Saturday, September 27, 2014

Being on the Whole30 bandwagon has really opened our eyes to how much sugar, soy or corn they put in ALL the pre-processed foods out on the market today. And if you have a gluten intolerance? well, good luck to you...that's hard!
And being on Whole 30, soy, sugar and corn are all No-No's....along with no legumes, dairy, alcohol and grain products. It's fairly restrictive. But you know what? We feel better. We actually *feel* better.  There is a noticeable difference in our skin, joints, and general demeanor.

But- you don't have to be on the Whole30 (or Paleo) bandwagon to enjoy this soy-free cashew chicken dinner. It's really tasty without msg, soy or preservatives and fillers.
Just wholesome, good stuff.



So, how does one make cashew chicken without soy? Easy. Coconut.
Did I lose you? I tend to lose everyone once I say coconut. I guess many people have this aversion to coconut flakes or what-not. This? This however, is a coconut miracle. Or amino. Take your pick. It's still good, and it works like a charm. Read on for the miracle that is my cashew chicken!



No Soy No Gluten Cashew Chicken

*1                   Chicken breast, sliced paper thin
*1/4 cup         Coconut Aminos (I found mine here. Of course, I went to the local store. I didn't            Divided         order it online....I'm cheap and didn't want to pay shipping charges!)
*1/8 cup         Light Olive Oil
*1 cup            Fresh broccoli, cut up as you like.
*1/2 cup         Cashews (halves and whole)
*3 Tbs           Arrowroot Powder (found here, or Bob's Red Mill has some too.)

What I did:
I did slice my chicken paper thin since chicken plumps up when you cook it. Cut yours however you wish. I just tried making mine look like the Chinese places' around the corner.
I placed my cut chicken in a plastic baggie, added half the amount coconut aminos (1/8 cup) and all the oil, then let it marinate in the fridge all day. Mostly because I was doing calculus homework and forgot about it.

When the time comes and you realize everyone in your house is starving,  add a little water to a large wok or frying pan, medium heat.
Add the Broccoli and cook/steam until almost done.
Add the chicken...just dump chicken contents of the bag right in to the wok/pan. Quickly stir fry it. You should have a fair amount of liquid in the pan. If not you can always add a dash of water.
Sprinkle the arrowroot powder over the chicken and stir well.
Add the remaining coconut aminos sparingly until you get a nice sauce going.
Just before serving, add the cashews, stirring so they get coated with the tasty sauce.

Serve warm and enjoy!
(I guess if you do rice you can serve rice too...although I would suggest something less grain-y and more health-y, like cauliflower rice. :) )

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Some time during the second week of your Whole30 experience, you're going to get extremely tired of scrambled or hard-boiled eggs. So what do you do?
Well, we made a quiche.

I know, I know. Quiche has milk or cream. Not to mention a flour crust. But I seemed to have got past those little hurdles...although I am still experimenting. Here's what I have come up with so far:






And here's how it went:



I'm going to call that a win. Right?
It's not as thick as a regular quiche. Which also translates into lack of milk equals lack of moisture. But overall, I think I might be able to remedy that using almond milk for the next experiment. Until then, this is really pretty, don't you think?


And as always, Frank's Red Hot Sauce is W30 approved, so pour that sh!t on everything! (I love that commercial! It just cracks me up!)

Anyway- I digress....back to the quiche.
Now, a regular quiche usually has a flour crust of some sort. But since wheat products are a no-no, I decided to just use a little almond flour and pat it into the pie dish. I then sprayed a little cooking oil over it and baked it for about 10 minutes...just long enough to form a 'makeshift' crust to hold the egg mixture.

Then I mixed up my eggs and fillings and poured it in, baked until the eggs were firm and it was done.


It really couldn't be simpler.  The best part about it is you can let eat it for several mornings' breakfasts' or do it for an afternoon lunch. It stays well in the fridge for about 2 days. I made mine Thursday night so Grau could have it Friday morning for breakfast. Today is Saturday and there's one piece left. (He'll probably eat it for lunch or as a snack later today.)

I am so proud of Grau! He started his Whole30 adventure the day after Labor Day and has already lost 18 pounds! You can't argue with that kind of results. Whole30 is healthy. Not like those other fly-by-night 'diet' programs. Nope. Whole30 is really a change in diet. Meaning, it's for good. What you eat is your diet. A 'diet program' is something you do for a short period of time and then stop (usually only to have to try another diet program because you gained back the weight.)
Myself, I've lost 34 lbs so far. And I'm not hungry. I feel good. And that's what it's all about.

OK...back to the quiche. You can really use any filler ingredients you like. I used chicken and broccoli and carrots. Feel free to change up your fillers!

FLOURLESS QUICHE

6 eggs
1 carrot, shredded
1 chicken breast, grilled and diced
3 oz fresh broccoli
Salt and pepper to taste.
Almond Flour, about 1/2 cup

As I said, I used almond flour for a crust. Just put it in your pie pan, and pat it flat and up the sides about half-way. Spray with a little bit of oil, then bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes.
Remove from oven.

Meanwhile, as your 'shell' is baking, mix the rest of the ingredients together. Add spices to taste (I just used pepper and a hint of salt).

Once your pie shell is out of the oven, pour egg mixture into pie shell and place it back into the oven until eggs are firm- about 30 - 40 minutes. But keep an eye on it. Sometimes if you use small eggs it takes less time to bake than if you used large eggs.

As I said earlier, this is a little dry, so if you want to experiment, try adding 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk...maybe with a little Franks! :)

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I have no idea why I named this recipe Chicken Bang Bang.  Maybe I need a bit more soup, I mean sleep? Well, for whatever reason, this soup came out fabulous. Of course, I was trying to make this soup, but didn't have all the ingredients so I had to modify it to what I had on hand because I was also being lazy and didn't want to go to the grocery store.




Make either one. I am sure they are BOTH fabulous. And if you try that other soup, lemme know what you think. :)


Chicken Bang Bang (Whole30 compliant!)

1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 1/2 cups grated baby carrots (I used my food processor)
3 celery stalks (again, shredded in my food processor)
1 4" piece celery stalk, diced extra small.
1 onion, diced
5 cloves garlic
1 T + 1 tsp Chili powder
28 oz crushed tomatoes
1 small can rotel
1 qt chicken broth (the Imagine brand is w30 compliant)
1 qt chicken bone broth*
Olive Oil
1 tsp red pepper flakes
And my secret ingredient- 1/4 tsp cinnamon

I put the carrots and celery and garlic in my food processor and shredded them. Added a dash of olive oil to my pot, added the veggies (incl the onion) and cooked for 2-5 minutes. Then I added the red pepper (bang!), cinnamon (bang!), chili powder, and chicken. Then gave it a good stir.
Once the spices were mixed in really well, add the crushed tomatoes, rotel, broth and bone broth. Let simmer for 30 minutes and you're done!

The red pepper flakes give this soup a BANG! and the warm and inviting cinnamon give it a surprise BANG!...so Chicken Bang Bang! (No really, I didn't just make that up.)

* I made my own bone broth a couple weeks ago. If you don't have this, use another quart of chicken broth.




Saturday, September 13, 2014

Almond Satay

As I was perusing recipes this morning, I ran across Satay....a wonderful Thai peanut sauce to serve with grilled chicken...very Thai....very good.



Except, on Whole 30 peanuts are a no no. As is the soy sauce and brown sugar. Both prohibited on Whole 30. So I wondered long and hard...could I make a Satay using almond butter instead?
Why not? I thought. It may not be as sweet as the original peanut satay, but I've been doing Whole 30 for a while now and sweetness is not a requirement any longer. I'm happy to say I prefer flavorful over sweet, any day.


So I got to work finding a satay recipe that had minimal sugars in it, and ended up taking the best of four separate satay recipes and combining them then  adding my own touches.


I am happy to report this satay turned out beautifully. The fiance loved it (who is also doing Whole30) and remarked that while it may not be as sweet as the original, it definitely is a keeper. According to him, there's a huge shortage of dipping sauces for Whole30 participants. And he's right.
This satay is smooth and flavorful and has a bit of a kick. So what's not to love about that?



Almond Satay

1 T olive oil
1 T Sesame Oil
1 tsp Red pepper flakes (more if you like it really spicy)
1/2 - 2/3 c diced white onion (if you like onion flavor, use 2/3)
3 cloves garlic, minced (I used a fine grater)
1 1/2 t minced ginger (or 1 tsp ground)
1/2 tsp Franks Red Hot Sauce (optional)

Add to a small pot and cook over medium heat until onions are tender. Maybe 5 mins.
Then add:

1 T balsamic vinegar
1/2 c Almond butter (no sugar)
1/2 cup water*
1 small tomato, diced really really fine
2 tsp lime juice

Mix well,,,,use a stick blender if you have one. If not, you can use a food processor or Ninja type blender.
* water is to thin out the sauce as almond butter tends to be very thick. You can add a little more or a little less, depending on how fluid you wish your sauce to be.

Once blended, serve warm (or cool) with slices of grilled chicken. Fabulous!


Friday, September 12, 2014

I love chicken. I do. Really. I mean, I love chicken a lot.  Especially chicken breasts. Oh la la! Many people dislike chicken because it is plain. Oh Contraire!
What I've found is that chicken takes on the flavor of what you cook with it.
Some people complain that chicken breasts are dry. Nope! Wrong again. (Well, I guess they *could* be right....if they cook it too long.)
Treat chicken nice, and it will be a thing of beauty that will melt in your mouth.

Being on Whole30, chicken is a blessing because it is low in calories. Unfortunately, you are almost relegated to dry rubs and grilling. Not so any longer!


Tonight I was craving something a little on the sweet side. But I also wanted it a tad bit spicy. And once I rolled those tasty tidbits in unsweetened coconut? Oh my giddy aunt what a treat!
Served with a side of steamed broccoli and dinner was easy peasy.

Healthy Coconut Chicken Bites

1 chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1 tsp Franks Red Hot Sauce
1/4 cup arrowroot powder

(serves 2-3 people)

After cutting up the chicken, set up an assembly line. Three bowls. One with the arrowroot powder, one with eggs and the other with the coconut.

Add the hot sauce to the eggs and beat until combined.
Then, coat the chicken in the arrowroot powder, dip in the egg, and finally the coconut.
Place pieces onto parchment lined baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees until chicken is no longer pink, about 30-35 minutes.

Serve with a side of your favorite vegetable and a salad and you have a wonderful Whole30, gluten free, paleo dinner!



Saturday, September 6, 2014

I had a whole chicken just sitting in my freezer for the *longest* time. I figured I had better cook that baby up! So I slow roasted it in the oven over a four-hour period. It was so darn good! I immediately realized my mistake...I should have taken pictures!

This time...mind you, it's only been two days since I made the first roasted chicken, and today sent my fiance go get another whole chicken for me to roast for pictures....I took pictures! The chicken comes out so tender, it is already falling off the bone when you pull it out of the oven.

Being on the Whole30 Lifestyle, I knew I couldn't add anything unapproved. And why would I want to? This is more than enough food for the two of us, and two growing boys.


Chicken in the Pot

Chicken immediately out of the oven
When I made my first roasted chicken this way, I was basically 'winging' it. (Get it? I crack myself up!) I knew I wanted potatoes, but I also needed a veggie too. So I cut up some new red and yellow potatoes, onions, carrots, and yes, even some apples, and tossed them in the bottom of the pot. Here I'm using a fabulous enameled cast iron dutch oven my mother bought me for my birthday last year. Then I set the chicken on top of the taters.

I needed some spice to this, so I added some dried rosemary (I dehydrate my own), ground sage, and tossed on some whole peppercorns.
I put the lid on it and tossed it into the oven at 250 degrees for a minimum of 3 hours.


Falling off the bone already!

For the last hour / hour and a half of cooking, I upped the oven to 300 degrees, keeping the lid on at all times. After about 3.5 - 4 hours, I switched it to a LO broil, took the lid off, and let it toast up the top for about 4 minutes.
It came out fabulously. Tender, juicy, flavorful and the apples added just a hint of sweetness. I also used arrowroot powder to thicken the juices into a nice sauce.

Such a pretty sight with new red potatoes and some sauce

Is this not just gorgeous looking? Yeah, I know I have no carrots on my plate. I don't like cooked carrots (just raw). But trust me...you can totally throw in carrots and eat them too. Just not me. :)

Don't you wish you could eat this right now?
 I love this picture...so dark and mysterious...ok- no, that's just the afternoon sun leaving my kitchen. Sorry. But it is still tasty, shadows or not!
Oh, so pretty and tender.

 Here's a better picture without the shadows... all sitting nice and pretty and ready to be gobbled up. I really think this dish might be on my weekly rotation I love it *that* much. Oh, and the best news? You can use the leftover bones and tidbits of meat to make bone broth. Winning!
All pretty with potatoes, onions, apples and sauce

RECIPE:
(Side note- I'm sure you could do this in a crockpot, I just haven't tried it so I'm not sure how it will turn out- I'm assuming fabulous...just give it at least 8 hours instead of 4.5 with an oven.)

1 whole chicken
8 or so new red potatoes (and yellow if you like variety), quartered
1 onion, quartered
1 (or 2) apples, peeled, cored and diced (keep the core! and toss it in too! remove it before eating)
4 carrots, peeled and sliced lengthwise in 2-3 inch pieces.
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried rubbed sage
1 tsp (full) whole peppercorns
2 tsp arrowroot powder

Place veggies and taters in dutch oven. Place chicken on top. Sprinkle spices on chicken.
Bake, lid on, at 250 degrees for 2.5-3 hours.
Then turn up the heat to 300 degrees for the last hour of cooking.
Remove lid, switch to BROIL (LO) for 4 minutes.

Remove from oven. Place chicken on carving plate, remove potatoes and veggies and place in serving bowl, and set dutch oven on stove. Heat on low. Remove fat from juices. Remove 1/2 cup juices and add the arrowroot powder, mix well. Return to pot, mixing into remaining juice. Mix well. Heat until sauce starts to thicken, but is not a gravy (I guess you can turn it into a gravy, but I like a sauce better).
When sauce is done, strain through cheesecloth into sauce bowl / server and serve with sliced chicken and the veggies.

We bought a dehydrator a while back...like, over a year ago.....and I have been a dehydrating fool ever since. I love it! And when dehydrating, my basement smells fantastic! Especially when I have peaches or strawberries going.

A couple months ago I dehydrated onions. A neighbor (we live in a 4-unit townhouse) knocked on my door and asked if I smelled onions because he could in his basement....um..yeah...that's me. Sorry!
He wasn't upset...he just couldn't figure out where the smell came from. Ever since then, I've tried to keep the 'strong' smelling items going during the week when he's not home, and the good stuff like fruits dehydrating on the weekends when he is.

Either way, I am dehydrating all the time. A couple weeks ago, I started making my own trail mix. Boy! Is there a difference between store bought and home made. Store bought is harder...crispier....mostly because (as I found out), they tend to deep fry their fruits before they dehydrate them. Yuck! How unhealthy is that?

I like my fruit hard, but with some chew in the middle. That's where all the flavor seems to concentrate. It's wonderful! Most fruits I dehydrate at 125 for 12 hours. It depends on how thick I cut my fruit. (Any questions you can always check out my Pinterest board ) I have several links to how to do different fruits and veggies.

Well, I titled this post Trail Mix not 'listen to me gush about my dehydrator' so here's my trail mix:


Lovely, isn't it?
I used raw cashews, slivered almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, unsweetened coconut flakes, raisins, and my dehydrated fruits of strawberries, bananas, peaches and apples.
Even though there is no sugar in this trail mix, it was plenty sweet enough with the dehydrated fruit, and salty because of the salt on the cashews. In a word, fabulous!

Dehydrating:
Bananas- slice 1/8 in thick, dehydrate at 135 for 12 hours.
Strawberries- slice 1/4" thick. Dehydrate at 135 for 10-12 hrs
Peaches- slice 1/8" thick, dehydrate at 135 for 12-16 hrs
Apples- slice 1/4" thick, soak in citric acid water ( 1 tsp to 1/2 gal water) for 5 mins, then dehydrate at 135 for 10-12 hrs.

*You can also soak the banana's in citric acid water before dehydrating- doing so will inhibit the 'darkness' of the banana as it dehydrates. (You know banana's---they like to turn brown every chance they get!)
**Side note- you can use a lemon lime soda instead of the citric acid water. :)

***I've had people ask about oven dehydrating. Yes, you can do this using your oven if you don't have a dehydrator. Of course, using the oven speeds up the process because your oven can't go to as low a temp as your dehydrator can. The only drawback to using your oven is the speed. Especially with fruits, the slower you dehydrate something, the less chance of browning, or darkening, of the fruit. It's visually less appealing. Plus, you can only do one or two items at a time. With a dehydrator, you can do several trays of different fruits at the same time because you're using the same temp.  I have 10 trays for my dehydrator. I can do LOTS of stuff at once.
****So if using your oven, dehydrate on a parchment lined baking tray at  250 degrees until fruit is done.

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