Homemade Crockpot Chicken Stock

Chicken stock in a crockpotChicken stock is a blessing to the food world. It makes rice and pasta taste amazing, is essential to risotto and soups, and when you’re sick, it’s so good for your recovering body. Especially if your chicken stock is homemade. Homemade bone broth is soothing, flavorful, and SO GOOD FOR YOU. If you haven’t before, I highly suggest you take a quick browse online and read about the benefits of bone broth! Thankfully, homemade chicken stock is so easy to make. This is important to me because all of the stock options (at least that I’ve seen) sold in grocery stores have celery, potato, carrot, AND/or corn-derived ingredients.

Fortunately, with a carcass from a Roasted Chicken Dinner, a few vegetables, and a crockpot, we can make something that is healthier and tastes infinitely better than any grocery store product. Continue reading

Super Mason Jar “Salads”

Super mason jar salads 1I’m always looking for creative, healthy lunches for the work week. I can’t quite get with the traditional sandwiches and wraps, and I could never find a way to make salads that lasted throughout the week, were easy to pack in the mornings, and that I looked forward to enjoying at lunch time!

However, all of this changed when I stumbled across this post on Pinterest. Inspired by the Vintage Mixer, I decided to emulate the popular to-go lunch trend of mason jar salads, but instead of cucumbers, chicken, and lettuce, use cooked, nutritional powerhouse veggies and quinoa! Then I’d have vegetarian lunches with high vitamin content that contained some of my favorite sides combined into a salad. I was so excited to begin. A half day of prep and cooking later (and quite a bit of nibbling along the way), I had six “salads” for a nourishing week of ready-to-go lunches! Continue reading

StrictlyDelicious Coq Au Vin

20140309-104755.jpgThe last few Fiesta Fridays I’ve attended I’ve been pretty selfish. My additions to the party have been dishes made just for one, which makes me not a very considerate attendee at all! Although I will most likely bring dishes for one to the party again in the future, my contribution today is made to share. So all of those who enjoy decadent chicken with thick cut bacon, fragrant herbs, and white wine, pull up a chair!

I knew I wanted to make a chicken with white wine sauce for the party, but was less than thrilled with all of the Coq Au Vin recipes I found online. I decided to combine what I liked from the recipes I found, add touches of my process making Beef Bourguignon, and figure out what else it needed as I went along. It’s a great way to cook, and the result was delicious! Continue reading

Skillet Duck Breast with Blood Orange, Red Wine Reduction

20140224-164325.jpgI don’t know about you, but I’m not quite done with romance. Specifically, romantic food. Maybe it’s the fact that Valentine’s Day was so recent, maybe I didn’t get to do everything I wanted to on Valentine’s Day, or maybe, just maybe it’s because I never need a reason to cook myself a romantic dinner! On Friday night on the way home from work, I knew I had to romance myself that evening. And what better way to romance oneself than with delicious food?!

I created this recipe a week ago (my first time making duck at home!), and was absolutely thrilled with the result. Decadence that took almost no effort. You know I love that! Continue reading

Seared Sea Scallops with Coconut, Browned Butter, Butternut Squash Purée

20140208-195335.jpgHappy belated Valentine’s Day!! ❤

Words cannot describe my excitement, when, after an entire life believing I was allergic to all seafood, I found that I can in fact legally eat scallops, clams, and tuna. A random trio to be sure… But legal seafood nonetheless! As excited as I was, it took me months to get up the courage to put my body to the test. Scallops were the first I tried. How strange and exciting and forbidden to have the seafood flavor in my mouth, but experience no allergic reaction! The first scallops I tried were seared with crispy edges on the outside and tender and buttery on the inside. I ate them out at restaurants three times, and I was absolutely hooked.

When I began to think of my addition to Angie’s Fiesta Friday blog party (yes, I know I’m a little late with this post) I knew that it was time to try my hand at making scallops at home. Not only were they healthy and delicious, but a very romantic meal 🙂 I knew my creation had to have scallops seared with crispy edges and paired with something smooth and slightly sweet. I started with the idea of butternut squash, and made this creation up as I went. Continue reading

Poached Eggs over Winter Vegetable Hash

20140127-111847.jpgSince learning I was allergic to corn, I have opted to purchase pasture raised eggs. The first time I tried them I was astonished at the dramatic difference in color, flavor, and health benefits. I still never get over it! Such a creamy white, and such a brightly colored, orange yolk! I will never, ever go back. 

I once read on a website where someone said that man cannot make a better sauce than the oozing yolk of a good soft-cooked egg. I could not agree more! Although I used to think making poached eggs at home was never worth the trouble, finding such excellent eggs changed my mind real quick. It also helps that I found what I think is the perfect way to poach eggs! No more straggly egg white frothing in the water. Here is a neat poached egg with a perfectly glorious soft yolk! Continue reading

Chicken Curry with Butternut Squash Curry Sauce and Lime Rice

20140121-162127.jpgI love curried food. Vegetables, meats, rice… I love all of it. Unfortunately, most curry sauces use tomatoes, potatoes, and/or carrots, which are all on my allergy list. This month, however, I vowed that I was going to make and enjoy chicken curry that was allergen-free. I created this recipe last week, and can I just say, I am beyond thrilled at the result! This chicken curry is easily on par with what I used to enjoy before discovering my allergies.

Now it is true that things taste better when you know the thought and work that went into making them, and I have been deprived for so long, I was just so happy to taste these flavors again. So I recognize that my opinion is probably biased! But you try it and let me know what you think!

Like most of my recipes, you don’t have to be allergic to certain foods to make this, and it’s not lacking any flavor just because they are made without “normal” ingredients. The chicken is juicy and tender and the sauce is creamy and uber flavorful! Lime rice is truly the perfect accompaniment; so much better than plain old normal rice! (I didn’t have any, but some fresh cilantro would be delicious to add to the rice! If you go this route, add it after cooking the rice.) And an additional plus, all of these ingredients are good for you! The butternut squash sauce is a great way to sneak in extra vegetables.

Please forgive me for the lack of photos below; I made this dish on the fly. And although it’s not beautiful, it sure tastes fantastic. I hope you enjoy this dish just as much as I do!

Chicken Curry with Butternut Squash Curry Sauce and Lime Rice

  • Servings: 4-5
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

For the chicken:
6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 tbs. olive oil
1 tbs. curry
2 tsp. coriander
salt and ground black pepper

For the sauce:
1 1/2 c. butternut squash, cubed (how to peel and cut butternut squash here)
1 c. water
4 leaves fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 tbs. curry
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. chili powder
salt and ground black pepper
1/2 c. plain greek yogurt

For the rice:
1 1/2 c. jasmine rice
3 c. water
1 lime, juice and zest

In a large pan, heat the olive oil until it’s shimmery. When the oil is hot, add the chicken thighs to the pan on at a time. Sprinkle the curry and coriander over the meat, and season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Don’t worry about the seasonings being too even or pretty because we’re going to chop these babies up later. Cook the chicken for about 15 minutes on each side.

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While the chicken is cooking, in a medium sized pot add all of the ingredients for the sauce, except the Greek yogurt. On low heat, cook the ingredients until the butternut squash is soft and can easily be pierced with a fork. Let it cool for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, add the ingredients to a blender or food processor and pulse a few times. I wanted my sauce to be smooth with a few chunks, but you can blend yours as much or as little as you want.

Once your chicken is done cooking, turn off the stove and remove the chicken from the pan. Cut the thighs into bite sized chunks and add the pieces to a large bowl. Spoon the butternut squash sauce over the chicken pieces and add the plain Greek yogurt. Stir gently until the chicken is thoroughly coated.

For the rice: In a medium sized pot, add the rice and water. Cook on medium high heat until it reaches a boil. Then turn down the heat to medium low and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the rice has absorbed all the water and is soft and fluffy. Remove from heat. Squeeze the lime juice into the rice and stir in the lime zest.

Serve the chicken over the rice and enjoy!

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Sunbutter Chocolate Bites | A legal sweet treat

20140120-143406.jpgLately, I have been on the quest for healthy alternatives to snacks, especially dessert. But it’s extremely hard to find desserts that taste good and are safe for my allergies! Fortunately, finding safe chocolate opened up the door for a lot of desserts, but making healthy options has eluded me for quite some time. Finally, I stumbled upon an awesome healthy food blog called Kellie’s Food to Glow! Among other healthy, delicious recipes, I found one for Chocolate Almond Butter Bites.

This little goodie is definitely a sweet treat, but uses healthy ingredients. The only sweetener is chopped dates, the dark chocolate provides antioxidants, and the protein-rich nut butter helps you feel satisfied with just one! And although I cannot have nut butter, sunflower seed butter worked perfectly in this recipe.

I just love taking the little mini muffin papers out of the refrigerator and unwrapping these delights. They’re the perfect size to satiate my sweet tooth, but not feel as though I’m overindulging! They do require a little work to get the chocolate right, but it is well worth the effort. I’ve also included quite a few pictures below to guide you through!

I hope you enjoy!

Sunbutter Chocolate Bites

  • Servings: 25
  • Difficulty: moderate
  • Print

1 c. SoyFree Sales semi-sweet chocolate chips
8 chopped dates
1/4 c. SunButter (or other nut or seed butter)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. sea salt

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips, stirring consistently. While the chocolate is melting, separate and arrange your mini muffins papers on a baking sheet. When the chocolate is melted and stirred smooth, drop about 1/2 teaspoon of melted chocolate into each cup.

20140120-143256.jpgUsing your spoon, spread the chocolate around the bottom of the paper and gently push it up the sides. Place in the refrigerator or freezer to harden, about 15 minutes.

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While your chocolate is cooling, add dates, sunflower seed butter, vanilla, and salt to a food processor. Process until all ingredients are blended and have formed a “dough.” When your chocolate is cool, remove the baking sheet from the fridge. Roll little balls of about 1 tsp. of dough and gently press into each chocolate cup.

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Reheat remaining chocolate over double boiler if necessary, and spoon a small amount over the sunflower seed butter filling. Use your spoon to push the chocolate to the edges of the paper.

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Set in the refrigerator or freezer again to harden for about 15 minutes. When they’re all done, they should look like this!

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Store in the fridge, and when you’re ready to eat, unwrap a candy and enjoy!

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What kinds of healthy treats do you like to indulge in?

Homemade Applesauce (no sugar added)

20140120-140146.jpgOn my trip to the farmer’s market this weekend, I saw a stand with baskets and baskets of gorgeous apples. As I work to eat healthier snacks, I knew that making my homemade applesauce again would give me an easy, healthy, packable snack option. And the best thing about farmer’s markets is that you can talk with the vendors about the practices behind their produce. I was thrilled to find that this seller’s apples are low spray, so much so that I didn’t react to the slice of apple she gave me to taste! Because I react to some spray or pesticide used on apples, I haven’t tasted a fresh apple in about 8 years! (I’ve never had a problem when they’re cooked.) It was truly a glorious moment! Anyway, I’m getting off track! I was able to collect quite a few of those pretty beauties and take them home for some delicious, nutritious applesauce.

It’s important to remember when you’re selecting apples for your applesauce- don’t just get the ones you like to snack on. When I could eat fresh apples, I loved the sweet-tartness of Pink Lady apples. However, when I make applesauce, I want it to be sweeter, and found Pink Lady applesauce wanted sugar. In order to make this as healthy and naturally delicious as possible, select naturally sweeter apples like Fuji or Gala. No added sweetener necessary!

You can peel your apples if you prefer an even, smooth applesauce, or leave the peel on for easier prep, added nutrients, and a little texture. Enjoy this applesauce with yogurt, granola, as a healthy substitute for butter in baking, or packed in small Tupperware bowls for breakfast or snacks throughout the week!

Homemade Applesauce

  • Servings: about 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

6 c. cubed apples (I used a mixture of Fuji and Honeycrisp)
1 1/2 c. water
1 tbl. lemon juice
1 tbl. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves

In a large pot, add your chopped apples, water, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. When the apples have come to a boil, place a lid on the pot and reduce heat to medium low. Cook the apples for 25-30 minutes.

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When the apples are soft, add the cinnamon and ground cloves. Stir to coat evenly and let the apples cool a bit before blending.

In two batches, add the apple mixture to your blender and blend until you have reached the desired consistency. Add water if desired to reach the thickness that you prefer.

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Serve and enjoy, or store for later deliciousness! Keep in mind, applesauce freezes really well!

How do you like to enjoy applesauce?

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Green’s Gluten-Free Dubbel Dark Ale

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I tried this gluten-free beer, not because it is made without wheat, but because it clearly states on its label that it is free of soy, dairy, nuts, seafood, etc. As a person struggling to avoid a number of commonly found foods, I appreciate a brewery (or any company) that not only puts out a product that I can consume, but also makes sure to clearly state on its label that it is allergen free! Even though this beer is made without gluten and I am a lover of all “normal” beers dark and rich, I found this beer delicious.

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I thoroughly enjoyed finding the roasty chocolate and caramel flavors that I love in dark beer without the bitterness and abrasiveness that can sometimes turn me off. But, because I am no expert in reviewing beer (or anything for that matter), for you to get a full picture of what this beer is like, I will direct you to the following wonderfully worded and highly accurate reviews.

So read the reviews, grab a bottle, and see how much you enjoy this, whether you are required to be GF or not! And let me know what you think!

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