Monthly Archives: January 2015

Paleo Comfort Food

Ryan and I have been pretty anxious recently. I feel like we’ve finally found our groove in Houston, but in six months we’ll be moving to Atlanta. I need to find another job, and we need to find a home, which is not easy from four states away.

When I get anxious, I eat. And eat. And eat. This is where the paleo diet comes in handy. Once you can embrace the idea that eating fat doesn’t make you fat, then you are free to enjoy so many previously forbidden foods! And food with fat keeps you full, making you less likely to overeat.

Here are some of my favorite comforting recipes :)

PALEO COMFORT FOODS

First, I’m going to share a recipe I made earlier this week. It’s quick, simple, and incredibly filling.

Southern Cabbage

Ingredients:

  • 3 slices bacon, chopped
  • 1 red onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tony Chachere’s (or more, to taste)
  • 1 bag of shredded cabbage

Instructions:

  1. Cook bacon in a deep skillet until chopped pieces are crispy.
  2. Add red onion, red bell pepper, and butter to the pan. Cook until vegetables have softened a bit, about 5 minutes.
  3. Pour the bag of cabbage and Tony Chachere’s into the pan and stir everything together.
  4. Reduce heat to low, cover pan, and cook for 10-20 minutes, until vegetables have reached desired consistency.
  5. Serve hot and enjoy!

Southern Cabbage-001

Paleo Blueberry Muffins

I’ve made this recipe a few times (but not recently…I need to fix that!), and both Ryan and I are definitely fans. Click here for the recipe!

paleo blueberry muffins

 Cinnamon-Apple “Oatmeal”

You may be asking why on earth oatmeal is considered comfort food. Oatmeal (of the Paleo variety, of course) is delicious and comforting when made correctly. It’s perfect for our chilly mornings. Click here for the recipe, and enjoy :)

cinnamon apple oatmeal 1-001

Roasted Sweet Plantains

I love plantains, and if they’re listed as a side on any menu, there’s a 100% chance I will order them :) Since most restaurants are pretty scant with their serving size, I decided to make plantains (paired with yummy coconut pumpkin dip) for myself! Click here for a recipe :)

plantains-001

Baked Apples

Honestly, I don’t have the patience to preheat the oven and fully bake an apple. But microwaves do the trick and the apples taste just as good :) Click here for the recipe. Add some chocolate chips, coconut, peanut butter, or whatever else sounds good to you!

baked apples

Bacon Chili Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

This chili is smoky and the perfect comfort food. You’ll eat more than you’d like to admit :) Click here for the recipe.

bacon chili pic

Paleo Cookie Dough Bites

Who wouldn’t love to just eat cookie dough with a spoon? This recipe is yummy and kicks that cookie dough craving with minimal damage. Click here and enjoy!

paleo cookie dough bites

Question: What is your idea of comfort food? Would you try some paleo creations???

“Breaded” Chicken Stuffed with Spinach & Pesto

Whew! That is a lengthy title. I couldn’t come up with a better name for this delicious (but messy) recipe, so if you have a better name, please feel free to leave a comment :)

This recipe was destined to happen. I’ve made paleo chicken tenders before by using almond flour as “breading,” and they turned out quite well.  And I also have a deep love for pesto. Combining the two was inevitable.

My one concern going into this recipe was the mess factor. Would I be able to keep everything held together? Yes and no. Here’s the process:

breaded spinach pesto chicken 1

First you need to pound the chicken breasts. And to keep from having to clean your kitchen counters, walls, floors, or whatever else on which minuscule raw chicken droplets may splatter, put the chicken in a ziploc or under plastic wrap or wax paper. Pound until you’ve reached a desired thinness. This part of the recipe is really about preference for (1) how thin you want the chicken and (2) how much patience you have for pounding chicken. I don’t have all that much patience, so mine are on the thicker side.

breaded spinach pesto chicken 2-001

Next, you’ll need to make the spinach and pesto mixture. I used three cups of fresh spinach. Place the spinach in a food processor and pulse until it can’t be broken down any further. Then add pesto to the food processor.  (I love Alessi brand pesto, so I used two 3.5 oz jars.) Pulse until the spinach and pesto are mixed well.

breaded spinach pesto chicken 3-001

Be careful with the next step because you don’t want to contaminate any extra spinach pesto with raw chicken. Spoon out 1/2 cup of pesto to stuff the breasts with, and leave the rest in the food processor.

breaded spinach pesto chicken 4

From the half cup of pesto, spoon a desired amount onto each chicken breast. I used about 2 tablespoons on each chicken breast. Spread the pesto to cover one side of each piece of chicken.

breaded spinach pesto chicken 5-001

Then roll up each chicken breast and push a toothpick through the roll to ensure it stays together. This is where it starts to get messy. I had pesto everywhere, but that’s okay because messy food always tastes good.

breaded spinach pesto chicken 6

Now on to the “breading.” Beat one egg and set it aside in a bowl. Then combine the following ingredients in a separate bowl: 3/4 cup almond flour (I use this brand, which you can buy much cheaper at Costco), 1/2 teaspoon of Tony Chachere’s, 1/4 teaspoon onion powder, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder.

Then, the messiness continues…take each rolled chicken breast and carefully dip it into the egg. Make sure you get as much surface area as you can covered with egg. Then roll the chicken breast around in the “breading.” Place into a oven safe dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts.

breaded spinach pesto chicken 7

Bake chicken at 375 for about 40 minutes, or until the chicken has reached 165 degrees. (I would be extra cautious with the internal temperature because a rolled piece of chicken does not heat evenly!)

I used the remaining pesto sauce to top of the stuffed chicken. You’ll have to excuse the awful picture. We have no natural light and terrible kitchen lighting AND a messy recipe. But it’s delicious, so don’t let the picture scare you away!

breaded spinach pesto chicken 8-001

Question: What are some of your favorite sauces/additions for recipes? I love pesto. I put all the leftover sauce on my eggs and avocado in the morning :)

“Breaded” Chicken Stuffed with Spinach & Pesto

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 lb chicken breasts
  • 7 oz pesto sauce
  • 3 cups fresh spinach
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 almond flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Tony Chachere's
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • toothpicks

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375.
  2. Pound chicken to desired thickness. (You'll have to be able to roll it up.)
  3. Shred spinach in a food processor until it can no longer be broken down.
  4. Add pesto to the food processor and pulse until spinach and pesto are well mixed.
  5. Spoon out 1/2 cup of spinach pesto and leave the rest in the food processor.
  6. Spoon 2 tablespoons of spinach pesto onto each chicken breast and spread completely across one side of the chicken.
  7. Roll up the chicken breast and secure with toothpicks.
  8. Beat 1 egg and place in a bowl.
  9. In a separate bowl, combine almond flour, Tony's, onion powder, garlic powder, and chili powder.
  10. Carefully roll each chicken breast in egg, then in the almond flour mixture.
  11. Place chicken into an oven safe dish.
  12. Bake chicken for 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature has reached 165.
  13. Serve with a side of extra spinach pesto sauce and enjoy!
http://www.happy-eater.com/2015/01/breaded-chicken-stuffed-with-spinach-pesto/

Paleo Food Friday #14

It’s difficult to get posts done on a Friday! This past Friday, I woke up early to get in some cardio on the stationary bike before work.  After work, my co-workers and I went to Onion Creek to relax after another successful week. By the time I get home and eat dinner, there’s no time for a blog post (and almost no one is looking for blogs to read on a Friday night).

So here we are…on a Sunday…reading my weekly Paleo Food Friday post!

pff

Saturday

Saturday, we were camping in McKinney Falls State Park! For dinner Saturday night we had chicken fajitas, bratwursts, and some camping desserts :) I don’t have any pictures because I was too busy enjoying every last bite!

Sunday

balsamic chicken and sausage-001

We drove back Sunday morning, and it was time to get back to our regular Paleo menu. I made Balsamic Chicken and Sausage from Popular Paleo. I found it quite delicious, but it’s not Ryan’s favorite. The recipe includes chicken, spicy Italian sausage, onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, Italian seasoning, and garlic and onion powder. We ate it over cauliflower rice and had a side of garlic roasted broccoli.

Monday

bacon and red onion frittata-001

I mentioned this delicious breakfast in Monday’s post, and I’ll mention it again here! One of the most delicious and simple frittata’s I’ve made is a Bacon Red Onion Frittata. It’s easy: chop up one slice of bacon and cook in an omelet pan with 1/4 cup chopped red onion until bacon is crispy. Then add two beaten eggs and cover the pan with a lid. Allow to cook for 5-7 minutes. There’s magic in the red onion-bacon combo :)

Tuesday

salmon balls-001

Tuesday’s dinner was an experiment. Ryan likes salmon, but usually only in “pure” form. I found a recipe for salmon balls on Primally Inspired and decided to give it a try.  It’s a simple recipe: canned salmon, garlic powder, red onion, lemon juice and zest, egg, and fresh dill. I made my own dipping sauce from full fat plain Greek yogurt, fresh dill, onion powder, garlic powder, Tony Chachere’s, and smoked paprika. We both enjoyed them, and the leftovers showed up in three of my breakfasts later in the week :)

Wednesday

spinach pesto chicken-001

You’ll have to excuse my amateur photography, here. There is no good lighting in my apartment once the sun goes down, so capturing a decent picture is near impossible. This recipe was also quite messy-looking, so you’ll have to take my word for it when I say it was yummy.

Wednesday I made “Breaded” Spinach-Pesto Stuffed Chicken. I could eat pesto by the spoonful, so I absolutely loved this recipe! I will share the recipe in a post later this week.

Thursday

Another poor quality photo ahead…I can’t wait for the sun to start coming out more often.

spinach pesto chicken and eggs-001

There was only one small piece of pesto chicken leftover from Wednesday’s dinner, but there was plenty of leftover pesto! For breakfast Thursday morning, I cooked two eggs over easy, added 1/2 piece of chicken, and topped everything with extra spinach pesto. So many of my favorite things in one meal :)

 Friday

broccoli salad

Friday’s lunch was typical for the week. We had an enormous Costco-sized bag of broccoli that needed to be eaten, so three or four of my lunches this week involved broccoli. This lunch included mixed greens, broccoli, almonds, pecans, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Non-Paleo Food of the Week…because life’s too short

banana boat

Banana boats! These are one of my favorite camping desserts. You slice a banana in half, lengthwise, being careful not to cut all the way through. Then, you stuff the center with marshmallows and chocolate chips. If you’re camping, wrap it in foil and sit on your campfire coals for 10-15 minutes. If you want to make this at home (which is what I did with the leftover banana!), then you bake it for 10-12 minutes at 350. Then grab a spoon and enjoy :)

Question: What are some good eats you had this week? Any fun recipes planned for the up coming week?

Previous Paleo Food Friday posts: #13, #12, #11, #10, #9

How to Make You and Your Workout Click

This topic is one I’ve thought about a good bit. What makes someone inclined to workout on a regular basis? What makes others view exercise as a genuine form of torture? What makes some people motivated for a certain period of time, develop great habits, and then give it all up?

How to Make you and your workout click

In those moments of my life when I felt like I needed to lose weight, I assumed the process would be quite simple. Eat less, move more. I should have more chicken breasts and salads and less dessert. I should go for at least four runs a week. Simple right? It should only require will power.

If that were the case, we’d all be kale-filled, lanky runners. But we’re not. Simply willing yourself to do something–and assuming that not doing something means you have a lack of will power–is not the way to go about long term health and fitness. We all have will power…we get up before the sun rises, go to work, complete daily tasks, go to the grocery store, keep our cars filled with gas, do laundry, feed ourselves a few times a day, and pay bills. We have plenty of will power. It can’t be the sole factor keeping us from exercising.

Then what is the problem?

As children, we’re told “Go outside and play!” You try out a bunch of sports and have fun playing with friends and teammates. As adults, we say “I’m going to the gym” or “I’m going to work out.” Neither statement brings up that same feeling I got as a child playing in the park with my neighbor. My apartment complex has a great gym. It’s bright and colorful. It has new machines. It’s never crowded. And yet I have very little desire to go in there. I don’t like gyms, and I especially don’t like cardio gym machines. The whole “gym” thing feels like a chore. I’ll go to the gym for the fitness classes (my old gym in New Orleans had an awesome tabata-style bodyweight class), but most of the machines will remain untouched.

What type of movement makes you happy? Walking? Dancing? Jumping? Climbing? Running? Stretching? Treadmilling? The type of movement that makes you happy will be the one you’re more likely to repeat. Sure, we’ve always understood that concept, but we still look to that six-days-a-week, ellipticalling-stairclimbing-treadmilling gym-goer as the model from which we should base our own schedules. Maybe that person is happy. Good for him/her. That will never make me happy.

I enjoy being outside. I enjoy boot-camp style, bodyweight heavy classes. I want to go for long walks and slow jogs. I want to do hill sprints every once in a while.  I want to go to 5am bootcamp and do squats and push ups and planks and medicine ball slams and whatever else the trainer has in mind that day. I also like to do Zumba in the privacy of my own living room, before Ryan gets home. Those are activities I enjoy doing, so I repeat them.

If all you want to do is Zumba, go for it. If you’re by yourself, stray from the routine and throw in some high intensity moves just to mix things up a bit. If workout videos are your thing (like P90X or T25 or Beach Body or Jillian Michaels), then use them! If you’d rather just play tag with your significant other, awesome! Yoga in the park? Big cities are offering more and more group fitness programs like bootcamp, pilates, run clubs, and yoga. What do you want to do? That’s key. Then find a way to make them habits. Join a volleyball league, pay for a month trial of bootcamp, or find a friend to walk with you in the park. Or finally checkout a Crossfit or Iron Tribe gym nearby! And don’t do something just because it seems like it’s something you’re “supposed” to do.

Thanks for reading :) This post may not provide an exact answer, but hopefully it’s a good reminder to try to make ourselves happy.