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

    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

     

    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

    Chipotle Twice-Baked Sweet Potato with Bacon and Avocado (Paleo!)

    Hey y’all. Still cold. However, apparently there’s a snowstorm on the horizon…. Which I LOVE. I am ready for  snow, 100%.

    As I sit back and think about how  close December is, and how close to an end 2018 is, I think about how much happened in 2018, and how much still has yet to happen as a result of what’s since passed this year. 2018 was a prime example of looking at things through a lens lined with emotional and spiritual maturity, peace and loving energy. What’s that really mean, outside of all the foo-foo stuff? Really, just this – as we begin to evolve more quickly, which is happening more and more each year, it’s easier for us to stay aware of what’s changing and going on around us, and how we can react to best suit our needs and heal.

    Again, what does this really mean? Here’s a few examples:

    • Not believing every first thought we have – some are rooted in human emotion and fear, and don’t suit our best interest. Taking a step back and realizing that our thoughts have a greater influence on what goes on around us can make a WORLD of difference in keeping with the positive instead of sticking without knee jerk reaction. Be patient with your thoughts, and allow yourself to process before coming to conclusions.
    • Not sourcing our own value from someone else’s perspective – on the flipside, while your thoughts do control your life around you, they cannot directly manipulate people around you. Focus on only your reactions, and understand that if you’re too worried about someone else’s thoughts, you lose sight and strength over your own.
    • Focusing your sights on not having enough, and whatever lackthereof is ailing you – this sounds counterintuitive if you gloss over it, but this one is the most important. I’m a FIRM believer in the law of attraction, for many  reasons. If you go around thinking about everything you don’t have, it will never be any further from you. You say… but, Sarah, how do I live my life like I have all the stuff I need, if I don’t already have it? Well, you choose your words carefully. You wake up in the morning, count your blessings (no matter how few there are), and thank the universe for the opportunity to gain everything you’re destined to. Once you’ve done this enough times, two things happen. First, you truly see how valuable what it is you do already have, and then simultaneously open your doorway for more.

    Everyone is guilty of these thoughts at some point, because we are human. In order to truly evolve and heal, we need to catch ourselves and recondition our knee-jerk reactions into things much more suited for growth, and self love. We also need to stop thinking of self-love as a foo-foo, dirty of silly term, and start defining what that means to us, little by little.

    Side note, I was pretty excited to see that my store introduced plum for the holidays – what a great color to finish off the year with. Plum, or violet, or any rich shade of purple, is an extremely powerful color – often associated with royalty (the Advent candles are also purple….) 🙂 I came across a healing technique recently, having to do with envisioning a violet flame – both the color, and visualization, are extremely powerful in that they present a quick spiritual “recharge” that we can do for ourselves.

    The  color violet is special in that it holds the highest frequency within the spectrum of colors – this is a scientific fact. By identifying the highest color vibration we know of, we provide a segue to the next level of vibrational light. What’s the brightest thing you can think of, that you’ve seen on earth? Fire.

    If I haven’t lost you yet, by envisioning a violet colored flame, we are calling our thoughts to move to the highest level of light our minds can think of. Light such as this has the ability to heal our physical bodies (think of laser therapy), alter our perception of what’s around us (think of illuminating a dark room), and provide warmth and comfort, helping heal our emotional bodies. A quick visualization can put you on the path of healing with a few steps.

    In a quiet room, visualize yourself seated and surrounded by violet light. While you’re visualizing it, imagine it flickering as if it were a candlelit  flame – anything to create a realistic image.

    • As you picture yourself immersed completely within the violet light, say this to yourself several times:
    • “I am within the violet light, because the violet light is within me.”
    • Express your gratitude for the opportunity to connect with the Violet Light – this actually is a representation of connecting with your higher self.

    If you’ve never visualized something like this, I may have definitely lost you. Trust me when I say that at the very least,  you will feel more calm, and definitely more empowered. Repeat this as necessary throughout the rest of the year.

    —–

    I bet you might be hungry after reading all of this. I know I am. Since it’s still COLD as a witch’s…. broomstick, please enjoy this tasty healthy version of a twice baked potato. Gluten-free, dairy free, paleo, keto-compliant, this thing is the bees knees. You won’t be sorry 🙂

    Chipotle Twice-Baked Sweet Potato with Bacon and Avocado (Paleo!)

    Prep time: 30 min

    Cook time: 90 min

    Serves 5-6

    Ingredients

    • 3 sweet potatoes, more round/fat in shape
    • 1 lb of thick cut bacon
    • 1 heaping tsp of ground chipotle powder
    • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
    • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
    • 2-3 ripe avocados
    • Cilantro, for garnish
    • Salt and pepper, to taste

    Directions

    1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Prick your sweet potatoes with a fork, and coat with your preferred fat/oil (I like avocado oil). Bake for 50-60 minutes, until tender. Once cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool before slicing neatly in half. Further let cool once cut and halved. Turn oven down to 350. If using to cook bacon on a cookie sheet, bake until slightly browned. Leave oven at operating temperature. (skillet cooking bacon is fine too – just cook and set aside). Chop into small pieces, and set aside.
    2. In a skillet over medium heat, add 1 tsp of your preferred oil and saute onion until translucent, about 2-3 minutes. Then add your garlic, continuing to saute until starting to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
    3. In a large mixing bowl, gently scoop the contents of each sweet potato half, leaving behind a thin layer if necessary to keep the skin in tact. Mash the sweet potato, adding the garlic, onion and chipotle. Next, add your bacon. You likely won’t want to taste test for more salt until after your bacon is added, since bacon does tend to add a lot of salty flavor. Add more chipotle, if desired.
    4. Scoop contents back into the sweet potato skins, dividing equally. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 20-25 minutes, until potato starts to form a golden crust.
    5. Meanwhile, as the potatoes are cooking, mash your avocado in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper, and a pinch of chipotle if desired. If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can make this as you would any other guacamole (link to my recipe!), depending on what ingredients you have on hand.
    6. When potatoes are finished cooking, remove from heat and serve with a scoop of avocado on top. Garnish with cilantro.

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Quinoa Kale Salad with Almond Ginger Dressing (Gluten-Free and Vegan!)

    Hello everyone!

    I’ve been quite mum these last few weeks. No great reason, honestly. I’ve definitely been busy, but I think it was just dedicating the time to sit down and write something out wasn’t something I wanted to bring myself to do. The good news is — I’ve written up some really good recipes, so the next few weeks you are all in for a treat!

    Sunday night was a full moon, and yesterday was the close of a very prominent Mars retrograde.  Between June 26th and August 27th of this year, Mars appears to rotate backward when orbiting the sun. While these things are typically just illusions, a lot of impact can be made by this. Had you noticed that people in general were a lot more aggressive this summer? A lot more turmoil or feelings of discomfort in the air? This had been where we needed to reassess where we stood with our projects, and what we needed to move forward. Because of the appearance of a retrograde, any Mars energy, or masculine energy, is aimed inward, rather that outward — internalizing anger, fear, or heightened emotions sounds like a recipe for disaster. For some people, it was.

    THE GOOD NEWS! it’s over. New beginnings. Get stuff started. Starting with this delicious salad. it’s the best of both worlds, grains and veggies. and I love it.

    Quinoa Kale Salad with Almond Ginger Dressing (Gluten-Free and Vegan!)

    Prep time: 40 min

    Cook time: ~20 min for the quinoa

    Ingredients

    For  the salad:

    • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
    • 1 small purple cabbage, sliced very thin
    • 2 large carrots, skinned and thinly sliced (I used vegetable peeler)
    • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
    • 1 large yellow bell pepper, finely chopped
    • 1 medium sized bunch of kale, rinsed, dried and chopped

    For the dressing:

    • 1/3 cup almond butter (you can sub another butter if you have allergies!)
    • Juice from one lemon, plus zest (if needed)
    • 1/3 cup coconut aminos, or gluten free soy sauce
    • 1 heaping tsp fresh garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
    • 1 tsp of water (at a time), to thin the dressing as needed
    • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

    Directions

    1. First, rinse your quinoa through a fine strainer (so it doesn’t wash away!). Place in a saucepot with 2 cups of water, chicken or vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and turn heat down and simmer until quinoa is cooked with little water left – about 15 minutes. Remove from pot and allow to cool in a bowl.
    2. Meanwhile, as your quinoa is cooking, add your almond butter, aminos/soy sauce, and stir until mixed. Add in the remaining dressing ingredients, and continue to stir. If you find that by adding water, your dressing has less “zest”, feel free to add some more coconut aminos or soy sauce. It should be somewhat thin like pancake batter, so as to coat your kale. Set aside about 3 tbsp of dressing for your quinoa.
    3. Separately, in a large bowl, for your salad, add your kale. Add in the rest of your vegetables and mix.
    4. Once quinoa has cooled, stir your set-aside dressing into your quinoa and mix thoroughly. Add into the kale. Pour your remaining dressing in and use tongs to mix thoroughly.

    Chill in the fridge until serving.

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Buffalo Chicken Dip (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

    Well… we’ve been having some interesting weather, to say the least. I can’t remember the last time there’s been a solid 10 days of rain in the forecast, but perhaps we can look at this a different way. Tomorrow is July’s full moon, which coincides with  entering Leo. Summer birthdays, what’s up!?

    There’s a few cool things to note. This will also be a lunar eclipse — which, while we don’t be able to see it from North America, we will definitely know it’s happening. In a literal sense, eclipses both “reveal” and “conceal”. This is especially poignant when you think of all the Leo energy floating around – powerful, loud, and  very present — anything that needs to be addressed will come forth, and anything that needs to take a back seat will no longer be a part of our lives for the time being.

    Though this may seem like the perfect time to take action on whatever is happening, wisdom says it should be done gently. If it suddenly feels like you r life is under a microscope and you’re noticing everything that needs to be fixed, don’t go dump your significant other, quit your job or anything else crazy. Doing so with an iron fist is not the best way to go about it. Be calm, diplomatic, and ensure you’re thoughtful in your problem solving during this time.

    Ya know what else starts today!? Mercury retrograde! I feel like this is one of the most common things that solicits laughs and eye rolls, because this really shakes those who are heavily immersed in astrology, or earthly energy in general. Retrogrades tend to bring about setbacks, mishaps, miscommunications, and general… un-pleasantries. Things just seem “harder”, and even those who don’t feed into Astrology notice that something just doesn’t seem right.  I think the best remedy to this is to really just cut yourself some slack. Unless you’re truly letting things slide in your life to the effect that it will have long term negative consequences, live a little. Mistakes happen, crap happens… and Mercury will get its @$%& together soon.

    Who’s hungry? I am! I’ll leave you with some delicious PALEO! Buffalo Chicken Dip. No dairy, no problem. Kite Hill makes a really convincing almond milk-based cream cheese that melts just like the real thing. If you’re feeling a little naughty… sprinkle some cheddar in there. I won’t tell. I used my instant pot for this, but you could just as easily use a regular oven — it just takes longer.

    Buffalo Chicken Dip (Paleo, Keto-Friendly!)

    Prep time: 25 min

    Cook time: 25 min

    Serves: ??? about 5 as an appetizer (but I could likely eat this myself

    Ingredients

    • 2 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts, shredded
    • 1/2 cup Frank’s Hot Sauce
    • 8 oz Kite Hill plain cream cheese
    • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
    • 1 red bell pepper, finely chopped; ribs and seeds removed
    • 1 heaping tbsp of paleo-friendly mayo, like Primal Foods Avocado Oil Mayo
    • optional for keto/non-strict paleo followers: 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    • 2 stalks of scallions,  sliced thin
    • pinch of salt and pepper

    Directions

    1. First, cook your chicken. In an Instant Pot, place your chicken breasts in and add chicken broth until just about covered. Cook on poultry/meat setting, following the Instant Pot directions for steam release. If using an oven, preheat oven and bake broth covered chicken in a Pyrex dish at 350 for 35-40 minutes, or until temperature registers 165 degrees. I prefer the instant pot because it gets that juicy crockpot feel, but much faster.
    2. Meanwhile, as your chicken cooks, sauté your onion and red pepper on a large skillet over medium heat until just about browned. Remove from heat and set aside.
    3. Once the chicken cooked (and your instant pot is properly depressurized), remove from heat, allow to cool and set aside. I tend to shred my chicken after it’s only slightly cooled because I feel it’s easier while it’s still a little hot. Once shredded, add to a large mixing bowl.
    4. Next, add your cream cheese and mayo to your bowl, mixing thoroughly. Continue to mix, next adding your peppers, onions, Frank’s sauce, salt, pepper, and most of your scallions. You only need a few for a garnish, so be generous with mixing the rest in. Add your cheddar, if using.
    5. Once mixed, add mixture to a greased Pyrex dish — I used a 5×7 so the mixture was thicker and wouldn’t burn.
    6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 min, until starting to bubble and turn golden brown on the top. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Garnish with remaining scallions, and serve with celery or sweet potato chips.

    Enjoy!

    -S

    Summer Peach Crisp (Vegan, with Paleo-friendly option!)

    I think I should build an ark.

    Is that the stereotypical response when someone mentions the fact that we will be getting 10 straight days of rain in the mid-Atlantic? Yes, it is. And yes, that is actually happening. I am glad I am a strong swimmer.

    That aside, I had an amazing weekend! Friday I was able to cook some delicious things to share with y’all. I then got to hang out with my old neighbors, which was fun. It’s nice to find a group of people that you click with, even though you are all so different. A few friends were absent (and dearly missed!), but there’s always next month. Saturday I got to brush up on my Reiki with some additional training – that might be a topic for another time, but I have to say… energy work is amazing and highly recommended! One of those things that you didn’t know you needed until you have had some exposure to it. Saturday afternoon I got to enjoy dinner with some friends I haven’t spent time with in a while, and it was just a really nice weekend. I think the best part was when I inadvertently bought 6 lbs of peaches from a precious little Amish boy and spent the remainder of my free time trying to find ways to use it. Things I made, didn’t document (tasty as they were, some things were a little ugly/sloppy…) but ate  came out FABULOUS. Have any of you put peaches in your tomato sauce? No? You should consider it. Maybe I’ll post a little walk-through on Instagram for my Peach Bolognese sauce recipe. Yes, you read that correctly. and yes… tried, tested and approved by picky eaters.

    Let’s get right to the point and talk about my Vegan Peach Crisp. While this particular version is not gluten-free, it’s just a glorious throw-together treat for when you buy 6 lbs of peaches from a little boy on the side of the road and need something to do with them. Or, I mean…. if you grocery shop too. It’s fun, it’s quick, and it keeps really well, which is just the best.

    Summer Peach Crisp (Vegan, with Paleo-friendly option!)

    Prep time: 20 min

    Cook time: 40 min

    Serves 5-7

    Ingredients:

    For  the filling

    • 5-6 peaches (any kind you like!) – peeled, pit removed and chopped
    • ¾ cup organic brown sugar
    • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract
    • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp allspice
    • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice
    • ¼ cup vegan butter alternative (or ghee), melted
    • Pinch of finely ground Himalayan sea salt

    For the crumble topping

    • ¾ cup oats (or ground flax for paleo substitute
    • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour, or paleo-friendly baking flour (such as Bob’s Redmill mix, or almond flour)
    • ¾ cup organic brown sugar
    • 8 oz organic vegan butter (cold); or 1 stick cold organic butter, cut into ½ in cubes for non vegans. Note: if using paleo alternatives, add additional ghee because of the dryness of paleo alternatives. Start with using 1.5x the amount of ghee/butter)
    • 1 tbsp cinnamon
    • 1 tsp allspice

    Directions:

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a glass 9x13in baking dish and set aside.
    2. In a large bowl, toss peaches with all of the filling ingredients and mix to coat thoroughly.
    3. In a separate bowl, mix together all of the crumble ingredients except your butter. Once dry ingredients are mixed, add in the butter, a little at a time, pressing the crumble into the pieces of butter. You don’t need to be neat – if anything, really pressing the ingredients into the butter is better.  The butter should be reduced into mixture until you’re left with large/coarse crumbs.
    4. Spread the peach filling evenly within the baking dish, patting gently to make sure there are no gaps. Sprinkle the crumb mixture over the peaches, ensuring all of the peaches are covered.
    5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the top becomes golden and the peach mixture is bubbling. Allow to cool before serving.

    Enjoy!

    -S