“Fried” Chicken & Warm Spinach Salad

So this was a little more effort than I usually like to put into my lunch….but it really didn’t take that long and OMG it was yummy!

First up: “Fried” chicken!  I make a pretty tasty (if I do say so myself) oven-baked chicken that my boyfriend just loves!  It is the ultimate in comfort food and includes sour cream and a whole box of stove top stuffing.  We sometimes call it Ambien Chicken because inevitably about an hour after eating it, my boyfriend is passed out on the couch.  Since my paleo adventures began, I’ve refrained from this meal and even if I make it for the BF, I’ll bake some plain chicken for myself.  I’ve been trying to find a paleo alternative that we can both enjoy.  I didn’t find this recipe anywhere, just kinda made it up as I went along:

Ingredients:

  • chicken (today I used boneless skinless chicken thighs, but will probably use boneless skinless breasts or bone-in pieces in the future)
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • a dousing of heavy whipping cream
  • 1/2 bag of pork rinds – crushed
  • garlic powder
  • pepper
  • paprika
  • melted butter
Directions:
  1. beat the egg and add some heavy whipping cream together – you probably don’t have to use the HWC, but I thought it sounded good.
  2. dip the chicken in the egg/HWC mixture
  3. put the pork rinds in a gallon ziploc bag and crush.
  4. add garlic powder, pepper, and paprika to the crushed pork rinds.  I just eyeballed it, no real measurements.
  5. put the egg dipped chicken in the ziploc with the pork rinds and shake like crazy.
  6. put the chicken on an aluminum foil lined pan (I sprayed it with some olive oil spray).
  7. pour some melted butter over the chicken.
  8. I cooked the chicken on 400* for 30 minutes.  For bigger pieces of chicken you may need to cook for longer.
  9. enjoy the yummy crunchiness of oven “fried” chicken!
In addition to my “fried” chicken, I also had Everyday Paleo’s Warm Spinach & Sweet Potato Salad.  I made 1/2 of the recipe on her website and made/suggest a couple changes.

Salad Ingredients:

  • 3 cups peeled and diced sweet potatoes (I used one extra large yam and probably only used 1/3 for this recipe.)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 apple diced (I used 1/2 of a fuji…but I could give or take the apple in this recipe)
  • 8 strips of bacon, diced (I used 3 center cut pieces of bacon that were already cooked)
  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced (I used 1/2 of one but you could also use onion here, red or white)
  • 6 oz of fresh baby spinach (I used 1/2 a bag, approx. 3 oz)
  • Handful of sliced almonds for garnish (totally forgot the almonds, dangit!)
Dressing Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp spicy brown mustard
  • Fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp of dried basil (I did not love the basil and might try thyme or a combo of both next time)
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400.
  2. Toss the diced sweet potatoes with the coconut or olive oil and spread evenly on a baking sheet.
  3. Bake in your preheated oven for 20 minutes.  (I baked them for 25 – 30 min)
  4. While the sweet potatoes are baking, cook the diced bacon in a large skillet.
  5. Once the bacon is crispy, add the sliced leeks in with the bacon and saute for another 4-5 minutes.
  6. Put your spinach in a large salad bowl and add the bacon and leek mixture. Toss well, letting the warm bacon wilt the spinach.  (my spinach didn’t wilt that much, but I didn’t have very greasy bacon either since it was already cooked)
  7. Add the apples and sweet potatoes to the salad and toss together.
  8. In a separate bowl whisk together the salad dressing ingredients.  Pour over the salad, mix well and garnish with the sliced almonds.
  9. Enjoy!

I will be attempting carnitas tonight – wish me luck!  Recipe to follow…if it’s good 🙂

Farewell to the Brussel Sprout

The boyfriend is out of town so I’m a cheffing machine!  I spent most of the day looking up new recipes I want to try and have a few lined up that look really good!  I like to try new recipes when the BF is out of town so that I can taste-test it before him or if I mess up, I can run out real quick or find something around the house (sometimes that’s harder to do when there are 2 people, especially if we are starving).

So tonight I tried a new pork chop recipe with a side of brussel sprouts.

What was GREAT: the pork chops.  See recipe here from Everyday Paleo.  Super YUM and pretty quick to cook.  Definitely boyfriend-worthy.

What could be improved: the brussel sprouts.

Now granted, I don’t think I’ve had brussel sprouts since I was 5 and my mom made me sit at the dinner table until I had eaten one little sprout, which I pretended to choke down and then promptly spit out into a napkin.  I think a lot of people have had a similar experience with these little buggers.  But hey, I’m all growns up now and trying new things…which includes vegetables I’ve never tried (or haven’t tried since I was 5).  I’m not sure why I got it in my head that I should try brussel sprouts, but I did, so I did all my little recipe research and found a yummy looking recipe that involved balsamic vinegar, pine nuts and parmesan cheese.  The best part of this recipe was the pine nuts and parmesan.  I could’ve just eaten scoopfuls of just that and been happy.  In fact I did.  I pushed the brussel sprouts around on my plate like I was 5 years old again and just ate the good stuff.

The moral of the story – sometimes your tastes change…I’m now a fan of pork! And mustard…and scrambled eggs…and sweet potatoes…and many other things that I despised as a kid.  But sometimes your tastes don’t change.  There are so many options out there – don’t force yourself to eat foods you don’t like.  I didn’t like brussel sprouts then and I still don’t today.

How have your tastes changed?  Have you tried any new foods lately?

Cardi-uh-oh

I had a dr’s appointment this week.  Blood pressure is in check, thyroid is doing fine (as long as I continue with meds for both – boo), I got props for the way I’ve been eating, but there was one thing that I got my hand slapped for – cardio.  I know it and technically I’ve been increasing it.  2 walks around the lake last week.  I actually went to the gym *gasp* yesterday for the first time in MONTHS.  It’s been pouring down rain here this week and the lake just wasn’t an option.

So my question to her was how much (or really how little) cardio do I need to do?  Her answer: 1 hour per day of something that makes you sweat and gets you out of breath.  She suggested running.  Um no thanks.  I tried to explain that The Bar Method gets your heart rate up, but she said it did not count.  I’ve been looking around online trying to find an answer to what is the optimum amount of cardio to lose weight.  Cuz, oh yeah, according to her scale, I need to drop some more lbs.  Like 20.  ARGH!!

I love my Bar Method class, but I do not love running.  I’m not looking to run 7 hours/week.  Because I’m already spending 3-5 horus/week at the Bar Method, I’m trying to figure out what is the least amount of time I need to do to get this cardio business in.  The best answer I’ve found is from Mark’s Daily Apple – it essentially says to lift heavy things twice/week, sprint 1/week or 10 days, and do 3-5 hours/week of low level aerobic exercise like walking.  I think I can do this schedule.  I lift heavy things at The Bar Method.  I can add in sprints (just learned about Tabata sprints today).  Looks like I still need to get that cardio in – I’ll choose walking over spin class, thanks.  24 Hour Fitness, here I come.

What do you do for cardio?  Any suggestions for someone who feels like a hamster on a wheel at the gym?  I’m hoping this weather perks up and starts acting like summer around here so I get some lake-walking time in and explore some of our fantastic hiking trails.

t-minus 7 weeks

I haven’t written in a while and it’s because I haven’t really buckled down like I thought I would.  😦

I haven’t hit that cardio goal.  At all.  I’ve walked the lake by my house once since the beginning of May.  My mom was in town for a week so no gym time/lake time/Bar time was made.  I realize that I should’ve just made it a priority, but I didn’t.  It was gorgeous while she was here and it seemed like we were busy every day doing something.  The day after she left, the temperature dropped 40* and it hasn’t stopped raining.  (we’ve hit the month’s accumulation in just 2 days).  No lake for me.  And I just dread the gym.  I’m still keeping up the Bar though – I will make it 3 times this week and will probably go 4 times next week.

As for food, I had a couple days that I flubbed.   I had a little rice.  I had a baked potato.  I had some brownies.  (Not all on the same day.)  And I’m finding it really hard to get back on track again!

Each meal is a decision and this week I’ve made some great decisions.  I’ve also decided to have a chocolate bar.  I’d like to tell you it was a 98% dark chocolate bar, but it was not.  Milk chocolate all the way.  I just can’t do the dark chocolate.

Maybe it’s the addition of fruit to my diet that has made me crave sugar all the more.  More than the sugar, I feel like I’ve been consumed with eating “right” that I soon feel deprived and make “wrong” choices.  I really don’t want to care that much about what I’m eating.  Protein + veg.  How hard is that?  I get the whole gluten thing.  I get the no grains.  And I get that I feel deprived.  Just sayin.

I think I will go back to the Saturday Free Day – have a day of the week where I can eat whatever I want.  No deprivation.  And maybe knowing that I can have whatever I want will help me stay “good” during the week.

It is t-minus 7 weeks til my birthday and I CAN buckle down and be “good” and see results by then.

OMG…YUM!!

I just had to post this recipe – even though it’s not great for weight-loss, it is PERFECT for any chocolate cravings you may have.

You know those scrumptious chocolate lava cakes you find at restaurants, the ones with the melted middle?  This is the paleo version.  Found at my all-time favorite recipe blog Paleo Perfectly.  I love this chick.  I have yet to make something from her website that I don’t like.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (I wasn’t sure if the +1 T was for dusting?  I just put it in the bowl and dusted the muffin cups liberally…probably used a little more than 1T.)
  • 1/3 cup honey (she suggests agave or maple syrup or honey…I don’t always like agave, so went with honey this time, might try maple syrup next time.)
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 tsp coconut flour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Grease muffin cups heavily, and dust with cocoa powder.
  3. In large bowl, beat eggs until light and fluffy.
  4. Mix in cocoa powder, honey, coconut oil, vanilla, and coconut flour. Mix until smooth.
  5. Pour into muffin cups and fill until 3/4 of the way full.
  6. Bake for 8 minutes or until the top just sets. (I did 9 minutes and wished I had taken it out at 8…not bad, but not as gooey as I wanted).
  7. Enjoy!
I should’ve put my hand in the picture to give some perspective.  This is a salad plate.  These are small muffin size cakes.  The recipe made 8 total.  I would like to point out that I did not have all 3 cakes…but I did eat 2!  I put the rest in the freezer…not sure how they will hold up, but this recipe is so easy that if they don’t, another batch is only 10 minutes away!