Once again I am posting from beautiful South Dakota while sitting in a Perkins because they seem to have the best wifi connection in town. Yesterday we did a 10K hike (3.5 miles each way) to the top of Harney Peak in Custer State Park.
I was overcome with gratitude that my husband and I were able to do this challenging 5 hour hike because 100 pounds ago, it may have killed me. So when people ask “why would you want to hike to the top of a mountain?”, my response now is always, “because I can”.
While vacation is always great, I do miss home cooking and creating healthy recipes. Eating out can be challenging, especially in an area that doesn’t really make organic, preservative free meals a priority. That being said, try cooking this Sweet and Spicy Coconut Mango Chicken in my honor while I’m out West.
This recipe is so easy and simple. Very few ingredients and full of protein and flavor. Seriously, anybody can make this. You cannot screw it up. That might be going too far because I’ve been known to mess up the simplest of things but you know what I mean.
While this was cooking in the slow cooker, my house smelled like Hawaii. We rent homes when we vacation there so we can cook our food and play like we live there so using mango and coconut in anything automatically brings my senses back there.
You can also serve this as a chunky stew or top some cauliflower rice with it. I do recommend the topping of sweetened coconut flakes, it really adds a lot to the flavor.
Posting from South Dakota again. Today we have a vigorous 10K hike up Harney Peak. Very excited. Yesterday we visited the Badlands and the view was absolutely breathtaking. I’ve never seen this part of the country.
This picture above was taken at the prairie dog park where we got to hand feed little prairie dogs. There were tons of babies too. After that we moved on down the road to an unbelievably vast site. So why not do a little yoga? Made sense to me. Yoga is awesome anywhere.
Onto today’s lean clean protein machine recipe. This is a super fresh, filling, low-fat, paleo salad. Clean protein from the shrimp and the quinoa. Tons of flavor too.
I made a lime walnut version of quinoa which complimented the lime shrimp perfectly. I love quinoa period and one of the main reasons is that it is so versatile that you can adapt it to pretty much any recipe and it always turns out great.
1 cup dried quinoa (rinse according to box instructions if not using pre-rinsed)
2 cups vegetable broth
1 Tablespoon chopped green onions (the green part)
Zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lime
1 Tablespoon olive oil
½ cup chopped walnuts
dash of salt/pepper
Optional: ½ lemon, sliced into wedges
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup dried quinoa and 2 cups vegetable broth. Bring to a boil, cover and lower to simmer for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally. Fluff with fork.
Add zest of a half of a lime, juice of a half of lime, olive oil, ¼ cup of chopped walnuts, chopped green onions and dash of salt/pepper to the quinoa. Stir to combine.
While the quinoa is simmering, get the shrimp started.
In medium saucepan, heat ghee and saute shrimp.
In a small bowl combine zest of ½ of a lime, juice of half of a lime and coconut palm sugar. Pour mixture into saucepan on top of the shrimp and continue sauteing shrimp in lime/sugar mixture until shrimp is thoroughly pink.
Serve shrimp with quinoa on a bed of mixed greens. Squirt lemon wedge over everything.
This is the prettiest salad I’ve ever laid eyes on. I think I have crush on it. I found this beautiful salad recipe in one of my mom’s magazines and it was love at first site. While it’s the purdiest thing ever, I never would have thought to combine these flavors but hot damn, they really go great together.
The addition of the wheat berries and edamame makes this salad a filling meal. I’m a big fan of wheat berries and edamame. They are both packed with protein, fiber and lots of vital nutrients and minerals.Check out mywheat berry waldorf saladfor another variation on this awesome true whole grain.
We are big fans of grass-fed bison in our house. I like the flavor of bison much better than beef and it’s naturally lower in fat and higher in protein which I love too. I recently wrote about grass-fed bison stuffed peppersthat were phenomenal.
Since the peppers were a big hit, I picked up some more bison at Whole Foods and tossed around ideas for the next bison recipe. The hubby suggested chili. Since it’s still friggin’ cold as snot here (at the end of MARCH no less), chili was not out of the question. Plus we can eat it all week.
We basically winged the recipe and what resulted was this savory chunky chili. This recipe has a good amount of heat. Just enough to feel it in the back of your throat. I personally like a LOT of heat so I added some hot peppers as a garnish afterwards. The hubby doesn’t like too much heat so I didn’t go nuts in the recipe because the thing with heat is that you can add as much as you want but you can’t take it out.
If you’ve never had grass-fed bison or grass-fed beef, do yourself a favor and try it. Bison cooks up similar to ground beef but has a richer almost buttery taste to it.
(You could absolutely substitute grass-fed beef for this recipe.)
When I’m in the area I’ll pick some up at Whole Foods. They are the only store I know of besides going to a local farm that carries grass-fed bison or beef. This is what Whole Foods says about their grass-fed bison.
“Bison (buffalo) is slightly more flavorful than beef, with generally less fat and more protein. Extremely nutrient dense, a single serving provides good amounts of iron, zinc and the antioxidant selenium. Plus, our bison spend the majority of their lives at home on the range. Give bison a try the next time you’re looking for an alternative to beef in your favorite recipes — your taste buds will thank you!
With our bison, you get great-tasting meat from animals raised with care:
No antibiotics — ever
No supplemental growth hormones*
No animal byproducts in feed
Raised on pasture or range for at least 2/3 of the animal’s life”
I found this great Bison Stuffed Pepper recipe at Bisonbluff.com and tweaked it to make it gluten-free and optional paleo friendly. It’s also loaded with low-fat protein from the bison, the quinoa and the egg.
**Optional: 1 cup mozzarella cheese (this would make it non-paleo)**
Preheat oven to 375
In a medium saucepan cook quinoa using ½ cup of chicken broth in place of the water. Bring quinoa and chicken broth to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and cover. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally so not to let it burn.
In a large bowl combine uncooked ground bison and whisked egg. I mix this with my hands to make sure everything gets combined well.
Add diced onions, Italian seasoning, ¼ cup of the drained fire roasted tomatoes to the quinoa. Combine and add to the ground bison/egg mixture.
Place bell peppers in a baking dish and fill each one equally with the bison mixture.
Top each bell pepper with the remaining fire roasted tomatoes.
Cover each pepper with foil and bake for 45 minutes.
**Optional: If using cheese, top each pepper with ¼ cup mozzarella after the 45 minutes and put back in oven uncovered until cheese melts. It should only take 3 - 5 minutes.**
The reason I add the onions, seasoning, tomatoes to the quinoa is so the hot quinoa is cooled off before adding to the bison/egg mixture so not to cook the egg prematurely.
If you would like to make this true paleo, sub the quinoa with additional egg. The purpose of the quinoa is to replace normally called for bread crumbs which binds everything together. So if you do not want to use quinoa or don’t have any, an extra egg will provide the binding.
Leftovers reheat very well. Just cut stuffed pepper in half if already cooked and microwave for 1 minute.
Serving suggestion: top with tomato sauce, green salsa, more fire roasted tomatoes or sprinkle with cheese of your choice.