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

    Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Red Pepper Bruschetta (Paleo!)

    Ah… the full moon. Sunday was an interesting day for it. My friend and I went out shopping, and the predicted temperature was supposed to dip down to about 4 degrees F that night. We planned to make dinner, and we had to go to 3 different grocery stores to find onions, ground turkey and ginger. Apparently, people in this area thought they weren’t going to be able to go outside… or… eat turkey. It was a really strange day that ended with a giant tarp blowing across the road and into/onto a man’s pick-up truck and then onto mine, and then finding that my cat got stuck in my room and peed on my expensive dress coat because he panicked. Again, very… interesting day.

    I started off this year really strong, actually. Not to say that my year is not still strong, but I was really intentional about my new year’s plans. I had maybe 1-2 drinks at a very small get-together, went to bed at 12:30, and woke up at 7, did some yoga/stretching, and went to the gym. I’ve made an effort to be much more aware of my thoughts, what I want to happen, and want I want, in general. The first week of January, I came across a numerology article about what this “year” is considered, and it says it’s a “3” year. It said that we’re already familiar with this number because our lives revolve around this number – we are on the third planet from the sun, we are made of mind, body and soul, good and bad things come in three’s. After calculating my personal number for 2019, I found that I am also a number 3 for this year. It felt spot on – I’ve said “This year is my year!” before, but this year, it actually feels accurate. It says my creativity and abundance are up on deck to shine, and I honestly couldn’t agree more. I think the thing that keeps me going is truly believing that this kind of energy really is limitless. If you put into practice the idea that your thoughts really do dictate your situation (your job, happiness, wealth, friendships, etc.), it really does happen. It’s so simple, yet so hard for a lot of us. My advice? Invest in yourself, and meditate. Do some yoga. It took me YEARS to learn how to settle into my hot yoga classes and focus – dozens of times to meditate and no longer wonder ‘was I just sort of sleeping?’ This stuff pays off, and it allows you to really connect with what’s going on around (and above) you.

    I find that the frustrations of 2018 haven’t left me, they’re definitely still around. I’m just less mad about them, or more sure that they’ll fade or get better, whether I have control over it or not.  This full moon that happened on Monday was a total lunar eclipse. While eclipses sound like darkness, uncertainty, or unexpected events, there’s place for the confidence and courage to accept the change that is coming. This year is more of a reset button – to take a moment to pause and drop what isn’t serving you. Are you feeling really independent and capable? Awesome, that’s where you should be. This moon was huge – it was closer to us and it was close enough to leave behind some energy to those most sensitive or most in need of it. The moral of the story is this – this year, energetically, we have a leg-up to get ourselves through some challenges… much like our earthly New Years’ resolutions, this is only the beginning. Don’t give up yet.

    I actually have a few recipes to post in the next few days, but every now and again I like to post a recipe for an appetizer, for a party. Now’s a great time to have some friends over – it’s colder than a witch’s bittie right now, so why not sit indoors and sip wine and eat snacks with your friends?!

    Sweet Potato “Crostini” with Red Pepper Bruschetta (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 45 min

    Ingredients

    For the sweet potatoes:

    • 3 long (or at least more skinny) sweet potatoes, cut into ½ centimeter slices
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • salt and pepper
    • 1 tsp paprika
    • 1 tsp dried parsley

    For the bruschetta:

    • 4-5 pound roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
    • 1 roasted red pepper, chopped
    • ½ small red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 small handful of fresh basil, chopped
    • 1 small handful of fresh parsley, chopped
    • 1 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 tsp (ish) balsamic vinegar
    • 3/4 tsp red wine vinegar
    • 1 tsp garlic, chopped
    • salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    2. In a small dish, mix together your first parts of olive oil, paprika, and salt/pepper. Place your sweet potato slices on a greased or lined cookie sheet and brush with oil mixture on both sides. Bake for 20-25 minutes until starting to brown, then flip sweet potato pieces over onto other side for remaining 20-25 minutes, until brown (but not burnt!).
    3. While the sweet potatoes are cooking, grab a small bowl for the dressing. Whisk together the dressing ingredients (olive oil, balsamic, red wine vinegar, garlic, salt/pepper) until mixed. Add your tomato, onion and roasted red pepper, and allow to sit and marinate.
    4. Once sweet potato slices are cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool on a rack to allow them to crisp. Once cool to the touch, spoon some bruschetta onto each slice, and garnish with parsley and basil.

    Serve, and enjoy 🙂

    -S

    Pizza Soup (PALEO!)

    Hi world! I’m back after a much needed hiatus. I had these lofty and grand plans to cook a ton of stuff around the holidays and share it all with you… but then I got sick, then had to get back into the swing of things at work… I was tired… uninspired… you know how it goes. Plus, it’s been COLD. Here in the northeast, there’s been “snow” looming in the distance. I don’t actually know if it’s coming, but everyone’s been talking about it and now we just wait. I have no idea, but I have fuzzy socks on and a chenille scarf wrapped around me that I can’t part with. I fell asleep wearing it last night. I am ready for the snow!

    What’s interesting these days with all of you!? Well, with me – a whole lot and only a little. This spring should bring a lot of really cool changes, but I can only share them with you once I have more details J In the meantime, I’ve been working off my Christmas fluff (deeeefffffinitely put on a few pounds from all the beer and pizza), working on strength training and cardio. I got an Apple Watch for Christmas, and closing my fitness things is honestly the realest motivation I have had in a long time. That, and dry January, which I’ve already failed. Oh well, there’s next year.

    This post is more of a drop-in…. when I have some more time this weekend, I will definitely be jumping into some fun spiritual stuff, at least before January is OVER. Better late than never.  With the looming snow storm coming up, I want you all to enjoy something warm, healthy, and delicious, with minimal guilt.

    Soup!

    My inspiration was simple. I’ve been eating so much pizza these days, I wanted to dial it back. After giving up pizza for Lent one year, many years ago, I swore I could never go without it again. After much compromise and upset, I decided to nix the bread and make it into a soup, because… life without pizza is no life at all. This is a paleo friendly soup (unless you add some cheese), and is absolutely delicious. I like to use Applegate Naturals turkey pepperoni, and Garrett Valley pork bacon when making this soup. If you aren’t on any restrictive dietary plans, I bet dipping a breadstick in this would be just glorious. For those of us that are on the healthy train, this soup alone will do ya just fine… I promise 🙂

    If you don’t already, follow me on instagram @thedivinekitchen. I need more folks to hold me to posting my daily dinners, recipes, etc. Come join the party!

    Pizza Soup (PALEO!)

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 30 min

    Serves 6-8

    Ingredients

    • 1 15oz can of tomato sauce (not marinara, just plain)
    • 1 15oz can of diced tomatoes
    • 1 tube of pork or turkey sausage
    • 4 oz (~20-25 slices) of paleo friendly (uncured) turkey pepperoni, cut into quarters
    • 3-4 slices of cooked paleo friendly (uncured) bacon, chopped (optional)
    • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 2 cups low sodium chicken broth
    • 1 heaping tsp of dried oregano
    • 1 pinch of chili powder
    • 1 pinch of cayenne powder
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. In a large skillet or frying pan, over medium heat with a tsp of your preferred cooking oil, sauté your pepper and onion until translucent and starting to brown – about 6-8 minutes. Remove from heat, and set aside in a bowl.
    2. In the same skillet, also over medium heat, sauté your sausage until thoroughly cooked/browned, breaking up any larger chunks. Remove from heat, and set aside.
    3. In a large sauce pot or small stockpot, add your tomato sauce and diced tomatoes. Turn to medium high heat. Next, add your pepper and onion, sausage, pepperoni, bacon (if using), spices, and chicken broth. Gently mix thoroughly – heat until mixture starts to bubble gently, stirring to prevent burning at the bottom of the pan. Once brought to temperature, cover with a lid, turn to low heat, and let simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
    4. The soup should thin out – it should not resemble the thickness of sauce. If too thick, add additional chicken broth, 1/4 cup at a time, and continue to simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste.
    5. If preferred, serve with a pinch of shredded cheese (not Paleo, fyi :)). 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

    Garlic Paprika Thyme Sweet Potato Fries (Paleo, Vegan!)

    Boy, do I love me some carbs. It’s sort of a problem.

    My jeans have gotten tighter, but such is life when Dogfish Head Punkin Ale AND French fries are involved. Even if this means I have to go out and actually get both of them. Yum? Yes. Since I typically start off complaining about the weather, I’d like to point out that it’s been feeling particularly Fall-ish recently… with the exception of the monsoon and grey skies today, I enjoy that the leaves have been falling. I even went out to the barn yesterday! I didn’t ride, it was raining, but it was nice, crisp and cool. Two thumbs up.

    I’m also back into the swing of things with cooking on Sundays… I hope to make a few things that I can pass along on the blog, but I do get a bit… lax…. When it comes to healthy eating as the weather gets cooler. I’ve been exceptionally lucky to not have to worry a WHOLE lot about gaining weight with as much as I do, but as I said… my jeans, they is tight. I will be doing some cardio today, with the intention of eating Guinness Beef stew soon, and some Shepherd’s Pie, and… other potato-ey goodness without sacrificing my waistline.

    The good news is, not all carbs are created equal. There are complex carbs, and carbs are fuel! Unless you’re into the Ketogenic diet (which I do enjoy a lower carb recipe every now and again), use your carbs to your advantage, and dress em up with some garlic and zest. Like these, below.

    Garlic Paprika Thyme Sweet Potato Fries (Paleo, Vegan!)

    Prep time: 15 min

    Cook time: 35-40 min

    Ingredients

    • Two large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into thin, fry-shaped strips (sized to your preference, some people like wedges)
    • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
    • ½ tbsp smoked paprika
    • ½ tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped
    • 2 tbsp olive oil
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Mix together your garlic, paprika, thyme, salt and pepper in a small bowl with your olive oil.
    2. To evenly coat, I like to put my fries into a bag, pour my oil mixture in, and shake… you can also coat sweet potato fries with a brush, or your hands if you enjoy a mess… heh.
    3. On a greased cookie sheet, place your fries in a single layer, evenly spaced, so they cook thoroughly. If you prefer super crispy fries, feel free to turn over with tongs once browned on one side. Once they start to crisp/firm up and brown, remove from heat and allow to cool a few minutes before serving. As they dry, they will  continue to crisp.

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs (Paleo!)

    So, I’m starting to think that Fall is never actually happening… it’s sweltering hot, we’ve got hurricanes around every corner, there’s bugs…. There’s a lot of issues with this and it’s just not working out. You know what’s fun though? The Flyers playing, whatever other football game is on, baseball…. While I really only care about the Flyers, you know what I love about sports parties? FOOD.

    I’ve had to behave myself a really eat well these last few weeks, because once a game comes on…. Well, willpower goes out the window I can’t help but eat everything in sight. What I really am trying to say is that I haven’t behaved myself at all, and I’ve been eating like a dump truck. Better get crackin’ on the treadmill.

    I don’t know about you guys, but while I love the coziness of sit-down Sunday dinners each week, I also love making snacks for game time so there’s more variety, and more choices to eat. A friend at work has brought me jalapeńo peppers, and I knew just what I wanted to make.

    Deviled eggs!

    The cool thing about them is a.) once you hard boil them, they’re pretty hard to screw up. Not to say I haven’t had a nasty deviled egg in my life, but if you mess them up, you can add different flavors little by little to fix them back up. A great way to jazz them up is to add bacon… because bacon is the best. With that, I had an idea… why not add jalapeńo?

    I bring you… jalapeńo popper deviled eggs. I promise you, they’re worth a try.

    Jalapeño Popper Deviled Eggs (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 12 min

    Ingredients

    • 12 eggs
    • 1/3 cup mayonnaise, plus more if needed
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • 1 tbsp yellow mustard
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1/2 tsp paprika, plus more for garnish
    • 1 large jalapeńo(stems and seeds removed), minced
    • 1 heaping tbsp of chives, chopped
    • 3-4 pieces of cooked bacon, chopped

    Directions

    1. In a large pot, place your eggs in room  temperature water that covers the eggs completely. Add a pinch of table salt, and a dash of vinegar. (rumor has it this makes the eggs easier to peel).
    2. Bring to a boil, and let boil for 90 seconds. Turn the heat off, and cover. Let sit for 12 minutes.
    3. Once 12 minutes has passed, place your eggs in a bowl of ice water to prevent overcooking. This also cuts down on cool-down time needed before you start to peel. Once the eggs are cooled, gently peel the shells off and discard.
    4. Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks and place into medium-sized bowl. Set your white halves on a plate, face up,  to use later.
    5. Mash your yolks with fork. Add mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar and black pepper, mix well. Next, add your bacon, jalapeńo and chives. Add any additional salt to taste, continuing to gently mix.
    6. scoop the mix into a ziploc bag with the tip cut (big enough for bacon pieces to pass) or a spoon, fill each egg white half with the mixture to desired amount — be generous. Refrigerate, covered, to allow flavors to blend. Sprinkle with paprika just before serving, if desired.

    Enjoy!

    -S