Monday, February 13, 2012

Salsa Chicken & Coconut Tortillas

I'm so glad I have friends who told me about the Paleo Comfort Foods cookbook, every single recipe in it makes my mouth water. I've been eating tortilla-less Mexican food since the beginning of the year nd I'm so excited to be able to have tortillas again!!!

Batter after whisking ingredients

These tortillas made from coconut flower were the very first thing that caught my eye. It's a super easy recipe that would allow me to have tacos again!! What's not to love?? You can find this recipe on page 118 of the cookbook.

Here's what you'll need to make them:
1/4 cup of coconut flour
8 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup of water

Tortilla cooking
Here's what you do:

~Whish all ingredients together in a bowl, making sure there are no lumps (this took a little bit). If you want thinner tortillas, you can add 1-2 more teaspoons of water (I opted for extra water).

~Preheat a small skillet over medium heat. Place about 1 teaspoon of coconut oil in the pan. Allow it to melt and coat the pan.

~Pour about 3 tablespoons of batter into the pan, tipping the pan from side to side while you pour the batter (this is super important - didn't do it on the first one and it was a major fail!). Don't attempt to flip the tortilla until you are sure the first side is golden brown so the tortilla doesn't rip.

~Once golden brown, flip the tortilla over and brown on opposite side. Remove to plate and repeat the process (adding coconut oil as needed).

This recipe should produce about 8-10 tortillas (it made 8 tortillas for me).

Plate of finished yumminess!

To go with the tortillas I made shredded salsa chicken in the crockpot.
Here's how I made that:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
One large container of organic salsa (I got mine from Trader Joe's)
Toss the chicken and the salsa in the crockpot with just a little bit of water. Cook on low for about 8 hours. When finished the chicken should shred easily, I just pulled it apart with a fork.

Finished product

I had planned on making chicken tacos, but the tortillas didn't cooperate, so I just put some chicken on top of the tortillas and ate it that way. It worked just fine and tasted awesome, but I think next time I may add even bit more water to make the tortillas a little thinner.

A few other notes - I think these tortillas would be awesome with some cumin, chili powder or ancho chili powder in them. Also, if you're not a fan of coconut, you may want to use a bit of olive oil in the pan instead of coconut oil, because these definitely have a coconut-y taste. On that note, if you're looking for something sweet, I think these tortillas would be amazing with some cinnamon, nutmeg and/or coconut sugar (of course using the coconut oil to cook them). I think they'd be nice with a little bit of coconut milk ice cream on top!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Paleo Chili and Crackers

I have found so many awesome recipes on Christina's blog! Here's one of my favorites:

1 lb bison, ground1 14oz can of tomatoes, diced 1 package of sliced mushrooms 1 onion, chopped 1 green bell pepper diced 2 tbsp tomato paste 1 container of mushrooms, chopped small 2 tbsp regular chili powder 1 tsp chipotle chili powder 1 tsp ancho chili powder 1 tsp garlic powder 1.5 tsp salt (or to your liking) 1 tbsp cumin

Cook bison until no longer pink – add in mushroom, onion, and bell pepper and saute until tender. add in 1 full can of diced tomatoes and enough water to cover all the meat/veg. Add tomato paste and all spices and simmer for 2 hours on low heat.

I've made this a few times now and I love it. Here are the few things that I change. I always use ground turkey breast instead of bison, I generally skip the green pepper, double the amount of garlic powder, and I also add a bit of fresh garlic.

When I make the chili, I always make these awesome basil crackers!

  • 1 ¾ cups almond flour
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon basil olive oil
  • 1 egg
    1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and basil
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together olive oil and egg
    3. Stir wet ingredients into almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined
    4. Roll the dough into a ball and press between 2 sheets of parchment paper to ⅛ inch thickness
    5. Remove top piece of parchment paper
    6. Transfer the bottom piece with rolled out dough onto baking sheet
    7. Cut dough into 2-inch squares with a knife or pizza cutter (I've found a pizza cutter works best)
    8. Bake at 350° for 12-15 minutes, until lightly golden
    9. Let crackers cool on baking sheet for 30 minutes, then serve

The cracker recipe is from elana's pantry - another great resource for recipes. I follow her recipe exactly, except that I don't care for rosemary so I sub in basil and basil flavored olive oil for the rosemary and regular EVOO.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Coconut Chicken Tenders and Sweet Potato Bites

For me the key to sticking to a strict paleo lifestyle is to plan, plan, plan my meals. This generally means I cook for most of the week on Sunday. This maybe the easiest "recipe" ever...but it's certainly one of my favorites!

Coconut Chicken Tenders:
Package of chicken tenders (or chicken breasts)
2 eggs
1 cup of coconut flour

Preheat the oven to 350 and cover a baking sheet with parchment paper. Then all you need to do is beat the eggs in a small bowl and put the coconut flour in another small bowl. Dip the chicken in the egg bath and then coat it in the flour. Place the chicken on the baking sheet and bake for about 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.

Sweet Potato Bites

2 small sweet potatoes, chopped, skin on

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1/2 teaspoon ancho chili powder (could also use cinnamon or nutmeg)

Sea salt

Melt coconut oil over low heat, toss in ancho chili powder, and a bit of sea salt. Coat the sweet potatoes in the oil mixture and put them on a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Bake at 375 for about 25 minutes

This would be an awesome meal for a family with kiddos. Whip up some paleo ketchup or ranch as a dip and the kids likely won't even realize they're not eating traditional breaded chicken tenders or nuggets!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Almond Banana Muffins!

Ok, if the bacon wrapped sweet potatoes were the prom queen of my ladies night, the almond banana muffins were definitely first runner-up, ready to take the crown at a moments notice!

What you'll need:

1 cup almond butter
1 cup almond flour
4 medium ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (maybe even a little more if you like cinnamon)
1 tablespoon of vanilla
1/2 cup plus more for topping muffins Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips (Dairy-Free, Soy Free, Gluten-Free) – I find mine at Whole Foods

Here's how you make them:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease pan or use liners (I used liners - much easier!)
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips and mix everything is incorporated. *Side note - I used my Kitchen Aid stand mixer. You can definitely make these with a hand mixer, but with the stand mixer I was able to put the bananas in whole without having to mash them, made it much easier!* Now stir chocolate chips into batter. Pour batter into prepared muffin tin filling all 12 cups evenly. Top muffins with a few additional chocolate chips. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let the muffins cool and remove from pan.

I baked mine for exactly 20 minutes and they cam out perfectly! Next time I make them I won't use the chocolate chips (not a huge chocolate fan). I know Ginesa made these last night using diced apples, raisins and nutmeg. I think I'll steal her idea and use apples in mine next time around! Also, these these freeze really well! I wrapped the left-over muffins individually and popped them in the freezer. Just sit one on the counter to thaw and they're as good as fresh-out of the oven!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Bacon Wrapped Sweet Potatoes

Hey everyone! For those of you who don't know, I've started crossfit classes at Crossfit Gambit in Soulard and along with the new workouts I've also begun a strict paleo diet.

If you're unfamiliar with what paleo means, here's a quick summary from Wikipedia: the "contemporary" Paleolithic diet consists mainly of meat, fish, vegetables, fruit, roots, and nuts, and excludes grains, legumes, dairy products, salt, refined sugar, and processed oils. Today is my 22nd day of eating at least 80% paleo, and my 15th day of eating 100% paleo with zero cheats. It's been a challenge, but I have to say, I've never felt better! I've always had tummy problems, especially when running long(ish) miles and that has been completely eliminated. My plan was to eat 100% paleo for 30 days and going back to 80% after. Now I'm thinking I'm going to stay as close to 100% as possible from now on (with an occasional cheat for booze lol).

I'm planning to share a bunch of paleo recipes that I've tried here, partly because some people have asked for them and partly so that I have a place to find them all in one spot!

Last night I had a group of ladies over - it was the first time I was putting my paleo cooking to the test for other people. I think everything went really well. I think the big hit of the night was the bacon-wrapped sweet potatoes!

Here's what you'll need:

2 medium-small sweet potatoes
1 lb uncured bacon
2 Tbsp butter
1/2 tsp ancho chili powder
1 Tbsp sea salt
4 Tbsp maple syrup — OPTIONAL

Preheat oven to 350F. Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them lengthwise into quarters. Then cut each quarter in half, and then half again. You’ll wind up with 32 bites.

Melt butter over low-heat and stir in chipotle chili powder and sea salt. Toss the potatoes in the spiced, melted butter to coat.

Cut the bacon slices in half, so you have 32 mini-slices of bacon. Wrap each sweet potato bite with a half slice of bacon, and use a toothpick to hold the bacon in place. The toothpick doesn't have to go very far into the sweet potato, just far enough to hold the bacon in place.

Place on a stainless steel baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, turning once about halfway through. I thought about baking these on parchment paper, but I'm really glad I didn't. I think the bacon grease would have made that a disaster.

These are done when the bacon is crispy and the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. You could also drizzle these with a bit of maple syrup when finished, but I choose not to.

These were the last thing I made because I thought they may get soggy when reheated. There were a few leftover, so I'll report back on how well they do when reheated.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Well...hello there!

I've been meaning to get back to blogging for a while now, but something happened tonight that set me off.

It all started by a seemingly innocent tweet.

Everyone that knows me knows I enjoy shopping. That's certainly no secret. It's also no secret that I'm not a fan of shopping alone. I'm awful about making decisions and prefer having someone else to give me their opinions of what I try on. As a result, when I'm alone and am thinking of buying something I often turn to Twitter. Tonight was no different. I have several holiday parties to attend and wanted a new dress. Could I wear something in my closet? Probably. But in the last year I've lost a significant amount of weight which means a lot of things in my closet no longer fit me and frankly, I simply wanted something new. No crime there.

What happened next really surprised me. I got a bunch of tweets from my "internet friends" telling me things they liked and disliked about the dress. Then all of the sudden, I saw this:

I was instantly taken back. I instantly replied "whoa - so not true! I have numerous Christmas parties to attend - mostly the same people at all of them." Then I looked at her timeline and what I saw really surprised me.

I'm not really sure what I've done to bring on this sort of exchange about me. For all anyone knows I was at a discount department store trying on a clearance dress or at a store shopping with a gift card that I had been given. I never mentioned where I was. I never ever would have mentioned the price of this dress. Also, not everything that gets tweeted ends up in my closet. That's the whole point of tweeting the pic, to weed out the uglies!

There are so many other things I have to say about what happened tonight, but I'll just end with this:

Before you judge someone, take a second to learn a little bit about them and spend some time walking in their shoes. You may just be surprised by what you find out.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Little Bit Stronger

This morning I woke up and set off to run 10-12 miles. It was a gorgeous morning and lots of other runners were on the street. I was cruising along listening to my music but my legs felt heavy and my body was tired. I called it a day after just under 9 miles. I got home and still had plenty of time for a kettlebell workout before I needed to get ready for church. I popped in my Jillian Michaels DVD and gave it all I had.

Much to my surprise, I still had tons of time to kill before getting ready. I started a pot of coffee and hopped in the shower. After my shower, I made breakfast and watched some
tv before deciding it was time to get moving. Before getting up, I changed the channel to U-Verse's new Today's Country station. The first song that came on was Sara Evans's A Little Bit Stronger. I tweeted part of the lyrics:

Doesn't happen overnight, but you turn around and a month's gone by,

And you realize you haven't cried.

I'm not giving you an hour or a second or another minute longer.

I'm busy getting stronger.

I didn't think anything about tweeting it. I love the song, love the lyrics, nothing more. It wasn't until I was about half-way finished doing my hair that it hit me. Today is May 8th. To most people May 8, 2011 meant that today is Mother's Day. To me, it meant so much more.

May 8, 2008 was the day that I ended my marriage. It was the day that I decided that I'd finally had enough. It was the day that would change my life forever. I didn't know it at the time, but I was close to hitting rock bottom, which meant that I was close to picking myself up and putting my life back together again.

As I sit here three years later, I amazed at just how different my life is. My relationship with my family is stronger now than it's ever been. My friendships with those that were around three years ago are also stronger. I've formed new friendships with so many wonderful people and I am ridiculously happy to have them my life. I've become a runner - a marathoner! I've traveled to so many parts of the country that I wouldn't have seen if it wasn't for running and I'm looking forward to exploring even more cities by foot in the years to come. I feel more alive today than I ever have.

None of these things would have been possible if it weren't for the events that lead up to May 8, 2008.

Things aren't perfect, and they never will be. May 8th still triggered tears, but not as many tears as it did last year or the year before. One of these days, May 8th will just be another day. Until then I'm going to do my best to spend everyday getting a little bit stronger.