Thanksgiving wine tips and recipes

Turkey and Wine

It’s turkey time again and let the wine buying begin. Wine enhances any meal, but especially this one. Sharing a bottle, sharing memories and sharing stories about the year that just passed are always better over a glass of vino. Since everyone’s table looks different across the country, I’ve always preached that people should just drink what they like during The Big Meal. But, should you want some guidance, here are a few Thanksgiving wine tips as well as recipes to get you started.

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Seared Cuban style ahi tuna recipe

Cuban-style ahi tuna

With my Florida roots, I love all things Cuban. The Cuban culture has firmly ensconced itself into the roots of Florida cooking and I’m there to welcome it with open arms. And mouth. The uniqueness comes from their slow-cooked dishes like Ropa Vieja, roasted pork rubbed with warm, aromatic spices and the pervasive use of their bountiful citrus in Mojo dishes. This Cuban style ahi tuna recipe reflects the best of what the cuisine offers — lime, garlic and cumin. Serve it with a crisp Pinot Gris, medium-bodied Pinot Noir, Italian Chianti or a hoppy IPA.

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Awesomely easy heirloom tomato salsa recipe

Easy heirloom tomato salsa

Every summer, I grow my own tomatoes. Giddily and enthusiastically. Almost to a fault. I receive my heirloom seed catalog each winter, earmark the hell out of it and plant new varieties each year — starting the seedlings indoors during February for a late April outdoor planting. Watching them grow (quite impatiently, I might add) is a uniquely geeky pleasure since I know what comes to fruition after all the loving nurturing. The harvest! If you follow me on Instagram, you won’t really see pictures of my pets or family… but red, yellow, and green heirloom tomatoes.

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Cookie recipe: Gluten free chocolate chip cookies

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookie

If you’re still reading this after seeing “gluten-free” in the title, then welcome. Many people don’t make it this far when “gluten free” is included. During my food allergy food cleanse, I discovered that I’m gluten sensitive. I’m not celiac or anything serious but post ripping into anything wheat-based, I get bloated and feel crappy. So I started eating as gluten free as I can. And that ain’t easy in our culture. As a former pastry chef who studied and used gluten for a living, it has been a tough, lonely road. But I’m learning to bake GF (as it’s called in this world and you’ll see on labels) while trying to avoid the scary sounding ingredients like xanthan gum, which acts as a thickening agent in the absence of gluten. It’s easier than you might think and you might even feel more comfortable after scarfing a few of these down.

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4 ingredient Dijon vinaigrette recipe for salads (or marinades)

Dijon Vinaigrette

Have you ever read the side of a salad dressing bottle? Be in a patient mood when you do. Hard-to-pronounce words followed by a list of chemicals. My mantra is that, if I can’t pronounce it, I shouldn’t be eating it. Ingredients often look scary to me… preservatives like potassium sorbate, red or yellow coloring, thickeners like xanthan gum and moderately evil flavor enhancers like monosodium glutamate. Not to forget sugar. Plenty of sugar in them, there bottles. When I “went healthy” many years ago, I dropped the bottled stuff and started making my own. Very surprisingly easy to do, once you get the hang of it and learn what tastes good to you. And the biggest accomplishment is knowing how to dress a salad without measuring. Bonus!

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7 healthy additions to a real food diet (paleo style)

Blackened salmon

With the medical professionals screaming at us to eat healthier and better and the food marketers saying their fake food fits into this category, it’s difficult to know where to turn. But I turn to real food — food that comes from the ground or from a tree and has never seen a factory or processing plant. I don’t have to worry about eating too much of it or if it’s going to give me hives or any… ahem… digestive issues. If you’re hoping to make the switch or just trying to expand your healthy food horizons, here are seven, deliciously real foods that you should and can enjoy with relentless abandon.

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Recipe: Savory gluten-free garlic and herb muffins (paleo friendly)

During my food allergy curing, gut healing exercise, I hankered for baked goods. There’s nothing quite like sinking your chompers into soft, savory goodness and I missed that satisfying sensation. I also sought an alternative gluten-free, nutrient-dense breakfast option. Enter the coconut flour muffin. Combining insight from a few paleo recipe websites, I created a fluffy muffin that fit my tastes.

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Slow cooker recipe: Lamb or beef stew (paleo and AIP diet friendly)

Lamb Stew

Stew meat is one of the most affordable cuts of meat out there. Cooked quickly, it can be a tough, chewy mess but combine it with veggies, broth/stock, herbs then slow cook it for hours, and you’ll have magical deliciousness. Add in the ease of a slow cooker or Crockpot, and you have super simple, quick deliciousness. Even better.

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Cure food allergies by eating great food (part 4)

Kale Sprouts

“There are good days and bad days…” Dear Food Diary, Day 64 today. Looking back, it’s been easier than I thought. You kind of get used to not eating out, cooking a lot, prepping for the week ahead, and introducing novel items into the daily diet. Kale sprouts? Nope, didn’t know about those before (great sautéed with bacon). Pre-packaged sausages hide all sorts of things you shouldn’t eat (and, after research, don’t really want to). Make your own sausage! Kombucha, a fermented tea, is freakin’ amazingly tasty. Sans caffeine, I’m not tired, cranky or bitchy. I weigh less now than I have in probably 20 years – my skinny jeans aren’t called “skinny” anymore. But, although there’s plenty of fun associated with these insights, none of these reasons are why I started on this journey

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Recipe: Spicy homemade sausage patties

Homemade Pork Breakfast Sausage

For as long as I can remember, I have followed a personal rule: If an ingredient list has more than three lines, I don’t put it in my body. More than that, you get into the dangerous territory of unpronounceable chemicals and other crap I don’t want floating around anywhere inside. So I am an ingredient reader. Have you ever read the package on pre-made sausage? If you haven’t, then don’t. It ain’t pretty. So, when I went on an AIP protocol diet to cure my food allergies, I researched how to make my own sausage patties. It was so super easy, I was embarrassed I’d ever bought it before.

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