Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Paleo Breaded Chicken with Honey Mustard Sauce

Are you a Chick-fil-a fan?  Who isn't?  Pre-gallbladder attacks I used to eat there every 2 weeks.  Only fast food restaurant you will ever see me in!  Sadly, that doesn't happen anymore.  My 3 year old often asks to go to Chick-fil-a for lunch and I always tell him we can't because it hurts Momma's tummy.  Boo.  I do send him there with his dad occasionally though!  I searched around and tried out a few Paleo recipes for chicken nuggets and this is the one I liked the most!  You can use chicken tenderloins or chicken thighs.  As always, I am a fan of dark meat and always choose thighs.  I dropped the pan some how when I was pulling it out of the oven and half of the chicken ended up on the ground...it happens!  So, the pictures are not great since I was rushed and mad at myself for dropping dinner!  This honey mustard sauce is quick and easy!  Super delicious on chicken, a salad, or on roasted veggies. 

Paleo Breaded Chicken with Honey Mustard sauce

2 Pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs or tenderloins
1 cup almond flour
1 TBS Flax meal
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 eggs
coconut or olive oil in a sprayer

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a bowl mix together the almond flour, flax, and seasonings.

In another small bowls beat the eggs with a fork.

Using a paper towel blot the chicken to remove any moisture from them.  Then dip the chicken piece by piece into the eggs first then press into the breading mixture.  Make sure the chicken is completely coated.  Place onto baking sheet and spray all the breaded chicken with the coconut or olive oil sprayer.  Bake for 8-9 minutes.  Then flip the chicken over and spray again.  Bake another 8-9 minutes until internal temperature is 180 degrees.

Serve with honey mustard sauce.

Honey Mustard Sauce

1/4 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup mayo
1/4 cup honey
1 TBSP white vinegar

Mix all ingredients together until smooth.  Refrigerate until ready to use.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Paleo Double Apple Muffins

During the Christmas season they sang the song "I Sing a Maid" at Church one Sunday and I was struck by one line:

"...For God's own son became her child, And she his resting place."

Even though her Son was the Savior of the world, she was still a resting place for her dear son.  What an awesome gift and responsibility it is to be a mother and to strive to be that resting place for our children.  Many days, like today, I fall short of this.  Too many tantrums and whining from them, and from me, makes me feel like the opposite of a resting place for my boys.  It is a constant struggle to strive for that peace in our day and to truly be a resting place to my boys and to anyone I encounter that day.  So as we all carry on in this journey of life let us all strive to be a resting place for anyone we meet.

A few months ago I guest posted my favorite recipe for Paleo pumpkin muffins over on my friend Stephanie's blog.  The pumpkin muffins have been part of my weekly baking for months now!  I was getting kind of sick of them so I decided to play around with some apple muffin options.  These turned out way better then I was hoping!  Like most Paleo baked goods I store them in the fridge so they can last up to a week.  Let me know if you try this recipe out!  I love to hear feedback!

Paleo Double Apple Muffins

1 1/4 cups almond flour
2 1/2 TBS coconut flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 TBS cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
5 TBS melted coconut oil
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
1 1/4 cup apple chunks, about the size of a marble*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a muffin tin with 12 liners.

In a medium sized bowl mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.  In another bowl mix together the eggs, oil, syrup, vanilla and applesauce.  Add the wet ingredients to the dry one and mix until well combined.  Add in the apple chunks and stir to combine.  Scoop into 12 muffin liners.  Bake 25-30 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. 

*Use whatever kind of apple you like!  I use Fuji and Kanzi apples.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Healthier Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Gluten free, dairy free) and word of the year!

Social media is being flooded right now with new hopes, dreams, resolutions, goals and different things to help start our new year off right.  Another thing I keep seeing is people choosing a word of the year to help motivate and keep them on track.  I was sitting in Mass the other night thinking about what word to choose and the choir began to sing "Silent Night", as always when I hear that song my heart was flooded with peace and calm.  Can I choose two words this year?  "Peace" and "Calm".  I took a deep breath, yes, these are my words for 2019.

2018 was a year filled with many blessings, but also heartaches for me.  Adjusting to life with 2 little ones proved a lot harder then I thought it would be.  My body has been struggling since the birth of my second son, and physically I was at my lowest.  My gallbladder attacks would hit out of nowhere and bring with them severe pain that would have me rolling on the ground in agony crying.  When I wasn't having attacks I had the fear of having another attack looming over me asking "is this the day? Will I get one in Mass?  Will I get one while walking down the aisle as a bridesmaid? Will I get one when I am alone with the kids, who will take care of them and me?"  It has now been 10 weeks since my last attack and my body is feeling much stronger as it continues to heal.  Praise the Lord!

Mentally, the last 2 years have been really hard on me.  My original family has been broken apart by the pain that comes hand in hand with divorce.  After 36 years of marriage my parents are now legally divorced.  I know I am a grown woman, as are all of my siblings, but no matter how old you are divorce affects the children on some level.  My dad lives 10 minutes away from us and we haven't seen or heard from him in over 18 months.  He has not met my 1 year old.  I have a history of not doing well with rejection, and to have your father reject your mother, your family, some of your siblings, your kids and me is a hard pill to swallow.

Peace.  Calm.  

This is what I want for myself and my family for 2019.

I have seen many people go through hardships and suffering in this life, and those that remain calm and at peace amidst the turmoil and storms are the ones that have such beauty and grace surrounding them as you can visibly see the hand of God at work in their lives.  This is what I want.  This is what I need to strive for.  The storms will come no matter who you are, but if you have faith and trust in God you will not be overcome.  

"He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. 

Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; 

but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. 

They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, 

they will walk and not be faint."

 Isaiah 40:29-31

I know many of you have goals to be healthier in the New Year - here is a recipe that might help with that!

Back in October I did a yeast detox, which meant no sugar of any kind - even fruit!  I have slowly let the sweets seep back into my life, but in a much healthier way.  Yes, I indulged in pie at Thanksgiving, but it was Paleo and sweetened with maple syrup not refined sugar.  Yes, I eat honey and maple syrup again on a daily basis, but in very small amounts.  This recipe is a delicious cookie that satisfies my sweet tooth without making me feel like junk.  My kiddos really like it too!  Let me know if you try it out!

Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

makes 15 cookies

1 cup oats

1/2 cup almond meal

1/4 tsp cinnamon

pinch of salt

1/3 cup chocolate chips or raisins

2 TBSP melted coconut oil or butter, cooled for a few minutes before using

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup almond butter or peanut butter*

1/2 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In medium sized bowl combine the oats, almond meal, cinnamon, salt and chocolate chips.  Mix well.  

In medium saucepan melt the coconut oil.  Allow to cool for a few minutes then add the almond butter maple syrup and vanilla and whisk 
until combined.  Add to the dry ingredients and stir well.  Scoop out heaping tablespoons of dough and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Dough can be a little loose, so sometimes I take the portioned out dough and roll them into balls before baking.  Bake 8-10

 minutes until slightly browned.  I  just store them in a ziploc or glass container on the counter - they usually don't last longer then a few days but have lasted up to 5 days for us.

*Use almond or peanut butter where the only ingredients listed are the nuts and maybe salt.  No added sugar or oils.

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Instant Pot Asian Chicken (Paleo or not)

Everyday I have a list of things to accomplish that day.  Most things carry over to the next day...and the next...and the next...but dinner is something that cannot be avoided.  I mean. we have to eat!  This recipe is easy to throw together and delicious!  I like to make a big batch and eat leftovers for lunches during the week served over greens.  I also like to serve it over rice or quinoa, roasted or steamed veggies, or in a wrap.  Super versatile and tasty!

Thankfully my instant pot makes dinner a lot quicker and more approachable.  Over the summer months I really like using it since it doesn't heat up my kitchen like my oven does.  Now that soup season is upon us I use it even more!  Soup everyday!!!

Instant Pot Asian Chicken (Paleo or not)

2# boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
3 TBS honey
4 cloves garlic, minced and peeled fresh
1 1/2 tsp minced ginger
1/2 tsp salt (do not add if using soy sauce)
1 onion, sliced

Place all ingredients except for chicken and onion into instant pot and whisk to combine.  Add in chicken and onions and toss to coat.  Lock on lid.  Set to Manual setting, 15 minutes.  Release pressure, remove chicken and onions from pot.  Put pot on saute mode and boil sauce until thickened (about 5-10 minutes)  This last step is what makes the sauce thick and syrup like without adding in refined sugars.  You can also shred the chicken if you like...usually I am too lazy and don't.

You can also make it in a slow cooker.  Follow the same prep steps and cook 6-7 hours on low.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Paleo Chicken Burgers

You guys all know that one friend who always has drama in their life? Yeah, that one friend is me.  Haha.  If it isn't one thing its another thing...they just keep coming at me like snowballs and all I can do is stand there and take it.

"Dear Lord, make me a bird so I can fly far far away."

So much drama.  Health issues.  Family issues.  Bring it. 

I just completed a 21 day yeast detox.  It was hell.  I was hangry all the time.  My poor husband.  He said it almost felt like I was pregnant again I was so crabby!  Anyway, the hard part of the diet is done and now I have 2 weeks of only excluding my food sensitivities - which is a lot, but still not as bad as the yeast detox which allowed no grains, fruit, sweeteners, vinegar's, gluten, corn, sweet potatoes, peanuts, soy, and basically everything!  Oh how I missed my smoothies and my paleo pancakes!

These burgers are really delicious and pretty simple to throw together.  Also great for meal prep if you want to make a bunch ahead of time and eat them throughout the week.  My husband and toddler both like them.  I usually make them every other week in our meal rotation.  Taste great with ketchup or mayo.  We eat them without buns because that is how we roll.  I'm sure they would be great on a tasty hamburger bun though!

Chicken Burgers
Adapted from MarthaStewart.com
makes 4 burgers

2 TBS olive oil
1 small onion chopped
1/2 yellow or orange bell pepper chopped
1 stalk celery chopped fine
1 pound ground chicken, dark meat is best *
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

In large frying pan heat oil over medium high heat.  Add chopped onion, peppers and celery.  Saute for 8-10 minutes.  Remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.  Then mix the veggies together with the meat and the salt and pepper.  I use my hands to mix it together thoroughly. 

Wipe down original pan and then re oil with some more olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan).  Heat over medium high heat.  Form 4 patties and place in oiled pan.  Cook 6-8 minutes per side.

*It is hard to find dark meat ground chicken at most of our grocery stores.  The only place I have found it is at Sprouts.  You can also use white meat, which is also good, but not as tasty. : )

Monday, August 6, 2018

Lebanese Lentils and Rice

Such a weird day today.  My toddler was adamant that he was a crab and crawled all over the house.  If I called him by his name he got mad and said he was a crab.  My 8 month old is rolling all over the place and today discovered that he in fact likes to lick tile...it is the funniest thing to watch...in horror as I realize how dirty my floors actually are!  More dirty now that they have bits of lentils and rice on them now.

Haha I need to take a food photography class big time.  These caramelized onions look like a slimy ball of earthworms.  Trust me, they taste amazing though!

I have many fond memories of eating out with my grandfather.  He was a lover of good food, and had excellent taste.  Meeting up with him for a visit always included a good meal out.  Pretty sure he spent a large part of his fortune on treating people out to meals.  One place we frequented was a Lebanese restaurant.  As a kid I wasn't particularly fond of Lebanese cuisine in general, so I always ordered the most basic thing on their menu.  Lentils and rice.  It was simple but delicious, no weird over the top Mediterranean flavors I was not partial to yet.  

Fast forward to today.  I'm a huge fan of all Mediterranean food!  My grandfather would be shocked that I actually have good taste now : )  I wanted to try and cook these Lentils and Rice I remember eating so much, and was lucky that I had great success with the first recipe I tried out!  I have made this dish many times since I found it!  I usually serve it alongside some roasted veggies, hummus and pita, and sometimes some lamb as well.  It is a filling and cheap dish full of flavor.  Everyone who has eaten it has been a fan, even my toddler!  This is going to be a weekly meal during Lent this year.

Lebanese Lentils and Rice (Mujadara)
adapted from Food Network

1 cup brown or green lentils, rinsed
1/2 cup extra-virgin Olive Oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 large red onions, thinly sliced
3/4 cup Basmati Rice
1/2 tsp. cumin
Cayenne Pepper ( 1/2 tsp for Spicy, 1/4 tsp for medium, or 1/8 tsp for mild)
1 cinnamon stick

Place the lentils into a medium saucepan. Fill with enough cold water to cover the lentils by about an inch. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat, then turn down to a simmer and cook until the lentils are tender but not mushy, about 20 minutes. Drain and set aside.

While the lentils cook, heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add the oil. Allow the oil to warm for a minute, then drop in the 1/2 tsp cumin and pepper and stir about a minute.  Add the onions, sprinkle with a dash of salt and cook until they turn dark caramel brown, stirring often. This will take about 15-20 minutes. Splash the onions with a little water if they stick to the bottom of the pan. You'll know they're done both by their deep chestnut color and by the slight crispiness developing on some of the onions.

Using a slotted spoon or spatula, remove about half of the onions to a paper towel-lined plate; these are for garnish later. Sprinkle in the other 1/2 tsp ground cumin, cayenne and then add the cinnamon stick; saute about 1 minute.
Add the rice and cook, stirring often until some rice grains start to brown. Add the cooked lentils, 3 cups of water and 1 1/2 teaspoons of table salt*; bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low so that the pan is at a simmer, cover and cook 30 minutes. The water should be completely evaporated and rice should be tender. (If there's still too much water in the bottom, put the lid back on and cook for another 5 minutes.)
Turn off the heat, keep the lid on, and allow the rice to steam undisturbed for about 5 minutes.
*This seems like a lot of salt, but really it isn't for how much rice and lentils it seasons.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos

Summer.  Hot.

Summer in Texas.  Brutal.

We are getting a little bit restless here this summer.  We are really missing our daily walks outside and park adventures.  Is it Fall yet?  Our adventures now consist of going to the grocery store or Mall and aimlessly walking around.  True story, today we bought one thing - Bananas-and it took us 1.5 hours.  Charlie likes to walk down every aisle and touch EVERYTHING and ask what it is.  Hey, free air conditioning-I'll take it.

I really like using my Instant Pot during the summer because it keeps me from turning my oven or stove top on and keeps my kitchen a lot cooler.

This is my favorite meal to make in my instant pot!  I make it all the time!  My poor husband is probably so sick of it : )  I was looking for a taco recipe that didn't call for any tomatoes, and this one found me!  I like to make a double batch and freeze half for another dinner.  I usually serve it with black beans, rice, and avocado either in a tortilla or on a salad.

I've been asked if you can make this in a slow cooker, and honestly I don't know.  I haven't done much slow cooker cooking, so I'm not sure if it would work or not!

Instant Pot Shredded Chicken Tacos
Adapted from Life made simple blog

1 TBSP olive or coconut oil
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs lightly seasoned*
1 Large onion, sliced
1 jalapeno, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp oregano
Juice of 2 large oranges
Juice of 2 limes

*I use a cajun seasoning or just salt and pepper.  I use thighs, but you can use white meat too.

Turn Instant Pot on to "Saute" Mode.  Coat bottom of pan with oil.  Place half of seasoned chicken into pot and cook until slightly browned - about 2-3 minutes each side.  Remove from pan and repeat with remaining chicken.  Remove chicken from pot.  Add onions and jalapeno to pot and saute for 4-5 minutes.  Add garlic and cook about one minute.  Add chicken back into pot along with all of the spices and juices.  Stir to combine.  Put lid on pot and seal.  Set to "poultry" setting and set time to 15 minutes.  After it finishes cooking let it sit for 5 minutes before releasing the pressure.  If there is a large amount of liquid left set pot to "Saute" mode again and cook down until liquid reduces.  Be sure to stir so it doesn't burn on the bottom.  Using 2 forks break the chicken apart into shredded chunks.