I like my chicken CRISPY!

chicken

The bane of my paleo existence is often textures of food. I always yearn for the BREADINESS of bread, the CRUNCH of crackers, and yes, the CRISPINESS of all things “fried”! It can be done, you can get there, but I believe there is an art to it, you have to WANT IT! And here is where I step in.
My daughter who eats mostly paleo is not a huge fan of almond flour, due to the texture. In bread items especially.
So she was sitting at the counter doing homework and rapping along with Kendrick Lamar (exhale, she is a teenager!) watching me halfheartedly throw dinner together. Nothing too startling, broccoli, check, sweet pototoes roasting in the oven, check, chicken on the counter, check….but I could see her eyes on me as I pulled the almond flour out of the pantry. RELAX, I said, you have had this before and loved it!
Here is what she saw:

Heat a large skillett (or 2) until very hot and then add in a few TBSP of coconut oil and 1 Tbsp Kerrygold butter.
Thin strips of chicken (cutlets, tenders, even small chunks are fine…) go into a large ziploc bag with one beaten egg. “squoosh” the chicken around in the egg to make sure they are coated. (Squoosh is a technical term in my brain).
In a small bowl mix together 1 1/2 cups almond meal, 2 Tbsp. tapioca flour, 1-2 tsp salt, fresh ground pepper, 1/4 tsp cayenne (for kick!), 1/4 tsp onion powder, 1/2 tsp garlic powder.
Dump the mixture into the ziploc bag with the eggy chicken and squoosh some more, coating completely.
Place the chicken into the skillett and let it go for a few minutes, until brown, maybe 3-4 minutes. Turn each piece over and brown another 2-3 minutes until done.
Take out of the pan and place on paper towels to drain any excess oil. Do batch two the same way if you have more chicken.
Tada! golden brown, cripy goodness.
And my daughter….sitting on the sofa eating the chicken with her hands….says OH MY GOSH MOMMA THESE ARE SO GOOD MAKE THEM AGAIN FOR ME AND MY FRIENDS!

Approved!

Trying it out?
Let me know what you think!

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A Little Green

dressedchopveggiesdressing

My sister-in-law posted her amazing avocado dressing recipe the other day and I tried to do something similar because, let’s face it, I love anything avocado! The cool green creaminess just sings in everything!

So at lunch yesterday I was just standing in front of the refrigerator, doors open of course, pondering what to throw together in a short time frame. My eyes kept going to the spinach, so spinach salad was in the works. I started with this Avocado dressing in the bowl and built the salad on top, gave it a toss and ate it with a baked sweet potato, just perfect!

Here is what happenned in the bowl:

Mashed about 1/4 of an avocado with some salt and some fresh garlic paste. (One bud of garlic, smashed, flatten and smear onto the cutting board with the side of your knife until it is almost invisible! scrape it up and pop it in the bowl! I added the juice of one lemon and a tablespoon of olive oil. I also put in about 1/2 tsp of Sunny Paris Seasoning from Penzeys (this stuff? you have GOT to have it in your pantry!).
Now wisk away…..until creamy and smooth.
I threw a big handful of spinach on top of the dressing along with some of my favorite chopped things like tomatoes, cukes, radishes, grapes and some chopped pecans.
I tossed it all until the dressing touched everything, and inhaled it!!!!!

This was super easy, and so flavorful!
Give it a try…and let me know what you think!

Weekly Writing Challenge: Leave Your Shoes at the Door

(This is off my usual topics….bear with me!)

 

Or otherwise known as, my name is Sweets.

I am a mystery to you.  I will not ever tell you where I began, who I was, who I wanted to be.  I was with others, I was alone.  I was hungry, I was scared.  All I knew was to keep moving.  Trust no one.  Listen.  React.  I remember times of green grass and warm evenings and quiet, but the quiet never lasted.  I listened as I slept.  And that made me very tired.  There was rain, alot of rain, and thunder.  Sometimes the dark sky would flash and make me run, make me shake.  There were others like me, and some of them were kind, for a moment.  But we were all hungry, all scared.  So we would fight, we had to be the strongest, the bravest.  And so we were alone. 

I do not know how long I was that way.  I walked and walked.  Days, weeks, hot, cold, in quiet pastures, behind the trees, over the curb and into the street where the monsters roared on giant wheels moving so fast.  I learned to run from those.  I learned that it was safer to keep moving, never rest. 

Then there were my young.  They came unexpectedly, I did not know what was happening, there was fighting, running and then hunger.   I grew large, so tired, so thirsty, and all I wanted to do was lay down and sleep.  And one day I hid and they came, my young.  But I did not know what to do for them.  Food and water was so hard to find, a treasure, and yet I wanted to give all to them.  I would hide them away and walk quickly on those very hot days, looking for anything to give me strength, and carry some back to them.  They would wimper and cry.  They were hungry and tired and I was scared for them, but scared for myself.  One day I walked so far too find the food I became confused, could not find my way.  It was hours and hours before I caught scent of where I had left them, but they were gone.  No trace of them.  I cried and I cried.  I lost my young.  I lost my way.  I laid down for a long time.  My mind was tired.  My body was broken.  I did not want to walk anymore. 

One afternoon in the hottest of sun I wandered into the shade of a tall pile of bricks.  There were people that looked at me, wondering what I was doing there, where did I come from.  They looked sad for me.  They looked scared of me.  Some tried to send me away, some just walked by.

I laid down on the cool sidewalk.  There was no water, no food.  I was so tired.  One of those monsters with wheels came close, slowly, and stopped.

That was when you looked at me, right into my eyes, and asked me things with your words, with kindness in your voice.  You walked away slowly, looking back at me, and you came back with a small bowl of water, offered it to me.  I walked to you, drank a bit, and came close. Eyes to eyes, brown to brown. And then a simple touch to my neck, my back.  I was so dirty, but I wanted you to touch me more, I felt kindness in that touch, comfort, ease.

You kept speaking to me, telling me I was a sweet girl and it is okay.

I knew you were safe.  In your smell, in your voice.

All I wanted was for you to take me with you, keep me close, make me yours.

You let me crawl into your monster with wheels, dirt, fleas, and all.  And I sat quietly, so still, looking out the window as you began to move, staring at the me I knew I was leaving behing, dreaming of the me I knew I was going to become.

You took me to safety, cleaned me, fed me, gave me a safe place, a warm cushion for my head, and calmness all around me.

You gave me a family, love, and need of nothing.

I am Sweets, I was a dog from the streets, alone with a past unknown, wandering and waiting for you, and now I am tender hearted, safe, content, thankful.  I know where I belong, and that I will do anything to keep you safe, I will give you all my love, and curl up inside your heart.

 

Image

This is Sweets.  True Story.

Back to life, back to reality….(you know the tune…)

back to life

Spoiled rotten by a wonderful couple that I had the pleasure of spending a few days with on a mountain in the snow with a great group of people from my work world – I haven’t laughed so much in ages! We all had a terrific time, playing in the snow, eating too much and drinking, well, enough! And although it was such a great experience, I was so happy to wake up in my own bed this morning on familiar ground, even ready to go back to work this morning! Oddly, the snowy cold of Canada followed me back home to Houston, TX where the temperature has settled into the low 30’s with some sleety icy rainy snowy bits making for a lovely wintry day! I was so happy to fix my own little cup of coffee this morning to sip along my morning routine, blow dryer reading time, hurry off to work with my breakfast packed! I had already downed two bottles of H2O and decided to make a breakfast roll up (really just an omellette) and here is how it panned out! (see pic above…) like this:

Heat a medium size skillett with a pat of Kerrygold butter (from Grassfed Cows y’know!)
when hot, gently pour in 2 beaten and salted eggs and let it sit….don’t mess with it!!!!it will cook slowly while you fix up the rest…
Slices of Red pepper
freshly grated cheddar cheese from grassfed cows

Once the egg looks solid, turn off the burner. Sprinkle with a cheese you like all over…and lay the pepper slices in a single line up the middle.
Gently roll up the egg (much like a tortilla) and you are done!

took it to go with some berries, hit the spot! Hello Healthy, I’m back, and I’m hungry!

In case they ever see this, thank you Laura and John, what a spectacular place, fantastic people, and the most lovely hosts ever!

Out of pocket

No picture today as I am away on a little adventure among the mountains and snow.  Re learning how to be a little more social than my usual hermit self, having a nice time getting to know some people from the work arena, and admitting it is okay!  I miss my daughter, and my husband, and the zoo, and wishing I could kick around the kitchen a little, trying to keep on track with food, water and the like.  There was wine last night,  not my usual thing, but still all is good.  Lots to come soon!

Lord love me a RADISH!

radish

Radishes. That is all that is on my mind here, nothing fancy, just these beautiful little roots that make me smile! They are not even my favorite veggie or anything as heroic as that, I just think they are so beautiful! So cheery! And around all year long in all shapes, sizes, colors, just sitting there being crunch for everyones enjoyment, or not!

I think back to when I was a little girl, must have been seven or eight years old. We had a garden in our back yard that my father worked on every weekend, something new all the time. Depending on the time of year, strawberries, cantaloupes (that crossed with our cucumbers, that magically multiplied by the minute!). Broccoli (that was always infested with worms)…I bet they think I don’t remember that! Squash! Buckets of yellow squash! And tomatoes. My dad could grow tomatoes! Green beans…and radishes. I remember my mother pulling a bunch of radishes, rinsing them off in the kitchen, slicing them in half and handing them to me, still warm from the sun, to dunk in a pile of salt and crunch away! That is what I think of when I see radishes.

That house is long gone now, eventually the garden was replaced by a pool, then occupied by a new family as we had all grown up and moved different directions. Now, my parents keep a place in the country, and have another garden, this one is organic, and beautiful. And full of radishes!

I gather a few in the summer when they are at their peak and bring them home…and eat them by the kitchen sink dunked in salt. The rest of the year I pick them up in the markets, and slip them onto my salads and plates as often as I can!

Go ahead, have a bite. That crunch will get you every time!

Love me tender

pork tender

Does not matter the weather or the day of the week, pork tenderloin is a favorite in our house, by those paleo and not, it just such a tried and true simple basic we probably eat it every week. Put on two of them and you have leftovers for a couple of meals, simplifying your week even more!

Nothing clever to say here this morning, except that anyone can do this. ANYONE! There is nothing tricky, nothing complicated. Have iron skillet, will make roasted pork tenderloin!

Here is how it works:

Have one or two organic pieces of pork tenderloin, I usually do two of them, as they will both fit nicely in the pan and give you plenty to pick off of for a day or so. 1-2 pounds each.

Rub each tender with some coconut oil (melted) or olive oil so that it spreads over the entire piece of meat. Usually 1-2 Tbsp should work.

With the tip of your knife, on one side of the meat, randomly poke in about 10 or so places about 1/2 inch deep. You will put thin slices of garlic and/or ginger in these slits….flavors up the meat nicely!
(That said, thinly slice 1-2 garlic cloves and a finger of fresh ginger…place a slice of either or both in each slit…push it down all the way.

Put your iron skillett on your stove burner on HIGH to preheat.
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees as well.

While everything is heating, liberally sprinkle on both sides of the meat:
course sea salt
fresh cracked pepper
ground ginger
thyme
a light sprinkle of cayenne pepper

Once the skillet is screaming hot, lay the tenders in the pan to sear it to a beautiful brown on each side….about 3 minutes per side should do it.

Now place the skillet in the hot oven for 25-30 minutes….and you are done when the temperature of the meat is 160 degrees or higher at the thickest part of the meat.

Let the meat sit for 5 minutes before slicing, and you are done!

We love to serve with stewed apples and asparagus…but it goes with just about any sides! It is lovely with eggs in the morning, cold for lunch, and thankfully not an expensive cut of meat!

Simple Thing

cereal and milk

Sometimes just the simple things can make you happy, noticing the sunlight through a window in the morning, hearing the birds chirp inbetween the traffic noise, a single wildflower growing in the grass. You just have to slow down a little to notice, but wow is that hard some days!

I miss cereal. (Great segway, huh?)
I do! I was a cereal eater…so easy, yummy, fast.
A while back I stumbled on Steve’s Paleo Goods (www.stevespaleogoods.com) while looking for delicious ready made snacks. I am a big believer in their products! Especially the Paleo Krunch Cereal! It is truly delicious….a granola of sorts….grain free! You can watch it disappear straight from the tub or pour a little bowl with some almond milk, sit back and enjoy it on the porch! (Or, in the usual case, pack it in whatever you can and haul it to work so you can eat it in peace at the desk between emails!)

There are some good granola type paleo recipes out there, but I always come back to this. No matter how Little Houst on the Prarie/make every single thing myself from scratch I would like to be, ready made just comes in handy from time to time, and when it is this good, and healthy? well. Not a difficult decision for this girl.

Have a great Friday everyone!

Morning Routines

coffee1

coffee2

coffee3

coffee4

Mornings are always a race. No matter how early I get up I can fill the time and need more! From the moment my feet hit the floor, it is a steady pace from bedside to shower to kitchen to animals to out the door…and all the little steps in between!

When I was a teenager and started actually giving a flip about what I looked like when I left the house, I started showering in the morning instead of at night so my hair would be all shiny and wonderful for school where everybody would notice! ? Anyway, I have almost always had long hair, same back then. I would get so bored blowing out my hair, and one day started reading what was probably a school assigned book while I was drying my hair. Gave me a good 20-30 minutes of reading time…and I really enjoyed it! Well, that stuck. I have been reading while I dry my hair ever since! Ultimate multitask! I don’t need a mirror, and I am just sitting there, right? So that is part of my morning routine and I love it. It gets my mind working (along with the coffee!). It inspires me creatively, and keeps my stress level low in the morning when there is so much to get done to get out the door. The dryer is a great white noise so I do not get distracted as I read….so this is my little secret indulgence….I read every morning while drying my hair and sipping coffee (Coffee is only allowed if I drink my two bottles of water and take my supplements first!)

So if you call me or text me during reading time, you are just going to have to wait. Even though it is early in the morning, I look forward to this part of my day every day. And my hair is still all shiny and wonderful when I’m done!

Want a recipe? Okay, here is what’s in the coffee cup:

Fill the mug halfway with Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee (sometimes I go half and half with original and Mocha, but today, let’s call it original.)
Fill the other half with Almond milk or Whole Grassmilk (from grassfed cows)
Pop in the microwave for 1 minute or so until hot
I usually give it a dash of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp cacao powder
If I sweeten, a little Maple Syrup or Agave nectar…Honey is good in it too

Give it a whirl with a mini frother and enjoy!

When all else fails, and sometimes it does!

Jake shake

Guess I am still on yesterday’s topic! Perfect example of how the day can get away from you and you run out of time and energy but you have to do something because you are really hungry and confident there is a bag of M&M’s somewhere in the house! Full day at work, straight to my daughter’s swim meet, pets at home waiting waiting waiting for me to come home and feed and walk them, I sit happily watching her swim, but can hear the ticking of the clock in the back of my mind. Chatting away with a friend in the stands who is grabbing a quick bite during the meet, I got to thinking, what in the world am I going to eat and when? by the time I got home it was after 8:00 and the dogs needed attention! Cat was tapping her paw on the staircase using her catskills to chastise me for such and unacceptably late dinner while watching my every move to make sure hers was first!

Pets happily fed and watered, it is 9:00. Should I just go to bed? NO! I’m actually hungry! But tired, but lazy, but hungry.

Smoothie time. Smoothie time!!!

How fast is a smoothie? So fast! And is light or heavy as you decide to make it.

Here is what happened:

Into the blender went
1 ripe banana
1 cup of almond milk
cinnamon to taste…maybe 1/2 tsp
a dash of vanilla
1 Tbsp raw organic local honey
ice cubes

2 minutes later…Banana smoothie! (in the Adventure Time glass of choice, becomes a “Jake Shake”!)

To beef up the smoothie, try this:
add any or all of the following:

1/4 of a ripe avocado
1-2 Tbsp Almond Butter…or Almond Flour…nice protein boost
1-2 Tbsp Cacao Powder….gives it a hint of chocolate with all kinds of health benefits!
or add other fruits too…strawberries are good here!

This worked….I felt good, not hungry any more, and could get a few things done before hitting the sack.