Apple Harvest Salad

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One of the coolest things about the house we live in, is it’s on some land that has tons of fruit and nut trees, mostly apples, pears, plums and walnuts.  When we showed up from Houston, our German landlords probably thought we were nuts.  It was like we were just discovering that apples grew on trees!  We went a little crazy picking apples and walnuts.  And as you can see, you need a glass or two of wine to crack an entire bucket of walnuts!

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This has been my go-to lunch salad lately.  It’s a great way to throw in some of our backyard bounty, and is truly such a great and simple salad for fall!  The stars of the show are apples and walnuts, of course, as well as fresh goat cheese, bacon, and a really delicious maple balsamic dressing.  Serve it up with grilled chicken or salmon, and you’ve got a super simple and satisfying meal.

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Apple Harvest Salad

INGREDIENTS

1 large head of butter lettuce, or another mild lettuce.  Should equal about 8 cups unpacked.  You may require 2 heads of lettuce, depending on the size
1 sweet apple, similar to gala or honeycrisp, thinly sliced
4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
6 slices bacon
4 tablespoons hemp seeds
1/4 cup Maple Balsamic Dressing
1/2 cup Honey Spiced Walnuts

METHOD

Start by rinsing and drying your lettuce leaves. You want to make sure your lettuce is good and dry prior to putting you salad together, so either allow for enough time to dry, or use a salad-spinner to get all the water off.

Next, fry bacon on medium high heat until crispy.  Allow them to cool and drain on a paper towel before chopping or crumbling.

In a large salad bowl, tear or chop the lettuce leaves into large, but bite-size pieces.  I prefer to toss the lettuce in with the dressing prior to adding all the goodies.  So at this point, I would drizzle on the dressing.  Tip:  You might try adding just 1/2 the dressing in, tossing, and tasting to determine if you want to use less or more.  You don’t want soggy lettuce, so go for less and then you can add more if necessary.

Once you’ve tossed the lettuce with the dressing, add in apple slices, crumbled goat cheese, bacon, Honey Spiced Walnuts, and hemp seeds.  Lightly toss to combine the rest of the ingredients.  Dig in, and try to not become addicted to this salad!

MACROS: Calories 289, Fat 21g, Carbohydrates 13g, Protein 14g

Honey Spiced Walnuts

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This recipe came about because I was trying to recreate this delicious salad that I would have at a restaurant back home.  The salad had these candied walnuts on them that were so good, but were likely made with loads of sugar.  I was able to make these without processed sugar, and they are only lightly sweet, so while they satisfy your sweet tooth, they won’t turn you into a crazy person on a sugar binge.

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You can use any type of nuts, but I love walnuts, and we happen to have them all over our backyard!  My personal favorite use for these nuts is as a topper to this Apple Harvest Salad.  These are so easy, there’s no reason to not to give it a try!

Honey Spiced Walnuts

YIELDS: 12 servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups walnuts
2 tablespoons honey, melted
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Light sprinkle of sea salt

METHOD: 

Preheat oven to 350F (or 176C).  Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper.

Melt butter and honey and add to a large mixing bowl.  Add in spices and a pinch of sea salt and mix well to combine.

Pour in the nuts and mix well to coat with butter, honey and spice mixture.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

MACROS: Calories 155, Fat 14g, Carbohydrates 6g, Protein 3g

 

Maple Balsamic Dressing

This dressing is perfect for a fall salad, especially this Apple Harvest Salad, or drizzled on veggies for roasting.

INGREDIENTS: 

2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD: 

Combine all ingredients, stir well or shake and salt and pepper to taste.

London Fog Latte (Non-Dairy)

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I don’t know about where you are, but today in Germany, the weather feels legitimately fall-ish.  But not the good fall-ish.  Cold, damp, and cloudy fall-ish.  Times like these, I used to make a Starbucks run for a mid-afternoon coffee, but these days, I’m trying to stick to coffee in the mornings only.  This tea latte is my favorite when I really need an afternoon pick-me-up.  It’s frothy, creamy, light, and so easy to make!  I’ve made this one non-dairy, and added a twist by using lavender earl grey tea.  Try it out, and I bet it will be one of your new favorites as well!

YIELDS: 1 serving

INGREDIENTS: 

2 bags lavender earl grey tea (if you aren’t able to find lavender earl grey, you can use regular earl grey and add 1/2 tsp dried lavender)
1 cup filtered water
1/2 cup cashew milk (I’ve used almond milk and cashew milk, but prefer cashew milk as it tends to be creamier and sweeter)
1 teaspoon local honey (optional)
1 scoop collagen peptides (optional)

METHOD: 

Bring filtered water to a boil.  Add earl grey tea bags and allow to steep for 4-5 minutes.

While the tea is steeping, heat the cashew milk over the stove or in the microwave.  You don’t want to boil this, you only want to warm it so it doesn’t cool down your tea, because that is a real drag.

Pour steeped tea into a blender.  Add warm cashew milk, collagen peptides (this helps with the frothiness) and honey (if you like it a little sweeter) and blend on high until frothy, about 10-15 seconds. Pour into a large mug, and enjoy!

MACROS: Calories 33, Fat 0g, Carbohydrates 5g, Protein 5g

 

 

Simple Pot Roast

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Pot roast is a classic, but so many people avoid it because they have memories of dry pot roast with no flavor.  I love this dish because it’s humble, but also elegant enough to impress.  Cooked low and slow so it’s extra tender, with red wine, mushrooms and thyme, for an earthy flavor.  Just throw it in the oven in the morning and come home in the evening to perfectly cooked roast!

You can definitely cook this on a higher heat, for less time. However, my experience has been that it doesn’t come out nearly as tender.  Plus, I sort of like the idea of putting it in first thing in the morning, and taking it out just before dinner – boom!

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Best served with a creamy horseradish parsnip mash, which even my mashed potato-loving husband loves!

Now, for my friends in Germany, this is an opportunity to exercise your German language skills!  I promise, if I can speak enough to walk out with a roast, so you can you!  You will want to go to the butcher counter and tell them you need a kilo of rinder schulter (beef shoulder), which is about as close to the cut of roast that we, Americans, are accustomed to.

SIMPLE POT ROAST

YIELDS: 5-6 servings

INGREDIENTS: 

3 tablespoons avocado oil
2-2.5 lb chuck roast
4 shallots
8 ounces of mushrooms, stems removed, cut into quarters
1 cup red wine
Beef broth or bouillon
5-6 sprigs of thyme

METHOD:

Heat avocado oil in large dutch oven on high heat.  Salt and pepper the roast liberally.  Once the pot is smoking hot, sear the roast on all sides, about 4 minutes per side.  Once seared, remove the roast to a plate to the slide.

Turn heat down to medium heat and add shallots and mushrooms.  Sprinkle with sea salt and saute until shallots are softened and translucent. Add in red wine in with shallots and mushrooms, whisk, and allow to simmer for another 2-3 minutes.

Add the roast back into the dutch oven, and pour in beef broth to about halfway up the roast.  Only about half of the roast should be out of the broth mixture.  Note: for my German friends, you can use water up to halfway, and add one beef bouillon cube, or teaspoon of bouillon.

Spoon some of the shallots and mushrooms over the roast and add thyme sprigs to the pot.

Cover the pot and put in the oven on 200F (approx. 93C) ALL DAY.  Just walk away and forget about it.  8-12 hours is ideal, and typically the longer the better.  You will want to check it at around 10 hours.  And if you test it with a fork and it’s not tender, leave it in for a little longer.

Remove from the oven, and serve up with horseradish parsnip mash.  YUM.

MACROS: Calories 457, Fat 36.8g, Carbohydrate 1.4g, Protein 26.6g

Horseradish Parsnip Mash

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Raise your hand if you’re tired of cauliflower mash.  YES.  I’m right there with you.  Cauliflower mash, cauliflower rice, cauliflower pizza, cauliflower in my smoothie.  I have done it all.  While I think it’s a fantastic, lower carb substitute, sometimes you need a slump-buster.

Now, I didn’t get rid of the cauliflower altogether, but I did add a new player – parsnips!  If you haven’t tried parsnips, they are a root vegetable that are typically in season fall through winter, and have a bit of a sweet flavor to them.  They’re delicious roasted, but for this recipe I boil and mix them up with cauliflower and horseradish for a comforting side to roast, chicken or fish.  And if you’re not into horseradish, skip it!  It’s delicious with just the garlic, but we happen to love horseradish in our house.

HORSERADISH PARSNIP MASH

 

INGREDIENTS: 

1.5 pounds parsnips (about 8 medium parsnips), peeled and chopped
2 cups cauliflower florets (fresh or frozen)
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon horseradish (or more if you love horseradish)
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons fresh chives, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD: 

Heat a pot of water to boiling.  Add parsnips and cauliflower.  Boil for 20-30 minutes until parsnips and cauliflower are tender.

Drain parsnips and cauliflower in a colander. Make sure all water has drained, so your parsnip mash isn’t runny!

Add drained parsnips and cauliflower to a blender, along with mayonnaise, butter, horseradish, garlic, and salt and pepper.  And I feel like I need to add this as a side note: For the love, please do not use low-fat mayonnaise and then tell me you don’t like this recipe.  I could get into all the weird things they do to make mayo, butter, nut butters, cheese and milk non-fat, but I’ll save that for another time. Let’s all just eat real food.

Pulse in a blender or food processer until ingredients are combined and cauliflower and parsnips are creamy.  Be careful to not over-blend, or you may end up with more of a puree.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Pour in a serving bowl and top with chives, or if you’re like me, a little more butter!

MACROS:  Calories 147, Fat 5.8g, Carbohydrates 23.5g, Protein 2.4g

 

 

Texas Chili

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If you’re like me, the first hint of crisp, cool air, and I’m thinking about one thing for dinner – warm, spicy, and hearty CHILI. But let me start off by saying one thing. Don’t you dare start on the beans vs. no beans debate. Just don’t. If you’re not familiar, Texans have long argued about whether or not beans belong in chili. Personally, I like both versions. But I grew up with beans in my chili, and that’s what hits the spot for me.

One of the very first things I cooked in Germany was this chili, which is a modification of one of my favorite chili recipes from home. It has a lot of flavor and spice, NO JUNK, and it is so simple. Enjoy!

Texas Chili

Yields: 6-8 servings

INGREDIENTS:

2 tablespoons avocado oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2-3 tablespoons chipotle in adobo (3 if you like it pretty spicy)
2 pounds grass-fed ground beef
1 cup full-bodied red wine
1/4 cup worcestershire
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons cumin
2 15 ounce cans of kidney beans
2 15 ounce cans of crushed tomatos
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a dutch oven over medium heat,  add avocado oil, and saute onion and bell pepper until soft.  Add in chipotles in adobo, chili powder, and cumin and sauté for another 2-3 minutes until flavors are combined.

Add ground beef to onion and pepper mixture and salt meat liberally.  Break up meat and brown on medium-high heat. Once meat is browned, drain grease, if necessary.  *When in the US, I would have skipped this step, but German ground beef seems to be a higher fat percentage, so I leave this step in for my friends in Deutschland!

Once meat is browned, add the red wine and worcestershire and simmer for approximately five minutes, until wine and worcestershire have cooked down slightly.  Pour the remaining wine in a coffee mug, drink, and continue to the next step.

Add beans and tomato sauce and simmer on low heat for 25 to 30 minutes. Add additional salt to taste.

Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream or greek yogurt, cilantro, and chips.

MACROS:  Calories 452, Carbs 34g, Fat 21g, Protein 31g, Sugar 8g