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Lemon & Artichoke Crackling Chicken Alfredo

January 28, 2015
Lemon & Artichoke Crackling Chicken Alfredo_1

I’m really enjoying the kitchen experiments while doing this 21 day sugar detox. It’s fun trying out new recipes and seeing which is a keeper and which we won’t be trying again. Now the mess of said experiments, not so much. Too many dishes!

I thought I’d post a week by week recap of how things are going, but I decided to change the plan (I make my own rules, right?) and do a two-for-one next week and then a final post when this is over. I don’t want to bore you with too many “what I ate posts.” So far though, this little adventure has been interesting and an eye-opener, but I do wish it wasn’t three weeks long. I’m ready to make some changes for the long term and kind of want to skip right to it! But, I know I can’t just yet, so onward we go.

I’ve been scouring the program’s book, Pinterest, and the internet, finding lots of wonderful recipes to try. Most Paleo recipes fit this detox if you omit the allowed sugars and some fruits, so I’ve been really into those too. After this is over, I’ll have a decent collection of meals to keep around for a more balanced week.

The weekends are my favorite for more elaborate meals, so on Friday night,  dinner was inspired by the book’s Chicken with Artichokes and Olives. I had been dying to try out Nom Nom Paleo’s Cracklin’ Chicken and wanted a sauce for the spaghetti squash also on the menu, so that’s how this Lemon & Artichoke Crackling Chicken Alfredo came to be.

Lemon & Artichoke Crackling Chicken Alfredo

What you need

Cracklin’ Chicken:

(I halved the original recipe and tweaked it a tad. See link below.)

  • 4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1/2 tbsp. ground sea salt
  • 1 tsp. unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon coriander

Lemon & Artichoke Bake:

  • 2 cups canned artichoke hearts
  • 1 cup green olives (or a blend of green w/ kalamata)
  • 1/4 cup olive juice from olives
  • Small bunch of scallions
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp. ground sea salt
  • 1 tsp. red chili flakes (optional)
  • 2 tbsp. butter

“Alfredo sauce” 

  • 1 cup heavy coconut cream (I used Trader Joe’s)
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 4 tsp. almond flour (or the tapioca or arrowroot she suggests)
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder or more to taste
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. ground sea salt
  • Pepper to taste

Spaghetti Squash

Make it
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Slice spaghetti squash in half, lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place both halves face down on a baking sheet and cook for 35-45 minutes, or until you can easily pierce through the skin with a fork or knife.
  3. While the squash bakes, grease a casserole dish with unsalted butter or ghee. Add the artichokes, olives, and olive juice to the dish.
  4. Cut you lemon in half. Thinly slice one half and add the juice of the other to the veggies. Lay the slice on top, along with the scallions.
  5. Sprinkle seasonings over casserole and bake for 35 minutes, checking to make sure they are tender enough and adding time if necessary.
  6. Meanwhile, prepare chicken according to the recipe‘s directions, except include the modifications and spice mixture given above. Allow to cool slightly once finished.
  7. In a saucepan, over medium heat, combine the coconut cream, butter, almond flour, and seasonings, whisking the entire time until is thickens slightly and is heated through.
  8. Use forks to scoop and separate the flesh of the spaghetti squash into the saucepan with the “alfredo.” Mix to thoroughly combine with sauce.
  9. Slice the chicken and lay over “pasta” on a large serving plate or in a casserole dish. Surround with the baked vegetables. Enjoy!

Lemon & Artichoke Crackling Chicken Alfredo

 

This recipes was adapted from The 21-Day Sugar Detox: Bust Sugar & Carb Cravings Naturally’s Chicken with Artichoke’s and Olives, Nom Nom Paleo’s Cracklin’ Chicken, and Brittany Angell’s Fettucine Alredo.

 

Dinner, Lunch, Nosh

Paleo Holubtsi (Cabbage Roll) Soup

January 21, 2015
Paleo Holubtsi (Cabbage Roll) Soup

Big batches of soup are the best this time of year. Especially hearty soups. So, when I did my prepping for week one of the 21- Day Sugar Detox, I knew a stock pot of warm goodness was in order. I gave Adrian two choices, one because I am notoriously indecisive, and two because I like to make sure he has something he likes for work, so he doesn’t make a run for Taco Bell or McDonald’s. The response was a no-brainer for him and he chose cabbage roll soup. He is Ukranian and stuffed cabbage is quite a popular meal in his family, so I gave this recipe the Ukranian name for cabbage rolls, Holubsti. Holubsti traditionally has more rice than meat, but since rice isn’t an option right now, I subbed cauliflower to compensate for the texture and I kept a decent portion of meat for the protein. No one likes a hangry friend!

Paleo Holubtsi (Cabbage Roll) Soup
 What you need
  • 2 lbs. meatloaf mix
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 10 oz. bag shredded cabbage (~ 4 cups)
  • 2 cups riced cauliflower
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (or more to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper (or more to taste)
  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes in tomato puree (check for added sugars)
  • 4 cups organic chicken stock
Make it
  1. In a large stock pot, brown meatloaf mix with the onion and garlic.
  2. Drain excess grease and return to pot.
  3. Add seasoning, riced cauliflower, shredded cabbage, and crushed tomatoes. Stir and cook over medium high, for about 5 minutes.
  4. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat and let soup simmer for 30 minutes. Enjoy!

Paleo Holubtsi (Cabbage Roll) Soup

Have you tried recreating any family or cultural recipes to fit a new diet or preference? How did it go?
Dinner, Lunch, Nosh

Blood Orange Champagne Vinaigrette

January 14, 2015
Blood Orange Champagne Vinaigrette

Over the holidays, we had champagne for a few occasions at the house because who doesn’t love bubbly? Every time we have it though, we are always left with a quarter of a bottle here, or half a bottle there. Usually I toss it. Flat champagne is no fun. This time though, thanks to good old Pinterest, I had a plan! There couldn’t be an easier way to use it up with absolutely no effort! You can leave the champagne out, in a jar or any container really, leave it uncovered, or add some cheesecloth to keep out bugs in cases of warmer weather, and make champagne vinegar. Then forget about it for anywhere between a few weeks to a few months. See? Easy!

Once the vinegar is ready, you can use it a number of ways. I chose to try it out in a dressing using my favorite produce this time of year, blood oranges. They are so pretty. Sometimes I feel guilty eating them, but then I don’t because they’re tasty too. I snagged a bag of Moro blood oranges, with the most vibrant hues, at Trader Joe’s for $2.49. Sold! I’ve been eating them as snacks, much like my prior obsession with clementines, but really wanted to use that color to make this beautiful Blood Orange Champagne Vinaigrette. It makes eating healthy as part of my resolutions all the easier. Appealing food is just more enjoyable.

Blood Orange Champagne Vinaigrette

What you need
  • 3 Moro blood oranges
  • 2/3 cup champagne vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons whole grain Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Optional: If you’d like a little less tang, add a bit of honey. I left it out because I like tangy vinaigrettes.

Make it
  • In a bowl or jar, (I used a 5 cup glass measuring cup) combine all of the ingredients and whisk well. You can alternatively whisk everything together and slowly add the olive oil or even blend all the ingredient to emulsify it, but I like the separation and just shake the bottle up before adding it to salads. Keep refrigerated.

Blood Orange Champagne Vinaigrette

Dinner, DIY, Monday Musings, Recently

Monday Musings: Fancy (Without the Fuss) Gift Wrapping Ideas

December 22, 2014
Countdown to Christmas

Two and a half days until Christmas! Yippee! I’ve been keeping track with this nifty Christmas Countdown. The Christmas gifts have been bought, the decorating is done, the cookies have been baked. Ahh, feels nice to be in a good spot. The only things left to do are spot clean the house, prepare for our Christmas guests, and wrap, wrap, wrap! I’ve collected a bunch of fancy gift wrapping ideas to keep things interesting before ripping the presents apart!

  • First is a gift wrapping tutorial by Apartment Therapy to show off your awesome skills. This is one thing I have never quite gotten down, but I’ve always hoped my gift receivers would think my extra folded paper in the creases under tons of tape was charming. Gift bag anyone?
  • Speaking of bagging those presents, I thought Paper and Stitch’s super easy Ink Blot Gift Bags were the perfect flare to add along with the tissue paper and bows.
  • Looking to use up all those last inches of paper left from last year? A Beautiful Mess came up with wonderful ways to use scraps for creative gift wrapping!
  • DIY Acrylic Gift Tags from Design Sponge are a great way to personalize your presents with style.
  • Mashable has 25 ways to hand-personalize all your goodies! The first one uses washi tape… See, I told you it was amazing!
In other news
  • I tried this trick for falling asleep faster, and though I don’t know if I beat the minute mark, it definitely had me snoozing way sooner than usual!
  • Happy Winter Soltstice! The shorter and shorter days cut into my productivity, so I am welcoming the longer days to come! Here’s a bit of science behind our seasons.
On the menu

And just for fun, I spruced up one of Archer’s latest photos because we’re both nuts about Christmas!

Archer Santa

 

 

I hope you have the happiest of holidays! Do you have any neat wrapping ideas or embarrassing Christmas photos of your pets to share?
Dinner, DIY, Monday Musings, Recently

Monday Musings: DIY Gift Ideas

December 15, 2014
Monday Musings

10 days ’til Christmas! So exciting, but I still have lots to do. My face can be found under procrastinator in the dictionary, that’s how bad it is. I have my decorating done and have been watching lots of Christmas movies and baking lots of goodies, but just haven’t gotten on board with the shopping yet, and that’s kind of important now that we’re under the two-week mark! It’s been gray and chilly lately and we’ve had some back-to-back holiday parties, so when I have time to spare, the movies and baking just won over the crowds this time of year. I also need to come up with a dessert for Christmas Eve to bring to my mom’s and I need a menu for somewhat late plans to host overnight guests on Christmas day. Eek!

Even with only ten days to go, I want to stick with adding some personality to my gift choices by making a few myself, so I hit up my Pinterest (Let’s follow each other!) and looked through my recent favs. These are great ideas if you are looking to add some charm to your presents this year too.

DIY Gift Ideas:
  • I love this tutorial for DIY Marquee Letters. I want to make them for myself for a makeover project in 2015, but know that these would definitely be popular for many of the girls on my list!
  • This little Gift Wrapping Starter Kit is perfect for college goers or those on your list who just moved into their first place.
  • A Simple Light Up Shadow Box would be a lovely gift for almost anyone, since you can use a fond memory photo or a couple’s photo that you adore for your friend or family member.
  • Washi tape is so versatile and can be given as a stocking stuffer to make this, this, or these awesome wall accents!
In other news:
  • The last sequential date in at least twenty years landed two births at 10:11 on 12/13/14! There were also many, many weddings. How neat!
  • Lena Dunham’s gift to Taylor Swift was just too cute not to share. I need to find an affordable option like it on Etsy for my pet-loving friends!
On the menu:
  • I saw this Honey and Lemon Roasted Pork Loin yesterday and meant to make it, but my pork loin didn’t thaw early enough for me to marinate it as long as I wanted to… So, tonight it is!
 Are you already set for Christmas or do you have items on your list left to tackle yet? 
Dinner, Monday Musings, Recently

Monday Musings: Cyber Shopping

December 1, 2014
Monday Musings

It’s December 1st… How did that even happen? I know we still have a few weeks of Fall left, but I feel like it’s already time to say goodbye now. Big sigh, but, the continuing holidays are too fun to get down about the changing of seasons. Since I skipped out on Black Friday, I can’t help but get sucked into Cyber Monday shopping. There are lots of great deals out there today and it’s also nice to support small businesses while you’re at it.

Here are a few things I’ve been ogling
In other news
  • This moment of peace amongst Ferguson protests that I wish more people would see
  • Black Friday decline: Sales are noticeably down since last year
Entertainment
  • Last night, I caught most of Grumpy Cat’s Worst Christmas Ever on Lifetime. I couldn’t help but watch one of the internet’s favorite memes become a movie star. It was totally cheesy, but worthy of watching as a family. Aubrey Plaza as Grumpy Cat is pretty amusing and the cat openly pokes fun at Lifetime throughout the special.
  • I was surprised to read that the often bold and self-accepting Jennifer Lawrence was super nervous to sing “Hanging Tree” in Mockingjay Part 1. Of course, it turned out to be a hit!
On the menu

 

How’s your Monday going? Are you taking part in any Cyber shopping?