Tag Archives: healthy recipes

A Fresh Twist: Pesto

Growing up in a 100% Italian household has always been delicious. Has it always been healthy? That’s a more difficult question to answer. Ever since I began this food and fitness journey, I have sought to stay true to my Italian roots.

One of my favorite Christmas presents finally getting thrown into action
One of my favorite Christmas presents finally getting thrown into action

This recipe takes a fresh twist on an Italian staple and stays true to Paleo guidelines. Also…it was freakin’ delicious!!

The final product, almost as pretty as it is delicious
The final product, almost as pretty as it is delicious

Artichoke Pesto and Chicken

Ingredients:

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cubed

1 large spaghetti squash

1 jar artichoke hearts (I used a small jar)

1/3 C walnuts

5 T EVOO

5 T vegetable broth

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 handful fresh Italian parsley (NOT cilantro!)

1 handful fresh basil

1 lemon, juiced

5 cups baby spinach

My own brand of Spaghetti Squash?
My own brand of Spaghetti Squash?

Directions

  1. preheat oven to 375 degrees
  2. cut squash in half, length wise, and remove seeds and loose strings with a spoon.  Place face down on a foil-lined baking sheet, and roast for 45-50 minutes.
  3. Use a fork to scrape the isnide and loosen the “spaghetti” from the skin.
  4. While in the oven, in a large pan over medium-high heat, add a little bit of the oil preserving the artichoke hearts in the jar and 1 minced garlic clove.  When the garlic becomes fragrant, add the halved artichokes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and saute for about 5-8 minutes, until sides are slightly browned.
  5. Add browned artichokes to a food processor along  walnuts, olive oil, vegetable broth, and second garlic clove (I threw it in whole). Puree until smooth.
  6. Add the parsley, basil, lemon, and salt and pepper. Puree once more until smooth.
  7. In the pan used to brown the artichoke hearts, cook cubed chicken breasts, adding salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Once chicken is cooked, add a few spoonfuls of the pesto and the baby spinach. Cover and let spinach steam.
  9. Combine “spaghetti”, the rest of your pesto sauce, chicken, and spinach.
  10. Enjoy!
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Paleo Lavender Vanilla Bean Scones

Lavender is a perfect image of spring time, reminding us of all of the beautiful smells, tastes, and colors coming to life.
Lavender is a perfect image of spring time, reminding us of all of the beautiful smells, tastes, and colors coming to life.

As you will learn, I have a serious sweet tooth, so I am constantly searching for guilt-free treats. Combine that with my curiosity for new flavors and techniques, and you get stuff like this! I found this recipe on one of my favorite healthy recipe sites paleomg.com

This was my first time working with most of these ingredients, so I did my research careful to learn exactly which part of the lavender plant to use, and how to handle a true vanilla bean.

Another thing to note in this recipe is how easy it is to make your own nut meals/flours. Here we use cashews for their sweet but still robust flavor.

I have to say I was very pleasantly surprised by this recipe. I was hesitant about my proportions, nervous about all of the new ingredients, and a little intimidated (still) by clean baking in general, but it turned out to have an incredibly delicate flavor and rich texture that perfectly solved my sweet craving.

So, without further ado…

Paleo Lavender Vanilla Bean Scones

Lavender Vanilla Bean scones topped with homemade raw honey butter and coconut crystals
Lavender Vanilla Bean scones topped with homemade raw honey butter and coconut crystals

Ingredients:

1.5 C cashews (I used roasted, unsalted), ground into a meal/flour

1 t baking powder

pinch of salt

3 T lavender buds

2 vanilla beans, cut lengthwise with a sharp knife, all seeds removed (directions from The Kitchn)

1 egg, whisked

1/4 C coconut oil

3 T maple syrup

2 t vanilla extract

1/4 C arrowroot flour (add extra if your dough feels too wet!)

Scone toppings:

3 T raw honey

1 T butter

1-2 T coconut crystals

Directions:

  1. preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Run the cashews through your food processor until it becomes a slightly coarse meal/flour.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the cashew meal, baking powder, salt, lavender buds, and vanilla bean seeds.
  4. Then mix in your egg, almond oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract and combine.
  5. Lastly, mix in your arrowroot flour to help thicken.
  6. Add the dough into a ball onto a parchment lined baking sheet then press down to help flatten out evenly.
  7. Place in oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.
  8. Let cook slightly.
  9. While the scones are cooling, mix together honey and butter (heating the two up together) and top scones with the mixture and some coconut crystals.

Makes 8 scones