 3 + meals this week!!!  Going to make it again today!

The photo pictured above was taken at the beginning of the cooking process.  As the stew cooks slowly in the Crock-Pot, it naturally thickened on it’s own.  I did not need to add in a thickening agent, but if you find you need to – try some coconut flour!

rosemary elk stew
  • 2 lbs grass-fed elk stewing meat
  • ½ container of broth
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (minimal ingredients)
  • a splash or two of red wine (optional)
  • 2 stalks of celery - chopped
  • 1 package mushrooms - sliced
  • 3 large carrots (I used rainbow ones) - chopped
  • 2 sweet potatoes - peeled and diced
  • ½ head of cauliflower - chopped
  • ½ head of broccoli - chopped
  • 1-2 red/orange pepper - chopped
  • 5 shallots - whole
  • 10-12 cloves of garlic - whole
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary - whole
  • sea salt
  • ground pepper
  1. start by searing your elk meat (chunks) in a skillet on top of the stove (no need to overcook though, just brown/crisp the outside)
  2. remove and throw in your slow cooker
  3. next, wash all your veggies and cut them up into similar sized chunks
  4. toss them in your slow cooker as well
  5. pour in your liquid(ish) ingredients - broth, wine and diced tomatoes (canned) - note liquid in slow cooker should come up about ¾ of the way
  6. stir in the sprigs of rosemary and/or any other desired seasoning
  7. set your slow cooker on low and cook for 8-10 hours
  8. remove rosemary sprigs
  9. fill up your bowl
  10. enjoy!
• if you don't have access to elk...no worries...beef will do! You could even try it with certain cuts of pork or lamb. Also, the veggies that I used are not 'set in stone' - use whatever you have on hand, what is in-season or anything that you need to get rid of from the fridge! A scrumptious meal that is super simple, filling and comforting as the days get cooler!

Want another Paleo Crock-Pot idea?  A friend of mine suggested that I try this…and I think it just sounds too good not to!  “Get some beef shanks. After slightly browning them in a pan, throw ‘em in the crocker with some coconut milk. Add lots of anti-inflammatory spices like garlic, ginger, turmeric, onions.  Then, some carrots or apples for a little sweetness. Thank me later!”

get some mussels!

This post was originally written almost a year ago today.  When transferring over all the content from my site…it somehow got lost in the shuffle.  With a little searchin’ I was able to pull it up from my archives (thankfully), which are saved on my own computer.  I was so happy because I really wanted to share this with all of you.  Sidenote: I had a huge craving for these the other day, so I decided to make up a new recipe to accompany the original one.  You will find both of these recipes below.  They couldn’t be more opposite, but are both tasty in their own way.  Enjoy!

April 25, 2010 – A couple weeks ago, I took my class on a field trip downtown Toronto, to the St. Lawrence Market.  While we strolled through the aisles talking to vendors and purchasing fine goods, I realized that it was time to expand my weekly menu even further.  As I mentioned in a previous post, eating Paleo has already introduced me to new foods that I probably would have never gravitated towards, however I told myself it’s time to get even more adventurous.  Why not?  The worst is that I may not particularly take to a certain food all that much. But how will I know if I never try it?  This commitment came to be as we were surrounded by fresh meats, vegetables, fruits, fish and seafood, all which were giving me inspiration for future recipes as we continued on our visit.  Why not try at least one new food item every week I thought?

I had never been a huge fan of seafood/shellfish, for fear that I was deathly allergic (don’t laugh…I am serious, this was a legitimate concern for me…weird I know!). Although, this was proven wrong and unwarranted when I first tried mussels, lobster and shrimp….only about a year ago.  I have grown to actually love restaurant-prepared mussels, but have until now (about a year ago), had never cooked them at home.  When visiting the market, I took the above photo of the fresh mussels in their pool of ice water.  While looking back on my photos from that day, I could hear my dear friend and co-worker Susie saying in my ear, “you should try making them at home- they are super easy, fast and just lovely.”  Her go-to stop for fresh fish and seafood is Diana’s Seafood, in Scarborough.  (they are only $ 3.99 for a 2 lb bag!)  Check it out if you get a chance, it is fabulous there!  She has been saying this for months now during our lunchtime staff room chats, but I finally decided… yes I can do this, now is the time!  Here we go…

Serves 2-4 (depending on whether it is a main or side dish – usually gauge about 1 lb minimum/person)

Curried Coconut Mussels


  • 2 lbs fresh mussels- cleaned and debearded
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine *ISH (optional)
  • 1 medium white onion- finely chopped (sweet)
  • 1/2 can crushed tomatoes (organic- no sodium added)
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic- crushed
  • ½ -1 lemon freshly squeezed juice (can use some zest too if you wish)
  • 4 tbsp curry powder 
  • 1 tbsp ground chipotle chilies
  • fresh cilantro- chopped finely – to garnish
  • sea salt and fresh ground pepper


  • put mussels in a colander and wash thoroughly (debeard if needed)
  • if you notice any that are already opened- discard
  • begin by sauteing crushed garlic and onion in olive oil on medium to high heat for 5-10 minutes
  • add in water, fresh lemon juice and white wine and bring to a boil
  • pour in the mussels, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium
  • let steam for 5-7 (you will know they are finished when they open up- do not overcook)
  • remove and set aside (discard any that are not opened)
  • with juices that are left, add in crushed tomatoes, coconut milk, curry powder, ground chipotle chilies and fresh cilantro
  • heat and stir thoroughly for 3-5 minutes on medium to high heat
  • then pour cooked mussels back in with the saucy broth and toss
  • plate and garnish with more cilantro if desired
  • serve with side salad
  • enjoy!

Garlicky Mussels


  • 2 lbs fresh mussels- cleaned and debearded
  • olive or coconut oil – for sauteing
  • 2 1/2 cups of broth – homemade or store-bought
  • 1/2 cup white wine *ISH (optional)
  • 1 lemon freshly squeezed juice (can use some zest too if you wish)
  • 1 large white onion – thinly sliced
  • 1 package of white mushroom – thinly sliced
  • 10 cloves of garlic – chopped
  • 2 handfuls of baby spinach
  • 1 handful fresh basil – chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried herb mix
  • a dash or two of dried chili flakes (optional)
  • sea salt and pepper


  • put mussels in a colander and wash thoroughly (debeard if needed)
  • if you notice any that are already opened- discard
  • in a frying pan, begin by sauteing chopped garlic, onion and mushrooms in olive oil on medium to high heat for 10-15 minutes
  • when this is done to your liking, add in spinach and saute for another few minutes 
  • next, transfer sauteed veggies into a deeper dutch oven (Le Creuset)
  • add in broth, white wine and freshly squeezed lemon juice – stir together
  • then, add in some freshly chopped basil, the dried herbs, chili flakes, sea salt and pepper
  • stir everything together and bring to a boil
  • pour in the mussels, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium
  • let steam for 5-7 (you will know they are finished when they open up- do not overcook)
  • plate the opened mussels and discard any that are still closed
  • take a minute to taste the broth to see if you need to add in any additional spices
  • finally, pour broth over plated mussels
  • garnish with fresh parsley if desired
  • serve with side salad
  • enjoy!

Note: as you can see the procedures for both recipes are very similar, with only couple additional steps.  These small changes in the order that I do things varies slightly depending on what type of broth I am making!

“Wow!  Susie you were so right! So so pleased with the end product!!!  Honestly, the easiest thing to make….and turned out wicked!  Plate lickin’ good!  We have another 2 lbs waiting in the fridge for tomorrow or the next day to gobble up!  I will experiment and see if I can come up with another broth/sauce to accompany them or perhaps give Susie’s special marinara sauce that she swears by a go!”

robb wolf, THIS, THAT and the OTHER

sweet potato, sausage & kale soup

Holy smokeroo…there is just so much wicked stuff going down as of late.  Over the past couple weeks, I have felt a total surge of paleo love.  Okay, where to start?!?  Hmmm…how about getting the chance to meet ROBB WOLF for reals!  Robb was kickin’ it in Tdot for a few days before giving his Paleo Solution Seminar, last Saturday. Rewind to the Wednesday prior to this…

March 23, 2011

This was definitely a ‘happening humpday’ to say the least.  The opportunity to chat it up, dig into some fab eats, while dinin’ with Robb Wolf, his beautiful wife Nicki Violetti and 6 other amazing and driven paleo peeps.  Surreal.  When I was included in the invite to this small gathering at Enoteca Sociale, I was beyond ecstatic.  Thank you to Dhani Oks for organizing this wee soiree.  In true ‘Dhani style’ this night was well-thought out, unique and truly something to remember.  He arranged with the owner of the restaurant, alongside the chefs to create a complete paleo menu for us…

Yep…it all sounds so good doesn’t it!?  Well it was.  I fully had a difficult time deciding which options to choose.  Totally unreal, especially the Cornish hen & spicy cacciatore.  This was the ‘secondi’ that I ended up ordering.  Prior to this, I had the sweet potato, sausage & kale soup, which was so delish as well.  To round things off, we were served a fresh pear dessert for ‘dolci’.  Take a peek at some of this fantastic food…

cornish hen & spicy cacciatore

Feeling so fortunate, it was really refreshing to be in such close quarters (we dined in the wine cellar, which was cool!) with progressive thinkers, who beam with a passion to help others in various ways.   It is not everyday that this ‘salt of the earth’ and selfless nature is so visibly clear.  Mirroring our own personal ‘podcast’, Robb and Nicki shared experiences and stories with us, as well as their opinions on different topics.  After spending not even five minutes in the same comfy confines…it was clear that Robb is hugely charismatic, funny as hell and extremely committed.  Such down to earth and ‘real’ people.  I am a huge fan of his ‘tell it like it is…not bullshit attitude!’  As the convo continued…everybody chimed in and had something different to bring to the table (pun intended)!  As in the title of this blog post, the THIS, THAT and THE OTHER represent things that I discovered that night, which are happening within our paleo community and wanted to share with you.  To find out…keep on truckin’…

 A few days later…all of us there took part in Robb’s day long Paleo Solution gig (that is def his word haha!), which took place at the Weston Harbourfront Hotel.  This amazing vibe continued on.  In one word…WICKED AWESOME!  Okay…that was 2, but you get the point.  I will have full details of the seminar for another blog post, as I learned a TON! Thank you times a mill!!!

That was Robb…but what about THIS you ask?  THIS>SHIRT  is what I am talking about!  Wear your care.  Founded by Dhani Oks of Academy of Lions…this initiative is nothing shy of incredible.  “Our Partner Global Medic has been in Japan since the disasters providing support to victims. Profits from THIS SHIRT will be directed to providing clean drinking water and hospital care to those in need.”  Check it…and buy a shirt to help Japan!

Also, another exciting venture over at Academy of Lions is The Primal Grind  espresso bar.  If in the Parkdale area…be sure to pop in and try some of their goodies!  “Everything for the modern hunter-gatherer – the primal grind is an espresso bar and food shop just off the ossington strip.  All our treats and grocery items are 100% gluten-free and free of processed sugars. we use coconut milk and almond milk to create your favorite lattes and wholesome ingredients such as eggs, walnuts, fruit, cacao and pure vanilla in our treats.   We’re open early, so we can give you the kick you need, when you need it.”

Next stop, is THAT!  THAT = MOVNAT.  Have you heard of of it?  No?  Yes?  Maybe so?  Regardless, check out this video of Greg Carver, co-owner of Strengthbox explaining just THAT!!!  Click here.  Such a solid video.  I have yet to try it out for myself, but I am definitely intrigued and interested in giving it a go!  Their basic philosophy is as follows.  “We believe in General Physical Preparedness (GPP), meaning functional, diverse athletic ability (including the ability to perform tasks in the real world). As a natural movement gym, we strive for lean, well-proportioned physiques. This is primal fitness; fitness levels that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would have possessed.To gain real-life athleticism, we need to learn to move naturally, lift heavy objects, and work occasionally with a high degree of intensity.” 

In addition to that wonderful video…Robb and Greg were also busy last week shooting various segments of the Wylde on Health Show, which aired on Toronto’s CP24.  In case you missed it…here is the link for your viewing pleasure. 

Have  you made it this far???  Well if you have…thank you!  Finally, THE OTHER…a quick update on the new and noteworthy going-ons in my life.   I will keep this brief(ish).  Well, heck ya, let’s even throw in some bullet points to wrap this baby up!

  • Having fun chillin’ as a MOD in Robb Wolf’s Forum - chatting. posing, answering and learning.  If you haven’t been there…GO!  It’s very friendly and welcoming!
  • Was recently featured on The Foodie Project website…very exciting!  “The Foodee Project brings the best paleo friendly meals and resources to one easy to use location. There are some incredible people spreading the good paleo word and we aim to bring as much attention to what they are doing as possible.”  Check out the site…a terrific resource. 
  • Finally…The Ancestral Health Symposium.  So stoked to be attending this event in LA this summer.  A fabulous opportunity to be part of an audience that will hear presentations from Loren Cordain, Art De Vany, Kurt Harris, Erwan Le Corre, Nora Gedgaudas, Mark Sisson, Gary Taubes, Robb Wolf  and many more!!!  There are still tickets available, so perhaps I will be seeing you there!?!