Mexican Fajita Chicken Salad (Paleo!)

Greetings! How’s everyone doing today?

I had a really cool weekend – went to a tarot reading with Earth and Fire Tarot at the Prana House in West Chester. It was interesting – often times, I don’t really know how to think of card readings, even though I do them with myself often. I have dozens of oracle and tarot decks… I know the material is legitimate when I’m the only one pulling them, and all too often, coincidences that are really more than just coincidences happen. In this particular reading, they let me pull my cards – while one could argue that you can make anything work if you’re vague enough, the cards fit very well with one another and were a truthful, accurate and very specific representation of a situation in my life at the moment. At the end, they decided to pull a card for me, from a deck I own. I told them, this particular deck, I have a very strange connection to, and I very frequently get the same card. It’s the Wild Unknown Animal Spirit deck by Kim Krans. The detail within the artwork is absolutely beautiful, and Kim’s descriptions are insightful, comprehensive and honest. The card that frequently comes up is the Dragonfly – and I am grateful that it does. Both in real life and in this card, the dragonfly is this versatile and resilient creature that embraces transformation. It’s born with a finely tuned hunting skill, and requires little to no time in understanding that it can fly, almost immediately. I find that I get this card because I need to be reminded that being aware of your transformation as its happening makes it any less special. In fact, the dragonfly represents the power of self-awareness, knowledge, intuitive thinking and reflection.

As they were just as familiar with this card and its meaning as I was, I wasn’t surprised when they pulled it as expected and gasped and how that was possible. I don’t know, but when ya know, ya just know, ya know? We confirmed what I already knew and off I went.

This wasn’t meant to be a self-righteous post, or me toot-tooting my own horn about something anyone could just chalk up to a “coincidence”. My point is this – there is no such thing as coincidences. Once you take full ownership of your life and surroundings, you suddenly have this knowingness that you never paid attention to. You have a little more peace, and a little more perspective, and a little more confidence. Who couldn’t use a little more of that?

Now, let’s talk some food.

 

Mexican Fajita Chicken Salad (Paleo!)

Prep time: 25 min

Cook time: 25 min if using an Instant Pot, 45 min if baking 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 heaping tbsp small red onion, finely chopped (or more if preferred)
  • 1/2 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2/3 cup petite diced tomatoes
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped with seeds and stems removed (optional)
  • 1/2 cup paleo mayonnaise or Veganaise
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • preferred greens, such as romaine, arugula, spring mix

 

Directions

  1. If using an Instant Pot, place your chicken into the pot and pour chicken or vegetable broth over until pieces are just covered. Seal and cook according to instructions — about 25 minutes. If using an oven, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken into a baking dish and pour broth over, also until just covered. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
  1. Once cooked, allow to cool, remove from broth and shred with a fork. Reserve some of your broth to add to shredded chicken to prevent drying, cover and set aside.
  1. In a small mixing bowl, mix your mayonnaise and apple cider vinegar thoroughly. Add your taco seasoning, salt and pepper, and continue to stir. Set aside.
  1. In a larger mixing bowl, add your shredded chicken and all remaining ingredients except your lettuce. Mix until well combined.
  1. Next, add your mayonnaise mixture, continuing to thoroughly mix. Add salt or pepper to taste.
  • Serve over crackers, in a wrap, or over a salad.
  • Enjoy!
  • -S

    Mushroom and Sage Roasted Turkey Meatballs (PALEO!)

    In an interesting turn of events, the weather outside is GLORIOUS! high 50’s, low 60’s. The groundhog did not see his shadow, the snow has melted, and hopefully we don’t get much bad weather from here on out. It certainly feels like the twilight zone, especially with the full moon coming out tonight. After a super fast weekend, I’m ready for some good weather.

    I’ll keep this short and sweet — this weekend I had some time to make some glorious little meatballs, and because I couldn’t decide what I wanted, I decided to make two different kinds. Praise be, especially when your turkey meatballs don’t turn out dry. The first one I’ll share with you is below 🙂

    Mushroom and Sage Roasted Turkey Meatballs 

    Prep time: 20 min

    cook time: 30 min

     

    Ingredients

    • 1 lb ground turkey
    • 1/2 cup almond flour
    • 1 egg
    • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh sage, divided
    • 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, chopped
    • 1 small/medium sized yellow onion, chopped
    • 1 garlic clove, finely minced or pressed
    • 1 can of coconut milk, shaken
    • 1/2 tsp salt, plus more to taste
    • 1/2 tsp pepper
    • Pinch of other thickening gluten free alternative flour, such as potato or tapioca flour

    Directions

    1. In a skillet over medium heat, sauté your chopped onion until translucent, stirring frequently to avoid burning — about 4-5 min. Add your garlic, continuing to stir. Next, add your mushrooms and Add a pinch of salt and pepper to season. Sauté, uncovered, until onions start to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
    1. Next, in a large mixing bowl, add your turkey, half of your sautéed onion and mushrooms, egg, almond flour, 1 tbsp of sage, salt and pepper — mix  thoroughly. If the mixture looks too wet, add more almond flour, 1 tbsp at a time, while stirring. 
    1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. On a parchment lined or  greased baking sheet, roll your mixture into your preferred meatball size. I used a cookie scooper, making meatballs about 1.5in in diameter. Space evenly on the baking sheet.
    1. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. The internal temperature should be 155 degrees.
    1. Meanwhile, as the meatballs are baking, add your remaining sage to your skillet of mushroom and onion, over low heat. Add your coconut milk and stir. Allow to simmer for about 5-7 minutes, until the sauce has now thickened slightly. If it’s still runny, feel free to sprinkle in some of your thickening flour, and stir well to combine.
    1. Once meatballs are done cooking in the oven, carefully add them to your sauce pan, and gently stir to coat meatballs. Allow them to simmer for another 3-4 minutes.
    1. Remove from heat and serve.

     

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Pecan-Crusted Dijon Salmon (Paleo!)

    So, about this cold weather. I found a picture of someone’s toilet on the internet where the water in their tank froze and BROKE! The toilet tank. As in, the toilet tank is gone, and all that’s left behind is a huge chunk of water. It was a solid brick of water. Look at this! This is wild. I never thought I’d be so jazzed about a picture of a toilet. I hope everyone across the country is staying warm… it’s dangerous outside, and my dog has gone to the bathroom twice now on the front porch because that’s as far as she can bare to go.

    Re: enduring this cold while I’m indoors… right before Christmas I bought myself a robe. I did not consider myself a robe person, by any stretch of the imagination. I lounge in leggings and a shirt, and I don’t go barefoot between November and April unless I’m showering, or sleeping (I’m not a total psycho, who wears socks to bed? Yikes). Why would I need a robe, I thought.

    Well. Let me tell you.

    Let the temperature outside reach -3, and I am a robe person now. I had on fuzzy socks, the Alo leggings with the foot warmers, a thermal, a sweatshirt with a hood, and a robe. I could’ve slept outside in the snow and still be warm, honestly. I imagine this is what a sheep may feel like before getting sheared… just warm, cozy, and completely insulated. It’s literally the greatest feeling ever. I mean, I probably looked like a Dementor, but function over fashion, baby. That’s the business.

    Aside from this cold weather, another thing coming up that I really don’t care for is the Super bowl. Though I do not care one bit about the game, I am PUMPED to eat super bowl food. I have a few recipe ideas, and if it stays this cold, that’ll make it a great day. Stay tuned for more recipes on that front.

    On a more exciting front, do you know what else is coming up? The new moon! When it comes to lunar phases, I think that recognizing where you are on the lunar calendar is a great way to link this up with your intentions for what’s going on in your life. Think about it, a new moon is just that- a clean slate, a blank canvas. You get a chance to start fresh if you need it, even if it isn’t the start of a new year. The full moon is when your intentions for your life are likely most up front and apparent, but a new moon is when you can stop and say, “I can start this over. I can change this if I want to.”  Take this time to plan our where you want to be in a month, 6 months, a year, five years. It’s not even a concrete plan that you’re bound to for eternity, because you can revisit this every few weeks.  Think of the New Moon as your check in — do you need a recharge on your enthusiasm for your goals? As the New Moon is on Feb 4th, in Aquarius, take the time to be creative, flexible, unconventional and really fluid in your goals. Live a little. Enjoy.

    That being said, the best way to enjoy one’s self (in my eyes!) is to EAT food you really enjoy making and savoring. I got a Butcher Box right before Christmas, and in defrosting the last of it, I had some pieces of salmon left. What better way to enjoy it than with a tasty marinade? Keep reading for more delicious details 🙂

    Pecan-Crusted Dijon Salmon (Paleo!)

     

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 15 min

     

    Ingredients

    • 4 6oz boneless wild-caught salmon fillets, skin removed
    • ½ cup Grey Poupon mustard
    • 1 large clove of garlic, finely minced or pressed
    • 1 tsp honey
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 (ish) tsp salt
    • ½ tsp paprika
    • 1 small shallot, finely minced
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • Pepper, to taste
    • 1 cup of raw pecans, finely chopped/crushed
    • ½ tsp garlic powder

    Directions

    1. In a dry, preferably non-stick frying pan over medium heat, add your pecans, half of your salt, garlic powder and a pinch of paprika. Stir frequently to prevent burning. Toast until thoroughly golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
    1. In a mixing bowl, add your Dijon, honey, garlic, olive oil, your remaining salt, shallots and paprika. Stir until thoroughly mixed. Add your salmon to the bowl, and coat thoroughly with mix. Let stand in refrigerator for 30 minutes, up to 2-3 hours.
    1. Once ready to cook, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place salmon in a greased baking dish, making sure to use as much of the marinade as available. Coat with crushed pecans, making sure to cover the sides – you may need to pat them on to ensure they stick. Sprinkle with a pinch of pepper, and bake until opaque and flaky, about 13-15 minutes (or more, if needed).

    Serve with my Garlic Paprika Thyme Sweet Potato Fries, Roasted Broccoli with Goat Cheese and Walnuts, Chipotle Caesar Salad or Quinoa Kale Salad. Enjoy!

    -S

     

    Chicken Green Chili Verde (Paleo!)

    Hello world!

    Gosh, I’ve been missing a long time. So sorry. I’ve been cooking, eating a ton, desperately trying to eat less and exercise… *sigh* life is hard. Also, it wouldn’t be a post in true-Sarah-fashion if I didn’t whine about how it was really cold out, now. I feel a bit shorted because I didn’t get to have any temperate weather after the heat, but here we are.

    WHAT is going on? What’s everyone been cooking? Thanksgiving came and went, and alongside our 3 turkeys, 15 lbs of mashed potatoes and 3 types of stuffings (I wish I could say I ate at a soup kitchen with those quantities or something but anyone who knows my mom knows she loves to feed the entire state of Pennsylvania), macaroni and cheese… was a house full of people. Holidays are great, but I really like normal time better. I’m actually looking at my calendar for the next few weeks, and I’m getting my master-level Reiki certification this Saturday (woohoo! More to come), cooking dinner at the Ronald McDonald house next Monday, a Holiday lunch I planned for my office next Tuesday, then an End Of Year party for my company’s Women’s Network  that night, then my division’s end of year gathering the following Tuesday, then my organization’s end of year gathering that Wednesday, and then my site’s end of year gathering that Thursday, followed by a shopping trip at the beach outlets that Friday…. Then, 2 days of work and a very lengthy Christmas vacation. I plan to cook lots. Mau

    The issue I run into is that – I’m cooking constantly, and end up with TONS of things to share with you all. I just don’t take pictures of it often times, and that’s the worst. I love to share recipes with you all, I just never get good shots. I want to make sure you all know how appetizing it is without some mediocre kitchen light and shadows. Sigh.

    As the weather gets colder, I want to make sure you have this handy recipe. If you’re a fan of soups, chili, or a combination of the two, this is your jam. A nice Chicken Green Chili Verde will keep you warm without a doubt! This particular recipe is great, because it’s paleo, low carb, but full of flavor. I have to say – this is definitely not for the faint of heart (or digestive system) – it has a bit of a kick to it, and ya may forget you ate it for dinner, only to be reminded the next time you…. Well, let’s stop there. It’s a  tad spicy.  Spaahh-cy. Sorry, did you still want eat this!?

    I might eat this green soup while watching The Grinch. Anything green is in.

    Chicken Green Chili Verde (Paleo!)

    Serves 4-6

    Prep time: 15 min

    Cook time: 60 min

    Ingredients

    • 2 15oz cans diced tomatillos, I used low sodium
    • 2 cups chicken broth
    • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 4-5 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
    • 1 tbsp cumin
    • about 1/2 tsp sea salt if using regular sodium chicken broth, plus more to taste at the end if needed
    • 1 lb ground chicken
    • 3 poblano peppers, roughly chopped, seeds and stems removed
    • 2 anaheim or cubanelle peppers, roughly chopped, seeds and stems removed
    • 2 serrano or jalapeño peppers, finely chopped, seeds and stems removed (set aside a few to add for some added heat, if you want)
    • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish

    Directions

    1. In a large stockpot, add your onion and ~ tbsp. of your preferred oil (I like avocado oil). Saute over medium heat until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes, stirring to prevent burning. Next, add your ground chicken, breaking apart with your spatula or spoon. Continue to saute and stir to cook evenly. After about 4-5 minutes when most of the chicken is cooked through, add your garlic and cumin, continuing to stir until onion starts to brown.
    2. Next, add your cut peppers and stir, allowing to soften, for another 3-4 minutes.
    3. Once your peppers, onions and meat have started to brown, add your cans of diced tomatillos and cilantro, mixing thoroughly. Add chicken broth and continue to mix.
    4. Bring mixture to a simmer, and allow to cook for 25-30 minutes. If using a crockpot, you can place on high for 4 hours, or low for 8 hours.
    5. Once cooked, add any needed salt to taste. Serve in bowls, and garnish with more cilantro  or almond milk sour cream, or greek yogurt (if not strict paleo).

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Soft-Baked Ginger Molasses cookies (PALEO!)

    It’s fall, definitely. I’ve rummaged through all my closets of clothes to find my favorite jackets and sweaters, and you bet your bottom I’m making sure my outfits are layered to the maximum. Gotta have my scarf… maybe a wrap… perhaps a poncho…. A vest? Definitely a cardigan somewhere in the mix…. A long cardigan… or maybe a short one… or possibly a really long cardigan…. The more choices I think about, the more I’m thinking maybe I have too many sweaters. Just kidding, it’s a fashion sin to say that.

    So, I’ve been MIA – I’m not sure why, but I haven’t had the itch to make as much stuff. Plus, some of the really good stuff I’ve made… I didn’t get good pictures of it. Fall-themed dishes, obviously…. I didn’t even tell you guys I made a CHEESE PUMPKIN to bring to work! If you follow me on Instagram (shameless plug: follow me at @thedivinekitchen), you may have seen it. Definitely one of my guilty pleasure recipes, as it isn’t very high on the whole healthy-eating list. It’s an indulgence though, well worth it.

    This past weekend, I decided I wanted cookies. Not just any cookie, but an autumn, holiday-inspired cookie. Who remembers the ginger snaps in the orange box? I did. With that…. it was settled. I needed ginger cookies.

    Funny thing about those cookies was that you had to make sure you didn’t break your teeth out  when you ate them. They were like eating rocks… spicy, fall-scented rocks. It was sort of like an I-love-pain type of thing, snapping bricks in your mouth. I was always hesitant to eat them, especially after knocking my teeth out as a child (separate occasion, don’t worry). Wow, this post sure is a wild ride at this point. Anyway, I figured that with the amount of dollars that went into reconstructing my dental dilemma, I should probably stick to soft baked cookies. I knew of some recipes with tons of sugar and butter and regular flour, but I just wasn’t feeling it. For lack of humility, I really hit it off on the first try here. I can’t  don’t bake, and whatever I do bake, is usually burnt. Not THESE!

    Ugh, guys, they’re the cutest little cookie, and I definitely ate about 12 of them. I hope you all enjoy them as much as I did.

    Soft-Baked Ginger Molasses cookies (PALEO!)

    Prep time: 15 min

    Cook time: ~10 min

    Makes 20-24 cookies

    Ingredients

    • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil, cooled
    • 2 eggs (let them sit out for a little while to remove the chill)
    • 1/2 cup coconut sugar
    • 1/4 cup molasses
    • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
    • 2 cups almond flour
    • 1/3 cup coconut flour
    • 1 heaping tsp allspice
    • 1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1 heaping tsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp ground sea salt
    • Organic  cane sugar for rolling (trust me, you want this)

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
    2. In a large mixing bowl, add your coconut oil, molasses, coconut sugar, eggs and vanilla extract. Your coconut oil should be liquid, but cooled – you don’t want the eggs to scramble by hot coconut oil!
    3. Next, add in your dry ingredients – almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, spices and salt; mix together thoroughly to make a dough. To allow the flours to absorb, let sit for 5-6 minutes.
    4. Pour about a 1/2 cup of cane sugar in a shallow bowl. Use a cookie scoop to scoop up the dough so that they’re uniform (unless you’re just that good at eyeballing…), and then use your hands to roll it into a ball. Roll dough in organic cane sugar then place about 2-3 inches apart on your cookie sheet.
    5. Gently flatten the dough with a flat wide-bottomed glass until the cookies are about ~1 cm thick.
    6. Bake for 8-9  minutes. Allow to cool for about 5-10 minutes before removing from the cookie sheet….if they appear wet on the inside still, they will dry out and be okay!

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Toasted/Candied Nuts

    Picture from foodhomeandaway.com, image subject to copyright

    Prep time: 5 min

    Cook time: 15-20 min

    This is the perfect staple to salads, pasta dishes, or even a snack/charcuterie tray. You can dress them up, make them spicy, the whole nine. Follow this simple “recipe” to make delicious, walnuts, pecans, or more! I always keep some on hand to throw into a recipe.

    Ingredients:

    • 1.5 to 2 cups of your preferred nut (I often use roasted/unsalted pecans or walnuts)
    • Egg whites from 1-2 eggs, depending on how much nuts you have
    • Spices of your choice – for candied/sweeter ones, I’ll use maple syrup, coconut sugar, etc. For savory ones, I’ll use salt, garlic powder, dried herbs such as parsley, chives, thyme… whatever you want! Be very generous with seasoning

    Directions

    1. Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Grease a large cookie sheet, or line with parchment paper.
    2. In a large bowl, add your egg whites and seasonings to a large bowl. Using a whisk or a mixer, briskly whip your egg whites until they are quite foamy. You don’t want merengue-style egg whites, and you definitely shouldn’t have any peaks…. Just enough elbow grease to get the eggs pretty foamy and opaque.
    3. Add your nuts into a large Ziploc bag or bowl, and pour in your egg whites. Stir/shake to coat thoroughly.
    4. Add your nuts in a single layer to your cookie sheet, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until starting to darken/crisp. Don’t be alarmed if they’re chewy when you first remove them from the oven… they will crisp up as they dry. Allow to cool.

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Fun Fall Recipes – Pumpkin Pancakes (Paleo!)

    Well, Labor Day weekend has come and gone. It was a nice long 4 day weekend that managed to pass by in the blink of an eye. They always do. I got some last bit of sun, enjoyed some time outdoors, but also…. PUMPKIN!

    Ok, yeah. So, we’re getting into things a bit quickly. I’m totally fine with that, I look at it as… making sure you’re completely prepared for all things Fall when it actually comes around. When will that be? Honestly, it’s about 90 degrees outside so I’m not entirely sure. You definitely have some treats coming up, though… you’ve been warned. If you don’t like pumpkin, I will teach you how to like pumpkin. We Libras can appreciate more than just a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

    This little number is for all the breakfast lovers with a sweet tooth out there. While I don’t really eat a lot of sweets, I do love maple syrup. What better way to celebrate fall  with something that requires it? Cue: PANCAKES.

    These bad boys are perfect. They’re subtle, fluffy, and absolutely delicious. They’re also pretty forgiving if you like to jazz them up a little bit. After making the first batch, I just mixed together more ingredients and made some little ones to freeze for breakfast throughout the month, and take out as needed. Portion control! Feel free to add whatever toppings you choose, too. Often times I’m not in the mood for so much sugar so I don’t want to drown them in syrup. Instead, I add a tbsp. of Justin’s Vanilla Almond butter while they’re still super-hot, and it gets all melty and delicious. To each their own! How do you guys like your pancakes?

    Pumpkin Pancakes (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 15 min

    Cook time: ~20-25 min

    Makes about 3-4 medium sized pancakes

    Ingredients

    • ½ cup pureed pumpkin
    • 1 tbsp maple syrup
    • 1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 tsp baking powder
    • ½ cup almond flour (I use Bob’s Red Mill)
    • 2 tbsp coconut flour

    Directions

    1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk your eggs together. Add your pumpkin, maple syrup, vanilla and cinnamon, and whisk together until smooth.
    2. In a separate bowl, add your almond flour, coconut flour and baking powder and whisk until thoroughly mixed. Over a fine strainer, slowly add your dry ingredients to the wet mixture and stir until smooth. The reasoning for this is to ensure any clumps of the dry ingredients are broken apart and mix well into the wet ingredients.
    3. Heat a large skillet to medium low/low heat, and  grease with your preferred fat (I use coconut oil). It’s very important to cook these slow and low, so the inside cooks before the outside burns. If it’s browning too fast, you will need to turn the heat down and be patient!
    4. Cook the first side until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Once solid enough to flip, turn over and cook for another 3-4 minutes  until golden brown.

    Enjoy with your preferred toppings (mine is pictured with the almond butter and smidge of maple syrup!)

    -S