All posts by admin

Paleo pasta alla vodka (no dairy, no pasta, no vodka!)

paleo pasta alla vodka

I remember the first time I had pasta alla vodka: in an Italian restaurant in Los Angeles — La Cucina, I think. (I was traveling and eating on someone else’s dime, which is the best!) I don’t remember what seafood it had in it, but that sauce! It hooked me. All the happy flavors of marinara, plus the extra body that cream brings to the sauce, plus a subtle little tang from the cooked-down vodka. (No, it doesn’t taste alcoholic at all.) The entire rest of my trip, at every restaurant, I tried anything that sounded like that dish, never recreating that first wow! experience.

Genuine alla vodka sauce contains cream and vodka — both no-no’s if you’re eating Paleo, or any version of a dairy-free, alcohol-free diet.  And then there’s the pasta. Non buono if you’re eating gluten-free! So although I loved this dish, and had made it at home before, I thought it was just something I could no longer enjoy except for the occasional splurge. ‘Cause I do believe in food freedom!

And I didn’t really set out to recreate that dish: I was just trying to throw together a quick meal for myself with what I had on hand. Which was some homemade marinara, shrimp (both in the freezer), and some zucchini. Hmm, I thought, I can make zoodles and top them with marinara and shrimp!

CoYo coconut yogurt Then, as that was cooking on the stovetop, I thought how nice a little creaminess would be in that sauce. Then — aha! — I remembered I had some coconut yogurt in the fridge! I stirred a bit into the sauce and tasted it: the yogurt adds not just creaminess, but also that slight bit of tang you get from cooked-down vodka. And it brought back the memory of that first heavenly taste.

(Sure, you could try a different brand. I just haven’t tested any others, so I don’t know how they’d turn out. Or, if you’re not avoiding dairy, you could substitute some full-fat plain Greek yogurt for the coconut yogurt.)

And this dish really goes together quickly.  If your shrimp is already thawed and you have marinara on hand, you’ll be enjoying delicious, MOL (mmm out loud) food in less than 20 minutes!

I highly recommend using homemade marinara. It’s so simple, takes just 30 minutes, and tastes infinitely superior to store-bought. (Check out my homemade marinara recipe.) However, if you don’t have time, you can certainly use jarred marinara. Look for a sugar-free brand, if possible.

If you don’t like shrimp, you could substitute lobster or crab. Or chicken, if you must.

I’ve made a short video showing just how easy it is to make zoodles. Please note: I say that they only need to be cooked a minute or two. It will probably be longer than that, but it depends on the thickness of your noodles, the heat in your dish, and your desired texture. Just taste them every so often; you’ll learn what works for you.

Not avoiding gluten or grains? Sure: use your favorite pasta. Cook it beforehand, and add it when you would add the zoodles. (Did you know that cooking pasta, cooling it in the fridge, then reheating it changes the starch? It reduces its impact on your blood sugar, and the resistant starch is “superfood for your digestive system.” Cool, huh?!)

Whether or not you’ve tried pasta alla vodka before, I think you’ll love this dish!

 


Paleo pasta alla vodka recipe

serves 2

 

2 medium zucchini

10 oz. large raw shrimp (fresh or frozen, peeled and deveined, no tails)

salt and pepper

oil for cooking the shrimp (olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil)

1.5 cups marinara (homemade, if possible. here’s my recipe.)

1/4 cup CoYo brand coconut yogurt, plain flavor*

optional: a couple large leaves of fresh basil

 

*Note: if you’re not avoiding dairy, you may substitute full-fat plain Greek yogurt for the coconut yogurt, reducing amount to 3 tablespoons.

Prepare the zoodles and set aside. Thaw the shrimp. Pat them dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mince or julienne the basil, if using, and set aside.

Heat a medium-large saucepan over medium heat. Once it’s ready (a few drops of water splashed in the pan should sizzle a bit before evaporating), add a drizzle of oil and let it heat up a minute; then add the shrimp. Let the shrimp cook on one side until you see most of the tails starting to turn pink-white. Turn the shrimp over and cook until most of them are curled into a closed circle. You want them just barely or even a little under-done. They’ll continue to cook after you take them off the heat.

Remove the shrimp to a dish and keep warm. Add the marinara to the pan and heat through; add the yogurt and stir till well mixed.

Add the zoodles and stir to combine. Let them cook in the sauce until they’re done to your liking. Pull out a noodle to taste-test the texture. This should only take a few minutes.

When it’s all heated through and the zoodles are done to your taste, remove the mixture to a serving bowl or individual bowls or plates, and top with the shrimp and basil.

Mangia! Enjoy!

Paleo Pasta Alla Vodka -- without diary, pasta, OR vodka! 20-minute meal -- Whole30 compliant, too!

Sriracha cream sauce or dip

Sriracha cream sauce recipe

A couple weeks ago, we had a delicious dinner at Lemongrass: Taste of Vietnam in Old Town. We ordered a couple appetizers, one of which was “Crabocado” – a perfect avocado stuffed with lump crab and drizzled with a Sriracha cream sauce. All four of us — two of us spice wimps, two not — devoured it! Later, my husband’s side dish of green beans came drizzled with what looked to be the same sauce. This man is not a fan of green beans: he sort of likes them when I add carmelized onions and plenty of bacon. But drizzled with that sauce? He ate ’em all up!

So I’ve been trying to recreate that sauce. I doubt my ingredients are the same, but I think I got close in flavor.

What can you do with this stuff?

Continue Reading

Making real food a part of your real life

Real Food for Real Life

People often ask me how/what I eat. And when they hear the words “real food,” a typical response is, “Oh, I don’t have time for that.”

But the thing is, they probably do.

Oh, there’s a bit of a learning curve, where you have to figure out how to tweak your shopping and your meal prep, but I’m about to give you a shortcut. And once you put some key pieces together, it’s really easy to throw a meal together in 20 minutes or less.

Every. Single. Day.

I’ve got it down to a system. I’ve scattered bits and pieces of my system through several posts on this blog, but I’ve never put them together in one place, in a systematic way that flows logically.

Until now! 🙂

I pulled several blog posts, updated them, added some new content, and organized it into a short e-book.

I worked hard at boiling everything down to easy-to-understand and easy-to-do. And I think I got it, because my first reader said, “This book not only gave me a better understanding of nutrition, but encouraged me as well. As I read it I thought, ‘I could do this!’ Which for me is huge…. If you’re looking to make a change and need a place to start, this book is it!”

I share the what, why, and how of my real-food approach that’s helped me keep 30 pounds off for three years, and feel better than I have since my 20’s! (Which was — cough – 30 years ago – cough.)

Just shortened that learning curve for ya!

pages from e-book, real food for real life

You’ll learn:

  • why real food matters
  • what to eat and what to avoid
  • a simple real-food meal template
  • how to make it easy forever:
    – the flexible meal plan approach
    – how I stock my kitchen
    – how I stock my freezer
  • tips for healthier snacks & eating out

This captures my most important tips and info. It includes lots of links to real-food recipes on this blog, and to other resources. Just putting in the links rather than the whole recipe keeps the book short and simple — and affordable.

How affordable? How does five bucks sound? (Psst — you can get it for even less if you share it on Facebook or Twitter. Look for the button that says “Share and get 40% off.”)

I’m keeping it cheap ’cause I really just want you to experience how great it feels to get really healthy, have more energy, shed the brain fog, and make it doable for your real life — forever!

Check it out here: Real Food for Real Life: what to eat and how to make it easy

 

Citrus avocado salad with orange vinaigrette

citrus avocado salad with orange vinaigrette

This salad is beautiful, and scrumptious, but it’s also super easy to throw together. You can use whatever sweet citrus you have available. I used Cara Cara oranges this time, but you could use regular oranges, blood oranges, or any kind of orange cousin: tangerine, clementine, mandarin, satsuma.

The hardest parts are slicing the avocado and citrus, but that’s not really difficult, once you see a demonstration…

Continue Reading

Success story: Jo got rid of psoriasis and IBS

Jo's healthy lifestyle success story - before and after

Today, I’m sharing another story from one of my Instagram friends: Jo Romero from the UK. We’ve never met in real life, but I loved her story when she shared it on IG, so I asked to share it with you.

I love that her story includes healing from so many things, and that she continues to listen to her body and tweak her diet as needed. And of course, that she’s discovered how great it feels when you eat real food!

Here’s her story in her own words:

Continue Reading