Blistered Green Beans with Crushed Almonds

by Amanda Paa on July 30, 2015

Blistered Green Beans with Crushed Almonds {paleo, vegan}Although I named this post after a simple recipe, it could very well be “How I Came to Love the Humble Green Bean.” Something about their texture just wasn’t for me. I’d made them many ways – steamed, sautéed, grilled… but I couldn’t get past their waxy squeakiness. You know what I’m talking about, right? They almost make a noise when you bite into them.

A recent trip to the farmer’s market, my favorite summer adventure, led me to give them one more chance. I find that making my way to different markets always lends a unique experience. Different growers, different specialities, different vibes.

Bushels of the green “snakes” were waiting to be preserved into spicy dilly beans, but I’ve never had much luck with that. Instead I took some home with the recommendation of the young man behind the table who said, “Blister them – not on the stovetop but in a really hot oven. They’ll transform from cold and tough to charred and crisp.”

Blistered Dill Green Beans with Crushed Almonds {5 ingredients, paleo} I’ve found that more often than not, the hands that grow what we eat know best. The thermometer rose higher and higher throughout the day, but I trusted the young man. Soon I was cranking up the oven to let the magic happen.

As I could hear them sizzling and sputtering, I thought about the power of in-person connections, and how they will never be replaced by online/social interaction. Ever.

5 Ingredient Blistered Green Beans with Crushed Almonds {gluten-free, vegan}Hot and crispy, I popped them into my mouth, straight off the pan…….. And silently thanked the young gentlemen for convincing me that green beans could find a way to my heart.

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8 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Fall, Recipe Box, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian, Winter

In My Summer Kitchen

by Amanda Paa on July 28, 2015

Grilled Peaches & Beets with Ricotta & HoneyNo matter what state you call home, this time of year is captured best with beautiful, fresh food.

More often than not, my summer meals come together without a recipe. I’m moved by the flavors of the season and the abundance of produce I can get my hands on. One day that might be dew-kissed cabbage fresh from the market, and the next it’s juicy berries with a fragrance so powerful I can’t help but eat half the pint on the way home. Or long and slender summer squash, crunchy radishes, and fragrant green onions from my CSA. And sometimes unlikely combinations meet the grill, like the beets and peaches in the picture above, kissed with plain yogurt, honey and sliced almonds.

I thought I’d share a little glimpse into my summer kitchen and the creations inspired by the flavors of the season, rarely a hard & fast recipe. All these photos are taken with my iPhone, essentially my everyday meals that just sort of come about. Often I’m inspired by instagram, like a seasonal cookbook that’s always influx around the world, or one of my many talented friends who blog too.

Ghee Toasted Oatmeal with BlueberriesWarm oatmeal isn’t just for the chillier months in my book. I love it both savory and sweet, each bowl somehow reminding me that a slow breakfast leads to a fresh mind. Last weekend I decided to try a new method, inspired by Megan Gordon’s book, Whole Grain Mornings. Her advice was to toast the oats, add them to boiling water and a bit of milk, then remove from heat, cover and let “steep” for 8 minutes. What resulted were the perfect oats, toothsome with a slight chew in texture, with nutty, brown butter like flavor from the ghee. Topped with a blueberry bourbon sage jam, hemp seeds and a splash of almond milk, it was pure bliss.

7 Layer Fruit Salad {via heartbeet kitchen blog}On a hot and steamy day, this 7 Layer Fruit Salad was just the refreshment I needed. Drizzled between each layer is a bit of honey and fresh mint. Use whatever fruit you’ve got on hand, but melons, watermelon, and pineapple work great for stacking. You’ll literally feel like you’re eating the rainbow.

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing {via heartbeet kitchen}I eat a salad everyday, whether that’s for breakfast, lunch or dinner. I don’t always make homemade dressing (this organic, preservative free Curry & Fig little number is always in my refrigerator), but when I do, I’m reminded that there’s no comparison. I love having the ability to adapt as I need, like leaving the parmesan out of this Caesar Salad Dressing, and adding lots of garlic. It was also the first time I had used anchovies. Wow, now I know exactly why it tastes so good in a “from scratch” restaurant.

Quick Pickled Radishes {via heartbeet kitchen}When life gives you too many radishes, or any vegetable for that matter, quick pickles to the rescue. This jar is a combination of radishes and garlic, with a simple brine of 1 cup water, 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring that to a boil, then pour over the vegetables you’ve packed in a mason jar. Let cool uncovered, then refrigerate. Tomorrow you’ll have tangy, salty, pickles to boot.

Lamb, Radish & Beet Salad with Curry Fig Dressing {paleo}Often my plates end up looking like this, a colorful mish mash of leftovers. Roasted beets and ground lamb had been part of a dinner earlier in the week, baby radishes and red onion from the market, and greens begging to be used before their end. I used the curry-fig dressing which I mentioned above, and within moments I was enjoying my clear-the-fridge salad on the patio.

Seared Salmon with Spiralized Cucumber Noodles {paleo}Like vegetables, salmon has peak seasons too. Between wild-caught Copper River or Coho, I can’t get enough of it right now. It takes little time to cook, just a quick sear on both sides with olive oil and fresh herbs. I made a spiralized version of Foodie Crush’s Dill Cucumber Salad, which was cool and crisp, the perfect companion.

Just like with life, sometimes the best meals, bites, and drinks come from what I would call “un-planning”. I’d love to know what some of your favorites or most memorable have been this summer, or where you’re finding inspiration. And if you want to come hang out on Instagram, I’d love to be friends! 

11 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Breakfast, Recipe Box, Spring, Summer, Vegetarian

 Honey Nut Cluster & Sweet Potato Chip Snack Mix {paleo, grain-free}

Honey Nut Cluster & Sweet Potato Chip Snack Mix {paleo}Homemade party mix – the common thread of all summer picnics, holiday parties, and road trips. My mom’s rendition of this classic is one forever etched in my mind, and on my tastebuds. She didn’t hold the recipe hostage, giving it out to those who requested, but theirs never tasted quite the same. Maybe it was her roasting technique, the nuts perfectly crunchy and the cereal always golden brown. Or a heavy hand when it came to adding the salt and Worcestershire. Or the fact that she always used Chex & Crispix, never the store brand because “they just weren’t the same.” Smart woman.

And my favorite part? The high nut to cereal/pretzel/bagel chip ratio, specifically cashews. They brought natural sweetness to the savory party.

Sweet Potato Chip & Honey Nut Cluster Snack MixWith a hankering for something similar, yet more whole foods & nutrient-dense based, I went to work developing my own, which came to be this Honey Nut Cluster & Sweet Potato Chip Snack Mix (that just so happens to be paleo too).

I envisioned something salty and a little bit sweet, with different textures, yet grain-free. Nut clusters reminiscent of chunky granola came to mind, and coconut oil sweet potato chips ( were a must.

Sweet Potato Chip & Honey Nut Cluster Snack MixAfter several iterations, I landed on this blissful combination. Getting the nut and seed clusters to clump together without being too sticky was the tough part, although I didn’t mind eating the “not good enough” batches. Give me a blend of flaked coconut, cashews, pepitas, and chia seeds anytime….

Roasted with coconut oil and a touch of honey, then tossed with dried berries and sweet potato chips, I have to say this healthy mix is hard to resist. We’re talking good fat and protein from the coconut, cashews, and seeds, plus the antioxidant powers of the fruit. And after learning that my body needs carbohydrates more than I thought, the sweet potato chips are irreplaceable.

Honey Nut Cluster & Sweet Potato Chip Snack Mix {paleo} via heartbeet kitchen blogMany of you know that part of why I write this blog is to share the real stories behind real food. I found Jackson’s Honest Chips while going through my autoimmune issues, as it was one of the only minimally processed, packaged food i could find. Scott & Megan started the company as a result of trying to improve the quality of life for their son, who was born with a very tough, undiagnosed medical condition, through nutrition. They embraced a philosophy of eating simple; to eat nutrient dense foods as close to their original state (that is, unprocessed) as possible, fermented foods that are more easily bio-absorbed, and ‘good’ fats. On a whim they started making their own potato chips fried in coconut oil, as they were frustrated by all the others on the shelf cooked in highly processed vegetable oils. They couldn’t believe the difference in flavor – rich, deep, and aromatic. And with my first taste, I was in love too, another reason I am so excited to partner with them for the remainder of the year.

At every step of the production process they do what’s right for the consumer, farmers, environment, and their employees. Their products come from the field, the farmer, and the fryer…to you.

After the success of the potato chips, they began making sweet potato chips and recently launched organic tortilla chips, also fried in coconut oil. They’re all incredibly delicious, and if you haven’t tried them yet, I highly suggest getting your hands on some. You can find them at Whole Foods, or locally at Lakewinds Coop.

Sweet Potato Chip & Honey Nut Cluster Trail Mix {paleo}I’m off to a Saint Paul Saints game on this glorious summer night, and I’d be lying if I said a bag of this mix wasn’t tucked into my purse. But whether you’re traveling, barbecuing or need an afternoon energy boost, enjoy this feel-good, taste-good mix.

Honey Nut Cluster & Sweet Potato Chip Snack Mix {paleo}

1 1/3 cups (190 grams) raw, unsalted cashews (make sure to use whole, high quality ones like these from Now Real Foods)
3/4 cup (90 grams) raw, unsalted pepita seeds
1 cup (40 grams) unsweetened coconut flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons melted, unrefined coconut oil
1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons raw honey
1/2 cup dried mixed berries (I used blueberries & cherries)
3/4 bag Jackson’s Honest Sweet Potato Chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Add cashews, pepita seeds and coconut flakes to a food processor. Pulse 8 times to slightly break up the pieces, then dump into a bowl. Add chia seeds, salt and cinnamon. In a separate bowl stir together coconut oil and honey, then add to nut/seed mixture. Stir to coat completely and empty onto a silpat lined baking sheet. (If you do not have one of these, rub a piece of parchment paper with coconut oil and line your baking sheet.)

Roast for 10 minutes, stir, then roast another 7-8 minutes, until coconut flakes and cashews are golden brown. Remove from oven and very lightly stir in berries. You want the mixture to be in one large heap so that as it cools, it sticks together.

Let cool completely, then lightly break up the nut mixture so you have clusters. Mix with the sweet potato chips and enjoy. Store in a glass jar or plastic ziploc bag, with all air pressed out, and keep in a cool spot. (If it gets too warm, the honey will start to become sticky.)

Coconutty Cashew Cluster & Sweet Potato Chip Snack Mix {paleo}

24 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Appetizer, Fall, Recipe Box, Spring, Summer, Sweets, Vegetarian, Winter

How to Build a Vertical Garden {via heartbeet kitchen}I love colorful flowers, I love fresh food. Every year I have good intentions, decorating our patio with a few baskets of beauties and planting tomatoes, peppers and herbs in a small area below our 3rd story condo.

And every year the story is the same. The flowers die within a month, a combination of me not watering them and little shade to help the cause. My vegetables never produce because the soil is so rocky and overworked, or my inconsistent watering, or the squirrels decide to run off with any of the fruit.

But this summer is different – my brown thumb is going to transform into green with my vertical garden, I’m sure of it!

DIY Vertical GardenBetween Brian’s dad building the frame for me, and getting the high-quality flowers, vegetable seeds and garden-ready herb plants thanks to Burpee Home Gardens, I’m already off to a better start than ever before. Although my dream is to have a hobby farm where I grow all my own food and have billions of cats, I love how the vertical garden has become the perfect solution for our small space.

Although I didn’t have to break out the toolbox, I think many of you DIYer’s could create your own vertical garden. Brian’s dad used this tutorial as his guide, and got all of his materials from Home Depot.

How to Build a Vertical Garden {with vegetables & flowers}Here are a few of my tips for building a vertical garden:

1. Make sure you buy enough potting soil – I used almost all of two (2.5 cubic feet) bags.

2. Don’t pack the soil too hard when you’ve got it laying on the ground. You want to be sure that you will be able to plant the flowers, or sow small rows for the seeds. It will compact as you stand it up too.

3. You could plant all herbs or small plants, but I thought the flowers added to the top and bottom rows of the planter added beautiful color and gave it a nice visual anchor for the eye.

4. If planting vegetables, choose ones that will not have long roots. Since the dirt cascades downward, long roots will “outgrow” the soil.  Radishes, herbs and lettuce are good options.

5. Of all things, buy a boot tray to sit underneath the vertical garden to catch dirt or excess water.

What I planted:

*Shock Wave Denim Petunias
*Supercascade Blue Petunias

Organic Vegetables-
*Heirloom Lettuce – in seed tape form. So easy you guys. All the seeds are spaced equally apart on the paper-ish tape and you plant them about 1/4 inch under the soil. The maturity is only about 30 days, so sprouting has already begun. (pictured above)
*Garden-Ready Basil, Oregano, Thyme
*Sweet Basil and German Thyme seeds
*Patricia Radishes – only 25 days to maturity, oblong shape, and a beautiful red color with white tips.

Tomorrow marks two weeks and the garden is already flourishing! Here’s my proud mama picture of the sprouts and blooms:

Vertical Gardening ~ Small Space Living
For patio planters: If you have a sunny area that never gets a speck of shade, these are the flowers I choose and they’re thriving with daily watering:

*Candy Showers Deep Purple Snapdragons
*Lemon Lollipop Snapdragons
*Shock Wave Denim Petunias
*Supercascade Blue Petunias
*Goldsturm Rudbeckia
*Ornamental Grass

Vertical Gardening ~ how to
As I mentioned earlier, all the seeds & plants are from Burpee (I bought mine at Menard’s and Home Depot), my partner for this vertical gardening experiment. I value the story behind their family company which started in 1881, and how they continue to have such an honest business. With all non-gmo seeds and an amazing assortment of organic and heirloom flowers/vegetables, they truly are committed to providing all of us the means to connect with nature. Even the little things that their website provides like the planting videos and “Ask the Gardener” forum were SO helpful.

I’m off to enjoy breakfast on my tiny patio garden, but I’ll be back with an update next month. I see my brown thumb slowly transitioning………

Thank you for allowing me to work with sponsors that I value in order to make Heartbeet Kitchen possible! This blog is also supported through the use of affiliate links, which means that I will earn a small commission if you make a purchase through one of these links.

12 comments   • • •   as featured in:   Spring, Summer

Salty Honey Coconut Milk Ice Cream {dairy-free}

by Amanda Paa on July 13, 2015

Salty Honey Coconut Milk Ice Cream {via heartbeet kitchen blog}If given the choice of pie, cake, or ice cream, this girl will pick a bowl of the cool creamy stuff every time. No matter what season it is, I have a favorite. Peppermint stick in the depths of winter, cinnamon spice in fall, rhubarb swirl in spring, and my new obsession that’s good any time of year – this Salty Honey Coconut Milk Ice Cream. 

As I’ve learned after several years of cooking, salt is hands down the key to any irresistible sweet treat. And in this recipe, whoa darling, does it makes the floral honey and soft vanilla sing…..

Salty Honey Coconut Milk Ice Cream {via heartbeet kitchen blog}Since I’ve had some trouble with dairy in the last year, I’ve been playing with different ways to make a dairy-free ice cream that’s just as creamy and rich as any traditional scoop.

I’m definitely not opposed to buying store-bought coconut, almond or soy ice creams, but I’m always disappointed. I have to set them out for at least 15 minutes before attempting to scoop because they’re rock hard, the flavor is kind of dull, and they just don’t have the same mouthfeel as regular ice cream.

It was time to give me ice cream maker a workout, which is now my KitchenAid Stand Mixer thanks to its ice cream bowl attachment – if I couldn’t love that machine anymore…..

Salty Honey Ice Cream (made with KitchenAid Ice Cream Maker Attachment)Between its creamy, dreamy texture, and the flaky sea salt bringing out the best in the sweet, floral honey, you’re looking at a bowl of my ice cream love language.

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22 comments   • • •   as featured in:   AIP (Autoimmune Protocol), Fall, Recipe Box, Seasonal, Spring, Summer, Sweets, Winter