Gluten free, Healthy, Paleo, Sauces/Condiments, Vegan, Whole30

Best pesto

February 4, 2016


Pesto is a love language and everyone wants to be spoken to. It’s the safety net, the comfort favorite, and the ultimate go-to. If I’m cooking for people whose taste buds I don’t know, or am feeling weary about serving something “interesting” or “different”, I do not take the road less traveled by. I take the one lined with pesto. 

I grew up loving pesto, too. When my mom was raising my sister and me and was Mom-level crazy busy, an easy dinner was pasta dumped with the store bought stuff which still blew my socks off. Much later, I made my own and subsequently had a mini life revelation. If I was already in love with the store bought stuff, I wanted to propose to the homemade version.

This is pesto, leveled up. It adds butter and olive oil instead of just olive oil. When added to anything that’s steaming hot, the butter melts and imparts the luxury it’s notorious for. Yes, this recipe has dairy because it also has cheese in addition to the butter, but I’ve included a whole30 version below using ghee & omitting the parmesan cheese for a little more nuts & lemon zest.

If someone is intimidated by making this at home, I see no reason for it. All you need to do is blitz the ingredients in a food processor and you are DONE. Italian grandmothers would scoff at me because they take the time to chop e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g by hand until it becomes a paste, but I know that’s not practical for the home cook. The taste, however, is practical and lovely to anyone and everyone no matter how it’s done.

Best pesto
  1. 3 cups packed basil leaves (from about 3 branches)
  2. 1 clove garlic
  3. 1/4 cup pine nuts
  4. 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  5. 1/4 cup olive oil
  6. 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  7. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. 3 cups packed basil leaves (from about 3 branches)
  2. 1 clove garlic
  3. 1/2 cup pine nuts
  4. 4 tablespoons ghee, softened
  5. 1/4 cup olive oil
  6. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  7. Zest of 1 lemon
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. In a food processor or blender, place all of the ingredients. Process until it forms a thick paste, about 1-2 minutes. Season to taste with more salt and lemon juice (for the dairy-free version), if needed.
  1. Some people are pine nut purists when it comes to pesto, but I think walnuts would be a fine substitution.
Serving suggestions
  1. This is enough pesto for 1 1/2 pounds pasta or spiralized vegetables. Add the pesto to the steaming hot pasta or veggies.
  2. It's also fantastic on salmon, shrimp, chicken, pork, or steak. Basically anything. Also great mixed with ground meat for some easy meatballs. Add 1/4 cup pesto per 1 pound of meat.
  3. Mix it with a little mayo to create, you guessed it, pesto mayo!
  4. Add equal parts butter or ghee to pesto and refrigerate to create a pesto butter for a perfectly seared steak.
Adapted from The New York Times Essential Cookbook
Adapted from The New York Times Essential Cookbook
The Grizzly Kitchen



Gluten free, Healthy, Mains - Meat, Paleo, Whole30

Sticky plum & almond herbed salmon

January 7, 2016

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Some people despise salmon. They’re so grossed out by it, a whiff makes a mini panic attack arise. They think it’s too overpowering in its fishy taste.

I am not one of these people. I eat salmon several times per week but honestly, I would eat it three times per day if it wouldn’t cost like $600/month to do so. What a buzzkill. My favorite way to eat it is simply seared with a crust that could shatter into a million pieces, with salt & ghee. Most people aren’t such purists, especially not the salmon haters, which is why this recipe exists.

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Why love yourself first?

January 5, 2016


You’ve been asleep if you haven’t been bombarded with messages about how you should love yourself. Apparently, self love is where it’s at. You can’t succeed without it. You can’t be in a relationship without it. You can’t grow a business or be alive or breathe without it. Most of us hear how self-love is integral to being human, but few talk about how to actually develop it. Because it’s hard, active work. Self-love comes from believing in yourself and your abilities, but not in a vacuum.

These notions must be practiced daily, like out in the big bad world. Self-love comes from emotional and physical strength. It comes from resiliency because when you inevitably fall down, you will need to get right back up. It comes from knowing and respecting your boundaries with others. In saying no. In saying yes. In taking chances. In trusting yourself. In standing up for yourself. In speaking up for what you believe in, even if it comes at the expense of others liking or accepting you. It comes from respecting yourself. Eating and moving in your own way. Having the wherewithal to know what truly works for you and what doesn’t.

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Gluten free, Healthy, Lifestyle, Sides, Whole30

How to make ghee {clarified butter}

January 4, 2016


I was introduced to ghee by my obsession with Indian food. Since it doesn’t include dairy products, butter cannot be used. Bummer, because the luxurious flavor of butter is irreplaceable. BUT. If you heat the butter and simmer it, all of the milk fat floats to the top and can be skimmed off or strained away. What’s left in its wake is the liquid gold of pure butter fat.

I use ghee because it’s extraordinary; it tastes and smells like unsweetened caramel toffee. It imparts this flavor to anything you cook it in. It’s my favorite fat by a landslide. Since the milk fat has been removed, you’re left with pure fat that can withstand high heats with no detriment. Butter can be used for sauteing lightly, but the milkfats end up burning and turning rancid when the heat gets too high. Use ghee for searing anything, roasting stuff in the oven, in your coffee, or in baking. Pretty much anything that you would use butter for. 

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My changes for 2016

January 3, 2016


I’ve never been big on New Year’s Resolutions. Mostly because when the crowd goes one way, I say raaawr and do my own thing. When something feels forced or like I’m being summoned to change because of a social construction, I am precisely 0% likely to do it.

This year I feel a bit different. 2015 was hard for me. Mainly because I was face to face with issues that I had spent my entire life avoiding. Facets of myself, my makeup, my biochemistry, my brain, my body, that I had spent 30 years distracting or covering up with obsessions, addictions, disordered eating, and control mechanisms came to light. If it could be controlled, I was ON IT. This meant food, people, boyfriends, family members, exercise, and on and on.

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Some thoughts on exercise // my love for Ashtanga yoga

November 18, 2015

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I’ve done all of the exercise. All of it. I grew up with a father who, to this day, is devoted to his exercise routine. I’ve watched him consistently lace up his sneakers and drift away, and do sit-ups and stretches, with zero excuses. No matter how tired, hungry or how many tequilas he had the night before. My mom used to be the best ballerina in Nicaragua. Literally all of Nicaragua. Like legit she was on TV for point-ballet. My build is inherently athletic; I’ve got quads that don’t change size no matter how thin I get that elicit thunder as I walk. My body is made for movement.

I’ve ellipticall-ed enough to fill the universe. I’ve spent 90 minutes straight on that horrible machine, many-a-time. How am I not dead from boredom? Have you ever seen ANYONE on an elliptical actually paying attention to it? No, they’re bouncing watching tv or reading a magazine because it sucks. I’ve run, a lot (I used to run one hour daily while I was in grad school and literally prayed to God to keep me going because it was so painful). I’ve trained for two half-marathons, and completed zero. I tried, people, and it was not happening for me. I tried to train again to be a good “strong” person, and then found myself dumbfounded when the man in charge of the marathon training program gave a speech about all of the marathons he had ever run (like over a hundred) and he did NOT look fit. Like if I saw him on the street, I would think he spent his time sedentary, which is the exact opposite of what he’s was doing. I’ve awkwardly zumba-ed, stairmaster-ed, stairclimb-ed, CrossFit-ed, I’ve done pilates, all of the tapes and DVDs, dance classes. Bands. Weights. Heavy weights. Heavier and heaviest weights. Tracy Anderson. Maybe everything except the shake-weight; I’ll live.

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Gluten free, Healthy, Mains - Meat, Paleo, Whole30


November 17, 2015


I don’t care who you are or what diet you follow, you like fajitas. I’m a Pavlovian victim to the sound of the sizzle. Seeing that cackling cast iron skillet of smoke emerge before me and getting hit with palpable waves of acid, spice, and onion is quintessentially fajita. Oh, the drama. Oh, the fun of putting each one together exactly the way you want it. They’re universally loved for the aforementioned, but who knew it was easy to make them at home, too?

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Mindful eating, Mindfulness, Thoughts

Honor your hunger

November 3, 2015


Many of us are out of touch with a significant, innate human mechanism: physical hunger. We eat out of boredom, sadness, pressure, confusion, because it’s there, to clean our plate, because we want to procrastinate, because we can’t deal with life, because our problems seem insurmountable; so it’s just easier to eat. The reasons we don’t eat out of true hunger are endless, especially for those of us that use food for emotional nourishment.

Many of us also rely on outside wisdom to gauge when we should eat. Someone says we should intermittent fast, that we need to eat 6 tiny meals throughout the day “to vroom vroom our metabolism”, others say three square meals without any snacks WHATSOEVER, others rely on shakes or magic potions or set-up, rigid meal plans. I don’t necessarily agree with any of those. What I do agree with, though, is listening to our bodies. Because they tell us. Yeah, we were actually born with this awesome barometer that kindly notifies us when we should eat. But frankly, most of us are far removed from it. Due to the media, others, books, TV, magazines, desperation, frustration, emotions, and DIETS. We’re lost when it comes to tuning in. The good news? It’s always ready for you to return.

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