Monday, December 15, 2014

I am not kidding. I threw this into a pot, sauteed a bit, stirred a bit, threw more ingredients in, let boil, blended smooth, and added the creamy stuff to the end and I was done.

It took me an hour, but only because I kept forgetting I was cooking. So this recipe is very forgiving, too. I like that in a recipe!

Doesn't that look just divine? Oooey, gooey, cheesy goodness on top of the best soup....oh, and bacon. Ya gotta have bacon.

So- here's what ya do:
Grab yourself one onion, about six garlic cloves, four idaho potatoes (I used four, but in my defense, one of them was bigger than a truck....okay, maybe not a real truck, but definitely one of those toy two and a half regular sized potato it was!), one leek, 3 cans of chicken broth, one green onion, a dash of chili powder and one package of cream cheese. Oh, and shredded cheddar and bacon for toppings, if you prefer, and I *always* prefer!

Basically, saute your onion in a dash of oil, add the garlic, and two minutes later add the broth, green onion and taters. Let boil, add the diced leek, and let boil again. Simmer for a while. I went and watched Jeopardy! (I love that show!) When everything is nice and tender, blend it well (I used a stick blender, but you could use a regular blender...just be careful of hot soup splash!), and finally, the cream cheese and chili powder. Serve warm...because hot burns your tongue. Trust me.

4 large potatoes, chopped (I left skin on 1, peeled the other 3)
1 Leek, washed and diced.
1 whole gr onion, diced
1 medium onion, diced
6 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp chili powder
dash oil
3 cans chicken broth
8 oz cream cheese
Saute onion in oil. Add garlic. cook 2 minutes.
Add broth, green onions, and potatoes. Cook until soft.
Add leek. Cook until soft. Add chili powder.
Add cream cheese (I dice mine before seems to melt better...oh, and you can totally use 1/2 cup half-n-half or heavy whipping cream, but I like the cream cheese better)
Blend with stick blender (or regular blender, just be wary of hot soup splash)
Serve with shredded cheese and bacon bits.
Total time- about 30-45 minutes.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Yes, I am a Game of Thrones fan....but in reality, Winter really is coming. Some would argue that it is already here as it is COLD outside. I think our high today is 18 degrees. Our windchill is in the negatives. And it's only November!

A few months ago, I started playing around with sugar body scrubs. I dislike spending money on store-bought things. Preferring instead to make them myself if at all possible. Well, sugar body scrubs are possible. And easy. It did take me the better part of 11 months of my sporadic free time to work on perfecting my recipe, but now that I have, I won't ever purchase sugar scrubs from someone else again. (Of course, if you'd rather have *me* make you some, I'll be happy to charge you for them! lol)

Anywho- this is the basic recipe- and most of it is available in your grocery store or craft store.

2 cups sugar 1/4 cup large grain kosher salt 3/4 cup coconut oil 1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or extra light olive oil) 10 drops vitamin E oil 1 tsp shea butter
Essential oils of your choice.
When it comes to the EO's, put scents together that you like. The amount or number of drops will depend on how soft or strong you want the scent, as well as the strength of the brand Of EO you're using. Also remember that the scent will intensify for the first 24 if you go light with the EO's, check it again in 24 hours to see if the scent is strong- or light-enough for you.
For my Citrus Cedar, I used 30 drops cedarwood, 20 drops tangerine, and 10 drops black pepper.
For my Cinnamon Brandy I used 60 drops cinnamon bark, 30 drops clovebud, and 1/2 tsp homemade cinnamon brandy extract.
My Peppermint Candy I used 15 drops peppermint, 5 drops spearmint, and 1 tsp homemade vanilla extract.
Now this basic recipe, minus the EO's, will make 1 pint and 1 small jar (like in my picture). I separate the sugar into jars first, then add the EO's and mix. Of course, if you are making only one type of scrub, you can add the EO's to the oils before you mix the oils into the sugar. Your choice.
Also- I prefer grapeseed oil over olive oil. No particular reason, I just like the feel of the end result better. You use what you like. Also- if you want to increase the Vitamin E oil and omit the shea butter, you can.
Hope this works for you!

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!


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! :)


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! 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!