Posts Tagged ‘yum’

Butternut Squash Flour

I am on the hunt to expand my Paleo breakfast ideas past fried eggs. I love eggs, but sometimes you just gotta change things up. I am still experimenting with this idea, but I was pretty surprised by the way these turned out so I thought I would share the test recipe with you. While browsing Amazon the other day, I came across pumpkin powder. Pumpkin powder is dehydrated pumpkin that is ground into a fine powder and can be used in place of flour. I was rather intrigued and decided to experiment with making my own.

Unfortunately, my local grocery store was totally out of pumpkins, so I picked up a butternut squash instead. Close enough! I wanted to experiment with making tortillas. Traditional corn tortillas are made from corn, water, and lime. Flour tortillas are made from flour, salt, water, and lard. Therefore, it stands to reason that you could make tortillas from any flour, right?

The result was pretty awesome even though my tortilla recipe still needs a bit of work. I think I made this first batch too thick because they split apart when I picked them up and didn’t hold together like a traditional tortilla. However, they tasted great so I just ate my breakfast with a knife and fork, tostada-style. :-) I might try adding a binder (flax seed, perhaps?) to the next batch and see if that helps. I’ll keep you posted!

Paleo Breakfast Ideas

Butternut squash toastadas!

To Make Butternut Squash Flour

Peel, seed, and cube the squash and spread it onto a dehydrator. You want small, evenly sized cubes. The pieces took FOREVER to dehydrate. I had them in there for close to 24 hours. Next time, I am going to shred the squash and see if that helps speed up the process!

When they are fully dehydrated, add to a blender and grind into a powder. This also took a bit of time because I have a pretty cheap blender. I imagine a VitaMix could do the trick in a few seconds! I am going to move the VitaMix to the top of my Christmas Wish List. :-)

Butternut Squash Tortillas (Test Recipe)

In a bowl, combine 1/3 cup butternut squash flour and 1/8 teaspoon salt. Add warm water by the tablespoon and mix until you get a doughy consistency. For me, 3 tablespoons was too little, but 4 tablespoons was too much. I had to play with this and add a little bit more flour to form a dough. Like I said… I am still experimenting!

Divide dough into 2 balls. Place dough between 2 pieces of waxed paper and press with a tortilla press. If you do not have a tortilla press, you can roll these out by hand. Toast the tortillas in a skillet, about 4 minutes on each side.

Butternut Squash Toastadas
Assemble the toastadas by placing two tortillas on a plate. Top with your favorite toppings.

In the photo above: 2 butternut squash tortillas, shredded chicken, tomatillo salsa, pickled carrots, and pumpkin seeds.

Other Paleo topping ideas: Shredded pork, ground beef, eggs, lettuce, guacamole, pico de gallo, olives, cilantro, fresh lime, onions, peppers, and thinly sliced radish.

Have you ever used squash flour? 

Paleo Pumpkin Pie Coffee (Inspired by Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spiced Latte)

Confession: I’ve never had a Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. 

It’s true! In general, I’ve never been a big fan of Starbucks coffee, so it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise that I have managed to miss the PSL craze year after year. However, people seem to go absolutely bananas over this thing. Why? I don’t get it.

I decided to investigate, and was shocked as to what I found out. Granted, most people are not freaks about reading ingredients and most folks don’t pay attention to things like sugar content, but I am, and I do, and my reaction was something like this:

First, the pumpkin spice latte contains no actual pumpkin. It’s basically a mix of espresso and high fructose corn syrup. The average size PSL has 49g of sugar and 51g of carbs! Holy. Moly. That is more sugar than a regular can of Coke (39g), more sugar than a bag of Skittles (47g), more sugar than a can of Red Bull (27g), and more carbs than a Big Mac (46g). Y-I-K-E-S! And, don’t think those numbers drastically improve by using non-fat milk or ordering it sans whipped cream because they don’t.

Sorry, I’ll stop being a total buzz kill and get to the recipe!

I discovered this recipe when I was trying to make Pumpkin Pie Popsicles for a dinner party. I had some leftover popsicle mix, stored it in a mason jar, added it to my coffee the following morning. WOW! Yum, yum, yum!

Homemade Paleo Pumpkin Pie Coffee

Note: This recipe will fill a pint-sized mason jar. I was adding this to a 16 ounce travel mug and it easily lasted a full work week and then some!

Pumpkin Pie Coffee - Cucina Kristina |cucinakristina.com

Vegan, Paleo, Gluten-Free… we’re taking care of all dietary restrictions in one fell swoop!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups coconut milk – (I use Silk brand, not full fat coconut milk)
  • 1 tablespoon raw coconut oil (optional)
  • 1/2 can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch of high quality sea salt

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to a week.
  3. Use in place of creamer in your favorite coffee.

Note: The pumpkin puree will settle in the bottom of your mug if you do not drink this quickly. Have a spoon on hand to give it a stir if you are savoring the flavor.

Also, apparently vegans are up in arms because the current Starbucks PSL cannot be made vegan. Guess what? The above recipe is vegan! Pass it on :-)

Homemade Ghee -or- DIY Clarified Butter

So many recipes in the Paleosphere call for ghee. What’s ghee? Ghee is another name for clarified butter! What’s clarified butter? The stuff that you dip your fingers into at a seafood restaurant… or lobster tail if you are trying to exhibit table manners. Seriously, how tasty is clarified butter? So tasty!

Wait? Butter is Paleo? No. Butter is not Paleo-friendly because it comes from cream, which contains casein and lactose, but when you make ghee, you remove the milk proteins and are left with a delicious nutty fat that is perfect for roasting, sautéing, searing, stir-frying, or melting and drizzling over your favorite veggie.

ANYWAY… it turns out that ghee is incredibly easy (and quick!) to make. I made this really early in the morning because I am a freak and like to wake up before the sun. True story. Then, I used it to make steak and eggs and baked apples. I even thought about putting some of it in my coffee and making Paleo butter coffee, but I thought that might be going a little overboard for one morning. Maybe I will try that next week. :-)

Ingredients and Supplies:

  • 1 pound butter
  • Glass jar for storing the ghee – I used a pint Mason jar
  • Cheesecloth
  • Wooden spoon/Solid spoon to skim the foam
  • Pot

Directions:

1.  Over a low heat, melt the butter in your pot.

Ghee - Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

Use a low heat so your butter does not burn.

2.  Try to avoid stirring your butter as it is melting because you want to milk solids to foam up and separate from the fats. When it starts to look like the picture below, use a wooden or solid spoon to skim the foam off the top.

Ghee - Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

Not stirring is so hard

You might have to do this a few times to get all of the milk proteins out.

Ghee - Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

Just keep skimming, just keep skimming…

3.  When it starts to look like the photo above, let it boil for 10-12 minutes. The milk solids may start to brown and float to the side. That’s ok! You want that. That is giving the ghee a deep nutty flavor.

Ghee - Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

5

4.  When it the bubbling slows and the browned milk solids start to fall to the bottom of the pan, your ghee is ready to be strained.

Ghee - Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

Strain any browned bits out.

5.  If you are using a mason jar, place 3 layers of cheesecloth over the mouth of the jar and loosely screw on the lid. You want to make sure that the cheesecloth has a little give to it. Notice in the photo above the gap between the cloth and the rim of the lid. Strain any browned bits or foam out.

Ghee - Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

This will be HOT. Do not grab it right away!

6.  Discard the cheesecloth. BE CAREFUL! The rim, jar, and ghee will be hot! Let it cool for a bit before you start to handle it.

Ghee - Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

Ta da!

When it cools, it will solidify and turn a nice silky color. You can just scoop out however much you need and start cooking. Since the milk proteins have been removed, you do not need to refrigerate your ghee; however, I do to be on the safe side.

Now, stop reading and go make some ghee!

My Paleo Food Diary

People are always shocked when they find out I do not eat grains, dairy, or refined carbohydrates. It’s as if they think the only thing left on Earth to consume is air! Paleo eating is a lot more abundant and delicious than people think. I swear! To prove it, I thought I would put together a photo diary showing what I eat in a typical day.

First, let me dispel the misconception that I eat zero carbs. While I am avoiding simple carbs (bread, pasta, bagels, muffins, etc.), I load up on complex, nutrient-dense carbs (leafy greens, nuts, seeds, fruits, etc.). We traditionally only think of carbs in the simple form and while my carbohydrate intake has certainly lowered over the last 6 months, it is far from zero.

Breakfast – Fried Eggs over a Warm Asparagus, Mushroom, and Arugula Salad
I took a handful of arugula and tossed it in olive oil and fresh squeezed lemon juice. Then, I topped it with mushrooms, shallots, and asparagus that I sautéed in olive oil. Next, I added 2 fried eggs, a sprinkle of paprika, and served it alongside some avocado slices. Before breaking the yolk and letting it ooze all over my plate, I did a little jig because I was super amped to have this plate of awesomeness in front of me. I also enjoyed a hot cup o’ joe with coconut milk.

Cucina Kristina's Paleo Food Diary - Breakfast: Fried eggs over a warm mushroom, asparagus, and arugula salad.

I’ll probably eat this everyday all summer!

Lunch – Mason Jar Salad
For the last 6 months, I have eaten a mason jar salad everyday for lunch. I prep them on Sunday and enjoy them all week. There are so many ways you can change up a salad, I never get bored with them. I dress my salads with extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice, lime juice, or red wine vinegar because I am boring when it comes to salad dressings; however, you can use any dressing you like. I also always add a source of protein like hard-boiled eggs, chicken, or tuna and an additional fat source like pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, or nuts.

Mason Jar Salads. Stay fresh for up to a week in the fridge. Layer hardier ingredients on the bottom and more delicate items on top. Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

Eat your veggies :)

Snack – Spicy Power Bars
I rarely get hungry between meals. I know! It is hard for me to believe sometimes since I spent a good part of my life calorie restricting and feeling hungry ALL. THE. TIME. If I feel hungry during the day, I snack on homemade power bars, a handful of nuts (pistachio are my favorite!), or beef jerky. I am usually hungrier on days after I workout and less hungry on my rest days. This power bar recipe is from Elana’s Pantry and it is delicious.

Spicy Power Bars | Recipe courtesy of Elana's Pantry @ elanaspantry.com | Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

This recipe makes 10-12 bars

Dinner – Beef and Broccoli over Cauli Rice
For dinner I made beef and broccoli over a bed of cauli rice. Yes, that white stuff below is cauliflower, not rice. This dish comes together quickly and everything can be prepped ahead of time. Bonus! The recipe for the beef and the cauli rice are coming next week!

Beef and broccoli over cauli rice

Not white rice? Coulda fooled me!

Dessert – Strawberry Hibiscus Popsicle
If you do not have a set of popsicle molds, you can use ice cube trays, Dixie cups, or muffin tins. This week, I made or Strawberry Hibiscus Popsicles. These popsicles are dairy-free, gluten-free, Paleo, and have no added refined sugar. The ingredients are Hibiscus tea, strawberries, banana, and honey. They are simple, refreshing, and delicious! You can find the recipe here.

Cucina Kristina | Strawberry Hibiscus Popsicle | cucinakristina.com

No added refined sugars!

There you have it! That is a pretty typical day for me. If you prep these meals beforehand, the active cooking time for each of them is less than 15 minutes. I had a lot of fun putting this together. Do I have a new blog series on my hands? Possibly! :)

Prosciutto, Asparagus, Egg “Muffins”

This weekend I experimented a little in the kitchen by attempting to make Prosciutto Egg Cups for breakfast. Rather than following a tried and true recipe for the first go-round and tweaking to my liking, I tried to make up the recipe from the start. The result didn’t turn out quite as I had hoped. Prosciutto Egg Cups are supposed to look like this:

Or, like this:

But, my version looked more like egg muffins. Whoops!

They were still pretty yummy and I think the main problem was that I scrambled the eggs first rather than dropping the whole egg into the Prosciutto. That’s what happens when you don’t follow a recipe. :)

I made two, ate one, and stuck the other in the fridge to see if it would hold up overnight. It did, which is exciting because now I feel like I can make a few of these on Sunday afternoon and have breakfast taken care of for the first few days of the week! If you are going to use this as a grab-and-go breakfast item, I’d recommend heating it up. Cold eggs aren’t very tasty. In fact, they are pretty gross.

Prosciutto, Asparagus, Egg “Muffins”
Makes 2

Prosciutto, Asparagus, Egg "Muffins" | Cucina Kristina cucinakristina.com

Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 2 stalks of asparagus, roughly chopped
  • 2 baby bella mushrooms, roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 4-6 slices of Prosciutto

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375˚.
  2. Roughly chop asparagus and mushrooms and set aside.
  3. Line 2 ramekins (you could also use a muffin tin) with Prosciutto slices until the bottom and sides are completely covered.
  4. Add the asparagus and mushrooms to the ramekins.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk eggs. Add eggs to ramekins.
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes. (I did mine for 27 minutes because they were still a little runny looking at 25 minutes).
  7. When finished cooking, let stand for a few minutes. Slide a knife around the edge of the ramekins to loosen the “muffin.” Serve warm.

I’m Going to a Pin It Party!

Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean is hosting a Pin It Party today! She is also one of the founders of the Foodie Pen Pal program that I have been participating in each month. Her blog is great! You should check it out. By the way, are you following me on Pinterest? :)

Below are some of my favorite posts over the last year. After you are done pinning these awesome recipes, you should head on over to the Pin It Party and check out some other awesome bloggers!

1. Mason Jar Salads
Preparing my salads on Sunday evening for the entire week has been one of the biggest stress relievers of my life. It is so nice being able to wake up in the morning, open my fridge, grab one of these jars and head out the door. The lettuce stays crisp all week too!

Mason Jar Salads. Stay fresh for up to a week in the fridge. Layer hardier ingredients on the bottom and more delicate items on top. Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

.

2. Waldorf-Inspired Tuna Salad
Remember when I made mayonnaise from scratch? This is one of my favorite ways to use it! My husband routinely asks me to make this which has to account for something since he likes practically nothing!

Waldorf-Inspired Tuna Salad. 2 cans tuna, 1 medium apple, diced; 1 cup grapes, sliced in half; 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped; 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped; 1/2 cup celery, diced; 2-3 tablespoons mayo | cucinakristina.com

Homemade Mayo, ftw!

3. Mediterranean Zucchini Cups
These have become a staple appetizer at parties around my house. People RAVE over them and always ask for the recipe. They are so simple and healthy. They are a great in the summer, but are an even better on a gloomy winter day. One bite of these and you feel like you are enjoying lunch on an island in the sun!

Mediterranean Zucchini Cups - Great healthy appetizer or mid-day snack. Under 300 calories | cucinakristina.com

Under 300 Calories!

4. Wonton Pizza Pockets
I am trying, trying, trying to eliminate processed foods from my husband’s diet. He is quite stubborn and refuses to give up his frozen pizzas and his Totino’s Pizza Rolls. Based on the way he gobbled these down, I am pretty sure he liked these more than Totino’s (even though he won’t admit it :)).

Wonton Pizza Pockets. Great party appetizer or kid-friendly snack. Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

5. Lemon & Rosemary Roasted Chicken
Ummmm…. YUM! That is all I have to say about this recipe! Make it tonight and make it often!

Lemon & Rosemary Roasted Chicken. Cucina Kristina | cucinakristina.com

So tasty!

Happy pinning!

Green Juice Boost (of Energy!)

I’ve been intrigued by juicing ever since watching Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead on Netflix a few months ago. The film follows a man who was 100 pounds overweight with all kinds of autoimmune disorders. He starts juicing in an attempt to jumpstart a healthy lifestyle. It was an interesting film and inspired me to start using the juicer that was collecting dust in my basement.

One of the main motivations to start juicing was the fact that I had to wake up at 5:30 a.m. in order to be at school by 7:30. It was hard for me to eat a full breakfast that early; nothing sounds appetizing when you are still half asleep! But, since I didn’t want to leave the house on an empty stomach, I decided to give juicing a try.

The results were amazing! I had a ton of energy and didn’t experience the harsh crash in the afternoons that I usually get with coffee.This is one of my favorite juice recipes. I stuck to this one almost religiously because it wasn’t overly sweet. The lemon gave it a nice tartness and the parsley added a refreshing finish.

Green Juice Boost (of Energy!) - 1/2 cucumber, 1 small apple, 1 lemon, 1 small handful of parsley (about 1/4 cup), 3 stalks kale, 2 handfuls of spinach (about 3 cups). Roughly chop apple and peel lemon. Run all ingredients through a juicer. Enjoy immediately! | Cucina Kristina cucinakristina.com

No mid-afternoon crash!

Green Juice Boost (of Energy!)
*This recipe requires a juicer.

Green Juice Boost (of Energy!). No mid-afternoon crash! Run all ingredients through a juicer. Enjoy immediately. | Cucina Kristina cucinakristina.com

Green Juice Boost (of energy)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cucumber
  • 1 small apple
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 small handful of parsley (about 1/4 cup)
  • 3 stalks kale
  • 2 handfuls of spinach (about 3 cups)

Directions:

  1. Roughly chop apple and peel lemon.
  2. Run all ingredients through a juicer.
  3. Enjoy immediately!

May Foodie Penpal Reveal Day!

I missed the sign up deadline for Foodie Penpals last month. Sad face. I am very happy to be participating again this month! This month I was paired with Paul, a fellow spicy food lover from Arizona. Paul sent me so many awesome things I couldn’t fit them all into one photo! Ok, enough chitchat. Let’s get started!

Dried Kiwi and Apple Chips!

Dried Kiwi and Apple Chips!

Up first we have dried kiwi and apple chips. These are my two favorite dried fruits to eat after dried mango. My beloved A&G only sells dried kiwi mixed with other tropical fruits so I am really excited to have an entire bag of just kiwi!

Wasabi Almonds, Kashi Go Lean bar, Chicken Enchilada Soup Mix

Wasabi Almonds, Kashi Go Lean bar, Chicken Enchilada Soup Mix

Next, we’ve got wasabi almonds. I have had these before, and I love them! They are not as hot as wasabi peas so if you are weary of trying spicy things this might be a good treat to get your feet wet. They have nice kick, but they won’t make your eyes water and your face turn red.

In the middle we have a Kashi Go Lean Roll. This went right into the glovebox of my car so I could enjoy it as a post workout snack. It might also serve as a “I’m stuck in terrible traffic and need something to eat immediately” snack. We’ll have to see which one comes first. :)

To the right we have chicken enchilada soup mix. This is an individual serving of soup. How cleaver! Tortilla soup is a favorite around our house so, since the flavors are similar, I am sure this will be a winner.

Chili Powder, Dark Chocolate with Orange and Chili, Chickpea Curry, Burger Seasoning

Chili Powder, Dark Chocolate with Orange and Chili, Chickpea Curry, Burger Seasoning

So much awesome is happening in this photo, I don’t even know where to start. Let’s go clockwise from the top.

Chili Nuevo Mexico – This is a New Mexico chili powder. I JUST ran out of chili powder so this came at the perfect time! I can’t wait to use this in chili, in burgers, or as a seasoning on grilled veggies!

Cocoacara – This. Chocolate. Is. AMAZING. This is a dark chocolate bar with orange and chili powder. Need I say more?

Mr. Kook’s Indian Style Sprinkler – This burger seasoning sounds really exciting. I can’t wait to try it! I think this would pair nicely with a cool coleslaw topping.

Curry Tree Chickpeas Curry – Another single serving meal. I am happy Paul sent me these things because they will be perfect to keep on hand once I start working full-time in the fall.

Hot Salsa, All-Purpose Seasoning, BBQ Sauce, Mango Chili Marinade

Hotter ‘N’ Hell Salsa, Sazón All-Purpose Seasoning, Sweet ‘n’ Sticky Molasses BBQ Sauce, Mango Chili Sauce

Shotgun Willie’s Jalapeño Salsa – The label says this is “Hotter ‘n’ Hell.” I’ll let you know if it lives up to its claim!

Sazón All-Purpose Seasoning – Paul said that he liked to sprinkle this on oven roasted root veggies. Lucky for me, I LOVE oven roasted root veggies!

Garland Jack’s Secret Six BBQ Sauce – My husband is really excited about this one. To be honest, I am not sure what to use BBQ sauce on other than ribs so I am excited to start researching and experimenting ways to use this. This list from Bon Appétit has some great ideas. The BBQ whipped cream with grilled pineapple is calling my name!

Last, but not least, Paul included a jar of Mango Chili sauce. This is another item that I use quite often that I just ran out of. Paul must be a mind-reader! I use this as a dip for steamed veggies, shrimp, and in salad dressings. I usually use Trader Joe’s brand so I am excited to give another brand a whirl.

I can’t thank Paul enough for this fantastic box of goodies! I wish I could be paired with Paul in August when my garden is exploding with peppers and I am looking for takers. I have a feeling he would be the perfect candidate for home-grown jalapeños, fish peppers, and Habaneros.

Wanna be a Foodie Penpal? Find out how! Click the stamp to sign up!

The Lean Green Bean

Past Foodie Penpal Reveals:

Here’s a detailed explanation of the program:

- On the 5th of the month, you will receive your penpal pairing via email. It will be your responsibility to contact your penpal and get their mailing address and any other information you might need like allergies or dietary restrictions.

- You will have until the 15th of the month to put your box of goodies in the mail. On the last day of the month, you will post about the goodies you received from your penpal!

- The boxes are to be filled with fun foodie things, local food items or even homemade treats! The spending limit is $15. The box must also include something written. This can be anything from a note explaining what’s in the box, to a fun recipe…use your imagination!

- You are responsible for figuring out the best way to ship your items depending on their size and how fragile they are. (Don’t forget about flat rate boxes!)

- Foodie Penpals is open to blog readers as well as bloggers. If you’re a reader and you get paired with a blogger, you can choose to write a short guest post for your penpal to post on their blog about what you received. If two readers are paired together, neither needs to worry about writing a post for that month.

- Foodie Penpals is open to US, Canadian residents & UK residents.  Please note, Canadian Residents will be paired with other Canadians only. We’ve determined things might get too slow and backed up if we’re trying to send foods through customs across the border from US to Canada and vice versa. So, I’m going to keep two separate lists and match US w/ US and Canada w/ Canada!

***If you’re in the UK, please contact Carol Anne from This Is Rock Salt at rocksalt@thisisrocksalt.com to get involved!

Waldorf-Inspired Tuna Salad

Do you ever have a really great culinary idea that you are sure no one else has thought of? So, you Google it only find that thousands of people, including one of your favorite bloggers, has already thought of it?! That happened to me with this recipe. Sigh.

Alas, this recipe is super tasty and is quickly becoming a weekly staple in our house. I thought of it when I was trying to think of ways to use the homemade mayo I whipped up a few weeks ago. I was trying to think of something more exciting than deviled eggs when it hit me. A Waldorf salad!

A traditional Waldorf salad is made with chicken, apples, and walnuts and served over lettuce. I didn’t have any chicken on hand so I decided to try it with tuna and the result was nothing short of fantastic. I decided to add grapes because I like them and have seen some variations on this recipe include them. I also didn’t have enough walnuts on hand so I added some pecans to make sure the crunch factor was up to par.

The apples and grapes in this salad make it very refreshing on a hot day; it would make a wonderful picnic dish if not for the mayonnaise. You can’t win ‘em all!

Waldorf-Inspired Tuna Salad

Waldorf-Inspired Tuna Salad. 2 cans tuna, 1 medium apple, diced; 1 cup grapes, sliced in half; 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped; 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped; 1/2 cup celery, diced; 2-3 tablespoons mayo | cucinakristina.com

Homemade Mayo, ftw!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans tuna
  • 1 medium apple, diced
  • 1 cup grapes, sliced in half
  • 1/4 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup celery, diced – I used the celery to eat this tuna salad. If you are using it as a sandwich filling, you may want to up the celery to 3/4 of a cup
  • 2-3 tablespoons homemade mayo

Directions:

  1. In a bowl, add the apple, celery, grapes, pecans, and walnuts and toss to combine.
  2. Drain tuna and crumble into the bowl. Toss to combine.
  3. Add mayo and mix thoroughly.
  4. Serve using celery sticks as scoops.

Perfect, Crispy Bacon Every Time!

Bacon, bacon, bacon. Bacon is pretty tasty, but it makes a mess when you fry it up in a pan. This method is the BEST way to get perfect, crispy bacon every time. The clean up is also a snap, which is an added bonus.

Place bacon in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in a COLD oven (do not preheat!) and bake for 15-17 minutes. Perfect, crispy bacon every time!  | cucinakristina.com

Mmmm!

Guess what? It took less than 20 minutes to make and clean up wasn’t a hot, dangerous disaster. It’s true! No greasy mess. No pouring hot bacon grease into an old soup can (although that is a fantastic way to add delicious flavor to anything you are frying or sautéing).

Start by completely covering a baking sheet in foil. It may take a few layers depending on the size of your baking sheet. I was using my toaster oven so I was able to cover my pan with a single layer of foil.

Lay bacon in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Place bacon in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in a COLD oven (do not preheat!) and bake for 15-17 minutes. Perfect, crispy bacon every time!  | cucinakristina.com

Start with a COLD oven.

Place the baking sheet in a cold oven. Let me repeat that in case you glossed over it. DO NOT pre-heat your oven. Place the bacon in a cold oven, turn your oven to 425˚ and go do something else for 15-17 minutes. You’ll want to keep an eye on your bacon towards the end because it can burn rather quickly.

When the bacon is done cooking, remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer bacon to paper towels to drain immediately. This will stop the cooking process.

If desired, you can pour the bacon grease into an old soup can and save for other uses. Otherwise, let the grease cool and thicken for a few minutes before removing the foil. You can discard the foil with the grease intact and your pan will stay clean!

Place bacon in a single layer on a baking sheet. Place in a COLD oven (do not preheat!) and bake for 15-17 minutes. Perfect, crispy bacon every time!  | cucinakristina.com

Crispy bacon makes a perfect triple BLAT!

This is a great way to cook a large amount of bacon at one time. I used this method when I was preparing brunch for 10 people and it worked like a charm. I was able to make an entire package of bacon in less than 20 minutes!

If you need a way to use bacon slices other than alongside eggs here are some ideas. You can use crispy bacon to make sandwiches or you can crumble the bacon and add it to salads or soups. You can also top mashed or baked potatoes with bacon. If you are a sweet and salty type of person, you could make Maple-Bacon Crunch Ice Cream. Yum!

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