Skillet Italian Chicken

Here’s a yummy, fast dinner, if you have the ingredients on hand.

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Skillet Italian Chicken

Over medium heat, fry 7-8 chicken breast tenders in 1 Tb. butter, liberally seasoned with Italian Seasoning (herbs and garlic from Frontier herbs) and celtic sea salt (my favorite yummy salt). I cooked the tenders from frozen, and it took only about 10 minutes. I kept a lid on my skillet the entire time to preserve the juices and keep the tenders moist, then I chopped them into chunks with the cooking spatula and transferred them into a lidded casserole to keep warm.

Next, I added to the skillet/juices: 1/2 lb of cherry tomatoes, cut in half, and 1 lb. red and yellow peppers, cored, seeded, and chopped. I left the lid off the skillet and turned the heat up to nearly high, to get some blackening on the edges of the veggies, about 7 minutes. I then transferred them to the casserole.

Next, I added more butter to the skillet, more salt, and 1.5 lbs crimini mushrooms (most of a large box from Costco), washed and halved. (I know you’re supposed to “wipe” mushrooms with a dry cloth to preserve their full flavor. But really? They’re grown in manure! I wash them.) Again I left the lid off and sauteed them on med. high until they produced a nice jus.

The mushrooms are then added to the casserole, blended together, and sprinkled with 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (I love the raw one which Trader Joe’s sells in a convenient bag). Serve hot next to a salad of baby greens. Bon appetit!

Flourless Chocolate Cake

The only two claims this cake has to a health food are that it is gluten free, and it will make you happy. I’m convinced happiness is part of good health.

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I made this cake for a class I hosted at my home: Intro to Essential Oils. The cake got almost as many rave reviews as the class. 🙂

Ten days later, I was hosting another class, this time teaching. Of course I made the same fabulous dessert.

Here’s the recipe:

Preheat oven to 300 and oil a 10 inch spring form pan.

Heat in saucepan on stove until melted, then set aside:
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp sea salt
3/4 cup organic unbleached sugar

Melt over double boiler:
2 packages (5.5 oz each) dark chocolate, Belgian (from Trader Joe’s)
8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (Trader Joe’s

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Transfer melted chocolate into a mixer bowl. Use beaters on low speed to blend in:

1 cup unsalted organic butter, cut up and added in piece at a time. Blend in sugar/water mixture. Add one at a time:

6 eggs (I used 5 duck eggs)

Pour into pan. Bake at 300 for 45 minutes. The center will look wet. Allow to cool some before transferring to the refrigerator overnight.

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To serve, I just removed the sides of the pan and placed the bottom of the pan on a cake plate. I sprinkle with a lovely flaky finishing salt, and a side of whipped cream with 3 drops of pure peppermint essential oil. Enjoy!

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Black Cherry Chutney

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I’m not sure if cherries are native to India, but I used some to make this chutney for our home school India fest. It was fantastic.

Black Cherry Chutney
Simmer in small saucepan until soft:
1.5 cups frozen organic black cherries (Costco)
1/2 cup pear butter
1/2 small onion, minced
1/4 cup water
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 cup brown sugar or honey
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (heat to taste)

When soft, mash cherries with a potato masher until blended in sauce. Add:
1/2 cup organic raisins
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

Blend in until raisins have rehydrated. Pour into a jar a keep in the fridge. The natural pectins and chunks of fruit will give thick body without the addition of pectin or gelatin.

Enjoy as a condiment with curries.

Homemade Mayo [Basic Sauce]

I love mayonnaise, but I no longer use the store-bought kind because I haven’t found a tasty one with organic oils, no soy and no chicken eggs. So I make it instead. Here is a basic sauce I use for chicken salad, mayo, casseroles, or to top steamed broccoli.

Mock Mayonnaise
Melt over medium heat:
1 stick butter

Meanwhile combine in blender:
1 very large egg (duck) at room temperature (or 2 small chicken?)
2 tsp Dijon mustard (TJs)
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of one lime or half lemon (2tsp)
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp paprika powder, if desired

When butter is melted, and while the blender is running with the lid on and center piece removed, pour the butter oil in a small stream into the egg mixture until it emulsifies into a creamy sauce.

Yields enough to use with 3 cups chopped chicken, not counting the chopped apples, celery, or raisins.

Refrigerate for firm mayo.

For Curry Sauce (for broccoli, or in Chicken Divan casserole), add 1/2 tsp curry and omit paprika.

Awesome Almond Flour Muffin

I’m going out on a limb here and naming this the “Awesome Almond Flour Muffin” because it’s so yummy and versatile. This has become my go-to breakfast and mid morning snack for the kids and myself on Friday mornings as we rush off to Friday School (homeschool co-op).

Below is the recipe for Carrot Spice Muffins, but you can use the basic recipe for zucchini muffins, blueberry muffins, apple spice muffins, or banana muffins. And it’s a kissin’ cousin to my Chocolate Cupcakes. See below for variations.

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Carrot Spice Muffins

Heat oven to 350, and prepare 2 muffin tins (24 count) with greased paper liners (yes, greased).
Place in food processor with S blade:

5 large carrots, chunked

Process until mostly fine, then add:

3.5 cups almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill; almond meal from Trader Joe’s works too, but is just a little more crumbly)
2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. fine sea salt (Real Salt)
1TBS. cinnamon
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. cloves

Pulse to incorporate dry ingredients into carrots. Add:

1 tsp. vanilla
1 TBS. apple cider vinegar
4 large eggs
1 cup honey (can go down to 3/4 cup if you prefer)

Blend all ingredients until smooth. Don’t over-blend.

Ladle into greased muffin papers. Bake for about 25 minutes in 350 degree oven, or until beginning to brown, but firm in middle. Remove to wire racks. Allow to cool (ha, ha) before serving with butter. Yum!

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Variations:

Zucchini Spice Muffins
Replace carrots with 2 medium zucchini, processed with S blade until fine at outset of recipe. Omit ginger. Add 2 TBS coconut flour with dry ingredients to help absorb additional moisture from zucchini.

Apple Spice MuffinsOmit carrots and ginger. Add 2 TBS coconut flour with dry ingredients to help absorb additional moisture from apples. Add 2 cups chopped apple at the end, after blending all ingredients smooth. I like to fold it in with a spoon after removing bowl from food processor. Add an additional 3/4 cup raisins if desired.

Blueberry Muffins
Omit carrots, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and vanilla. Add 2 TBS coconut flour with dry ingredients to help absorb additional moisture from blueberries. Add 2 tsp almond flavoring. Add 2 cups blueberries (frozen is fine) at the end, after blending all ingredients smooth. I like to fold them in with a spoon after removing bowl from food processor.

Banana Muffins here.

Chocolate Cupcakes here.

Chocolate Coconut Ganach

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In celebration of our completed Whole30, we are using this as a chocolate syrup over Black Cherry Ice Cream in banana splits. Hurray for us!

Chocolate Coconut Ganach
Melt over low heat:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
3/4 cup cocoa powder (TJs)
1 tsp vanilla
Whisk until smooth. Use warm as a syrup, or pour into a pan or moulds and cool for Ganach dessert (serve plated with a dollop of Creme Fraiche).

Here the Ganach is served in our banana splits.

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Black Cherry Ice Cream

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Oh, this ice cream is so good!

Whir in food processor until almost puréed:
2 cups frozen organic black cherries (Costco)
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp almond flavoring

In a large glass mixing bowl, whisk together:
2 cups SCD yogurt or kefir (24 hour=lactose free)
1/2 cup honey
1 cup coconut cream (or heavy whipping cream if you aren’t concerned about lactose)
1/4 cup flaxseed oil

Add cherry mixture, whisk until combined and pour into an ice cream maker.

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The flaxseed oil may be omitted if you will be serving the ice cream immediately, but if you will be freezing it for later, the oil helps for scoop-ability; without it your ice cream will be hard as a rock!

Clean Eating Day 8 [SCD, GAPS, Whole30]

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Last night I stuck these two halves of pumpkin in my oven with a half cup water in each pan, and set the oven on time delay bake at 400. When I arrived in the kitchen this morning, I had squash ready to purée! I didn’t get a picture of this morning’s purée, but it looked exactly like applesauce. Which added to the disappointment when tasting it. It wasn’t bad…but it wasn’t nearly as good as the acorn squash. Not much flavor or sweetness without the cider.

Breakfast
Hot tea, scrambled eggs, turkey sausage patties, half a white pumpkin roasted then puréed with cinnamon, nutmeg, and pear cider
Lunch
French onion soup, apple slices, grassfed hot dog or chicken apple sausage, leftover chili with some pumpkin stirred in for adults
Snack
Almonds, fried pork skins (I’m not recommending this…see below)
Dinner
Plum-mustard bbqed chicken drumsticks (it was so yummy!), roasted carrots, steamed frozen green beans, kale salad with dressing and raisins, salted almonds

So last night while I was hallowing out my pumpkins and seasoning my turkey sausage, Mr. Wonderful dashed off to the store to pick up a bag of fried pork skins. This was after a major craving for chips of any kind, and a revelation that pork skins are made from approved ingredients (sort of). I tried to explain to him that one of the goals of Whole30 is to break habits and addictions, and he said he wasn’t one bit worried about that as he only wants to lose a few pounds and then go back to eating Kettle potato chips in our otherwise exemplary diet. No plans to break this habit. So, we tasted the pork skins…and…we both thought they were gross. The kids polished off the entire (small) bag during the afternoon. Whatever.

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Here’s dinner…it was finger-licking’ good! The carrots were so easy: used a whole bag of precut baby carrots and roasted them in their own pan alongside the drumsticks. Frozen green beans and bagged baby kale finished off this easy meal.

Plum-Mustard BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
10 prunes, simmered in 1/4 water for 2 minutes or until soft, with cooking water (TJs)
2 Tb Dijon Mustard (TJs)
1/2 cup pear cider (TJs)
Himalayan Pink Salt, in grinder (TJs)
8 chicken drumsticks (free range, from New Seasons market)
Purée softened prunes with their cooking water, add to Dijon and pear cider, mixing until nearly smooth. Baste over drumsticks in a glass roasting pan. Season with salt. Bake at 400 for 45 minutes, or until browning and meat easily pulls from bones.

Clean Eating Day 7 [SCD, GAPS, Whole30]

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Breakfast
Hot tea, egg scramble skillets (one with turkey breakfast sausage and one with leftover chopped Italian sausage link and kale…we liked the turkey sausage one better), grapefruit, banana
Lunch
Veggie soup, grassfed hot dog or chicken apple sausage, apples
Dinner
French onion soup with leftover shredded T-bone steak, leftover brusselsprouts, salad with green apple, avocado, soaked and dried walnuts, and dressing.

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I like to make French Onion Soup the day after having a roast or steaks…some leftover beef to mince and add for a heartier main course than just broth and onions. But, a soup with so few ingredients requires each part be the best. I used beef bone broth which I made from gelatin rich knuckle bones (they come no extra charge when we buy 1/4 cow), and simmered them for 2 days in the crockpot. I did this a few weeks ago, so all I had to do was remember to defrost a couple quarts this morning.

Below is the steak shredded and ready for the soup and the leftover brusselsprouts awaiting the oven. I have been successfully broiling brusselsprouts all autumn long, but when cooking them yesterday they did not get tender. I rebroiled them today thinking I hadn’t done them long enough, but barely better. These were in a bag from Costco…perhaps this is end of season and they aren’t fresh anymore.

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French Onion Soup
2 large sweet yellow onions
2 Tb ghee
2 qts beef stock
1/2 tsp thyme
Celtic sea salt to taste (about 2 Tb)
Fresh ground pepper (Flower Pepper-TJs)
1/4 allspice
2-3 cups shredded cooked beef
Melt ghee in large heavy enameled pot. Slice onions into 1/4 inch thick quarter moons, then break into single strands while coating in the heated ghee. Caramelize over medium heat, stirring every 5 minutes until a rich golden brown, about 30 minutes. Add beef stock and spices. Add half of salt and allow to simmer, then taste and adjust seasoning.

Of course, this is best with toasted bread and cheese melted on top, but we enjoyed it plain. It’s only 30 days!

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Clean Eating Day 6 [SCD, GAPS, Whole30]

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Breakfast
Hot tea, scrambled eggs, turkey sausage patties, acorn squash: baked inverted halves at 400 for 1 hour, scooped out and mashed with a sprinkle of nutmeg and cinnamon and salt, 2Tb ghee, 3Tb pear cider.

Lunch
Leftover chili over shredded cabbage with avocados

Dinner
T bone steaks marinated with coconut aminos and a spice rub, roasted Brussel sprouts with blueberry/balsamic glaze, sautéed crimini mushrooms (ghee)

I used the delay bake mode on my oven, leaving the acorn squash halves in the oven over night. Came down to the kitchen to find them baked and ready for mashing.

We broiled the dinner steaks in the oven: 7 minutes on the first side, 3 on the second, for a tender medium rare. There was some leftover, which I sliced and shredded finely and will add to French Onion Soup tomorrow. (Did I mention we are studying France?)

I find its very important with grassfed steak to trim the fat off to avoid gamey flavor in the steak, and to allow them to come to room temperature before grilling/broiling for tenderness.

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