I’m so excited! I now only have one more week of regular classes, then finals. Woo hoo! On the downside, three of my four finals are comprehensive exams. Not fun, but I’ll survive and am not focusing on the downside. Another fun thing? I’ve started receiving big packages in the mail. Specifically, wedding shower gifts. It’s super exciting! I’m having a wedding shower back in Michigan at the end of the month, but some people are sending their gifts directly to me, so I don’t have to have things shipped back or checked on the plane. It’s much appreciated, but obviously, I’ll do whatever I need to do.
On that note, I’m going to have to start making room, especially in the kitchen, for our new things. I love getting rid of stuff, especially when it’s being replaced with something nicer. All in all, this whole process is really exciting, and I’m so grateful that we’re doing a small, private ceremony and a celebratory party back home. With my family helping arrange the party in Michigan, and things in line out here, there really isn’t any stress. Jesse and I are very blessed.
Meanwhile, this is a chana masala-inspired dish. As a former vegetarian, I used to love chana masala when I’d go out for Indian. Since I avoid chickpeas (and other legumes), which are used in chana masala, I substituted chicken instead, which seemed to work well. I wanted a touch of creaminess to mellow out the spices in the dish, so I also added some coconut milk, which isn’t typically used in chana masala. I am a sucker for coconut milk in dishes and besides, I thought it made the dish taste better.
- 1 Tbsp grass-fed ghee
- 1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts or thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 yellow onion, chopped
- 1 14.5 oz can unsalted diced tomatoes
- 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 1 tsp chili powder
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- Dash of cayenne
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- Unsweetened coconut flakes for garnish, optional
- Melt the ghee in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and saute a couple minutes. Then, add the chicken pieces. Continue to cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the spices and sea salt, and stir. Then, add the tomatoes and coconut milk. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 10-12 minutes. Add a bit more coconut milk, if needed.
- Serve over steamed greens or cauliflower rice and garnish with unsweetened coconut flakes, if desired. Fresh cilantro would also serve as a lovely garnish.
Yields: 3 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 formerly made this soup when I was a vegetarian, which I adapted from a Vitamix recipe. Now that I eat meat, I decided to revamp it with some animal protein. I used to make it with chickpeas, but as you know, I don’t eat beans anymore. This soup tastes delicious all by itself too, but I like one-dish meals and didn’t want to opt for my protein on the side. Plus, I love me a hearty bowl of soup!
- 2 Tbsp grass-fed butter (coconut oil works too if you don’t do butter)
- 1 lb carrots, peeled and chopped
- 2 medium onions, sliced
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 navel orange, peeled and separated into slices
- 1/4 inch piece of orange peel
- 1 lb cooked & shredded boneless skinless chicken breast
- 4 cups chicken broth (bone broth is ideal if you have some made)
- Sea salt and pepper to taste
- Pinch of cayenne
- 1/4 – 1/2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 cups chopped kale
- In a large skillet or soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, onions and ginger. Saute for 5-7 minutes or until onions are translucent.
- Add two cups of broth to the mixture and let simmer until carrots are soft.
- Add the orange slices, orange peel and cooked vegetable mixture to the blender. Blend for 30-60 seconds. Add remaining broth and blend again.
- Pour soup back into the pot over low heat. Add the cayenne, coriander, shredded chicken and kale. Season with more sea salt and pepper if needed and desired.
- Once the kale has softened down after a few minutes, the soup is ready.
This is a recipe that I previously made as a vegetarian and really enjoyed. Surprisingly though, I think I only made it a total of one time. I feel like I have a lot of recipes like that, actually — I make something, am totally into it, and then forget about it somehow. Regardless, I’m glad I remembered it because it has fantastic flavors and a nice little kick. It’s no longer vegetarian because I added chicken to it to beef it up, but if you are a veggie and read my blog, just omit the chicken. Side note here, but this soup warms me up so much that I have to turn the heat off when I eat it (no exaggeration). It’s either that or shed layers, and I prefer to eat with my clothes on.
- 1 lb cooked chicken breasts, shredded
- 1 Tbsp grass-fed butter or other fat of choice
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups of chopped cauliflower florets
- 2 cups of chopped bok choy
- 2 cups homemade bone broth (or decent store-bought chicken broth)
- 2/3 cup unsweetened almond butter
- 1-1/2 cups full-fat coconut milk
- 1-1/2 Tbsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne (or more if you want it spicier)
- Cilantro for garnishing, optional
- Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and ginger and sauté a few minutes, until onion is translucent.
- Mix in the curry, allspice, sea salt, cumin, cauliflower and bok choy, and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
- In a separate small saucepan, mix the almond butter and 3/4 cup of broth together over medium heat. Once the mixture is smooth, add it to the vegetables and stir for a couple minutes.
- Add the shredded chicken, remaining broth, coconut milk and cayenne. Heat for about 5 minutes, or until heated through.
- Serve with cilantro garnished on top, if using.
The pumpkin saga continues. It’s just that time of year when there’s literally pumpkin everything (I even tried pumpkin burgers last night, compliments of Civilized Caveman — they were awesome!). Being the pumpkin lover that I am, I’m okay with that.
Sometimes I don’t know why I decide to do stuff at the last second. Like yesterday evening, about 30 minutes before I had to be at the gym to help coach class, I decided to whip together these cookies. I didn’t think they’d bake as long as they did, and literally walked out the door one or two minutes after taking them out of the oven. Yes, I ate one on my way out the door too because I can’t resist a warm cookie, fresh from the oven. My kind self even grabbed one for Jesse since he was at the gym (we coached together last night). He was pleasantly surprised when I handed him a warm cookie upon my arrival. What’s even better is that he enjoyed it, despite the fact that it didn’t contain chocolate (have I told you that he’s a dark chocoholic? Well, he is. Hardcore).
*Inspiration for this recipe came from What Runs Lori.
- 1 ripe banana, mashed
- 1/3 cup pure pumpkin puree
- 4 medjool dates, pitted and chopped
- 1/3 cup coconut flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp unsweetened almond butter
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Pinch of sea salt
- 1 – 2 Tbsp water, coconut or almond milk (start w/ 1 Tbsp & add more if batter needs it, omit if batter is moist enough)
- 1 tsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 tsp raw honey, optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a non-slip baking mat.
- Mix all ingredients together in a medium-sized bowl.
- Drop by spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. (Note: mine took 20 minutes).
- Remove pan from oven once done and let cookies sit on the baking sheet for a couple minutes. Then, carefully remove with a spatula and place on a cooling rack.
Yields: 12-16 cookies
Sometimes you want a treat, but don’t feel like taking the time to make something or don’t want a mess in the kitchen with a bunch of dishes to clean. Am I right? Luckily, this tasty, no-bake and fuss-free fall treat comes together in minutes and is quite satisfying. Additionally, all these ingredients are things I had on hand in my kitchen — no running to the store to pick up anything. Feel free to use any type of apple or pear that you like. I personally like the granny smith in this dish because it doesn’t add any additional sweetness, yet the tartness mellows out a bit. The Asian pear is nice because it has more of a crispness than other pears and is also a little less sweet. As for the crumb topping, it’s so good that I could probably eat spoonfuls of it all by itself. If you like, you can also add nutmeg, cloves or allspice to the mix. Cardamom would also be tasty, especially with the pear.
- 1 granny smith apple, cored and chopped
- 1 Asian pear, cored and chopped
- 2 Tbsp citrus juice (orange, lemon or lime)
- 1/2 tsp raw honey, optional
- 1/4 cup raw walnuts
- 2 medjool dates, pitted
- 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Dash of sea salt
- Toss the chopped apple and pear together in a large bowl with the citrus juice. Add in raw honey, if using. Scoop apples into a medium-sized bowl or dish and set aside.
- To your food processor, add the walnuts, coconut flakes, dates, spices and sea salt. Process until the mixture is crumbly and there are no large chunks. If desired, add more cinnamon and ginger.
- Scoop crumb mixture over top of apples and serve.
After making this recipe, it occurred to me why I never make granola … it’s way too addicting. It’s hard for me to stop picking and nibbling at it, but gosh it’s good. It’s especially good with the thick, rich, half-and-half 24-hour yogurt (made with pasture raised half-and-half) that I have in my fridge right now. Each of these things is a treat on its own, but combined is even better. It’d be delicious with full-fat coconut milk as well, or homemade nut milk.
- 4 cups sliced raw almonds
- 2 cups unsweetened coconut flakes (not the shreds, but the bigger pieces)
- 3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
- 1 Tbsp raw honey (You can use more if you like it sweeter. I prefer it less sweet.)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- Pinch of sea salt
- 3/4 cup dates, pitted & chopped (probably about 8-12 dates, depending on size)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Mix almonds and coconut flakes together on a large baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, mix together the melted coconut oil, honey, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and sea salt. Pour over almonds and coconut and mix well. Also, feel free to add more cinnamon or ginger if you want it spicier.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Then, mix the granola and bake for 15 – 20 minutes more or until mixture is golden brown. (Note: I let mine get a little extra toasty, so feel free to bake it a little longer if you like your granola toastier, like me).
- Let cool a bit and mix in chopped dates.
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.
While sifting through my copy of Mark Sisson’s, Primal Blueprint Quick & Easy Meals the other day, I stumbled across the pork fried cauliflower rice recipe. It looked and sounded great, but I’m not really into pork, so I decided to use grass-fed ground beef instead. I used Mark’s recipe as a base and then turned it into my own. I was fortunate to have some fresh, plump English peas that came in my weekly CSA box, which made a wonderful addition to the dish. The results? Well, let’s just say Jesse and I both made the clean plate club that evening, although we’re both pretty damn good at that anyway. See my variation of the recipe below.
- 2 Tbsp ghee
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
- 1/2 – 1 tsp sea salt
- Splash of vinegar to taste (apple cider, unseasoned rice – yes it’s allowed & safe, or white wine vinegar)
- 1 head cauliflower, grated in a food processor
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1 cup fresh English peas, removed from pod (or frozen)
- 4 scallions, roughly chopped
- Heat a wok or skillet over high heat and add ghee. Add onion and sauté until it starts to brown, about two minutes.
- Add the meat and half the sea salt. Sauté 2 – 3 minutes (or longer if raw meat needs more time) then add the garlic, ginger, carrots and cauliflower. Sauté 2 – 3 minutes.
- Add the eggs, remaining sea salt and vinegar. Stir constantly as the egg cooks, then add peas and chopped scallions. Cook a couple minutes more.