Friday, September 2, 2016

Broccoli Crunch Salad

So I went to Whole Foods with my good friends over at Markettop and I discovered the most INCREDIBLE salad.  It's called the broccoli crunch salad (if you ever stop by the counter there, you have to try it - they sample for free).  So I bought a large container of it and ate it.  Then the next week, I did the same thing.  Then I found myself craving it!  So, I decided to recreate it at home.  It's a Whole Foods salad on a budget.  I hope you enjoy it too.

2 large heads broccoli 
1/2c mayonaisse (feel free to use homemade)
2tbs apple cider vinegar
1tbs coconut sugar (substitute granulated sugar if needed)
1/4c diced prunes (or raisins/craisins/golden raisins)
1/2c dry roasted cashews, chopped
3 slices cooked nitrate free bacon, crumbled
2tbs red onion, finely minced

1. Steam broccoli in a big pot for 2 minutes.  Then dunk in an ice water bath and drain.
2. In a separate bowl, mix mayo, vinegar and sugar.
3. In a large bowl toss broccoli, dressing, prunes, cashews, bacon and red onion.
4. Eat immediately or let it sit in the fridge for the flavors to melt together.  Delish!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Check Out My New Blog

Hey Friends,

I haven't updated Primal Bites much since my daughter was born, however, I have a new blog I am working on and I would love for you guys to check it out and let me know what you think:

Extra Happi Blog

I'm really putting my heart and soul into this one.

Feel free to keep using this blog for your recipes.  It's not going anywhere :)



Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Paleo Swedish Meatballs with Sweet Potato Mash & Roasted Carrots

Those of your who have been to IKEA know what I am talking about: The meatballs!!  If you have no idea what I am talking about, here's a clue: Swedish meatballs are traditionally a blend of meats in a gravy sauce and they are sooooo good.  I simplified mine and used all beef but feel free to mix beef and pork or something similar.  I sent leftovers of this ridiculously delicious meal with my husband to work one day and he came home later that night and said, "My friends at Pest Control Tucson think these are the best meatballs they have ever eaten in their lives."  Yup.  They are that good.  Enjoy!

Hell yea!

2lb grass fed ground beef
2 egg yolk
1tbs fresh parsley
1tsp sea salt
1tsp black pepper
1/4tsp cinnamon
1/2tsp allspice
1 small onion, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
2tbs butter

1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1 can (14oz) full fat coconut milk - first pressed is best
2c beef broth
2tbs butter
1tsp black pepper
3tbs tapioca flour (alternative recipe uses 2-3tbs brown rice flour)
salt to taste 

Mashed Sweet Potatoes:
6 sweet potatoes (or however many you choose)
6tbs butter
salt to taste

2c baby carrots, quartered
1tbs olive or avocado oil

1. Heat oven to 350.  Scrub your potatoes and throw them in the over for at least an hour.  When you can pierce them easily with a fork they are done.  Peel them and mash with some butter and salt.  Viola!  Mashed sweet potatoes.  Easy right?!

If you are doing roasted carrots, I put the potatoes in foil and let them set.  I toss the carrots in some oil, sprinkle with salt, and throw in the oven at 425 for about 25-30 minutes stirring about every 10 minutes.  They are done when they start to caramelize, brown, and even blacken a bit. 

2. Meanwhile, while your potatoes are cooking, in a pan over medium high heat, cook onion in a tablespoons of butter until soft and translucent.  Add 3 cloves garlic and cook a minute or 2 longer until fragrant and soft (stir frequently, you don't want your garlic to burn).  Remove some for the gravy (about 1/3).
3. Combine beef, egg yolk, and spices in a bowl.  Add slightly cooled onion.  Mix well but don't over mix.
4. Form into meatballs (between 1-2 inches is fine).  Whatever size  you pick, stick with it so they cook evenly.
5. Heat a skillet over medium-high and add  another tablespoon of butter.  Add your meatballs until the pan is full but not overcrowded (do this in batches - it will turn out better).  Cook about 10 minutes, or until they are browned on all sides (watch them and turn them after each side has browned).  Place in a large stock pot after they are browned and start with the next batch.
6. Now for the gravy: Add onion and garlic to the skillet (the 1/3 your set aside earlier).  Add coconut milk, beef broth, butter, and pepper.  Cook a few minutes.
7. In a small bowl, mix tapioca flour with a bit of water (you are using this like cornstarch).  Add to the gravy and bring to a boil.  Whisk and cook about 5 minutes.  Season with salt.  Blend in a blender if lumpy.

ALTERNATIVE GRAVY:  This one takes a little more time:  In a pan, cook 2tbs brown rice flour and 2tbs butter until browned (stir constantly) over medium heat.  Add beef broth and wisk.  Bring to a boil.  Add coconut milk and continue to whisk.  Boil gently until reduced and season with salt and pepper.

8. Whatever gravy method you used (the tapioca recipe comes out a little sticky and gooey - tastes great but not my favorite texture.  the brown rice recipe comes out a little grainy sometimes but resembles more like traditional gravy) pour the gravy over the meatballs and give it a gentle stir.  Cook on medium, or gently simmer until flavors are combined and meatballs are cooked through (5-10 minutes more).  Serve over warm mashed sweet potatoes.  OMG die.  So good. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Product Review: New York Baking Company's Silicone Baking Cups

Yes, 1 more review on an inventive product:  silicone cupcake baking cups.  I received these in the mail about a week ago and I waited until my husband's birthday yesterday to try them out.  Prior to using them, my 1 year old daughter LOVED playing with them.  In fact, she plays with them almost every day:

Penelope approved!

 So, yesterday I made gluten free yellow cake with dark chocolate frosting (my husband's favorite).  They turned out delicious.  Sorry, no recipe today because I cheated and used Pamela's Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix and Pamela's Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Frosting Mix.  Not quite as good as the cupcakes I make from scratch but still delicious in a pinch.  Okay, back to the baking cups.

Happy Birthday Anthony!

Easy to use.  Just use them like regular paper liners.  Easy to peel.  They didn't stick to the cupcake and I love the fun bright colors. Plus, you don't have to worry about buying disposable liners all the time.  I can definitely remember trying to make cupcakes or muffins and running out of liners.  With 24 of these dudes in a pack, I definitely won't have that happen to me again.

You have to clean each one when you are done (obviously).  I thought they were pretty easy to clean but my niece told me if you don't clean them right away they can be tough to clean.  I didn't have a problem with these particular baking cups so maybe it depends on the brand.

My friend Alexis told me that she used them for a birthday party at her house and everyone threw the liners away so she had to go digging in the trash after the party to retrieve them.  She said it happened a few times actually.  So they are good for home use but I wouldn't take them to a party.  Also, if you try to remove the liners before serving them, the cupcakes really aren't very pretty at that point.

Great product.  I will definitely use them again (and so will Penelope). If you are lazy or in a hurry and don't want liners to clean, buy disposable.  If you are bringing them to a party, I would still buy disposable.  But for home use?  Great!

Where to Purchase:

Product Review: Foster Farms Gluten Free Corn Dogs

First, let me start out by saying I love corn dogs.  I'll say it again:  I LOVE CORN DOGS!  Being Paleo and gluten free, I haven't had one in years.  The last time I had a corn dog was about 7 years ago at the Orange County Fair in California and it make me sick for a week. So I have to admit I was pretty excited when I was sent a box (okay 8 boxes) of Foster Farm's new gluten free corn dogs to sample and review on my blog. 

Enough for an army

So, should you go out and buy these?  Here's the down and dirty.

These little dudes taste AMAZING.  I mean, to me they taste no different than a regular corn dog.  I actually think they taste a little bit sweeter which I love.  The outside is crunchy with a soft sweet corn breading and a hot chicken dog inside.  I actually prefer 100% beef hotdogs, but the chicken dog wasn't too bad.  Considering it's Foster Farms, I imagine they won't be making beef anytime soon.  1 caveat here though: I haven't had a corn dog in many years so I am not exactly a corn dog expert.  But in my humble opinion, they are outstanding.  

Ease of Use:
I threw these bad boys in the oven frozen for 20 minutes and they came out perfect.  Super easy.  Super convenient. 

Okay, here's the downside.  They are junk food.  I am a paleo advocate, so I cannot tell you to go run out and buy these as a healthy dinner.  They are processed.  The corn breading, although delicious, is crap.  The chicken dogs are surely not free range or organic and therefore should be eaten OCCASIONALLY.

They are certified to be gluten free.  This makes them leaps and bounds better than a regular corndog.  However, take a peek at the ingredient list:

Soy flour, soybean oil, refinery syrup, "natural flavor", vegetable oil, "mechanically separated chicken", corn syrup, potassium lactate & acetate, sodium phosphate, sodium dacetate, "flavorings", sodium erythorbate, and sodium nitrate are some of the ingredients here.  I mean, let's call this what it is:  gluten free junk food.

Overall Opinion:
These are delicious.  No doubt.  I haven't had a corn dog in years so I thought I had died and went to heaven (and if I eat too many of these, I will die and go to heaven).  I think they are okay to eat very occasionally.  They are better than a regular corn dog but don't go eating too many of these because they are highly processed and full of awful and hidden ingredients.  Also, I did notice a slight headache after I ate one.  I am pretty sensitive to preservatives so this did not surprise me.  I am overall happy to see more products being offered gluten free, however, keep in mind gluten free doesn't automatically mean healthy.  

For more product info please check out the Foster Farms website:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Cod n' Sprouts

This meal is SO delicious.  OMG I mean heavenly.  Wild caught cod topped with guac & paired with roasted brussels sprouts, smashed sweet potatoes, and a chipotle vinaigrette drizzle.  Yum!  It's an easy meal that is great year round, but especially in spring when burssels sprouts are in season.  Enjoy.

Ingredients (serves 2):
2 filets of wild caught cod (or another mild white flaky fish)
2tsp organic butter
2tsp organic extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper

2 or 3 cups brussels sprouts (washed, trimmed, and quartered)
1tbs garlic olive oil (alternatively use regular olive oil and a pinch of garlic salt)
salt & pepper

1 avocado, cubed
2tbs chopped cilantro
small handful cherry tomatoes, quartered
garlic salt to taste
1-2 drops doTERRA lime essential oil (buy here)

2 sweet potatoes
2tbs organic butter

2tbs Chipotle Vinaigrette (recipe here)

1. Preheat your oven to 350F.  Scrub your potatoes, place them on a foil lined baking sheet and throw them in the oven for about an hour (or until tender when pierced with a fork).  Remove and cover with foil to keep warm.
2. Increase oven temp to 425F.  Place your quartered brussels sprouts on a non-stick foil lined baking sheet.  Toss with oil and a bit of salt.  Place in the oven and roast 20-30 minutes, tossing occasionally, until sprouts are tender and the leaves are black and crispy (so good!)
3. While the sprouts are cooking, time to prepare everything else!  Toss your cubed avocado with cilantro, tomatoes, a drop or two of lime essential oil and salt and garlic to taste.  Smash a bit so you get a nice chunky guac.  Set aside.
4. If you don't have a vinaigrette made up already, make some up and shake it in a closed jar or dressing container.  Set aside.
5. Peel your potatoes and hand mash them with some butter and salt.  Done.
6. Heat a nonstick pan over medium high heat with butter and olive oil.  Add fish.  Sprinkle with salt.  Cover and cook until the bottom is browned (about 3 minutes).  Flip and turn the heat down to medium low.  Cook until it flakes easily with a fork (maybe 3 minutes more).
7. On a large plate, put a scoop of potatoes.  Top with fish and sprouts.  Drizzle with vinaigrette.  Top with guac.  Serve.  OMG SO GOOD!!  

Where to learn about Lime Essential Oil: Aroma Nurse blog post on Lime
Where to purchase Lime Essential Oil: My doTERRA Wellness Store

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chipotle Chicken with Pineapple Avocado Salsa

This recipe is SO EASY you are going to love it!  I throw it in the crock pot, turn it to high until it is done, shred the chicken and serve it with an amazing pineapple avocado salsa.  Done.  This meal is great for those days where you don't feel like making a big production.  I made this on a Sunday so we would have leftovers for the rest of the week.  Okay, it didn't last that long but I tried.  To make this a lighter dish, serve as a salad.  Otherwise try it with some organic basmati brown rice and fresh organic spinach.  Either way, I like mine drizzled with Chipotle-Honey Vinaigrette (found here). Enjoy!

4-5lb boneless skinless chicken thighs
2-3c of your favorite salsa (make sure it's mild though because we are adding chipotle later and it's hot!)
2-4 chipotle chiles in adobo, minced (For a lot of spice, keep the seeds.  For less spice, remove the seeds)
1tbs adobo sauce (from the same can)

Pineapple Avocado Salsa:
1 pineapple, diced
2c cherry tomoatoes, diced
2 avocado, diced
1/4c cilantro, chopped
A pinch of garlic powder
Fresh ground sea salt to taste
1 drop DoTerra Lime Essential Oil (Secret ingredient that really makes this recipe to DIE for!  Buy here)

Salad Greens
Organic Brown Rice (Basmati is my favorite)
Chipotle-Honey Viniagrette (recipe found here)
Corn Tortillas:  You can make them gluten free tacos if you want too

1. In a slow cooker, add your chicken, salsa, chipotles and adobo sauce.  Mix well.  Turn to high for about 4-5 hours or until meat is tender.  Alternatively, turn it on low (it will take almost double the time so maybe 7-8 hours depending on your slow cooker).
2. When the chicken is done, break it up into chunks or shred it with two forks depending on your preference.
3. Put together the salsa:  Mix pineapple, tomatoes, and cilantro. Add a sprinkle of garlic powder and sea salt and taste.  Keep adjusting until you have the amount of garlic you like.  Add 1 drop of lime essential oil (this will make your whole dish POP).  Stir well.
4. Serve chicken with salsa on top.  Alternatively, make a brown rice burrito bowl drizzled with vinaigrette.  Or turn it into a salad.  They would also make delicious shredded chicken tacos.  The possibilities are endless.  Enjoy!

About Essential Oils:
You can visit my sister blog Aroma Nurse to learn about DoTerra Essential Oils or my DoTerra Wellness Store to purchase them.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easy Coconut Milk Custard

I have to admit, this recipe was originally intended for Baby P.  I always make homemade baby food for her and I have been trying to add lots of healthy fat in her diet.  I thought homemade coconut milk custard would be the perfect baby food dessert.  I didn't want to mess with the hot water bath, baking it in the oven for an hour, blah blah blah so I created this recipe as a quick alternative to make on the stove.  Although intended for Penelope, it was so delicious, my husband Anthony and I ate almost the whole thing.  In one sitting.  Don't worry, there's a (small) bowl left for the baby.  Ha!  This one really is good for the whole family!  Enjoy!

Not the best picture because I had to snap it from my phone really quick before it was gone!

Ingredients (should serve 4... but in our case it served 2 and 1/2)
1 can full fat coconut milk (first cold pressed is best)
1/2tsp cinnamon plus more for dusting
4 egg yolks
1/3c sugar
2tsp vanilla extract
3tbs cornstarch

1. In a large bowl, blend egg yolk, sugar, vanilla and corn starch until combined and thick.
2. In a medium saucepan, heat coconut milk and cinnamon (stirring constantly) until just boiling (I had my heat on medium high but you can do it on medium or low if you are worried about not stirring it enough).
3. While beating the eggs continuously (so they don't' curdle), slowly add the hot coconut milk to the bowl in one slow steady stream.
4. Add the mixture back into the saucepan, turn to medium and cook whisking constantly until nice and thick.
5. Pour into one large 8 inch container or individual ramekins to set.  Sprinkle more cinnamon on top.  Nutmeg would be good on top too but unfortunately my husband hates it so I hardly ever use it.
6. Let set to room temp and serve.  Alternatively, serve warm or cold.  Yum!

NOTE:  I am not as strict paleo as I used to be so this has some refined sugar and cornstarch.  You could substitute some honey instead (I didn't because the baby can't have it yet).  You could also try thickening it with a more paleo-friendly thickener like arrowroot, potato starch, or something of that sort.  I haven't made it that way... but just a thought.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Mexican Fish Salad w Chipotle Honey Vinaigrette

I love Chipotle.  No, I'm not talking about the chile (although I love that too).  I'm talking about the take-out restaurant.  We eat there at least a few times a month.  I always order the same thing: Carnitas salad, with peppers, mild salsa, guacamole & their deliciously smokey vinaigrette.  I also make my own version of these salads at home.  This time I used wild-caught-cod and it was just delightful.  Usually I do chicken or steak in these Mexican dishes but I think I just found my new favorite spring meal.  Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 2):

2 bowls of chopped greens (I used a mixture of Organic Red Lettuce & Romaine)
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into strips
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
1 orange bell pepper, cut into strips
1tbs extra virgin olive oil

2 filets mild and flaky wild-caught-fish (I used Alaskan Cod)
1tbs extra virgin olive oil
1tbs butter
8 drops DoTERRA Lemon Essential Oil ( buy here)
Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper
a pinch of garlic powder

Guacamole Salsa:
2 avocados, diced
1 tomato, diced
organic cilantro, chopped (to taste - I used about 1/4c)
1 drop DoTERRA Lime Essential Oil (buy here)
garlic powder and salt to taste

Chipotle Vinaigrette: 
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
2tbs honey
1tsp dijon mustard
1/2 tsp ground chipotle powder
1 tsp adobo sauce from a can of chipotle's in adobo (if you have it)
1 drop DoTERRA Lime Essential Oil (buy here)
1/4tsp paprika
pinch garlic powder, onion powder and oregano
1/4c extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat your oven to 450F.  Then prepare your viniagrette by whisking all of the ingredients in a glass bowl (or put them in a glass jar with a lit and shake well).  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Note:  If you aren't used to cooking with essential oils, a little goes a long way.  Lemon and Lime are my absolute FAVORTE to cook with because you only need a drop and it gives the dish SO MUCH fresh flavor!  They are must-haves for your kitchen spice cupboard in my opinion.
2. Prepare your guac-salsa.  In a medium size bowl, mix your avocao, tomao, cilantro and lime essential oil.  Add a sprinkle of salt and garlic powder then mix some more and taste.  Keep adding garlic and salt until it's to your liking and keep mixing until the guacamole has some mushed pieces but some still cubed.
3. Now cook up your peppers.  Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet (I use one lined with non-stick foil for super easy clean-up).  Drizzle with 1tbs olive oil and toss well.  Add a bit of salt.  Throw them in the oven and cook about15 minutes or until they are softening and have some brown or black areas.  Toss them after 10 minutes.
4. While your peppers are cooking, heat a large skillet over medium high heat with 1tbs olive oil and 1tbs butter (this mixture tastes absolutely divine).  Add a bit of salt, pepper, and garlic powder to your fillets and place them into the hot skillet.  Cook on one side until seared a deep golden brown, then flip, add 4 drops lemon essential oil on the top of each fish, cover with a lid, turn to medium-low and cook until fully cooked through (mine took an additional 4 minutes).  They are done when the fillet flakes easily with a fork.
5. To serve:  In a bowl, place some greens.  Top with peppers, then a filet of fish, and a huge scoop of salsa guac.  Drizzle the salad dressing over the whole thing and dig in.  OMG so good!

About DoTERRA Essential Oils:
See my Primal Bites Page Cooking w Essential Oils
See my sister blog Aroma Nurse
Purchase any oil at My DoTERRA Wellness Store or contact me directly at for information on wholesale prices

Monday, April 7, 2014

Fresh Gluten Free Lemon Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Icing

Stop right there.  These are NOT paleo.  But they are gluten free and if you are following the 80/20 rule then who cares?  Also, these are great to bring to parties, the office, ect.  One more confession:  They are not made from scratch.  Yes I used a box mix but then jazzed it up with some fresh ingredients.  Easy for you, easy for me, tastes like homemade from scratch.  Everyone wins.  These would be a great addition to an Easter brunch or any springtime occasion.

1 box Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
1 stick butter, softened
3 large eggs
2tsp vanilla extract
1/3c fresh lemon juice
The rind of 1 whole lemon, finely grated (lemon zest)
1/3c coconut milk (From the refrigerated section not the can.  Alternatively use almond milk, rice milk, or whole milk)
5-6 drops DoTERRA Lemon Essential Oil (buy here)

Icing Ingredients:
1 stock butter, stoftened
8oz full fat cream cheese, softened
2tsp vanilla extract
4-5 drops DoTERRA Lemon Essential Oil (buy here)
4 cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl, mix all cupcake ingredients on low for 30 seconds then on medium or high for 2 minutes.  You want the batter to be light and fluffy.
2. Scoop into a lined cupcake pan and bake for about 18 minutes or until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of a cupcake comes out clean.  Remove from oven and remove from pan immediately to let cool.
3. Meanwhile, mix up your icing.  Beat the butter and cream cheese until combined.  Add vanilla, beat again.  Add powdered sugar one cup at a time until fully mixed in.  Add lemon essential oil and taste test to make sure it's as lemony as you like it.  Beat until light and fluffy.
4. When the cupcakes have cooled, ice them and enjoy.  OMG SO GOOD!

What's up with the essential oils?
Learn more at my sister blog Aroma Nurse or purchase any essential oil at my DoTERRA Wellness Store