creamy, yet chunky garlicky guac

I have made guac many times before, but have recently updated my recipe with a couple sweet tweaks here and there. The ‘new & improved’ version, so to speak!  In my opinion, making that perfect guac, honestly has a lot to do with finding the perfect avocados.  Catching them at the right time, is key.  They need to be ripe and ready to go, but not starting to go brown inside.  Sidenote: how many times have you bought avocados and thrown them out???  They go fast!  There lies the fine line. The second point to securing amazing flavour is mincing your fresh garlic, rather than just chopping it up.  I find this makes a huge difference is giving it so much more flavour.  Garlic breath beware!

My new version of homemade guac is creamier, yet still a little on the chunky side.  You know…kinda like ‘crispy’ and ‘saucy’ wings…I like a happy combo of both.  The generous amounts of squeezed lime juice and cilantro make it so FRESH!  I love that guac is so filling and serves so many purposes.  Throw it on some meat, use it as a dip for veggies, top off your fav kind of eggs…or just gobble it up on it’s own!  Whatever the case may be, chances are you will be adding it to anything and everything in sight.  It is so good and highly addictive…I fully ate almost the entire batch (and it was a huge batch) all by my lonesome!  Okay…enough chit chat.  Here is is…

Note:  I have made changes/additions below that differ from my original recipe.

creamy, yet chunky garlicky guac
Condiment, Side
4 +
 
Ingredients
  • 4 large avocados (ripe - soft, but not too soft to the touch)
  • 2-3 small white onions - finely diced
  • 6 plum tomatoes - finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2-3 limes - freshly squeezed juice
  • fresh cilantro - chopped (lots!)
  • coarse sea salt - several pinches (I used rosemary & lemon)
  • ground black pepper - generous amounts
  • ground cumin - a pinch or two
  • ground cayenne - a pinch or two
  • hot sauce or chopped jalapenos - to kick it up a notch (optional)
Instructions
  1. peel, cut and de-pit avocados, into a medium-sized bowl
  2. add in onions, tomatoes, garlic and lime juice
  3. using a fork, begin mashing all the ingredients together
  4. then, add in cilantro, sea salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne and hot sauce/jalapenos (optional)
  5. continue the mashing process until you have reached your desired consistency
  6. enjoy!

spicy meat ‘cupcakes’ & ‘loaf’

When talking about meatloaf…I think there are two distinct camps.  You either loved it or you hated it growing up as a kid!  I am most def a huge fan. I remember that smell so clealy as a walked in the door from figure skating. Ohhhhh…that is such an unforgettable aroma. Toally warm and comforting, as I remember. During my childhood, I LOVED it when my my mom would make this comforting dish.  I never got tired of it…and looked forward to our weekly dinner of meatloaf with a sidekick of baked potato.  Her version was simple, yet amazing.  I have tried to re-create her recipe many times, but could never do it justice.  What an incredible cook she was…rest her soul.

Up until last year, I had not had ‘homemade’ meatloaf in several YEARS, until I discovered it at Rowe Farms.  I think we basically bought one of their store-made babies almost every week this past fall/winter.  Sadly, I was in there a couple weeks ago and ‘the dude’ told me they are no longer carrying them!  WHHHHATTTT!?!  So…with inspiration from their version, along with my mom’s…I decided to ‘wing it’ and make my own, with ‘the flair of Cyn’.  Of course I had to add some bacon in there for some extra flav!!! ;)  Kicking it up with some spice was my modus operandi…and topping it with my love of avocado was a purposeful touch.

WARNING…HIGHLY ADDICTIVE!  I CUT MYSELF OFF after 13 meat ‘cupcakes’…well maybe not that many, but you get my point.  Hope you love them!!

PS – I have used the same mixture for the meat ‘cupcakes’ and the ‘loaf’ alike.  Both turned out wicked.  A full-on meal or some scrumptious little appetizers…whatever your heart desires!

spicy meat 'cupcakes' & 'loaf'
main
4 +
 
Ingredients
  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 1 lb of ground pork
  • 6 slices of bacon - cut into small pieces
  • 1 large carrot - shredded
  • 1 beet - shredded
  • 1 medium onion - chopped
  • .5 package of mushrooms - diced
  • 1 jalapeno pepper - finely diced (optional)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp 'grainy' mustard
  • 4 cloves of garlic - crushed or finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp dried mixed herbs (Italian)
  • 1 tbsp of cayenne pepper (optional )
  • a few dashes of sea salt and ground pepper
  • toppings - guacamole (can spoon on or use a corner-cut ziplock to 'ice' them.
  • hot sauce (optional)
Instructions
  1. in a large bowl, combine ground pork, beef and bacon
  2. add in all veggies to the mix
  3. crack and whisk eggs in a separate bowl and add into the large bowl
  4. next, add in all the herbs and spices
  5. using your hands (get in there), thoroughly fold all the ingredients together
  6. take picture and press firmly into a greased 'loaf pan' or 'muffin cups'
  7. preheat oven to 350 degrees and bake for approx 45 minutes (this is the time for the loaf, meat cupcakes bake quicker
  8. finally, broil for 5-10 minutes (watching carefully)
  9. remove from oven and let cool a little
  10. plate and serve with a dollop or two...or three of guac and hot sauce (optional)
  11. enjoy!
Notes
• if you aren't a fan of super spicy dishes, omit the jalapeno and ground cayenne pepper. • btw - aren't those wee meat 'cupcakes too adorable to resist?!? Try them at your next dinner party...

the ‘boareo’ cookie

Choose your own adventure. You decide. 
Read: (a) the super short version  (b) the short-ish version or (c) the rambling long version…
(a)  Eat meat and good fat!  Veggies too.  Not processed garbagio.  So, without further ado, I introduce to you…the ‘boareo’ cookie.  Guacamole between wild boar meat.  THE END!

(b)  Since starting to eat ‘Paleo’ (almost 3 years ago now), I have totally eliminated pretty much every single dessert you could think of from my diet.  When I want something sweet, I turn to mixed berries or dark chocolate.  Usually though, I concentrate on eating meat, fish/seafood and fat.  Simple.  Easy.  Satisfying.  So, without further ado, I introduce to you…the “boreo” cookie.  This is what a cookie looks like in my world.  I used the wild boar sliders and some fresh guacamole to create this yummy treat.  These are fantastic little appetizers.  I repeat…all you need is guacamole and meat to make these tiny sandwiches.  Yep it’s true, that is all!  Ask yourself…why not eat this…rather than THIS!?!?  THE END!

(c) A couple weekends ago we took a wee trip downtown to the St. Lawrence Market.  This is one of our fav ‘good morning’ weekend adventure hot spots.  The key is to get there early, as this place is near packed by noon.  You can ‘be in and out like nobody’s business’ if you are up at the crack of dawn, or can embrace the ‘hustle n’ bustle’ style atmosphere if you visit later on in the day.  Either way, you will have access to loads of wicked vendors, who are selling a plethora of amazing foods.  We are so fortunate to have this resource in our city.  Adding a ‘Trader’s Joe’s’ to the scene would just make Toronto the ‘cat’s a$$’…anyhoo (continued wishful thinking)!

Uncharacteristic of our usual stroll avec americano in hand, this trip was somewhat different.  Drove downtown, arrived there and “The Duster” waited in the car as I just ran in.  We had a birthday party to go to that day and were running behind, so I had to be ‘snappy’.  As I hopped out of the car, Dusty bellowed….”get lotsa meat!”  If you haven’t already noticed…I LOVE MEAT.  Crave it…well, all the time.  Beef, chicken, pork…you name it… I LOVE it all…or do I?!?!  (cue sound effects…dun…dun…dun)  Have I really even touched the surface of all good that is out there in this department?!  As I perused the aisles of the market, I realized that there are just so many different types of meat I have NOT tried, as of yet. 

Without further thought, I set off to buy some carnivorous treats.  I decided to buy some which were ‘virgin’ to us…and give them a go!   Whitehouse Meats  was my first stop.  At that counter I picked up some wild boar and bison sliders.  So much variety of meat to choose from – venison, elk, buffalo, kangaroo, wild rabbit, musk ox…just to name a few.  Also, an extensive list of game birds such as, pheasant, quail, duck, goose, partridge, squab and Guinea fowl.  We absolutely love experimenting with trying new foods.  I have committed to trying something new within the food realm every week.  Cooking various kinds of organ meat  is going to be a next attempt for me in the kitchen.  Stay tuned for upcoming reviews and recipes about this. 

Slightly dizzy from the crowd and definitely salivating, I was done.  Within 13 minutes, I was strollin’ back to the car with a bag, filled with MEAT.  Lotsa bacon, a pork roast, the sliders, sausages, several chicken breasts, as well as some thighs.  Got back in the car.  Dusty smiled from ear to ear, as he took a peek in the bag, as he drove away.  We even enjoyed some delicious back bacon in the car on the way home.  Yummers! 

Ingredients

  • meat sliders or mini burgs  (homemade or pre-made/store bought) – can use various meats
  • guacamole

Prep

  • put sliders in pan and cook on medium heat
  • turn and cook until desired
  • let cool for several minutes on a plate or wire rack
  • when cool, take one slider and top with a spoonful of guacamole
  • then, take the other slider and gently press to form the ‘boreo’ cookie
  • arrange on a plate
  • enjoy!

THE END!!!

‘guacafied’ eggs

A perfect appetizer for the next party you are hosting or simply delicious as a new snack for you and your family to enjoy.  This recipe is a modern twist on the good ol’ classic…deviled eggs.  I have to be honest here…I have never actually had deviled eggs before.  Kinda weird right?  Oh wel!  Anyhoo, these babies are a yummy way of spicin’ up your life, especially if you eat hardboiled eggs pretty much daily like myself.  If you are getting tired of your standard ‘go-to’s’, then give these bite-sized bits a go.  Again, similar to my last post…the options here for toppings are pretty much endless!

Admitedly, I had sooooo much fun making these (total nerd on a Friday night!)  I am very ‘crafty’ and loved putting these little creations together.  Without a doubt, I think that this is the prettiest, cutest, most adorable dish I have made thus far.  I have had the idea for this recipe in my head for quite some time.  I just thought that the combo of the eggs with the guac would be so tasty together…and damn I was right.  I finally sat down on the weekend and made a list of toppings I thought would compliment one another, grabbed a few items at the store and got busy in the kitchen.  In the end (after sampling the platter) our top 3 favs were…the ones topped with bacon (of course!), the sauteed mushroom and then sauteed onion and roasted red pepper.  Put your thinkin’ cap on…what delicious variations can you dream up?!

‘guacafied’ eggs
appetizer
many
 
Ingredients
  • eggs - number of course depends on how many you wish to make (add on a few extra, just incase some break or don't cooperate with you!)
  • guacamole - can use homemade or storebought (I used Mad Mexican Guacamole)
  • assorted toppings
  • fresh herbs and spices
  • boston lettuce leaves for even more effect! ;) - optional
Instructions
  1. start by harboiling your eggs for 8-12 minutes (depending on number of eggs)
  2. drain hot water and let cool by covering with cold water and placing in the fridge
  3. in the meantime, sautee any veggies or cook any meat that needs to be prepared
  4. while this is happening, cut or chop any veggies/herbs that you are going to use as toppings
  5. once eggs have completely cooled, crack the shell and carefully peel the eggs
  6. once peeled, take a large sharp knife and cut eggs in half
  7. remove yolks using a small spoon while gently squeezing the egg (I kept the yolks and used them to crumble on top of a salad)
  8. with a spoon or using a pastry bag (like I did to make them pretty!), fill the 'emptied eggs' with guacamole
  9. garnish with desired toppings
  10. plate and serve
  11. enjoy!
Notes
Other topping options may include: smoked salmon, tuna, shrimp, crab, fresh ginger, spicy ground beef, sardines, sundried tomatoes, olives, hot peppers, sausage pieces, caviar (if you are really fancy), pulled pork, shredded chicken, various herbs/spices and of course many more!

mini burgs

 

Trust me…you won’t even miss the bun!  Really…these burgers are so flavourful, you will want them to stand alone.  I have always been a meat lover (steak yummmm), but since zeroing in on my diet and increasing my workouts I have become a CRAZY CARNIVORE!!!  I can actually really notice that my body totally craves protein now…BIGTIME!

Preparing and cooking these tasty burgs are super easy and will satisfy those cravings ASAP.  To date, this is definately one of our favourite Paleo recipes.  When I made these the first time, I used lean ground beef and have since tried the same recipe with ground turkey.  Both turned out equally as delicious, it just depends on what you are in the mood for.  One thing is for sure…these little protein bites are definitely a PARTY in the mouth!

The next time I make these mini burgs, I am going to get more adventurous and experiment with elk, bison or maybe even wild boar~ who knows?  I am on a mission to investigate and check out some local butchers and farms to see what I can get my hands on!  Eaters BEWARE, these little stacks of goodness are highly addictive.  Bet you won’t be able to stop at 3 or 4 or 5…

mini burgs
appetizer
4
 
Ingredients
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or other meat of choice
  • coconut or olive oil- for cooking
  • ¼ small onion- grated
  • ½ small zucchini- grated
  • ½ small carrot- grated
  • 2 cloves garlic- crushed
  • 3 tsp red curry paste ~*ISH
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ground pepper to taste
Instructions
  1. heat oil in frying pan
  2. put meat of choice in a large mixing bowl
  3. grate onion, zucchini, carrot and garlic and combine
  4. add curry paste, ground cinnamon and pepper
  5. mix thoroughly- using your hands works best here
  6. form small balls with mixture and then flatten into mini patties
  7. cook on medium heat, alternating sides for 10-12 minutes or until cooked
  8. top with guacamole
  9. enjoy!

guacamole with some bite

Can you believe that up until a couple years ago I had never tried an avocado?  Yes…you heard me right, NEVER!!! Not even in guacamole.  Now I honestly go through them like they are going out of style.  “An avocado a day, keeps the doctor away!”  Okay maybe that is a bit much, but they are a scrumptious way of getting healthy fat into your diet.  After deciding to embrace the Paleo lifestyle, I have become more open and willing to try new foods, which I previously wouldn’t.

There are so many different ways to prepare dishes containing avocados.  For me, I love using my avocado slicer (see my fav stuff), and adding it as a topping on an omelette or scrambled eggs- delish!  For work,  I will often take and dice them to lay on a bed of mixed greens or just have as a side, drizzled with balsamic.  More recently, I have started to make a big batch of guacamole  to use during all meals as an on-hand-ready to go dip or spread for just about anything.  It is extremely satisfying and if you want a bit more “texture”, get creative and add finely diced celery, cucumber or different kinds of peppers into your guacamole.  The possibilities are endless! It is one of those recipes where taste testing, eyeballing and improvisation work extremely well.  Below you will find the basic guacamole recipe that we use frequently when cooking Paleo styles.

guacamole with some bite
appetizer, snack, condiment
many
 
Ingredients
  • 4 large avocados
  • ½ red onion- diced
  • ½ pint cherry tomatoes- diced
  • 1-2 tbsp of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves garlic - chopped
  • ½ lime- squeezed
  • ground pepper to taste
  • fresh cilantro- chopped (optional- taste can be strong for some)
Instructions
  1. halve and scoop avocados into bowl
  2. finely dice tomatoes and red onion, then add to mixture
  3. add garlic, chili flakes and ground pepper
  4. squeeze in lime juice and add cilantro if desired
  5. mash all ingredients together to preferred consistency (smooth or chunky)- potato masher works well here
  6. enjoy!