Wow, what a morning it’s been. I’m already whooped and the day continues! I woke up tired from a poor night’s sleep, ate breakfast, studied a little and then dropped our cat, Mila, off at the vet just after 7 this morning for a procedure. After seeing her off and getting the lowdown from the vet tech, I drove straight to school for two (challenging) back-to-back finals. I felt really bad leaving Mila, especially because she was crying, scared and hungry (we couldn’t feed her after 8 p.m. last night), but it’s for her best interest. Jesse will pick her up later this evening. Poor little dear.
Now, I need to pack for my trip home to Michigan, nap (hopefully) and go to work. My flight is at 12:55 a.m. tonight, well technically tomorrow morning, so I’m going to try and sleep briefly again tonight, before going to the airport. Then, I’ll get a few hours of crummy sleep on the flight, have a 4-hour layover in Minneapolis (yuck) and then a 2-hour flight directly into my hometown of Alpena. It exhausts me just thinking about everything, but it’s only one day and I’ll make it through. Plus, I get to see my family, attend my wedding shower and not think about school since I’m officially on spring break. It’s all good stuff and the pros outweigh the cons.
Meanwhile, here’s a good, carb-y side dish for you all. Jesse and I ate it with chicken breasts and sauteed kale for dinner, which was a great combo. It’d be awesome with some eggs and bacon or sausage too. For an extra dash of yum, drizzle with coconut butter…mmm!
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded & cubed
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 2 medium bananas, thinly sliced (use just-ripened bananas that are yellow, but no or few brown spots)
- Cinnamon to taste
- Dash of cayenne
- Dash of sea salt
- 3 Tbsp unsweetened pineapple or orange juice
- Preheat oven to 375.
- Place squash cubes on a baking sheet and toss with the coconut oil, cinnamon, cayenne and sea salt. Add the bananas and pour pineapple or orange juice over everything. Toss again, gently, so as to not mash up the bananas. Sprinkle with more cinnamon, if desired.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes or until squash is tender.
As stated by Jesse, “this meal is like dessert.” I can’t help but agree with the accuracy of his description. After all, it’s creamy, coconutty and cinnamony, and the butternut squash adds a touch of sweetness. It’s a beautiful combination.
On another note, it’s officially my birthday week! I enjoy celebrating my birthday every year, whether I do something low-key or not. I just like birthdays. I don’t typically celebrate all week long, and honestly, don’t really have the time to do so right now, but will do something special on my actual birth day. It’s this Saturday, if you’re wondering, and I’ll be turning 28 years young. It’s going to be a hectic week school-wise, so I’m looking forward to getting there.
Anyway, happy Monday and I hope you all enjoy this recipe!
- 2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 – 1 cup full-fat coconut milk
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tbsp coconut butter
- 2-3 tsp cinnamon
- 1-3 tsp coconut flour, if needed for thickening
- Butternut squash, roasted and mashed, optional
- Melt coconut pan in a large pan over medium heat. Add chicken pieces and saute a few minutes. Mix in the cinnamon and season to taste with sea salt and pepper.
- Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk and the coconut butter; stir. Allow chicken to continue to cook over medium-low heat for 12-15 minutes. Thicken with coconut flour if needed and add up to 1/2 cup more coconut milk, if needed or desired.
- I recommend serving over mashed butternut squash. Alternatively, you can use a veggie of your choice.
Yields: ~5 servings
Wow, what an exhausting, but good week! I am whooped and so glad that it’s Friday. I admit, I haven’t done the greatest with my sleep this week and part of it is due to poor planning. Sure, I had an extra busy week, but most of this falls back on me. I gladly take the blame. Yesterday was especially brutal on the tiredness scale, and I even took a cat-nap before going to work in the evening. I opted to get better sleep last night, put my computer away and got to bed at my preferred time. I’ve got to get myself back on track because things are only going to get more hectic!
Anyway, pull out your slow cooker for this one! With some simple prep and steps, you can have this in your slow cooker in no time, but remember to plan ahead for the cooking time.
Slow cookers really are my saving grace. Plus, I can’t get enough shredded meat. It’s my favorite.
- 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (or thighs)
- 2 tsp coconut oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2-inch piece ginger, grated
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp allspice
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- 1 14.5 oz can no salt added diced tomatoes
- 1 cup chicken broth
- 3/4 cup unsweetened, unsulphered dried apricots, halved
- Melt the 1 tsp of the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat. Season the chicken with sea salt and pepper, and add to the pan. Brown on both sides for a couple minutes. Then, remove from heat and set aside.
- In the same pan, melt the remaining 1 tsp of coconut oil. Add more if needed. Add the onion and saute a few minutes, until it becomes translucent. Stir in the ginger, garlic, cinnamon and allspice. Cook and stir for 30 seconds, or until fragrant.
- Add the tomatoes and chicken broth. Cook a few minutes longer, until heated through. Pour mixture into slow cooker and add the dried halved apricots. Place chicken on top of the mixture and cover.
- Cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 3-4.
- When done, shred the chicken with two forks and mix together.
- Serve atop vegetable of choice (kale, squash, etc.). I used mashed butternut squash.
Yields: 4-5 servings
I absolutely love sage brown butter sauce, yet for some reason hadn’t made it in a really long time. Thankfully, it’s back in my memory now (and my taste buds remember too), and will probably make an appearance more often. If you’ve never had sage brown butter sauce, this is a great opportunity to try it, and let me tell you, you’re in for a real treat!
- 12 fresh sage leaves
- 3 Tbsp grass-fed butter
- Half a butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cubed
- 1 green apple, cored and chopped
- 2 cooked boneless skinless chicken breasts, chopped
- 2 cups torn kale leaves
- 1 Tbsp ghee
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Chopped walnuts for garnishing, optional
- Heat ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the butternut squash cubes and season to taste with sea salt and pepper. Sauté for about five minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the apple pieces and continue to cook for about five more minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat. Once melted, add the sage leaves and cook until the sage is crisp, about five minutes. Watch closely, so the butter doesn’t burn!
- Once done, remove the crisp sage leaves and set aside.
- Add the chicken breast pieces and kale to the squash and apple mixture. Add a bit more sea salt and black pepper to taste.
- Once the chicken is warm and the kale softened, remove from heat and pour the brown butter sauce over top. Crumble the crispy sage leaves into the sauté and mix well.
- Serve with chopped walnuts on top, if using.
Do you recall the heavenly aroma of Cinnabon that lingers throughout the shopping mall? I rarely go to the mall because it’s kinda dreadful and claustrophobic for me, but the smell of Cinnabon is not forgotten. Honestly, it smelled like Cinnabon in my house yesterday when I made these muffins. Luckily, I made and consumed something a million times better than one of those puppies sold in the mall. Yes, it is still a treat (a fall-inspired one in this case), but it’s better than the alternative and homemade too! To be honest, I’ve never actually had anything from Cinnabon in my life — well, maybe a cookie (a very long time ago), but never any cinnamon rolls.
The cinnamon roll topping brings these muffins to life. I’m sure they’d taste wonderful on their own, but cinnamon topping and pecans? Yes, please! Not to toot my own horn here, but these muffins are straight-up wonderful (okay, maybe I’m tooting my own horn a little). The addition of the butternut squash puree makes them incredibly moist. The raw batter tastes good too … tee hee hee. I love to clean off the spatula, just like I did when I was a kid.
Cinnamon roll topping:
- 2 Tbsp melted butter, ghee or coconut oil (I used coconut oil)
- 2 Tbsp raw honey
- 1 Tbsp cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Set aside.
- 1/2 cup butternut squash puree (fresh or canned — I used an organic canned variety from Whole Foods)
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 3 eggs
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup melted butter, ghee or coconut oil (I used grass-fed butter)
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup raw honey
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup raw pecans for topping, optional
- Combine all ingredients together — except pecans–in the food processor and process until a smooth, fluffy batter forms. Alternatively, you can mix all the dry ingredients together, whisk the wet ingredients together in a separate bowl, and then whisk the wet ingredients into the dry.
- Grease muffin cups or line with parchment paper liners. Fill each with approximately 1/4 cup of batter.
- Spoon cinnamon mixture over each muffin and top with pecans, if using.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffins comes out clean.
Yield: 9 muffins
Yay, it’s Friday and I made it through my first week of classes … phew! My head is swarming with new information and I feel a little bit on overload, but it’s all in a good way. It actually feels nice to be back in the classroom, especially because this time, I am learning about things that I’m genuinely interested in. What’s really great is that I can directly apply this stuff at Recreate, where I assist group classes and teach yoga.
Anyway, this fall-themed, cinnamon-spiced recipe was inspired by fellow blogger, Lemons ‘N Lyme’s orange apricot ginger chicken. She posted the recipe earlier in the week and I thought it sounded so good. Plus, I love any excuse to use my slow cooker. I modified the recipe to make it my own, and despite the way it looks, it turned out spicy (not hot spicy, but spiced rather) and delicious. If you like spiced/fall flavors, you’ll enjoy this dish.
- 1.5 lb boneless skinless chicken breast
- 1 small or mid-size butternut squash, peeled and cut into cubes
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1-inch piece ginger, grated or finely minced (you can use ground ginger too, probably 1/2 Tbsp)
- 1 Bramley apple, chopped (or other firm heirloom variety, such as Pippin)
- 1 orange, juiced
- 1/2 C unsulphured dried apricots, chopped
- 1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 – 1 tsp nutmeg
- 1 tsp paprika
- Black pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter/ghee
- Kale, chopped and steamed for serving
- Place the chicken into the crockpot and add the squash, onion, apple, ginger and apricots.
- Add in the all the remaining ingredients (orange juice, spices, etc.), except the kale, and mix well with a spoon to mix the spices around.
- Turn slow cooker to low and let cook for 4 – 6 hours or until chicken is done. *Note: mine cooked for about 7 hours because I let it cook overnight and it turned out fine. 5 or 6 is probably ideal though, so the squash doesn’t get too soft.
- Serve the chicken and stew mixture on top of the kale.