Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Crock Pot Chicken and Veggies!  

I have been working a TON but I refuse to give up my gold-medal standard of eating and nourishing my family....so here's a quick thing I threw together, and to my happiness (and dismay), what was supposed to be a couple of meals got gobbled up until there was just a bit of chicken left over...We just couldn't stop eating it!!!  I'm sorry to tell you that I don't have exact measurements for this one, cuz I just threw stuff in the pot.  But I do believe that whatever you come up with will be equally tasty.  This isn't baking, after all.  You can add as much or as little as you like!

3 pounds of boneless chicken (I wanted thigh meat so bad, but Trader Joe's was all out.  So we used breast meat.  If you use white meat, add a couple of tablespoons of your favorite fat, so it doesn't dry out.  I used bacon fat...cuz...BACON!)

10 chopped gold potatoes

7 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped (I got the organic ones from Trader Joe's that are purple and orange and yellow and red.  They are so colorful and super sweet.)

3 cloves of garlic, minced

a bunch of sage, coarsely chopped

one red onion, diced (or one yellow onion.  or white.  who cares?)

juice from one lemon

Trader Joe's garlic salt (in the grinder), or garlic salt, or salt, or nothing if you're boring

Penzey's Forward Spice (a lovely mix of pepper and other flavorful stuff)

There's no wrong way to do this.  Put everything in the pot.  I layered the bottom with the onion and garlic, then seasoned the chicken breasts generously with Forward and garlic salt, put them on top of the onions and then threw some sage on top of that, then tossed in the potatoes and threw sage on top of those and sprinkled more Forward and garlic salt, and then placed the carrots on top (rainbow!) and drizzled the lemon juice over it all as if it were delicious hot fudge.  Then I realized I forgot the fat, which I NEEDED cuz breasts get sooooo dry, so I scooped some out and dolloped them on top of the whole mess.  I let it run on low starting at 6:30am and got home at 6pm, and it was done.  The chicken shreds up nicely with a fork.  It probably only needed 10 hours.  Or less time if you do it on the high setting.  But that's the beauty of crockin'.  You can be late  and it's still super fab.  And who doesn't LOVE super fab after a long day of work?  Pair it up with a nice glass of wine and your night is pure magic.  xxoo

Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Best Banana Bread Ever

Some things that are naughty can actually be made nice.  Really!  If you have some old, ugly looking bananas, don't throw them away.  Those are the sweetest bananas and make a totally awesome bread.  Try it for yourself!

4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 c coconut oil
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 T cinnamon
1/2 c coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/3 c walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  Pour into a lightly greased bread pan and bake 45 minutes, or until golden and cooked through.  (You might want to cover with foil for the last 10 minutes if the top is getting too golden and the center still isn't cooked...)

And you won't believe that there's no sugar, flour etc....

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Greek Hash

It won't stop snowing.  I want to go outside so badly, I want to feel the sun on my skin.  (SUN!)  I want to feel a warm, gentle breeze on my cheek.  I am so eager for spring to get here (which, if we check our calendars, it already HAS, ahem!!) that I had a dream last night that there was a nice, soft rain that erased away all of the snow, and the brown grass turned green and there were blue skies and butterflies...but then I woke up to my wintery reality of the
white frosting on my previously cleared sidewalks and a thick blanket covering everything else. Ah, well.  At least I know it has to end at some point, right?  Right??

In the meantime, here's a comfy, hearty meal for you to enjoy.  It's my new favorite, and it's easy...so easy!  You can get super lazy and buy ground chicken or turkey instead of cutting it all up.  And you can buy pre-cut cauliflower, although I like mine super small, because I like to get all of the flavor on my fork at once.  You do it your way, and I'll do it mine and we'll both be nourished and happy.

Greek Hash
fat of choice
1 head of cauliflower, chopped
1 colorful bell pepper, diced
1 large onion, diced
1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs, cut in bite sized pieces (or ground chicken, ground turkey)
6 cloves garlic, minced
3 sliced peperoncini peppers, diced (or get the already cut ones and scoop out a couple forkfuls
1 can artichoke hearts, drained
1 TB capers
1 tsp dried oregano
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup chicken stock
salt and pepper
red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 400F.  In a large bowl, toss cauliflower, bell pepper, onion and 1/2 of the garlic with oil of your choice.  I've used olive oil and bacon grease.  (Mmmmm...bacon.)  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and some red pepper flakes, if you're spicy.  Throw them onto a baking sheet and get all those veggies nice and flat.  Bake until crispy and soft, 30-45 minutes (the larger chunks take longer, another reason I like it all small.)

In the meantime, heat a large skillet over medium high with a tablespoon of your fat of choice.  (mmmm...bacon!)  Sauté your chicken or turkey with a sprinkle of salt and pepper until cooked through.  Add in garlic, peperoncini, oregano, artichoke hearts and capers and cook about 2 minutes.  Add in the lemon juice and zest and chicken stock and let simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated.  (It will be done when your veggies are done roasting.  Genius, right?!)

Grab a big bowl and mix your chicken stuff with your veggie stuff, scoop out onto plates and enjoy.  This pairs fantastically with a caesar salad...

Friday, March 8, 2013

Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

There's something that happens to me when my hubby goes on tour for long periods of time.  I get baking.  I want/NEED/crave sweet comfort foods.  That's why you saw the orange cake so recently and now you're seeing doughnuts.  I just need that extra something.  (Honey, COME HOME!) Yes, I will still eat my big salad for breakfast, and I will eat my veggies when dinner comes, but somehow, some way, I'm gonna hafta find a way to muscle down a few of these precious gems.  Hey, it's Friday.. I'm up for a challenge!  (In truth, I just made these so I had to sample, and eat off the extra edges, and quality check!  Baking is soooo hard!!)

These are super duper crazy easy.  If you don't have a doughnut maker of some sort, then I imagine you could muffin-ize these and pour the glaze over top.  Or bake it in a loaf and call it bread.  I haven't done this because I do have a doughnut maker.  I suppose you'd just follow the general baking way...350 degree oven until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Feel free to post about what you did if you do it this way.  Deal?  Good.

Lemon Glazed Doughnuts

For the doughnuts:
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/2 tsp  baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp poppy seeds
6 T honey
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp lemon juice
3 eggs

For the glaze:
1/3 cup warmed coconut butter
2 T honey
3 T lemon juice

Preheat your doughnut machine/oven.

In a large bowl, combine all of the doughnut ingredients.  Make sure you mix it well.
Once your doughnut maker/oven is ready, get the batter baking.  If using a machine, fill up the cute little doughnut cups and then close it.  Since you're using almond flour, they might start to brown faster than your standard batter.  I check mine after a couple of minutes, and usually I have to flip them (the bottom browns faster) and then keep the lid open for another minute while they finish.  I think this batter made about 24 doughnuts...but I lost count because I kept eating them...

In a small bowl, mix up your glaze ingredients.  If you feel your glaze is too thick, feel free to thin it out with some water.  Drizzle, spoon or brush your glaze over your doughnuts, or simply pick them up and give them a happy dunk in the bowl.  The glaze will firm up once cooled, so you can pop them in the fridge or the freezer, or your mouth if you don't care about firm glaze.  That's what I did.

Have a fantastic weekend!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Creamy Goodness Soup

In case you've never read any of my posts before, I'm really into eating for my mitochondria.  Wha-wha-what???  The mitochondria.  It's known as "the powerhouse" of the cell.  When these guys are operating at their peak performance, I know that I will be at my best.  I mean, if this gal can CURE her MS by minding her mitochondria, I get really excited about what it means for me, an average healthy gal.  Will I gain superpowers?  Maybe not. (I really wanna fly!)  But I can tell you that I haven't gotten any of the crud that went around and laid everybody up (think:pukey flu).  And let me tell you, anytime I can avoid a good puke, I'm all for it!

Well, our mitochondria LOVE sulfur containing veggies.  Sulfur can be found in the cruciferous family, as well as in mushrooms, onions, garlic and the like.  If you make this creamy, outrageously delicious soup, you will satisfy your body's need for this food.  Pair it with a healthy green salad, with some red and yellow things like peppers and tomatoes, and you will cause your mitochondria to sing with joy!  This soup reminds me of a once favorite: baked potato soup.  But instead of filling my body with starchy starch and overloading my sugars, I'm feeding my mitochondria, preventing disease, dysfunction, and giving myself untold power!  (Flying lessons later.)

*note: I call this Creamy Goodness Soup for those of you with a fear of cauliflower.  Just ignore the fact that you're using a scary veggies and try it!  I double dog dare you.

Creamy Goodness Soup

1 head cauliflower, cut up
1/4 head broccoli, cut up
1 large onion, chopped
1 shallot, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large carrot, chopped
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1 package Trader Joe's pancetta (it's about 6-8oz of pancetta, cut in cute little cubes)
32 oz chicken (bone) broth  (if you don't have any, just use regular broth.  but you should! it's so good for you! and it's mmm-mmm good!
1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped up
2 T butter
2 T coconut milk
salt and pepper to taste

Optional Garnishes:
bacon bits
chopped green onion
goat cheese or cheddar cheese
a spoonful of homemade plain yogurt


In a large soup pot, melt butter on medium heat.  Add onions, garlic and shallot and sauté until translucent (about 3 minutes).  Toss in the pancetta and let it all cook up a bit.  While this is happening, chop up your rosemary and throw it in the pot.  Give everything a stir and then add your carrot and celery.  Let that all cook a little, while you cut up your broccoli and cauliflower.  You don't have to cut it too much, because you will end up blending it.  So just cut out the tough centers and roughly chop the rest.  (Or buy the pre-cut stuff and do a happy dance in place of the chopping.) Add it to the pot, along with salt and pepper, and if you like a dash of red pepper flakes.  Pour in enough broth to just cover the veggies, turn up to high and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, turn down to medium and let simmer about 20 minutes, until veggies are soft.  Remove from heat and blend either using an immersion blender or a regular stand up blender.  Make it to your desired consistency.  Some people love it completely creamy.  Me, I like some chunky bits here and there.  Stir in coconut milk (you can add more if you want it creamier).  Top it with your yummy stuff and watch it disappear!  (My favorite is green onion, goat cheese and BACON!)

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Sweet Orange Cake

Happy, happy Sunday to you all! I can feel myself slowly emerging from my involuntary winter cocoon. After all, it's March. The sun is starting to get up when I do, and hopefully behind us are the freezing temperatures and piles of snow and ice. (I'm not going to hold my breath...I live in Minnesota, after all. The super good stuff doesn't get here until May/June.) I can almost make it back to my garage without the fear of certain death from a bad slip on the ice.  Almost.  Maybe someday the sidewalks will be walkable too.  Thrilling times!

I'm super excited because it's Brunch Sunday.  I LOVE brunch.  Did I ever tell you that?  I do.  I make brunch pretty much every Sunday.  It's all about bacon, mostly.  And a few muffins or sweet breads.  Actually, it's a ton of different yummy things and bacon.  (All Paleo, of course!) I always make too much.  Today is different.  Today I'm going out to brunch with a friend.  Not only will I get to indulge in wonderful brunch-like substances, but I won't have to lift a finger.  Ahhh...the pampered life!

I did wake up early though, and made a quick cake.  It's really gorgeous...dense, sweet and moist.  This cake is very similar to something you would get at Starbucks, except it is made from whole foods, no gluten, and the sweetness comes from honey and fresh squeezed orange.  So it's a little nicer on your body when you indulge.

Sweet Glazed Orange Cake 

Cake Ingredients:
6 eggs
1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
zest and juice from 2 oranges + enough coconut milk to bring OJ level to 1 cup
1/3 cup honey
2/3 cup coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger (optional)

Glaze Ingredients:
2 T coconut oil
2 T honey
2 T coconut milk
zest and juice from 1 orange
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
dash of ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350.
Combine all cake ingredients together well in a medium bowl.  Pour into a greased pan and bake 35-45 minutes, or until golden brown on top and the middle is cooked through.  After about 30 minutes, check your cake.  If it's getting too brown, but the middle isn't ready, cover with foil for the duration of time.  Let cool.

While the cake is baking, combine all the glaze ingredients in a small pot.  Turn on low heat until it starts to simmer.  Remove from heat and let cool while your cake is busy cooking and cooling.  Once cake is cooled, pour glaze all over the top, getting every last bit of it on the cake.  It's the best part!  Refrigerate 1 hour.  Keep stored in the fridge, although it won't last long!

Important note: this cake was inspired by this post.  She has tons of great ideas, so you really ought to check her site out.

Friday, February 22, 2013

The Start of Something Fun

I have been delinquent. I have moved on to something spectacular, and I've left you all behind. Well, my friends, now I am going to try to catch you all up. My friend Keely came up with an exciting challenge...and I have accepted her challenge because challenges are fun, and who couldn't use a little fun mid-February in Minnesota?
 You know I've went from vegan to Paleo. My husband has joined me and he reports feeling much better, being less bloated, and not having the crazy 8pm cereal cravings. I can tell you that he is looking QUITE AWESOME. I'm a lucky girl for sure.
 In my quest for Paleo perfection, I have made the most common mistake that most newbies make. I was nut and animal protein heavy. Don't get me wrong, protein is VERY important, however, you CAN have too much of a good thing. When I was eating too much protein, I didn't have much room left for the most important part of the diet: veggies! I was reminded of that when I watched this fantastic video. Watch it! Watch it now! This woman CURED her MS by changing her diet. Can you imagine the effect it might have on YOU, if you are feeling relatively good right now?
 Well...if you can't imagine that, you're in luck. Me and my friend Keely are going to try our best to "eat for our mitochondria" for, oh, I don't know how long... 30 days? To be honest, I will continue on with this whether I post about it or not. For me, doing so the past couple of weeks can be likened to having spent my life sleeping on a rock floor, and then one day discovering what a good mattress is. After a night or two of luxurious slumber it would be hard to ignore just how unyielding and uncomfortable the rock floor is and how horrible you feel in the morning. Yep, things you don't know are even "wrong" become magically "right". Disturbances that you think are "just the way you are" disappear! Crazy? No. I dare you to try it. I dare you to try to prove me wrong. What's the worst that can happen? You'd just eat better for a while? It's not that hard. It's just about establishing different "routine" foods that you "go to". It's about thinking outside of the box you've been in, for how long now??? So, follow me. I'll tell you what I eat, even when I cheat. I'll tell you how I feel. I'll share recipes with you. Stay tuned, because Keely herself just might be joining us too. Double your pleasure, I say!
 So here's how my day went so far:
Woke up 6 am Had 2 cups of decaf organic coffee
Had a mug full of chicken bone broth (I did this because my daughter has been sick, and I made it for her. I let it simmer for two days. It was ready this morning and so we both had nice sized mugs. Mmm-mmm good!)
Went to crossfit for my on-ramp training. Had a nice, explosive cardio workout
Came home and drank P90X recovery drink (I will try to find some whole food way to replace this, but until I do, I just can't give it up!)
Took a dose of fermented cod liver oil/royal butter, probiotics, and vitamins.
 Enjoyed a great big salad with poached eggs and smoked fish (recipe below)
 Had another cup of organic decaf along with 2 Godiva chocolates (yes, please!) and 4 sticks of watermelon
Tonight I plan on making some sole with butternut squash and cauliflower. I'll let you know the reality of my evening in my next post.
 I'm feeling pretty great, especially considering the butt-kicking I embraced at my crossfit class. If you haven't tried crossfit, you should check it out. It is so FUN! It makes me feel like I'm a kid again. We hang from bars, and try to do pull-ups with the help of stretchy, elastic bands. We flip tires and smash them with sledgehammers. We throw weighted balls up on a wall and catch them. We row on rowing machines and do handstands against the wall. We jump up on boxes and...oh, I'm sorry. This is a diet blog, not an exercise journal! But seriously, if you are bored, tired and sick of the same-old-same-old, this way of exercising provides functional fitness on ALL levels: strength, endurance, flexibility, etc.

Wow.  This post is WAY longer than I meant it to be.  I'm just so excited to share this with you.  That's what happens when something is incredible, like Godiva chocolates...you MUST pass it on!

Speaking of passing it on, here's my salad recipe:

Rebecca's Smoking Salad  (served 3 today)

a huge bunch of greens of your choice.  Today my choice was spinach
3 green onions, sliced
6 cherry tomatoes, sliced
12 black olives, sliced
a handful of sliced raw almonds, toasted
2 stalks of celery, sliced
1/2 large orange bell pepper, sliced
1 large avocado, sliced
6 mushrooms, sliced
zest from 1 lemon and juice from 1 1/2 lemons
a sprinkle of Bragg's liquid aminos (not Paleo, I know, but it's in my fridge, gotta use it)
fresh ground black pepper
sprinkle of garlic powder
6 poached eggs (I use a pan similar to this) with a sprinkle of Fox Point and black pepper on them
1 fillet brown sugar lake trout (any smoked fish is delis)

Put it all together!  We each ate two eggs and 1/3 of the trout fillet.  It is so delicious, satisfying and nutritious.  And look, we've fed our mitochondrias.  We ate all of the greens we needed for the day, at least half of the colorful things, and half of the sulfur-y things.  Between the fats from the avocado, olives and nuts and the protein from the fish and eggs, this meal kept us full and happy for quite a while...much longer than if we had eaten cereal or doughnuts or a bagel....

What are YOU going to do?  What do YOU choose for today?  Don't worry if you aren't happy with earlier choices...you always get another one!  Leave me comments, share your journey with me.  :-)