Composting Cheat Sheet

Raised garden beds in backyard

The Lewises are now a composting household, and I couldn’t be more excited #nerdalert. I don’t know why I was so intimidated to start, but I have done all the research my mind can handle and finally pulled the trigger. We witnessed the power of compost a few weeks back when we bought mushroom compost from the garden center as we were finishing up the raised beds. I watched half of my basil grow like wildfire compared to the other half moping around in plain old potting soil about to go to seed ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Speaking of, don’t be too harsh on my garden in the photo, we were a little late to the game this year. I am trying to revive a couple of the tomato plants. Wish me luck though, tomatoes, compost and all, because I will need it. In the meantime, below is a lovely downloadable composting cheat sheet I created that I now share with you. By the way, are you a composting guru or have tips? Let me know, I need all the help I can get!

Edit: I updated the PDF. Should be 1 part nitrogen to 5-8 parts carbon. 

Edit 2: Well, now I’m seeing lots of varying C:N ratio anywhere from 20-40:1. I guess it depends on the contents of your compost. So, as usual, do your research because the correct answer is “it depends”.

 

Composting Cheat Sheet

Paleo Tortillas

Breakfast Burritos with Paleo Tortillas

BRRR, it is freezing outside! I have been doing my best to stay active and keep up my running, but when the temperature high is a single digit, that is just ridiculous. I do not have a great relationship with the dreadmill, so I have to brave the weather. Adam and I are taking all precautions to remain healthy and not get sick: vitamins, hot tea, bone broth, veggie/fruit smoothies. Fingers crossed that we come out of this winter unscathed! 

My friend, Molly, came over a couple weeks ago for another cooking day — LOVE these days! The kitchen always gets destroyed, but that is the price we pay for some quality girl time. I was very excited to try this Paleo tortillas recipe, and even more excited I had all the ingredients on hand. If you are looking at some of these ingredients with a puzzled look, consider this: Arrowroot powder and coconut flour are staples for Paleo cooking. Most recipes do not use a lot of it, usually a couple tablespoons here and there (this is actually the largest amount of arrowroot powder we have seen so far in a recipe). So, when you buy them, they will last you quite awhile. 

If you follow my Instagram, you witnessed our sad first attempts. But as you move further along the learning curve, you eventually get the hang of it. The batter starts cooking almost instantaneously, so you are not waiting very long to flip. I compare it to cooking an omelette. Drop the batter, and slightly rotate your wrist as you move the batter around to cover the entire pan. 

My husband is not a big fan of lettuce wraps, so this recipe is a nice change for him. The tortillas will bend, roll, twist, and twirl, ready to be stuffed with whatever you want! We have already enjoyed fajitas and breakfast burritos. Looking forward to some wraps, quesadillas, and tacos. Before we started the Paleo diet, we used to snack on tortillas all the time, so there will probably be some snacking going on too :-). 

Paleo Tortillas
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Ingredients
  1. 6 large Eggs, beaten
  2. 1 cup Almond milk
  3. 1/2 cup Arrowroot powder
  4. 6 Tbsp Coconut flour, sifted
  5. 2 Tbsp Ghee, melted
  6. 1/2 tsp Sea salt
  7. Ghee or Palm shortening, for the pan
Instructions
  1. Whisk together eggs, almond milk, coconut flour, arrowroot powder, ghee, and salt. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes, then whisk again.
  2. Heat an 8-inch crêpe pan or well-seasoned griddle to medium-high heat.
  3. Melt a small amount of ghee in the pan and spread it all over.
  4. Ladle 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot pan and quickly spread it into a paper-thin 8-inch circle with the back of the ladle or by turning the pan quickly with your wrist. Fill any holes with a drop of batter. Cook for 45 seconds, until the sides start to lift, then gently flip the wrap. Cook for 30 seconds on the other side.
  5. Move to a plate to cool and repeat the steps until all of the batter is used, greasing the pan between wraps with needed.
Notes
  1. ~Ghee is clarified butter. I just used normal butter.
  2. ~Makes about 10-12 tortillas.
  3. ~The wraps will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days or the freezer for 6 months. Store with a piece of parchment paper between wraps and seal in a resealable bag. Thaw in the refrigerator for 2 hours prior to use.
Adapted from Against All Grain
Adapted from Against All Grain
BeckyAmyLew http://www.beckyamylew.com/

Paleo Spinach Dip

Paleo Spinach Dip

This is going to be short, but I have had many requests for this recipe since I posted it on Instagram. I know you all have many holiday and football potlucks ahead of you, so here it is. There are two versions, one with goat cheese and one without. I have not tried it with goat cheese, but it sounds amazing. While goat cheese is not Paleo, it is not the worst cheese to cheat with.

This Spinach Dip makes a great mushroom stuffer. Other ways to use it: Dip (of course! Sweet potato chips, Plantain chips, Paleo breads), pasta zoodles, pizza topper, and more! Be creative.

 

Paleo Spinach Dip
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Ingredients
  1. VERSION 1 (NO CHEESE)
  2. 2 (14oz) can Artichoke hearts, chopped
  3. 16 oz frozen Spinach
  4. 1 cup Cashews, roasted and unsalted
  5. 2 Tbsp Olive oil
  6. 1/2-1 Tbsp Garlic powder
  7. 1 tsp Onion powder
  8. 1 tsp dried Basil
  9. 1/2-1 tsp Sea salt
  10. 1/2 tsp Black pepper
  11. 1/4 tsp Cayenne pepper

  12. VERSION 2 (WITH CHEESE)
  13. All ingredients above
  14. 2oz Goat cheese, at room temperature
Instructions
for version 1:
  1. Add frozen spinach and artichokes to a large saucepan over medium heat and sprinkle with just a bit of salt. Allow spinach to thaw and artichokes to warm up.
  2. Meanwhile, process cashews in a food processor. Grind until cashews become a flour. Begin to pour in olive oil, process until mixture is a creamy consistency. Like creamy cashew butter.
  3. Once spinach is thawed, drain excess water from saucepan, and transfer spinach and artichokes to a large bowl.
  4. Add creamy cashew mixture and remaining ingredients to bowl, mix thoroughly.
  5. Serve warm or cold.
for version 2:
  1. Follow steps above.
  2. Add goat cheese to cashew, spinach, and artichoke mixture. Mix well to combine.
Notes
  1. ~As I am typing this up, I realized that both times I made this, I only used 1 can of artichoke hearts. I do not know if a second is needed, but I will leave that up to you based on your level of like for artichokes.
  2. ~I used salted cashews, tasted just fine.
  3. ~For version 1, I added about a 3/4 cup of Paleo Mayonnaise, to make it creamier. If you add mayo, may want to cut back on the salt.
  4. ~Bacon is always an option!!
Adapted from PaleOMG
Adapted from PaleOMG
BeckyAmyLew http://www.beckyamylew.com/

Butternut Squash Chili

I usually think posts that start with “it’s been awhile since I posted here” are so cliché, BUT it’s been a while since I posted here! Training for my first marathon ate up my most of my time, while homework, work, and life devoured the rest. After months of scavenging for calories anywhere I could find them during my training, I am trying to get back on track with my paleo meal plans. So far, so good!

Let’s talk chili. Now that it is finally getting cold in Kansas, what better way to welcome the fall and winter? While the chili recipe market is a quite saturated, I think you will find this one a bit unique. I fell in love with butternut squash earlier this year and used it in the kitchen any way I could: roasted, mashed, salads, casseroles, and soups. But above all, I really wanted to incorporate it into a chili recipe. After some experimenting, I think this is a keeper. The butternut squash adds a nutty and subtly sweet flavor, while providing for a perfect consistency, thick and hearty. It is a beautiful marriage of butternut squash and chili that makes for the perfect fall and winter comfort food. Eat it as a soup, or try serving it over spinach for something different. Top it with onions, bacon, cilantro and/or whatever else your heart desire. I would love to hear your feedback! Comment below or find me on Facebook and Instagram.

Butternut Squash Chili
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Ingredients
  1. 1 lb Ground beef
  2. 1 Butternut squash
  3. 1 Onion, chopped
  4. 1 (15oz) can Crushed tomatoes
  5. 2 cups Water
  6. 2 Tbsp Chili powder
  7. 1 Tbsp Garlic, minced
  8. 1 1/2 tsp Olive oil
  9. 1 tsp Salt
  10. 1/2 tsp Paprika
  11. 1/2 tsp dried Oregano
  12. 1/2 tsp ground Cayenne pepper
  13. 1/2 tsp ground Cumin
  14. 1/2 tsp Black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Peel and cut butternut squash in half. Scoop out seeds. Cut squash into 1/2-inch bite-size pieces.
  3. Roast butternut squash for 25-30 minutes, flip halfway. Let it cool for a few minutes.
  4. Process half of the roasted butternut squash in a food processor or blender, until smooth.
  5. Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Cook ground beef until evenly brown. Stir in onions, cook until tender.
  6. Add water, processed butter nut squash, and remaining ingredients to pot: crushed tomatoes, garlic, salt, chili powder, paprika, oregano, cayenne pepper, cumin, and black pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
  7. Add remaining bite-size butternut squash pieces, and simmer for another 10 minutes.
Notes
  1. If you don't have a food processor or blender, or you just don't want to process the squash, you can just mash it in a bowl with a spoon or fork while it's still hot.
  2. Eat as is, or serve it over spinach for something different.
  3. If you want to get fancy, top with cilantro and/or onion. If you be awesome, top with bacon!
BeckyAmyLew http://www.beckyamylew.com/

Double Header Pickling Recipes: Dill Pickles and Pickled Vegetables

Dill Pickles and Pickled Vegetables | BeckyAmyLew Paleo Recipes

Happy Friday! I am kicking off the Labor Day weekend with a double header post featuring two recipes. It is full-blown pickling season in the Lewis household and no vegetable is safe. If it fits in a mason jar, it will be pickled.

I tried some pickling last year for the first time, but they ended up being very heavy on the sugar and coriander. Nevertheless, it is a brand new year, and I was given two foolproof recipes that will satisfy all your pickling needs. Plus, there is no sugar involved, therefore Paleo-friendly. The best part is they are so easy! The process is a lot simpler than what I remembered. These recipes are very flexible, so play around with them and make them your own.   

 

Dill Pickles
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Ingredients
  1. Baby cucumbers
  2. 1 1/2 cup Water
  3. 1/2 cup Cider vinegar
  4. 1 Garlic clove
  5. 1 head fresh Dill
  6. 1 Tbsp canning Salt
  7. 2 tsp Minced dried onion
  8. 1 tsp Mustard seeds
Instructions
  1. Wash cucumbers, cut lengthwise into spears.
  2. Place head of dill in a clean pint sized jar. Add cucumber spears.
  3. Mix remaining ingredients together in a saucepan, bring to boil. Boil until salt is dissolved. Pour over sliced cucumbers, leaving 1/2 inch head space from top.
  4. Place lid on jar and set on counter for 3 days. Occasionally turning the jar upside down to let the flavors combine.
  5. After 3 days, place in refrigerator. Will store in the refrigerator for up to 1 year.
Notes
  1. ~Makes 1 pint.
  2. ~Use homegrown cucumbers from a farmers market. Cucumbers from the grocery store have wax on them that hinders the pickling process.
  3. ~Cut pickles however you want. I made spears and sliced pickles.
  4. ~I used sea salt instead of canning salt, because that is what I had.
  5. ~I used dried onion, because I was out of minced dried onion. Turned out fine.
  6. ~I boiled the lids and kept them hot before placing on jars to sterilize.
Adapted from Creative Homemaking
BeckyAmyLew http://www.beckyamylew.com/
Pickled Vegetables
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Ingredients
  1. Vegetable of choice
  2. 4 cups Water
  3. 2 cups Vinegar
  4. head of Garlic
  5. fresh Dill
  6. 6 tsp Kosher salt
  7. 1 tsp Coriander seeds
  8. 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  9. 1/2 tsp Black peppercorn
  10. 1/2 tsp Chili flakes (optional)
  11. 1 Jalepeno, split (optional)
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, add water, vinegar, and salt. Bring to boil.
  2. In the bottom of each jar, add 1 crushed garlic clove and 1 sprig of dill. For spicy, add chili flakes and jalapeno.
  3. Divide seeds and peppercorn, add to each jar.
  4. Pack jars with vegetables tightly, leaving 1/2 inch head space from top.
  5. Pour hot liquid into jars, leaving 1/2 inch head space from top.
  6. Place lid on jar and set on counter for 3 days. Occasionally turning the jar upside down to let the flavors combine.
Notes
  1. ~Makes 4 pints.
  2. ~I boiled the lids and kept them hot before placing on jars to sterilize.
  3. ~No storage instructions available, but I am assuming they are the same as the Dill Pickles above.
Adapted from Jeff Fink
Adapted from Jeff Fink
BeckyAmyLew http://www.beckyamylew.com/

How to Make Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs

Hard Boiled Eggs | BeckyAmyLew

I have a confession. This is no joke. I spent all of my adult cooking life struggling with hard boiled eggs. Sometimes I overcooked them, sometimes I undercooked them. Sometimes they would peel decently, a majority of the time they would not. I was, literally, walking on egg shells trying to make a presentable (at best) hard boiled egg. 

Through plenty of recipes, many Google searches, and hard-to-follow instructions from my grandma, I finally AHA! figured it out. No salt or vinegar or baking soda nonsense, just a fail proof way to make perfect hard boiled eggs. I know there are others like me somewhere out there, so I hope this is the last recipe you have to read. 

TIP: Using a pin or thumbtack, poke a hole on the wide bottom of each of the eggs. It helps separate the egg from the shell, making it easier to peel. When peeling, just give it a crack on the same wide bottom of the egg, and the shell will practically peel itself. This is a tip from Nom Nom Paleo, and it works!  
 

Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs
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Ingredients
  1. Eggs
  2. Water
Instructions
  1. Place eggs in a pot.
  2. Fill with just enough water to cover eggs.
  3. Place on stove and bring to a boil.
  4. Cover, turn stove off, and let sit for 12 minutes (15 minutes for jumbo eggs).
  5. Transfer eggs to ice cold water. Let it sit for about a minute. Peel and enjoy!
BeckyAmyLew http://www.beckyamylew.com/

Daikon Noodle Salad

Daikon Noodle Salad | BeckyAmyLew Paleo Recipes

With its clean and simple flavor, daikon was always a childhood favorite of mine. My mom used to cook it in soups and stews, usually beef. The daikon adds a nice palate cleanser in the heavy beef broth, and pairs nicely with the meat and other vegetables. 

Because I have never seen it prepared any other way, I was intrigued with this recipe by Practical Paleo. It is a refreshing dish to help beat the summer heat, and not to mention easy. We all know I love easy! The original recipe is topped with a Red Palm & Coriander Tuna…Yep, you guessed it. I did not have tuna on hand, and Red Palm sounds like a type of tree in Florida. So, I sauteed shrimp I had in the fridge, threw it on top of the salad, and called it good. A little recipe remix never hurt anyone.
   

Daikon Noodle Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 2-3 Daikon radishes
  2. 1 large Carrot
  3. 1 Tbsp fresh Cilantro, chopped
  4. Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  5. 1 Tbsp extra-virgin Olive oil or cold-pressed Sesame oil
  6. Sea salt and Black pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Rinse and peel the outer skin of the daikon radishes with a standard vegetable peeler.
  2. Using a julienne peeler (or continue with the standard peeler if you don't have a julienne peeler), continue to "peel" the radishes into noodle-shaped pieces. Repeat this process with the carrot.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the julienned radishes and carrots with the chopped cilantro, lemon juice, oil, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately to retain the crunch (the daikon will become soggy if it sits too long before serving).
Notes
  1. I used a vegetable spiralizer to make the "noodles".
Adapted from Practical Paleo
Adapted from Practical Paleo
BeckyAmyLew http://www.beckyamylew.com/

Maple Sausage Patties

Paleo Maple Sausage Patties | BeckyAmyLew

Anyone who follows my Instagram or Facebook page knows I LOVE BREAKFAST! Since starting the Paleo lifestyle, breakfast has easily become my favorite part of the day. With a meal plan, there is a comfort in knowing what is for breakfast the next morning. A feeling that sometimes turns into excitement. It’s like knowing that Christmas morning always starts with a huge plate of dad’s world famous french toast.

These little Maple Sausage Patties are money! Easy and delicious, that is all. I plan on making more with the remaining herbs and freezing them for quick grabs in the future.

 

Maple Sausage Patties
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Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs Ground pork (DON'T use lean or extra-lean)
  2. 2 Tbsp Maple syrup
  3. 1 Tbsp Kosher salt
  4. 1 tsp freshly ground Black pepper
  5. 2 tsp minced fresh Sage
  6. 1 tsp minced fresh Thyme
  7. 1/2 tsp minced fresh Rosemary
  8. 1/2 tsp Ancho chile powder
  9. 2 Tbsp Ghee or fat of choice
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, mix all ingredients (except the ghee). Be careful not to overwork the meat -- you don't want your patties to be dense and tough.
  2. Use your hands to form the meat into sixteen 2-inch rounds. The patties should be roughly 3/4 inch in height.
  3. Melt the ghee in a large (12-inch) cast-iron skillet over medium heat. In two batches, cook the patties in the hot ghee for 4 minutes on each side, or until they are cooked through and golden brown.
Notes
  1. ~I think dried seasonings will work just fine.
  2. ~Ancho chile powder is pure chile powder made from poblano peppers. It is a dark red color and can be found with the other Mexican spices. I found it at Sprouts, and I'm pretty sure I've seen it at Price Choppers.
  3. ~I used a lean pork (93/7), because that is all they had at Sprouts. But I would definitely use regular pork if you find it.
  4. ~I cooked my sausage patties on an electric skillet. I don't have a cast-iron skillet, yet (that is on my Christmas list!)
  5. ~If avoiding sweeteners, replace maple syrup with grated apple.
Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo
Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo
BeckyAmyLew http://www.beckyamylew.com/

Kielbasa and Cabbage

Kielbasa and Cabbage

Last week, I bought a huge head of cabbage from the farmers market that is literally bigger than my head. I love cabbage, but for some reason, I have not cooked with it that much. Consequently, it has just been sitting in the fridge, patiently waiting its turn while I decide what to cook.

My first attempt was at cabbage rolls. It was one of those days where I didn’t feel like reading any recipes, so I winged it. Meh, they turned out okay, but will definitely require some modifications.

Of course, I had plenty leftover, and decided to take a stab at Kielbasa and Cabbage. Lately, I have seen a lot of posts on Instagram with Kielbasa and Cabbage that always look so wonderful. I found this recipe online that looked simple enough, just the way I like it. I have to confess I did not know what Kielbasa was (polish sausage, duh!), and just used leftover Italian sausage from the fridge. It still turned out delicious, but I have a feeling using Kielbasa would take the flavor to another level. I already bought some to use for next time. This is an easy, easy recipe that can be whipped up ahead of time for lunch or even a light dinner. And, you just cannot go wrong with bacon.

 

Kielbasa and Cabbage
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Ingredients
  1. 1 large head Cabbage, cut into small wedges
  2. 1 lb Polish kielbasa
  3. 6 slices Bacon
  4. 1 Onion, chopped
  5. 1/4 cup Water
  6. 3 tsp Caraway seed
  7. 2 tsp minced Garlic
  8. 1/4 tsp crushed Red pepper flakes
  9. 1/4 tsp Seasoning salt
Instructions
  1. In a large skillet, fry bacon over medium high heat until browned, turning once. Remove bacon from pan, leave drippings in pan. Place bacon on paper towels.
  2. Stir water, onions, garlic, red pepper flakes, seasoning salt, and caraway seeds into drippings. Add cabbage, and gently stir. Cover, and cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Add kielbasa to the pan. Cover, and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes. Crumble bacon over top, serve hot.
Notes
  1. The original recipe calls for 2 Tbsp white sugar, which I omitted. I did use a little bit of honey, but I'm not sure if it made any difference, because I didn't really taste any sweetness. I probably won't even worry about it next time.
Adapted from Allrecipes
Adapted from Allrecipes
BeckyAmyLew http://www.beckyamylew.com/

Sweet Potato Salad

Sweet Potato Salad | BeckyAmyLew

Happy Fourth of July weekend! Holidays usually mean one thing..potlucks! I spent yesterday pool-side and grill-side with a fabulous group of friends. I am always nervous about deciding what to bring to a BBQ/potluck, because you never know the variety of taste buds that will be in attendance. I opted for this Sweet Potato Salad recipe that I have been eyeballing on Pinterest for awhile. We love sweet potatoes at our house: Baked, roasted, grilled, smoked, mashed, and any other ways it can be prepared. This dish has a very delightful subtle southwest flavor, making it a perfect candidate to accompany any meal. It was a hit at the BBQ yesterday, and will certainly become a staple in the Lewis Household!

 

Sweet Potato Salad
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Ingredients
  1. 2 lbs Sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
  2. 1/2 onion, finely chopped (I used red onion)
  3. 1 Red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
  4. 4 Green onions, thinly sliced
  5. 1/4 cup Vegenaise (I used homemade Paleo mayonnaise)
  6. 3-4 Tbsp Plain greek yogurt (or omit for vegan preparation and increase Vegenaise)
  7. 1/2 Lime, juiced
  8. 1 tsp Smoked paprika, or to taste
  9. 1/2-1 tsp Ground cumin
  10. Dash of Cayenne pepper, or to taste, optional
  11. Salt and freshly ground Black pepper, to taste
  12. (For sweeter version, add 1/2 tsp of Agave or Honey, to taste)
Instructions
  1. Add sweet potatoes to a large pot of cold salted water*. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let cool in colander.
  2. Once the potatoes are cool, transfer to a large serving bowl. Add onion, red pepper, and green onions.
  3. In a separate bowl, add Vegenaise, yogurt, lime juice, smoked paprika, cumin, salt and pepper. Whisk or stir to combine. Pour over the potatoes and veggies. Mix thoroughly. Serve immediately or refrigerate for 1 hour.
Notes
  1. *If you add potatoes to a pot of boiling water, they will cook from the outside in, and you will usually wind up with a potato still raw in the middle.
  2. ~Two of my large sweet potatoes weighed in at about 2.3 pounds. I made two batches for the BBQ and had plenty left over.
  3. ~15 minutes seemed long for my potatoes. They were a little too tender for my taste. Next time I will try to under cook it a bit to obtain a firmer texture. I will let you know how it turns out!
  4. ~I omitted the yogurt.
  5. ~I made this the day before, letting it sit overnight, and it turned out fine.
Adapted from Natural Noshing
Adapted from Natural Noshing
BeckyAmyLew http://www.beckyamylew.com/