Well, I’m back. Obviously, I’ve taken time off, from blogging & from trying out new recipes. My health isn’t the greatest, although it had been improving, so I’ve been kind of distracted. I had a Crohn’s flare up & surgery on my deviated septum, plus my normal dose of not feeling good. But- I have been cooking some. And resting a lot. I definitely don’t feel great, but I think having something to focus on will help. So blogging, cooking and photography will be priorities, even if I have to force it.
Anyways, I thought my first recipe of 2013 should be comfort food. After the holidays, it’s hard to put a lot of effort into meal planning & preparation, so here’s my solution: a whole chicken roasted in a crockpot. At my local Albertson’s grocery store, a whole chicken is usually $1.09/lb. That means this main dish is fairly cheap, easy to prepare, AND super tasty. I recently served it to 4 adults for dinner, with enough leftovers for 2 lunches.
Crockpot Roasted Chicken
Slightly adapted from Budget Savvy Diva
- 1 whole roasting chicken
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp thyme
- 1 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- If your chicken comes with “extra” pieces in the abdominal cavity, make sure to remove them first
- Mix all the spices together in a bowl; rub spice mixture onto the chicken
- Cook chicken on high for 4-5 hours. Use a meat thermometer to test for doneness. The chicken will make its own juices & fall off the bone when done.
In my attempt to eat healthier, I found that I didn’t have a good supply of easy snacks. Raw fruits & veggies are great, but I have a hard time digesting them in larger quantities. And sometimes I just don’t want to cut up produce- I want something to eat now.
My wonderful physical therapy assistant gave me lots of good ideas, including roasting nuts at home. I was skeptical (but I looked super positive compared to Cody’s reaction), but they turned out really good. I can definitely taste the difference in flavor, but Cody claimed he couldn’t tell the difference between the roasted almonds & raw almonds… but when I made him eat one of each in a row, he admitted he could tasted the roasting (of course, that could have just been to shut me up).
from Down To Earth Nutrition
- Place any type of raw nut in a bowl; cover with water & add a splash of vinegar
- Let soak for 7 hours
- Roast at 150 for 12 hours
I’m still searching for the perfect sweet potato recipe. This recipe turned out pretty well, after I added butter… but leave the butter out if you’re eating Paleo. I couldn’t eat this every week, but on occasion it’s definitely worth keeping in the rotation.
Garlic Mashed Sweet Potatoes
Slightly adapted from Paleo Effect
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 sweet potatoes, skinned & diced into 1/2 inch cubes (skin them. the skins are gross)
- 2 tb olive oil
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/3 c milk
- 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 1 tb butter, softened
- Toss the sweet potatoes with garlic, olive oil, sea salt, & pepper.
- Spread on a baking sheet & bake at 400 for 25 minutes, or until potatoes are very soft. Shake once or twice to rotate.
- When the sweet potatoes are done, put them in a bowl with milk, lemon juice & butter. Mash all ingredients together until desired consistency is reached.
- Add additional salt & pepper to taste.
Today, we got a lot of peppers in our Basket… like over 30! Luckily for my sensitive stomach, they were mostly sweet peppers; but that meant I had no idea what to make with them.
I found a good looking recipe for shrimp linguini… but that involves pasta. So I upped the amount of sweet peppers (by a lot) & left out the pasta all together. And it tasted great! If you’re eating Paleo, this would probably be a good breakfast option too.
Shrimp & Sweet Pepper Saute
Adapted from All Recipes
- 1/8 to 1/4 c olive oil (adjust based on your tastes)
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1 lb cooked shrimp, de-veined & de-tailed (you know what I mean…)
- 15-20 small sweet peppers, sliced into 3/4 inch strips
- 1/2 onion, sliced
- salt & pepper to taste
- Rinse the shrimp in cool water.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, shrimp, sweet peppers, and onion. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
- Saute until onion & peppers are soft.
I start work at 7 am. That means I have to leave at 6:30. And I need all the sleep I can get. So… I came up with a brilliant plan that allows me to sleep in until 5:30!
Now, I make a smoothie for breakfast & drink it on my drive to work… no more time wasted cooking breakfast 🙂 I’ve also been reading Wheat Belly by William Davis- he claims that wheat actually stimulates your appetite & causes your blood sugar to rise quickly, then crash… that’s why you get hungry only a few hours after eating. I don’t know if I believe everything in the book, but it does make sense. And these smoothies keep me full until 10:30 or 11:00, instead of 9:00 or 9:30. So I’m happy with my new breakfast routine.
For more great smoothie recipes, check out Incredible Smoothies. Or, just follow my formula for deliciousness!
- 2 cups of spinach leaves (I usually just grab 2 big handfuls, I buy a 5 pound bag at Costco)
- 1/2 to 3/4 cup of liquid (I use water to avoid dairy, Cody uses milk or orange juice)
The fruit (choose 2):
- 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (or other berries)
- 1 banana
- 1 apple
- 1 orange
- 5-6 strawberries
The optionals (I add both of these):
- 1/8 cup ground flaxseed
- 1/8 cup (or 1/2 scoop) protein powder
Put your ingredients in a blender & make a smoothie! I put the spinach in first, then the fruit- it seems to blend better that way. I put everything, except spinach & water, in a plastic shaker thing the night before. In the morning, I just dump it in the blender, so it probably takes 3 minutes to make breakfast. I shake the water in the shaker first, to get the rest of the protein powder & flaxseed out, then dump it into the blender. I then put the smoothie into the same shaker & head out the door.
Paleo breakfasts… scare me. Really, WTF am I supposed to eat that doesn’t have any kind of grain in it, is dairy free, and is lean but full of protein? I was fine with a bowl of Chex, or a bowl of oatmeal (although oatmeal bothers my stomach now), or bacon & eggs. But… not allowed.
So I was SUPER excited to find this recipe. I totally let my enthusiasm overwhelm my skepticism- oat-less oatmeal? Really? Yes, really- it tastes like oatmeal! Just make sure you use a non-stick pan, or a ton of cooking spray, because it really coats the pan.
This makes 2 servings, and it’s actually pretty filling, especially if you use whole eggs.
From Carrots ‘n’ Cake & Paleo Plan
- 3/4 c liquid egg whites, or 3 egg whites, or 3 whole eggs
- 1/4 c unsweetened almond milk
- 1/4 c chopped walnuts
- 1/4 c chopped pecans
- 2 tb ground flaxseed
- 1 banana, mashed
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Whisk together egg whites & almond milk.
- Stir in walnuts, pecans, ground flax, banana, vanilla extract, and cinnamon; blend well.
- In a medium saucepan, warm the mixture on the stove, stirring frequently, until the “oatmeal” reaches the desired consistency (only a few minutes)
- Top with berries, nut butter, seeds, or whatever you’d like
- I only had whole walnuts, so I put them in a baggie & smashed them with a hammer to get them small enough.
Sunday: Super Bowl food- bread sticks, little Smokies in BBQ sauce, potato skins
Monday: Tomato-Basil Parmesan soup (yep, planning to make it again… hopefully I’ll stick to the menu plan this week)
Wednesday: Stuffed bell peppers & steamed broccoli
Thursday: Herbed roast beef & “best” broccoli
Friday: Paleo chicken almond salad with tomato dressing
Saturday: heading to the in-laws’ probably
Also, this week I’m going to attempt to make some kind of bell pepper hummus, to use as dip for all that celery we have…