Tuesday, 29 April 2014

One-dish Mexican Quinoa Scramble


  Hey, hey!! How is everyone tonight? Such a nice sunny day today, makes me happy!

   Something super exciting for me, I finally got a new camera! Target had all their camera's on sale this weekend and I snagged one up! Thank goodness I have a tech-dork husband because I had no idea what the guy was talking about, or what makes a camera a good one! I am learning how to use it properly and can't wait to load some pics. As soon as I figure out how. And how to plug it in. :)

   This past weekend Shane and I had a chance to go to Calgary for the whole weekend by ourselves! That's right! No ankle-biters allowed! It was so dreamy, we had the best time. We stayed at the Hotel Arts, downtown. On Friday night we ate at one of the restaurants in the hotel called Raw Bar. Have you ever been there? It was honestly one of the most delicious, fun meals we've ever had! The atmosphere is so nice, and the service was great. We had sweet potato spring rolls, a whole pineapple squid, pad Thai and lemongrass chicken curry. Seriously, unbutton your pants early. I was SO full! But fo' shizzle the best meal in recent times!

   I'd like to think that I burned a fair amount of dinner off in the 7+ hours we spent walking the mall the next day! But we may of had Caesar breaks and then hit another fab dinner that night! So, all in all I don't think I came out ahead! At Cilantro for dinner on Saturday, we had the single most delicious cheesecake I've ever tasted. Honestly, unreal. Upside down toffee cheesecake. Homemade (of course) whipped cheesecake with this crunchy toffee topping and crust. Droooooooooool just thinking about it. It was some of the best food and we never get that chance these days. Totally the right time to indulge, if you ask me! I totally recommend both restaurants if you ever get the chance! I'm burning a trail to the treadmill all week, and it was SO worth it. :)

   The Comic Con sci-fi festival happened to be in Calgary this weekend and this kind of thing is right up Shane's alley- for anyone that doesn't know I'm married to a geek, raising 2 little nerdlings in training. As we sat and looked at the menu, we realized that Bill Paxton was sitting up at the bar! He was in town with the Aliens cast, for the festival. This basically made Shane's life. I tried to force him to go up and talk to the guy, but he wouldn't do it! Not even a bottle of pricey wine and some sweet talkin' could get the job done! So, inevitably he left, and Shane didn't get to talk to him. If you listen very hard right now, you can probably still here Shane sobbing. 

   Ok, food. Food is good. There is nothing I love more than a one-bowl baking recipe. Throw it all in and and Hail Mary that bugger to the oven and you're done! When I saw this Mexican Scramble recipe, and that it was all one dish- sold. Two times a week my son is in swimming right at supper hour. So I made this all up before we left and it was ready to go as soon as we walked in! Perfect weekday meal. The original recipe doesn't add meat, but I'd have a tough time selling that to Shane after he had just swam 1km! I simply scrambled a small package of lean ground beef and added it in to the mix once everything in the main dish was done and let it simmer together. My mom ate here as well and it fed 3 adults with seconds for someone.....ahem...Shane. 

  My kids had already eaten because of swimming, so I made it quite spicy. Obviously dial it down a bit for sensitive mouths. Another thing is the quinoa. I don't usually ever cook with this, but have in the past. Quinoa is not considered Paleo and can be very hard for some people to digest. So if you're following this type of diet, you may consider leaving it out, depending on your allergy restrictions. I decided to try something new and give it a try. Also make sure to thoroughly rinse it if it does not come pre-washed. I buy organic bulk at Heritage Foods.

One-dish Mexican Scramble
You need:
1 smaller package ground beef

I Tbsp oil for frying
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, seeds removed and diced
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 cup chicken or veg broth
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can fire roasted tomatoes 
1 cup corn
1/2 cup black olives
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
sea salt and pepper to taste
plain greek yogurt to garnish (optional)
shredded cheese to sprinkle (optional)

Brown your beef in a smaller frying pan until cooked through, and set aside. 
In your large, deep frying pan add oil and heat over medium. Add jalapenos and garlic and stir until fragrant. A minute or so.

Next stir in everything else, except your garnishes. (yogurt and cheese) Mix well. Cover and let simmer about a half hour over medium to low, stirring occasionally. It will seem soupy, but once the quinoa cooks and fluffs up it will fill out.

Once quinoa is cooked through and dish has simmered nicely, stir in your beef you cooked earlier. For the love of Baby Jesus, don't stir in raw meat and say I told you too! Cooked is how we roll 'round here, mmmmmmkay?

Cook a few more minutes until all heated through and everybody is mingling nicely at the pool party.
Use a slotted spoon and transfer to plates. Spoon a little scoop of plain yogurt into the centre with a brief toss of shredded cheese if you like it risky!! haha. 

Enjoy! I am looking forward to giving you better quality pictures so you can see more details in the food and have much better lighting etc. I've been reading about better ways to showcase and some tricks of the trade. Hope you like it! :)

original recipe pingback to "damndeliscious.net"

Monday, 21 April 2014

Chicken Bacon Alfredo on Spaghetti Squash

   Happy Easter, everyone! How was your long weekend? Hope you all got some time off to spend gorging yourself on bunny ears and Cadbury eggs! :)

   We had a great weekend, did a lot of stuff around the house. Sounds boring but I actually like getting rid of things and organizing! We finally got our garage cleaned out, and I'm surprised that A&E wasn't in my driveway, attempting to film an episode of hoarders! It is seriously amazing how much stuff a family accumulates in a short period of time. Sure feels good to get rid of it and clean up.

  Now, let's address this "small" issue of Easter candy. Who still has a chocolate moustache and is hiding in the closet with their kids Easter basket? Don't look away, I see you! Ok, maybe I was looking in the mirror there...but still!! We went for brunch in the morning, then a great egg hunt that my friend Shanda and her family put on every year. I was doing so awesome, I wasn't even interested in anything. Then later in the day hit. I was tired and cranky. Grey wanted to pick from his basket after supper, and there they were. Those shiny, delicious little eggs were staring me right in the eye. I tried the 'ol "I'll just have one, then that's it..." then the "ok, 3 and I'm done...." ending with the solid "well, there goes a whole workout to god damn chocolate eggs!" Why??? Why even start? I try to stick to only having stuff like that when it's really worth it and I really like whatever it is. And I'm totally a dark chocolate gal or caramel. These were neither! I swear, there is something about those stupid, perfect little hard eggs in their stupid, pretty wrappers that makes me blind. Until I realize I've had too many and am now chocolate wasted. Sigh....thank god for bedtime and elastic yoga pants. Not in that order.

   After my chocolate-whore episode I felt the need to bust out of the gates with a great, new crowd pleaser tonight. Grey is off school all week so it gives me some more freedom during the day to experiment with recipes. This is a recipe for Alfredo sauce that won't shoot the button on your pants clear across the room. It's easy and honestly I was surprised how great it was. I doubled the batch, thinking I needed too but I actually think it was fine the way it was. I have a lot left over. I think I'll try freezing it to see what happens. I had a few spaghetti squash that had no plans for the evening, so I decided to make a "pasta" Alfredo with chicken and bacon. You could obviously use this over regular pasta instead. Let me know if you try anything different with it! I cooked the chicken breast in the morning so it was ready to go, and crisped the bacon. Once the squash was done I just through it all together and BAM! Yum.

Chicken Bacon Alfredo on Spag Squash
You Need:
2-4 boneless chicken breasts
1 large spaghetti squash
3-4 pieces of bacon, cooked crispy and crumbled (try to use locally sourced bacon if you can)

1 tbsp olive oil
2-4 cloves garlic, minced (depending on taste)
3 tbsp flour
1 cup cool chicken broth
1 cup whole milk (almond milk is fine, but make sure it's unsweetened)
3/4 cup fresh grated parm
1/2 tsp sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper
parsley for garnish (optional)

Heat oven to 375 and roast your spaghetti squash. (cut in half, remove seeds and roast cut side down on a baking tray with an inch of water, for about 45 min, until outer skin is fork tender.)
When done flip over and let them cool a while. 15-20 min at least.

If you haven't already, cook your chicken breasts in the oven and slice into thinner strips, or however you want to serve them.

When the squash and chicken are done, start the sauce. In a medium sauce pan, add the olive oil and heat over med about a minute- you don't want it boiling.
Add the garlic and cook about a minute while stirring often.

Sprinkle the flour over top and stir, stir, stir!!

You need to stir or whisk this constantly or it will be a clumpy mess. If you feel its seized up, add a splash more oil or a tsp of room temp butter and loosen it up. Slowly whisk in the broth. Then the milk. Whisk your heart out. No need to break a sweat, just keep it smooth looking! You should have no lumps.

Simmer on very low until you are ready to serve. Stirring occasionally.
Scrape your spaghetti squash out into strands and into a large bowl.
When you are ready to serve, add the parm cheese into your sauce and turn the heat up a bit, just until melted. You guessed it, keep stirring!
Plate your spaghetti squash, the chicken and the bacon on top. Spoon your sauce over top and add sea salt and cracked pepper if desired.

If your squash and chicken have cooled while you were making the sauce, add the squash to a large pan with some olive oil and just toss it to heat back up. You could also dump it all in there and mix it up, serving that way, if you have a deep enough pan.

There you go! A versatile sauce and totally delish! :)

original recipe pingback to "gimmesomeoven.com"

Friday, 18 April 2014

Creamy Chicken Soup

     Ok Mother Nature, the Christmas Cactus on my counter is now blooming. You win. Seriously. Why the grossest weather today? It's so frustrating when a person wants to start the yard work and it's a blizzard outside! Sigh, maybe tomorrow?

   I actually did a lot of cooking today, because what the hell else to do in this weather?! Can you tell I'm just a tad bitter? I also made a chickpea chocolate chip cookie recipe. Turned out great and super easy. I love, love, love a one-bowl recipe! I'll post that one this weekend.

    Have you ever tried to do Spring cleaning- or any kind of cleaning, with little kids around? It's a real treat. They take things out faster than you can put them away. It's kind of like being in a tornado. A tiny, 2yr old tornado. Shane was outside cleaning the garage and trying to drain and refill the hot tub. I was on my own, trapped in the 2 yr old Polar Vortex and he was winning. I was going through clothes in his room and he took it upon himself to empty out about twelve thousand diapers and spread them out for me. Thoughtful, hey? Not to mention how necessary it is to dump alllllllllllll your nuts on the hardwood AND crush them into nonexistent powder with your plastic hammer. I had to put out an SOS to my mom. She said they could come over and I was in the car before we were done talking. You don't have to tell me twice!

    When it's cold and gross out, the first comfort-type food that comes to mind for me is soup. An awesome, hot bowl of soup. Soup loves you on the 38 millionth day of winter, soup doesn't ask questions! I love the smell of soup simmering on the stove, and it makes me look super domestic. Double win. On the original recipe it had a lot of steps, and I found it a bit hard to follow. Kind of jumping around a lot. Once I was done, I realized it was pretty simple and it just did the steps a bit awkwardly. (in my opinion) So I'll post it as I did it, the easy way. Or better known as the right way. Haha!! Make it tomorrow, or freeze. Doooooooo it!

Creamy Chicken Soup

You need:
4 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp butter

4 large carrots, peeled and diced
2 celery stalks, peeled and sliced thinly (I had none so I diced zucchini instead)
6-8 medium white mushrooms sliced very thin (optional)
1 medium onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
oil for sauteing OR butter

4 cups chicken broth or stock 

2 Tbsp chicken granules (OXO)
1 Tbsp cracked black pepper
1 Tbsp dried parsley
3 bay leaves
1.5 tbsp Herbes de Provence
1/4 tsp garlic salt
3 cups cooked rotisserie chicken, cubed 
1/4 cup white wine (your fav)
3.5 cups of milk OR cream OR 1/2 and 1/2 (I used whole milk)
shredded cheese for garnish (optional) 

First you need to make a roux. That's a flour mixture that will thicken the soup.
In a small sauce pan, melt your 2 tbsp oil and butter over medium heat. Don't bring it to a boil, just melt. Sprinkle the 4 tbsp flour, one at a time, over top and whisk constantly until all absorbed and combined. Take off heat and set aside. It should be a golden color.

In a large frying pan saute your minced garlic, carrots and celery until just tender over medium high heat,  adding the onion and mushroom in a little later as they doesn't take quite as long.

While that's cooking, get out your large stock pot and add in your chicken broth. Heat it up over medium. Add your spices (granules through garlic salt), chicken and the wine.
Once veggies are done, add into your broth.
 Add the roux, giving it a quick whisk before to make sure it's mixed.

Stir in your milk. Increase heat to medium high, and bring just to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low for at least a half hour. Because this is a milk based soup, you need to pay it some consistent lovin'. It can burn easily, so keep heat low and stir often.

Before serving, scoop out your bay leaves and discard.

This soup is very versatile and you can obviously add whatever veggies you like. If you want the soup a little thicker, make a cornstarch or arrowroot mix at the end and stir it in to thicken. I liked it the way it was.
The recipe says it freezes well and lasts a few days in the fridge. It is very hearty and filling, and smells delish. A great comfort on a winter day in April. :)
Sprinkle with shredded cheese to serve, if you like. Enjoy!

original recipe pingback to "thecookierookie.com"

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

Hello, everybody! Short week comin' at ya!! Happy almost Easter to everyone! Now, if Mother Nature could get on board with the world, that'd be super!!

   This has been a really busy week at our house. My gram's birthday was Monday and my mom's is today! Plus it's Easter coming this weekend. My dear mother requested a down and dirty cake, with a butter cream icing. I know, she's a total dirty talker. But, if you can't have the treat you want on your birthday, when can you??? :)

  Last night I decided I was going to make the cake from scratch. She wanted chocolate, so I hit up good ol' Pinterest to stalk out some good recipes. When making a box cake mix, a gal can kind of turn a blind eye to the sugar and goodies that are added in, because you're not physically adding them yourself. Some of the recipes I saw used 2-4 cups of sugar! Mother of god. I'd have my family in a diabetic coma after one bite! So I settled on one that was easy to make and wasn't too hideous on the sugar. It called for 1.5 cups, so I used half a cup of organic cane sugar and half cup coconut sugar. Everyone loved it and said it was great. Either it was, or they're afraid of my rage if they say otherwise! Here's a quick pick to show you what I resisted today! (even though I wanted to close the shutters and bathe myself in the icing......)

Now, after those dirty-hot cake pics, go have yourself a cold shower and a smoke and let's talk about my supper, shall we?

   I originally tried this recipe last year, before my experience with some of these different ingredients is what it is now. I totally screwed up the gravy last time and it basically ruined the whole thing. Usually tapioca starch and arrowroot powder are pretty interchangeable. Not this time! I ended up with a slimy mess, that looked and smelled awesome. Not so much. This time I wasn't taking the chance and used....wait for it....package gravy mix. Stop judging me!! Ha ha. I can hear the eating police on their way....I didn't have the arrowroot, only tapioca and I wasn't trying that again. I can't stand messing up food!

   It turned out so good, and we had no leftovers. As I was making it, Grey asked if he could have meatballs instead. Done. I formed the rest of the mix into little meatballs and served the kids with those. One with the gravy, one without. Can't win 'em all!
   This can be made ahead in the morning and left in the fridge until you're ready to toss it in the oven. Orrrrrrrrr when you're done watching your pvr'd The Voice. Mmmmmmmm Usher and Adam....ahem..anyways, carry on.

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

You need:
Aprox. 1 lb ground beef (or half beef and half ground turkey, that's what I did)
1 egg
1/2 cup almond flour (could use breadcrumbs, possibly adjusting the amt. for liquid as needed)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp ground mustard, onion powder, garlic salt
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small package fresh white mushrooms
2 pkgs powdered gravy (or follow the original recipe link to make the gravy, or make your own fav)
butter for cooking mushrooms
***for the gravy you can also use beef broth and do more of an au jus, if you like-with the mushrooms in

Pre-heat oven to 350.
Line a large baking tray with foil, and place cooking racks on top. This allows any extra grease to drip off and the air to circulate underneath for even cooking.

Add your ground meat into a large mixing bowl, adding in the rest of the ingredients, excluding the mushrooms and gravy. (duh)
Don't over mix, or you'll end up with tough, dry patties. Just until combined and the liquid is absorbed.

Form into thin, flat patties. Aprox. 1/2 inch. Try to keep them all the same so they all cook evenly. 
Place onto your greased cooking racks.

Cook without flipping, for about 25 min or until no pink remains.
While that is cooking, slice your mushrooms up nice and thin. 
Add about a tsp or so of butter to a small pan and cook the 'shrooms over med-high heat until nicely browned. Add more butter if needed. If using the powdered gravy, mix according to package and keep warm. Once mushrooms are done, add to gravy and mix and set aside.

When Salisbury steaks are finished, plate and add the mushroom gravy to each one. I had some cauliflower to use up, so I made mashed cauli as a side. This weather kind of screams cozy food, and this qualifies for me! Plus, the gravy goes super-de-duper on the mashed cauli!

I hope you like it as much as we did! Enjoy! And share with your friends!

original recipe pingback to "thedomesticman.com"

Friday, 11 April 2014

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken AND Chocolate Chunk Brownie Cookies

   Hellllllllo Friday! To welcome this fabulous weekend, I have a double whammy for you! A dinner recipe as well as a dessert. You can thank me later.

   I was not feeling so great yesterday and was hanging around checking out new recipes. I came across the brownie-cookie recipe and it looked SO damn good, I seriously could not resist. Here's the killer part, the base is made of....wait for it.....black beans! Now, before you go off gagging, ( ahem..Heather Chabun) let me assure you that you can't taste them at all.You would literally never know they were there. Have I led you astray so far??? No. Trust mama on this one. They are soft, chewy, gooey and chocolate-licious. I made a double batch yesterday and they are all gone. The batter comes together so amazingly I think I'll try it in the future as an icing recipe. A friend form work had shared a post a few weeks ago about black-bean brownies, so they had been on my radar already. And this recipe is so easy it pretty much sold itself!

   I love dark chocolate. Like, super dark. 90% dark . I used the "Enjoy Life" brand chocolate chunks in these, but you can use whatever kind your little heart desires. I also like the crunch of the chips mixed inside the cookie. If you prefer them just op top, (or not at all, because you're crazy) just skip the step of stirring them through and sprinkle on top before they go in the oven instead. I'll be making these again for sure. I think they will be on my regular rotation!

 Let's start with the cookies then go to the sweet and sour chicken.....Turn your oven to 375..........

Chocolate Chunk Brownie-Cookie

You need:
1 can organic black beans
2 Tbsp whole milk
2 tbsp natural peanut butter (or any nut butter)
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp whole wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup honey OR 1/3 cup brown sugar  (less of either for if not as sweet is preferred)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
pinch cinnamon
pinch sea salt
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips plus a bit more for sprinkling

Drain your can of black beans into a colander and rinse WELL. Pat dry.
Combine beans, milk, nut butter and olive oil in the food processor and process until smooth and no pieces at all.

Add remaining ingredients except the chocolate chips. Process until you get a thick, mousse like mixture. Scraping down the sides with a spatula once or twice.

Pass the spatula to any little minions that are stalking you....carry on........

 Take the blade out of your processor bowl and stir in your chocolate chips. Drop by spoonful onto cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. One thing I didn't do is smooth the cookie out on the sheet. I kind of assumed they'd flatten out a bit while cooking but they stay as is. So form them a bit how you like before they go in because what you see is what you get! I pressed one little chip onto each cookie before baking.

 Cook at 375 for 8-10 minutes depending on your oven. Mine were perfect at 10. You want them still slightly soft but not falling apart. Cool, then transfer to a wire rack. The original recipe calls to store them covered in the fridge. Because of the beans, I'd assume. Mine didn't last long enough to find out! I know you will love these! Let me know what you think. Enjoy!

    Okay, now that you have dessert, you need a main course! This sweet and sour recipe is one of the very first Paleo/clean recipe I ever tried. It was a hit and has been a regular around here ever since. Whenever someone is just starting out or asks for a sure-fire winner, I always go with this one as my suggestion. I made this last night and Shane actually said he thought it was my best yet! I think the key is not crowding the pan and making sure to flip at least twice. You don't want the crispy outside to stick. OH! And lots of sauce. My people like lots, where as I don't. I make sure there is extra to pour on their's after.

   I served it with Chinese fried cauliflower rice, in trying to keep up with the Chinese food sort of theme! Yum and yum. Annnnnnnnnnnnd go!!!!!

Chinese Sweet and Sour Chicken

You need:
3-4 chicken breasts, trimmed into smaller chunks (little bigger than bite sized) seasoned with sea salt and pepper
1 cup arrowroot powder (cornstarch will work)
1-2 eggs

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup honey
2-4 tbsp soy sauce (depending on taste)
1 tsp garlic salt
oil for frying

Place eggs in a small bowl and whisk. In another small bowl add arrowroot.
Make an assembly line- chicken, arrowroot, egg.

Heat up your oil in a deep pan over medium-high heat.
Coat each piece of chicken in the arrowroot, then dip in egg.
Place the coated chicken into the hot pan and brown on each side. (a few minutes each side-not cooking through)  Do in batches if needed. It took me two batches for 3 larger chicken breasts.                             Get a nice crispy crust on each side.

Once chicken is browned, transfer to a greased casserole dish, using 2 if needed. No crowding!!
Pre-heat oven to 375 and make your sauce.

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Doubling if you like lots. Once combined, pour over your chicken. Make sure it's all coated.

Cook for 35-40 minutes, depending on the thickness of your chicken. Flip after 15-20 minutes, and maybe one more time to prevent sticking. Done when no pink remains in the middle.

Like I said, I made a cauli fried rice with it. Just rice a head of cauli in your processor (or with a grater if you have no plans until Easter). Add to a deep pan with a few pads of butter or coconut oil, over medium heat.
In a smaller side pan, saute some carrots and onions. Cook until tender, stir in some peas. Set aside. Crack 2 eggs into the same side pan and scramble into big pieces. Add to veggies. Once rice is tender and the texture you like, add in the egg/veggie mixture and heat through.
In a small bowl: whisk 1 tsp fish sauce, 5 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tsp sesame oil. Pour over rice mixture and stir to combine. Heat through and BOOM! Done.


Egg/veggie added:
 Sauce added:

And there, my friends....is dinner!  :))

You can obviously serve it with regular rice or whatever you like. Just thought I'd add the rice pic's because I have them to help a friend trying it this weekend.

Please feel free to comment on my posts! I love the feedback and I love to hear if people liked things or if you tried it a different way. Have a great weekend! :)

Original brownie-cookie recipe pingback to "elizasedibles.com"

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Crockpot Cashew Chicken

   Hello, everyone! How's the week going? Things are pretty normal over here. Getting ready to head into the final push of the school year, and into summer! Could that really be true? Cheesy as it is to say, the time truly does rip by.

   Do you ever find yourself in a bit of a slump with meal ideas? I am that way with the kids right now for morning time. It's actually Kort. He's cutting a molar, and has put himself on a bit of an eating strike. It's stressful when kids don't eat, and you find yourself scrambling to get something into them. Grey has taken on a love affair with fruit cut up into Greek yogurt. This morning Kort was stalking him, trying to get a bite and to steal it from him. Perfect. I thought I had finally found something that he will eat. Cut up the fruit. Get the yogurt. Mix it with vanilla. Toss him in his highchair and present him with my glorious breakfast.

I think he really loved it, don't you? Sigh. Maybe tomorrow. Kids are assholes! Write that down.

   If you remember a week or so ago I mentioned a month long squat challenge I was doing. It is pure torture. But I'm not quitting. Why? Because I have a runway butt, and not in a "Victoria Secret" kind of runway,either. More of a "long, flat area where planes land" kind of runway. It is maaaaaaaybe getting a bit easier, but the next morning I am met with the pain and burning all over again. My friend Angel is also doing this with me and she found this today. It basically sums us up.

Alas, on I go with a solid 22 days to go. Seriously, how has it only been 8 days?

   Okay, cooking time. My friend Amber sent me this recipe last week and I have been waiting on it until I had all the ingredients. I took over Costco yesterday and stocked up! Did you know that Costco now carries a 3-pack of organic ketchup for $7.99? Pretty sure I usually pay that for just one at Safeway. :(
I almost ruined this today by accidentally setting my crock pot on high. I came upstairs form my workout and there was steam shooting straight out of the little blowhole on the lid! I turned it down to low and left it only about an hour more. Then I finished it in a casserole dish in the oven because the sauce had started to burn in the crock pot. Came out great still and had rave reviews form 3/4 peeps. Refer to your above written note about children to determine who the man out was. :)
   This is a super easy dish that can easily be increased to serve plenty of people. And as always, make your house smell amazing. I served it with simple ricotta mashed cauliflower. Boom, done.

Crockpot Cashew Chicken

You need:
boneless, skinless chicken thighs- cut in half  (aprox. 2 lbs)
1/2 cup arrowroot powder (cornstarch will work)
1 tsp black pepper
6 tbsp coconut amino's or soy sauce
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp rice vinegar (white vinegar will work)
4 tbsp organic ketchup or tomato paste
1-2 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1-2 tsp ground ginger 
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup cashews
Coconut oil or olive oil for frying

Place the arrowroot and black pepper in a large ziploc and shake to combine.
Add your cut up chicken into the arrowroot bag in batches, making sure all of the chicken is coated. Shake off extra.
Heat up your choice of oil in a large pan, over medium heat. Add coated chicken and cook until browned on each side. About 5 minutes in total. Only flipping once.

Once chicken is all browned, add to the crock pot. Mix up your remaining ingredients, excluding the cashews. Whisk your sauce in a small mixing bowl until combined and pour over chicken in the crock pot.

Use a small spoon and make sure all chicken is covered in sauce. Cover, and cook on LOW, I repeat, LOW, for 3-4 hours, checking around the 3 hour mark. Once the chicken is done, stir in the cashews. There you have it! Like I said, I made a simple mashed cauli to go with it. Just steam your cauliflower until very tender. Drain and mash, just like you'd do with potatoes. I add about a tbsp of butter as I'm mashing, then stir in a spoonful or two of soft ricotta cheese. Add sea salt and pepper to taste. And you're done!

Few things I want to mention. I am working on buying a better camera for my blog pictures. We are researching and checking different ones out. I apologize if some of my pictures aren't so great, but I'm working on that! If anyone has any suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them! Secondly, I realize not everyone is Paleo or is familiar with some of the ingredients I may use. I will always try to provide any subs that I can for different choices. I get lots of texts and messages asking for help, and I love it! Don't hesitate to ask. Enjoy!

original recipe pingback to "preppypaleo.com"

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Lunchbox Banana Carob Chip Muffins

Thursday! It's Thursday!!! Annnnnnd it wasn't a giant blizzard today. I'd say that's a major win!

   I devoted my whole morning today to prep and catching up my freezer a bit. Because I did such a big shop on Tuesday, I had a lot of things I needed to deal with.Some of the things I prep are: wash and chop a week's worth of salad for lunches, roasted nuts, chopped raw veggies, baked snacks for Grey's school lunches, pre-cook sausages for a few day's worth of meat that just needs a re-heat on busy mornings...things like that. Anything to save me time and the risk of being tempted to start snacking on things.
   People often say things to me like "I wish I had all that time to cook" or "I don't have time to get things like that ready". Here's the thing. Neither do I. Neither does anyone. You just need to do it ahead of time. It's not like you're not cooking otherwise. You are making dinner anyways (most nights :)) so why not make it good? Healthy, clean food takes no more time than anything else. It just takes some organization and planning. It might take you some getting used to, and it doesn't ever need to be perfect. I think we all know just getting food on the table can be a real challenge some nights! I read an article once that said even if you change one thing a week, keep track. Then after a year you can look back and see all the positive changes you've made for you and your family! That's 52 positive changes! Sounds pretty great to me.

   I am 4 days in to a "squat challenge". Have you ever done something similar? There are all sorts of them out there....burpee ones, crunches, running...the list goes on. The morning after my first day I wasn't too bad. I was pretty impressed actually. I've got this in the bag, I thought to myself. Then I worked out that night, and here is where it fell apart. I don't know if it was the elliptical that kicked my quads into a fit of rage, or if they just drew the line after the second day of the challenge and went on strike. They were seriously seized up on fire. The front, the back, inner thigh...you name it, it was burning. I am basically at the point where I need to take a running leap at the toilet and just hope I land somewhere on it, because there is a zero percent chance of bending my legs to sit down on it properly. If you've done squats of any type before as part of a challenge or workout, you know what I'm talking about. I had to rest yesterday because I was so paralyzed! Started back again tonight, so I'm sure I'll be back to penguin waddling by morning. :)

   A ton of people ask me for lunchbox ideas for the kids. Grey is just in preschool so they only bring an afternoon snack this year. I make a lot of loaves, muffins and cookies. I usually use carob chips instead of chocolate chips, raw honey, applesauce or pure maple syrup as sweetener, and coconut sugar instead refined brown sugar. My husband and I don't eat much for grains, but we don't restrict them totally as we are lucky to have no intolerance's or allergies in our house. I do use wheat flour in my baking, but I more often use almond or coconut flour. This recipe today uses regular flour (as opposed to almond or whatever..) and I like doing these kinds too, because not everyone wants to try different flours, has allergies or has no access to the different products. So here's a simple, healthy muffin recipe that can also be used as a loaf. You can sub out the carob chips for whatever your little heart desires! Just don't blame mama when it doesn't turn out because you messed with my wisdom! :))

   Oh, one thing....I didn't take any step by step pics because it's pretty straight forward! But please note, this recipe is for a double batch. I got 4 trays of mini muffins and one smaller loaf out of it. If you do regular muffins or a full size loaf pan, please adjust the cooking times.

Banana Carob Chip Muffins:

You need:
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 eggs
3-4 mashed ripe bananas (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup raw honey
1/3 cup coconut sugar (could sub brown sugar 1:1)
2/3 cup plain Greek yogurt (could sub sour creme 1:1)
2 Tbsp whole milk
2 tsp Vanilla
3/4 to 1 cup (depending on preference) carob or chocolate chips

pre heat oven to 350
In one large bowl, add flour through baking soda. Mix and set aside.
In another bowl, mix eggs through to chocolate chips...ONE ingredient at a time. Got it? No wailing it all in the bowl at once! Mix one in at a time.
Add wet mix into your flour mix and stir to combine. Don't over mix or you'll end up with a tough batter. Once all the flour is incorporated, you're good.

Like I said, I did mini muffins. Grease well and fill no more than 2/3 full. They will rise. Once I filled 4 trays I poured the rest into a smaller loaf pan. Depending on the size and oven, the loaf will cook around 40 minutes to an hour. Mini muffins, check at 9 minutes then proceed from there. Toothpick inserted in the centre should come out clean when done.
These are light, moist and free of refined and processed garbage like a lot of store bought muffins tend to be. Enjoy!! And......freeze these buggers! Then you're one step ahead for next time!

original recipe pingback to: grandmotherskitchen.org

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Copy Cat KFC Chicken

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

   I have been a tad behind the last week. First I had a full camera roll and had to take the time to dump roughly 4 million photos onto the computer. Then when I did, I realized all my pics I wanted for the blog this week are now on the computer downstairs. No biggie, you'll just have to wait for the recipes I promised last time! And they are worth the wait!

   Secondly, I was out at a Ladies Night Gala, here in town. I am old and it nearly killed me. It was a great time and we all had a blast. But man, I can not do 'er up like the old days! 4 days later and I think I may still be hungover and am paralyzed from dancing for 6 straight hours. That counts as cardio, right?? I'll take it.

   Back into routine and cooking this week as always. It was 15% Tuesday at Safeway today, and I swear it takes years off my life. It takes almost as long to pay as it does for me to go through the whole store shopping. By the time I'm paying I'm borderline having a Tourette's attack and I want to scream obscenity at the lady. Like seriously, could you go any slower?? I swear they do it on purpose to torture people for daring to come in on the sale day! BUT!! I shop like it's my job and I saved over $100, so I will continue to go to the sale day. That's a lot of extra food for a family of 4 when you save $100. Considering my boys will eat that in meat in a week. Haha! :)

  In case you didn't know, it's also a discount day at Heritage Foods and at Mark's Market as well. Both offering the 15% discount. Have you ever been to Mark's Market? It's just downtown beside the Brooks Hotel, across form the Post Office. He offers some great products, especially gluten free things. My fav is all the local honey they offer. Tons of flavors and selection. They will also order things in for you if you're looking for a certain item. Check it out! Well worth it. Always a good feeling to support local business and good customer service.


   Ok  now, let's talk chicken here. Who doesn't love KFC? We used to have one here in town, but it burned down a few years ago and it doesn't seem they are rebuilding it. A good thing I'm sure....but once upon a hangover, a gal might like some fries and gravy....am I wrong?
Obviously KFC isn't the type of food I am endorsing here, but it is good once in a while isn't it? Not that anyone has parents would make you stop in Strathmore to bring them back a bucket of chicken and fries and gravy, or anything like that. Ahemmm...Rod and Nadine Hudson. Moving on...................

   This copy-cat recipe is so good, and super versatile. I've used all cuts of chicken for this, just make sure to adjust the cooking times. Kids love these. Husbands love these. And so will your ass, because it won't have the 30,000 calories of actual KFC jiggling on top of it. Make it!!! GO!!!!

Copy-cat KFC Chicken
**remember to leave yourself at least a half hour to soak the chicken in milk

You need:
2-4 chicken breasts, cut into tenders
milk of choice (I used whole 2%)

1 cup flour (of your choice, I used regular for this)
1 TBSP seasoning salt
1 TBSP paprika
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder

pre heat oven to 375
Once chicken is trimmed into tenders, place in a large bowl and cover with milk. Just enough to cover, you don't need a giant pool party happening. Cover and put in the fridge for a half hour to an hour.

Using a lg zip loc bag or bowl, combine all the spices and the flour. Shake or cover to make sure all chicken is coated evenly. While this is happening, take a large glass baking dish (use 2 if needed, you don't wan't them crowded in there) and place a few pads of butter around the pan. Place in the oven until butter is melted an pan is heated, a few minutes.

Remove from oven and add in your coated chicken, so none are really touching too closely. You just need room to flip and for the butter to circulate evenly.

Once they are in, add a few more dabs of butter amongst the chicken. The point is to not let the pan get dry or you'll lose your coating and get soggy on the bottoms.
Cook for about 15 minutes, then carefully flip them one at a time. Add more butter to any spots around the pan that look dry. We're not talking pounds of butter here, just tiny dabs. Cook another 15-20 minutes or until done. Because they are cut into smaller pieces, they shouldn't be much longer than that.
We had them with the cauliflower patties I have posted previously and some raw carrots. Let me tell you, these are almost better the next day. I always make so much so I can have leftovers for a few days! Makes a great salad. Enjoy! And enjoy continuing to avoid wearing elastic waistband pants because you didn't have the real KFC! :)

original recipe pingback to "thewondertwins.blogspot"