Friday, April 15, 2011

Smoked Chicken Tenders

Lately, my family has been loving on homemade chicken tenders. Honestly, I've been loving on homemade chicken tenders, so if Wren-Babe and BigDaddy want to eat, then it's chicken tenders. Eat up, Wren-babe. Mmmmmmm..... That being said, it's a super-easy, super-cheap, super-nutritious meal, especially when you add veggies as a side (no fries here, folks). In my Paleo transition, ie cutting out flours, breads, oatmeal, etc, I've struggled to find a replacement for those comfort foods. The recipes is simple. However, today I don't bring you regular 'breaded' chicken fingers. Today I bring you Smoked Chicken Fingers. Omitting the egg and flour brings a new twist to a classic.

2.5 lbs Chicken Breast

3 Tbs. Smoked Paprika

3 Tbs. Powdered Garlic


Sea Salt

2 Tbs. Coconut Oil

Preheat over to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mix spices together and set on a plate.

Tenderize chicken and cut into strips. I use a fork and stab the chicken, as I don't have a tenderizer.

Rub coconut oil into baking sheet. If I get them just right, I can fit all the chicken on one sheet. Less dishes = happy me. Making food AND cleaning up bites.

'Roll' chicken in spices and place on oiled baking sheet, but make sure not pieces touch.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes depending on the size of your strips, ie thickness. I always choose the biggest piece and cut it in half to check to make sure it's done.


Question of the Day: What's your favorite comfort food?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Wren's First Birthday

Wren turned 1 on Tuesday of this week!!!! It is so amazing how far she's come in a year (walking, some talking, etc). In fact, I never remember a year going by so quickly, and it's not like I don't have enough years under my belt at 27. We spent the day together playing and snuggling. She's a riot! Her new thing since she started walking a few weeks ago is grabbing a 4-pack of toilet paper from the bathroom linen closet and carrying it through the house.

Wren's bday party is this weekend at my IL's house, and with Wren and my dairy issue I decided cake was out of the question. There are WAY to many people attending who would complain because the cake I'd make from scratch would not be like the Betty Crocker mix. I don't need the stress or negative comments, so I'm making Apple-Pear Crisp. I can't do just Apple Crisp because, again, people have expectations around names. If I do something that's not quite 'normal', ie adding pear, I remove some of the stress of failing expectations of 20+ people. It tastes pretty good, and I'm not a fan of Almond Flavoring. It doesn't have cinnamon, a standard in most crisps on either side of the family. Bonus........ It's vegan. I need to work on the 'sauce' though. It's too runny. Once I get it perfected, I'll post the recipe. In the meantime, I'm having apple-pear crisp every morning for breakfast to get rid of it before it goes bad. This is why I stopped making baked goods after I got married. BigDaddy's momma is a baker, so everything I make is compared to her versions. Mine fail his standards, even though I'm still in a testing phase, and I end up having to eat it all or it goes bad. Part of learning to be frugal (read 'wise with your money') means eating food you spend money and time on. *Sigh* At least it's healthy and not like the boxed brownies I used to make.

I also plan on making some vegan granola tonight while my mom watches Wren. She LOVES to eat the granola I make. I think it helps that the granola is crunchy, so it's not like the other foods she eats on a regular basis.

Pictures and recipes to come. Stay tuned.

In the meantime.......

Happy Birthday goofy baby!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Recovery and Working out...and Recovery

So I've been out of the loop for a while. Lil' Birdie had the flu, which aggravated her GERD. She'd been off of her GERD medication for two and half weeks before she got the flu and didn't stand a chance. It was horrible, and I didn't eat much of anything. The screaming reminded me of when she was just weeks old and we couldn't figure out what was wrong, ie prior to the GERD diagnosis. It's the most horrible thing in the world to not be able to help your baby. On to happier things...

Since her recovery, which took almost 2 weeks, we've (read I) been loving on tuna, brussels, sauteed onions, and avocados (mostly lil' birdie).

Here we have some mashed avocado (known as 'cado' in our house), oven baked chicken with sauteed onions, sauteed brussel sprouts, and steamed asparagus.

Tuna mixed with mayo and mustard, green onion, tomato topped with nutritional yeast on toasted Ezekiel Sprouted Bread with lettuce. This is my kind of open-faced sandwich. I'm not much for bread, but the occasional EB is okay.

I have also started working out again. I opted for a P90X/Insanity Hybrid. It's intense, but I need it because even if I slack it still kicks my butt. Here's my 'recovery' drink.

Kale, water, almond milk, maca powder, cacao powder, raw-farm-fresh egg, chia seeds, banana, pear, dehydrated unsweetened coconut, and raw honey. It was actually pretty good!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brussel Sprouts and Burritos?

Sooooo....lately I've been having an affair with brussel sprouts. My mom, who still makes brussel sprouts the same way, boils her sprouts in water until they're mushy, adds butter and salt, and eats them as a side with a meat dish. I hated brussel sprouts growing up. I didn't eat them, until this past Christmas (2010). I tried one of the mush brussels and found an underlying taste that seemed interesting to me. At least, it was okay 'enough' to add to my diet as a regular addition.

I saw Heather ( used brussel sprouts often in stir-fries, so I decided to sautee some sprouts. I love sauteed brussel sprouts. There is just enough crunch (I like my veggies to have life left in them) to keep me buying the small bags on clearance in the produce aisle and add brussels as a side to just about anything or the main dish.

While fixing up a leftover burrito (Amy's Black bean Vegetarian Chili, grassfed beef, and homemade salsa), I decided to make up some brussels. It was DELICIOUS!!!!

My favorite way to saute, you say? I like to use a little coconut oil with the brussels cut in half (1/4 if they are large). I saute for a few minutes and then add 1/4 cup of water to the pan. I have no idea if it has a technical name, but I call it flash boil. As the water nears complete evaporation (stirring several times as needed), I add pink sea salt, black pepper, and garlic. I think the garlic lends itself VERY well to the natural sweetness of the brussel sprouts.

Halflet is only 11 months old. I don't think that's old enough for cabbage. Her brussel sprout days will have to wait, but that doesn't stop her from making faces at me. I asked her to smile.

Question of the Day: What new vegetable have you tried lately?

Brownies for Breakfast

One of my FAVORITE desserts is the humble brownie. I had to give up brownies for quite a while while nursing and because I'm trying to avoid dairy, processed sugar, and most gluten. Through my dabbling in raw food, I've found some fairly reliable 'dessert' substitutions you can eat without fear, as it's just fruit and nuts in various combinations. It's still dessert, but it's one of the healthiest kinds of desserts I know. I should mention that I do not fear dietary fat. I think everyone needs dietary fat, varying in amount from person to person, for everything from producing hormones, helping the body utilize certain vitamins, to being used as building blocks for cells, hair, etc. If you're looking for something 'low-fat', this recipe isn't for you. If you want something easy (minimal time, minimal ingredients, healthy, whole ingredients), then this is for you. This recipe doesn't use anything but nuts, fruit, cacao (unsweetened chocolate), and a little sea salt. The frosting is similar, minus the nuts. I like my brownies to taste like chocolate, so you may want to reduce your cacao if you don't like dark chocolate. The recipe is SO SIMPLE.

Soak 3/4 cup dates in water, and while you prepare the rest of the mixture. Place 1 cup raw walnuts with 1 teaspoon sea salt and 1 cup of cacao in the food processor. I don't soak my nuts, no comment BigDaddy, but if you'd like, I'm sure it wouldn't hurt. Pulse the ingredients until the nut particles are to your liking. I prefer a small particle, so I process at least a minute, if not more. Remove dates from soak water and place in the food processor. Process until a 'dough' ball forms in the processor container. Remove 'dough' and press into a glass dish of your choosing. I like thicker brownies, so I double the recipe and use a 9x13 glass dish. Place the brownies in the fridge for an hour or freezer for half an hour to set, remove, devour.

Now, I'm not big on the taste of dates, so the cacao hides it nicely. A small brownie is very satisfying. I get something sweet, chocolately, and with good fat, so it's satiating. I don't have the impulse to stand over the pan and eat 1/2 the pan, like I did with conventional brownies.

If you want frosting, you melt 1/2 cup of coconut oil and add 1/2 cup of cacao and stir. This is intense chocolate, so you can add date syrup/paste or some other form of sugar to cut the bitterness. The more 'solid' you add to the mixture, the better it handles conditions outside of the fridge, ie higher ratio of coconut oil equals runny mess.

Question of the Day: What's your favorite dessert?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Homemade Salsa

Well, I'm back to posting. Since I normally work full-time and miss a lot of time with my 10 month old I took the holidays off. It's not necessarily a wise choice as a blogger, but it was a wise choice as a mother.

So here we are. New Year's Eve some friends came over, and one of them brought homemade, raw salsa. It was DELICIOUS! Days later I was craving the salsa. My friend gave me the loose 'recipe' and I got to work with my food processor. In minutes I had amazing salsa.

Luckily, I save jars, so I re-purposed this old pickle jar to save the KEified homemade salsa.

All you do is put tomato, onion, garlic, cilantro, sweet bell pepper, salt, and pickled jalapenos in the food processor, blender, or chop by hand, the latter taking more than just a few minutes....maybe 10-15. Taste test. Devour.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

One Lucky Duck

Before I get into my post, I have a side post. No offense, but what is UP with vegan margarine? Seriously? If you've decided to be vegan for ANY reason (lactose intolerance, cruelty, health, environment, etc) what the heck are you doing eating margarine, even if it is 'vegan'? I can't think --granted, I am finite-- of a reason that you would become vegan and be okay with eating margarine in any form. Health - Margarine is horrible for your health. How do you think they got the oil that is naturally a liquid to become solid or semi-solid? Environment - You're saving the planet by eating processed garbage that causes carbon emissions, landfill waste, uses BPA, and a whole host of other things? Cruelty - It's great that you're saving animals from being inhumanely raised and killed for their flesh so they can die from starvation on a planet that can no longer support life because of the Environment issue listed above. Lactose Intolerance - Typically choosing to NOT consume something your body is having a reaction to falls under the Health category, so.....note the Health category above. There is no reason, in my mind, that a 'vegan' version of margarine should be a staple in cooking. I cannot wrap my mind around it. If I had a penny for every vegan recipe I've read that called for some form of vegan margarine.....I'd have enough money to pay off debt, quit my job and be a stay-at-home mom. Stop it already or start giving me pennies.

Off the rant and on to the post.

Last night, little KElet and I were out doing some major errand running after I got off of work and hour late. I had to get all of the ingredients to make homemade granola (for gifts), supplies to make gifts for our friend's Christmas Friday night, and the ingredients to make the food I am bringing to said Christmas party. Just so you know, last night was Wednesday night, which gives me tonight to make everything. Yikes..... KElet and I went to 3 different stores, and she HATES riding in the car, especially when Granna isn't able to make sure she has a sufficient nap. With a sleep deprived baby, anything that keeps her restrained so she cannot further fight sleep is scream-worthy. She did well considering, but it is never fun driving with a crying baby. We arrived home at 9pm, after 3 hours of the car and 3 different stores. She had a whole piece of toast and a few ounces of a bottle while we were out, and as soon as she was home my mission was to get as much food in her tummy as I could. Happy tummies = sleeping through the night. Momma like.

Rice noodles, some avocado, and 5 ounces of formula later, we were both zonked out on the chair in her room. After 30 minutes I was awake again and started the process of putting her in bed. We have a crib we got for free, thank you everyone who contributed. I literally spent about $100 on KElet's room, and most of it was on sheets, changing pad and cover, etc. I got a free leather recliner from a co-worker (really nice), free crib, and I paid $65 for the really nice changing table via Craigslist and a 3 hour trip in horrible snow with my poor younger brother. It's one of the older style cribs on wheels that stand off the ground, as opposed to the newer cribs that rest right on the ground, ie easier to lay a sleeping baby down. I'm only 5'6", and we recently had to drop her crib mattress down to the lowest level. Not only can she stand up, but she knows how to go about the process of climbing. I need not have her succeed by accident using her crib bumper as an access of the ground at least 4'6" away. Anyway, all this means that the edge of the crib is level with my ribs, which means trying to lay her in bed is a not-so-graceful, she-may-legitimately-fall-a-few-inches dance between trying to keep her asleep and trying to put her down fast enough that she doesn't start flailing and ruin the delicate, balanced position I have her in using only my hands, ie no forearm, chest, etc. I can barely touch the mattress with my fingers. It's hilarious. Bed at 11:30pm with nothing prepared for the morning, and waking up late at 6:15am this morning. Eeeeeeppppp!!!!

All that said, I'm still One Lucky Duck. In my scrambles this morning to make sure I had everything ready for Wren to stay at her Granna's while I went to work --I try to provide all food, water, cloth diapers, disposable diapers, etc-- I didn't know what I would eat for breakfast. Avocado Sandwiches have been the staple for lunch because they are just so easy, but breakfast is always tough. Lately, I've been eating Ezekiel toast with a mixture of homemade coconut butter and left-over homemade vegan chocolate from my raw vegan almond joy experiments, but yesterday I ate the last scrumptious bite. I opened my 'healthy' cupboard and looked frantically on my shelf --it used to be the 'snack' cupboard filled with cookies, candies, etc and now houses raw nuts, oat bran, oat groats, dried unsweetened coconut, homemade dehydrated fruit, etc, much to BigDaddy's dismay. I pondered making a quick mixture of hemp seeds, chia, almonds, and honey when I spotted truffles..... Two years ago, I ordered chocolate truffles from One Lucky Duck and didn't like them. I'd never had cacao nibs before, and the truffles are rolled in the nibs. It was before I had KElet, so I wanted to be healthy, but not enough to give up eating things like Hershey Bars. Today was the perfect day to try them again. I had 4 left, so I grabbed an organic apple and tossed it in my lunch box with my 96 fl oz of water (in containers, no worries), avocado sandwich ingredients, and One Lucky Duck truffles. I'm so glad that two years ago I wasn't serious enough about getting healthy because it means I have a superb breakfast this morning. Thank you, Sarma. One day I hope to have some extra cash to try your raw chocolate chip cookies AND I'd also like to go out to NYC and try some of your ice cream, among other glorious things. One day, Sarma..... One day...

Organic Gala Apple and One Lucky Duck That pic is of BigDaddy, myself, and BigDaddy's family at our wedding reception 6 years ago. Ah, to be 21 again.

P.S. One thing I have always thought was neat about ordering through One Lucky Duck is they have always sent a little sample of one of their treats with your order. It always seems really thoughtful, and I get to try something I may not have otherwise tried. I've actually gotten hooked on a couple of Sarma's treats because of the sample sent along. It just makes me feel like there's heart behind the business, ya' know? When OMGoodies is up and running, I plan on trying to send samples and emulate that kind of business model.