Shiver Me Timbers

I know more person than one who sings the praises of the Paleo diet. You basically cut a lot out including dairy, beans, legumes, gluten, sugar and the likes. Lots of protein, fruits and vegetables. Don't forget certain nuts and seeds too. The idea is to carve out a well balanced diet comprised of whole, natural foods. Nothing fried, nothing processed. There are lots of health perks that come with this cave man way of eating. You minimize the opportunity for gastronomic distress when you say cheerio to many a foods. You get the picture. As of late, I have also heard a great deal about the Whole30 regime. Curiosity killed the cat and I bought the book on Amazon. Within 24 hours I had a bevy of material at my fingertips. The process is quite similar to that of Paleo but you effectively "stick with it" for 30 days. I read a blog that screamed, it is only 30 days, anyone can do it. I can't. As in can not. One thousand percent no dice, no way, no thank you. Absolutely not. Say what you like but I work too hard Monday to Friday to deprive myself on weekends. Again, this is just how I roll. Now, while I can maintain a modicum of discipline during the week, I have previously communicated that our Fridays and Saturdays are made for gastronomic revelry. We like to gallivant, eat and paint the town red. All this said, I see nothing wrong with preparing a hybrid of the two - at this moment in time - for our evening suppers. According to my due diligence, sweet potatoes are allowed. As such, we have been turning heads with the amount of the organic spuds we procure from our local market. 

Rich with nutrients and absolutely delicious, you can prepare ye old sweet potato in a myriad of ways. Roasted, sautéed, peeled or mashed. Alone or mixed with something else (like steamed cauliflower for your vegetarian shepherd's pie). Matthew takes them to work to blitz in the microwave for a quick lunch or snack. Sweet potato fries (brush with egg whites to ensure crispiness while baking). A bit of coconut oil and curry. Tucked beneath a roasting chicken. In a pot with a chuck roast. You get the picture. The below recipe was beyond splendiferous. The only real elbow grease required was cutting the potatoes. After my knife incident a pair of weeks ago (finger is still healing by the way), I quiver in my boots when it comes time to cutting. My Cuisinart has become my new best friend as I blitz everything in it. Sadly however, not the sweet potato. In planning our blitzkrieg nuptials, I was cautiously introduced to Pinterest. Actually, I was teased. Now it should be noted that while I usually tag photographs from here to Pinterest, I had not fully explored its power and prowess. As soon as Matthew and I were engaged, our caterer asked, what's your color scheme? Do you have a theme? I crinkled my nose and asked incredulously, what in the world are you talking about. Should I? Cooly he shrugged it off. No big deal, he said, you have time yet. Check out Pinterest. I asked if we could have a signature cocktail at our party. Sure, he said. Check our Pinterest. Our photographer also suggested this abyss when I asked what to wear to our engagement photo shoot. I dove in and quickly shut it down. Too. Much. Information. I was beginning to feel like an ill equipped loser who was not incorporating as much flair as I ought for our grand event. So while I dipped my toe in this past October and decided the waters were too cold, I have since jumped in feet first and am addicted with a capital A.

You see, in March we will have our "celebration of marriage" shebang. This is modern day verbiage for reception minus the watching us get married part because, we already did that. I have taken to Pinterest for ideas, inspiration, products and the likes. It is dangerous! In the context of our bash, I am over the moon for a myriad of reasons. Firstly, most of my family from South Africa is coming into town including my cousin Kathryn, with whom I am closest in age. Kathryn and I have not seen one another since my mother's grand birthday celebration at Uitsig Vineyard in Cape Town, South Africa, which was six years ago. We are actually planning to meet in NYC the weekend before our fete. We both have Jawbones and encourage one another's running progress through the chat functionality. Kathryn said running in Central Park is on her bucket list and do that together we most certainly shall. I also have not seen my cousin Richard since the same time and he is coming too. Add my Auntie and Uncle to the mix as well as two of my mothers cousins. South Africa represent. I am hoping my cousins in London can make it. Stay tuned. We have some of our closest family friends flying in from the UK, Germany as well as Singapore. There is also a gang hailing from our Texas roots in Big D. Two of our favorite couples are hopping on planes from Nashville and Denver. I have a handful of my best girlfriends flying in from New York City (my sister and her husband included). There are also some from Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Keith will inch his way across the country from Los Angeles. Lest we not forget our dear family and very closest friends from Charlotte and other parts of North Carolina. And of course, my parents! In short, this is going to be one big international party. I will not divulge too many details owing to the sanctity of surprise but watch this space.

And so, I have begun to scour Pinterest. For any and everything. How to wear my hair now that it is a bit longer? Yes. How to supreme a grapefruit? Yes. How to make a wreath out of dried chills. But of course. Personalized napkins, stationary and address stamps. Ja! Paleo chili? Yes, yes, yes. Not to mention the bevy of other food bloggers, art collectors, architecture lovers and furniture purveyors around the block. You can design a house based on images. What?! I found this below recipe on the motherboard and thought it looked like the perfect Meatless Monday meal. Jamie Oliver used to encourage this via social media and I think it is a nice idea. Owing to the amount of red meat we consume, I figure a night or two of vegetarian fare is in order. Plus I feel better about our contribution to the world's carbon foot print (which let's face it, I am not helping with my 103 mile per day commute). I digress. Fresh vegetables, when managed accordingly, can make for a wholesome, filling dinner. My husband loves to ask, where's the meat but whenever I put a steaming Dutch oven filled with a vegetarian number on the table for suppertime, he never complains. Once he mistook diced Portobellos for short rib. Winning. This recipe is filling, comforting and rich in flavor but uber healthy. Serve it atop of steamed rice or cauliflower rice. Watch this space for an awesome recipe for the latter prepared with fried eggs. Just remember, when cooking, keep calm and curry on.

30 Minute Sweet Potato and Kale Coconut Curry
Adapted from Tasty Yummies


1 TBS coconut oil
1 sweet onion - chopped
Handful of fresh basil
3 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 knob of ginger - peeled and chopped
3 TBS red curry paste
1 can of organic coconut milk
1 cup of low sodium broth - vegetable or chicken
2 large sweet potatoes - cut into cubes (careful)
1 bunch of kale - ribs removed and chopped
1/2 cup of frozen peas
Kosher salt
Red pepper flakes

For the garnish:

Chopped cilantro, basil, green onions, shaved coconut

In the words of Trish, Get Cracking!

1. In a Dutch oven, over medium heat, add your oil followed by the onion, garlic, ginger and red curry paste. Stir around until the onion is soft. Around five minutes. Now add the coconut milk, broth and sweet potatoes. Stir well and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to simmer, add the kale, cover and cook for around 15 minutes.

2. Now, add the peas and cook for another five minutes. Add a pinch or two of salt and some red pepper flakes. Let the curry sit for a moment or two, it will thicken. Serve over rice or cauliflower rice, garnish and bon appetit.

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