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As we enter the final stretch of the school year, who has time to cook? With class activities, sports, clubs, and now swim team practice, cooking in the later afternoons/evenings just isn’t even an option. So to make things as easy as possible, I asked my husband grill ALL of this chicken (from Costco) this past weekend. It was a little over 4 lbs of chicken and now we have three meals, ready for go for the week. If grilling isn’t an option, you can also cut all of the meat into bite sized pieces, cooked it in some coconut oil and let it cook for about 20 minutes or until it was no longer pink in the middle. Then set it aside to make some of the following dishes in this post.
 

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Scott put just salt and pepper on most of the chicken but did put some of his homemade rub on 2 pieces. So now we will have BBQ chicken with some veggies (made from some of our easiest veggies recipe post) and some Quinoa and Kale (see below) one night, warm Buffalo Chicken Slaw another night, and one of our favorite chicken salads, Curry Apple Chicken Salad. Done and done! And it only took me about an hour today to get it all ready. An hour’s worth of work for almost a week’s worth of meal is certainly a good trade off!
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Here are a few other simple and yummy chicken recipes you could use:
 
Oh, and speaking of Costco (it’s where we got the chicken above), while we were there the other day, Tate and I sampled this Quinoa and Kale, and we both LOVED it! Alice didn’t love it until I heated some up on the stove and added some good grass-fed butter. She the gobbled hers all up. What is also so great about this is you can add a good olive oil, some Tessemae’s, guacamole or even hot sauce (per Tate’s suggestion) and almost make a meal out of it. 
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Good luck moms  and dads getting through these final weeks of school before summer break and be sure to enjoy them, too! 

  • Valerie - I’m so excited to start following your blog!!!ReplyCancel

When we think about food intolerances, we tend to associate them with stomach aches, bloating, constipation/diarrhea. And yes, those can be obvious food intolerance symptoms, but there can also be many other symptoms that associated with food intolerances like skin issues, a stuffy nose, migraines, and joint aches, to name just a few. 

I realized recently (again…yes I seem forget every 12-18 months) that my body does not do well with almonds. They aren’t the typical symptoms when you think nut or food allergy, so it took me awhile (and clearly I have a hard time getting this though my thick skull) to realize that I need to eat almonds only in moderation. As soon as I add daily almond butter to the mix, I find myself in trouble. My main symptoms the past few weeks were:

  • absolute exhaustion
  • muscle weakness
  • difficulty taking a full deep breath (it was like someone was sitting on my chest when I would try to run)

Almost a day or so of getting the almonds out, I felt dramatically better. I’m sad because I love almonds, but I am also so happy to know the culprit of what was causing my symptoms. 

I’ve also found that I’m totally addicted to these pumpkin seeds I got from Costco (or vitacost.com). I’m so happy to have a replacement for my almonds…
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I also thought for quite some time I had an allergy to chocolate. I know, how bad would that suck?? A bite of chocolate would make my tongue hurt and swell. And as much as I may sound like a hypochondriac, you can believe I tested this one over and over and over. And after seeing this TED talk on the benefits on dark chocolate, can you blame me? Finally, after taking it out of my diet on multiple occasions, I realized (albeit incorrectly) that I had an intolerance to chocolate. But then I read that even with just the small amount of dairy that is in some dark chocolate, it can set off a reaction. Anyway, I didn’t fully believe that dairy was affecting me because while I am very low dairy (I’ll have butter and a little cheese occasionally), I don’t really don’t have much of a reaction to dairy. I just try to minimize my intake of it for inflammatory reasons.

Anyway, a few weeks and bag of dairy-free Enjoy Life Dairy-Free Dark Chocolate Chips later, I’m ecstatic to report that it wasn’t the chocolate but it was the dairy! You can take just about any food away from my diet, just don’t take my chocolate!!! Woohoo for for Enjoy Life!!

My point in all of this? When it comes to food intolerance (and high allergan foods like gluten, dairy, soy, corn, nuts and eggs in particular), just be sure to pay attention to how you feel head-to-toe, not just in your gut. 

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So…no more of my favorite Trader Joe’s 73% dark chocolate almonds (a treat of mine for years), but at least I have these two new favorite discoveries that not only taste just as good, but make me feel a heck of a lot better!

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Okay, on to the lunch…

Having time to make good healthy meals can be hard, but especially this time of year. Spring time is busy and there certainly is not enough time to make dinner (new post coming soon!) and for lunches, well, I’m sick of my old fall/winter like foods. I still want a warm, satisfying, and flavorful meals, but I’ve also been craving lots of greens lately. Anyway this simple lunch fits the bill ,and it has really been hitting the spot!

I’ll use either this Cruciferous Crunch package of greens, the pre-shredded Brussels sprouts from Trader Joe’s or the pre-cut cabbage from Whole Foods.  I also love to use Brussels sprouts and broccoli but you have to cook those a little differently.  Anyway, see the recipe below for everything you’ll need for a tasty and easy to make lunch.

It’s worth noting that this sausage does contain some dairy. My kids and hubby love it and I will use it occasionally. But, I tend to like the sausage that Whole Foods has behind the meat counter. Favorites include sun-dried tomato and mild Italian. 

My lunch supplies for the week…

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Easy greens and sausage lunch
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Ingredients
  1. 1-2 tbsp ghee or butter
  2. 1/4 tsp Onion powder
  3. 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  4. 1/2 tsp celtic salt (or to taste)
  5. dash of pepper
  6. 1/2-whole package of greens of choice (kale, cabbage, broccoli, brussel sprouts, etc)
  7. any good sausage, remove casing
Instructions
  1. Saute your greens (or steam them if you're using broccoli or whole brussels sprouts that you've cut in half) with about 1-2 tbsp of ghee or grass-fed butter for a few minute or until wilted.
  2. Add a few dashes of onion and garlic powder, celtic salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Cook sausage (removed from casing) until brown.
  4. Lastly, add a splash of Tessemae's Lemonette, Balsalmic or some olive oil once it's almost done cooking.
  5. Place your greens in a large bowl, top it with the sausage.
  6. Add some pepitas, guacamole or anything else you'd like to use as a garnish and enjoy!
Stir It Up! http://stiritup.me/

 

 

 

  • Joan - Where did you buy the Enjoy Life chocolate chips?ReplyCancel

    • landriav - I got the chips from one of my favorite sites: vitacost.comReplyCancel

  • Amanda Fraraccio - Hey Landria,
    I’m a little nervous about the almond issue for me too; I don’t mind leaving them out of my snacks in their whole form, and I like the cashew milk I’ve made enough to sub it in for my daily almond milk but what about the baked goods? Most of my favorite recipes for crackers, brownies etc etc etc have almond flour, what do I do?ReplyCancel

    • landriav - I try to use more coconut flour Amanda but mostly because it requires more eggs so whenever I use coconut flour, by default, my snacks will have a bit more protein. I would just try to use a variety of nut flours. You could even mix it up with some seed flours like sunflower or pepita flour (that you’d have to grind yourself) but it bakes really well!ReplyCancel

  • amanda fraraccio - With the seed flours is that a 1 to 1 ratio to sub for almond flour?ReplyCancel

    • landriav - It should be 1 to 1 sub Amanda…from what I remember.ReplyCancel

I believe there is a bit of a misconception about eating healthy.  I suppose some of us may think that we have to do something all the way, 100% or not do it all. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be perfect.  Kids lunches don’t have to be perfect.  A “healthy” lunch for our kids doesn’t have to consist of celery, cucumbers, nuts, seeds, turkey wrapped avocado and some fruit politely packaged like a smiling cat. And while, yes, all of those things would make for a great lunch, one might even say a perfect lunch, it doesn’t have to be THAT great. How does seeing meals like this make you feel?  In awe, inspired, motivated?

Bear bento - parenting.comSchool Book Sandwiches.  These are so cute and clever! Great snack to bring to your childCat bento - parenting.com

To be honest, I see things like that and think…”Forget it!”. I  know those images are supposed to be motivating, but they can also be overwhelming and, quite frankly, discouraging.

My point? Eating healthy doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be…better.  Better than the food offered at the school snack bar, for example. I would much rather have my kids eat my sweet potato brownies or apple pie trail mix balls for a snack, rather than a prepackaged fruit roll up, some Goldfish or sugar-filled yogurt. I’m really not trying to plug my book (been there and way overdone that), but that was my goal of many of the snacks in my book.

We eat pretty clean, for the most part. But I’ll tell you, it didn’t happen overnight. Not by a long shot. Years ago we were eating Cherrios and graham crackers and things like that because we thought they were somewhat healthy (they they are low fat and “whole grain” so that must constitute healthy right? Not.). I didn’t realize they were full of hydrogenated oils, refined sugars, and way over processed wheat, but as I learned, as we learned, we evolved and I think that’s the goal…to continue to learn (and you’re reading this so you’re already halfway there, right?) and evolve as people that want to feel better and get stronger both mentally and physically, and food can help us do that (or hinder us!). So be patient, learn, try new things, grow, evolve and don’t forget to teach your kids the connection to food and how we feel on a daily basis so they can make smart, educated decisions as they grow.

The chocolate chip cookies we made today are a great example. They are a good snack…yes I said snack. Are they perfect? No. Is it an every day snack for us? Certainly not. But, they do have protein and good healthy fat from the cashews, vitamin A, D and K, as well as a gut healing, anti-inflammatory fatty acid called butyrate from the grass-fed butter and they are made with a low glycemic sugar (so it doesn’t cause blood sugar crashes or create inflammation). So while it may not be THE perfect snack, I can guarentee it sure does taste like it.

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Gosh he looks big, doesn’t he? Speaking of perfect. Like my “wood” I use for book/blog pictures? So far from perfect wood….

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This is a snack that we can all feel good about…_DSC6296crop

Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup cashew butter
  2. 1 organic egg
  3. 4 tbsp grass fed butter, melted
  4. 1/2 cup coconut nectar or maple or honey
  5. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  7. 1/4 tsp sea salt
  8. 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients together (except for the chocolate chips) with an immersion blender or by hand. Then fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Next lay out parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Then use a tablespoon to dollop the cookie dough mixture onto the sheet. Bake for 14-18 minutes or until start to brown.
Stir It Up! http://stiritup.me/

 

  • Marla-Deen - So well said!ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Thank you so much MD! So nice to hear. :)ReplyCancel

  • emilia - What kind of cashew butter do you recommend and where do you find it?ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Trader Joe’s has a good one that is reasonable. That is what we used for this recipe. Otherwise, you could check out vitacost.com for a good one. Or Whole Foods.ReplyCancel

  • Jing - What kind of flour do you use? Thanks.ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Hi Jing, I just used cashew butter as the flour.ReplyCancel

So my intent was to get this recipe out to you guys in time for Easter breakfast and, well, it just didn’t happen. But I promise it was worth the wait. First, I have a couple of quick updates I wanted to share.

I had a bit of a negative experience with the Lily’s Dark Chocolate Chips made with stevia that I posted about a few weeks ago. It’s not their chips (because they really are fabulous) but more about the stevia in the chips. While I love a good pure stevia and I think it can be a great alternative sweetener, it can also cause—albeit rarely—low blood sugar or hypoglycemia. I learned that first hand and was very disappointed.  If you are having any unexplained hypoglycemic symptoms, just be aware that stevia could be the culprit.

Second, I have a quick kombucha update.  My goal lately with the kombucha has been to get it really fizzy, effervescent. I learned from my dear friend Alex that if you use the more narrow bottles, it increases the bubbliness. Well, mission accomplished. Last night at about 1:00 AM my husband heard what he thought was gun shots in the house. Turns out, it was actually our kombucha bottle exploding...everywhere.  He opened a second bottle because he was afraid it might also shatter from the pressure. When he opened it, it was like he just uncorked a bottle of shaken champagne. Ugh, talk about a mess. So while it definitely adds more fizz, you may want to one, not fill your bottles to the top like I did (duh). And two, open the after about 5 or so days so they don’t get too fizzy. Also, if you don’t have tall bottles and are having a hard time getting your kombucha to get fizzy, I’ve also learned that you can use all green tea (versus half black and half green) to help with the fizz. Anyway, now I’m LOVING my perfectly fizzy and super refreshing kombucha every single day! It was so worth the science experiment gone wrong.

Okay, on to the good stuff…

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So these Cinnamon Bun Biscuits are one of our favorite snacks from my book that we sometimes like to enjoy as a breakfast treat. We love them so much we thought it would be a great addition to our Easter breakfast. 

You all may know how crazy I am about good texture in my gluten-free baked goods if you’ve read some of my other posts (donuts, pizza, etc.) and well, these are no different. They are AWESOME!!! Really, have you purchased and tried the psyllium husk powder yet? Did I mention that psyllium husk is a great soluble fiber that increases satiety  and can also aid in weight loss (see some articles herehere, and here). And I promise, it is so worth the purchase if you do a decent amount of gluten-free cooking using whole real (low glycemic) foods. Be sure to get NOW brand (Amazon, Vitacost.com or Whole Foods) though as I’ve heard some other brands can leave an odd color to your baked goods.

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This is one of those recipes that while I was trying to photograph it for my book, the kids kept swiping the biscuits. Honestly, they were REALLY good so I don’t blame them, but I only made a few for the original recipe (you learn not to make a full batch for every recipe in the book because then you end up eating way too much!)…_DSC6487

I know, lots of pictures of my kids lately but with two spring breaks (i.e. photo opps) back to back, I had to share since this will be it for quite some time. I promise!!!! Anyway, I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and a fabulous spring break

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By the way, if you ever wonder if my kids get tired of me taking pictures, well, I think Tate’s face says it all…

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Cinnamon Bun Biscuits
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Biscuits
  1. 2 cups almond flour
  2. 1 cup arrowroot powder
  3. 1 tsp sea salt
  4. 2 tbsp cinnamon
  5. 1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
  6. 2 tsp psyllium husk powder
  7. 2 egg
  8. 1 tbsp butter, melted
  9. 1/4 cup maple syrup
  10. Icing (optional)
  11. 2 tbsp canned coconut milk or almond milk
  12. 1/4 cup coconut butter
  13. 1 tsp vanilla extract
  14. 1 tbsp maple syrup
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredient together. Then add the butter and egg and mix well. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, make 4 roundish balls and cook for 15-20 minutes. While they are cooking, you can make your icing if you wish. Start by scooping out the coconut butter into a small bowl and melt it (in microwave or oven). Then stir in the milk, vanilla and maple syrup. As soon as the biscuits come out of the oven, apply your icing on top of the biscuits and eat while it’s hot or let it cool just long enough so you don’t burn your mouth and then devour. If the frosting has hardened before the biscuits are ready, just put back in the microwave or oven to reheat. This will make about 4 biscuits.
Stir It Up! http://stiritup.me/

It is that crazy time of year when even though the days are longer with daylight savings, they actually seem shorter with sports, after school clubs, and, well, the kids just wanting to play outside all day. Dinner time creeps up way too quickly!!

One of my easy go-to dinners usually consist of some chicken breast (hopefully, I’ve cut it up ahead of time, so I’m not overwhelmed by the thought of cutting up chicken at 6:00 at night) and some type of veggie. I love whole foods pre-cut cabbage because it’s so filling and it soaks up flavor quickly. 

Anyway, here is a picture of what was my favorite pre-cut cabbage. Sorry, clearly the picture was an afterthought, but thought it was better than nothing (now I’m not so sure…)

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Updated 3/27: quick iPhone picture from today of the cabbage…photo (16)

One of my favorite quick and easy meals is warm buffalo chicken slaw. If the chicken is cut ahead of time, I can have that meal made in less than 10 minutes. Tonight, I was craving a Thai flavor. It’s so rare that I make a total random guess on a meal and it turns out well, but I think this is one of them! I will be adding this one to my new rotation for sure. Oh and 4 out of 4 in our family loved it! YES, a win!!

I tried to limit the ingredients to keep it as simple as possible. You could easily add cilantro, ginger, coconut milk etc. but again for simplicity sake, this is what I came up with:
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Easy Thai Chicken Slaw
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1.5 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 1 head of cabbage, sliced (Whole Foods and Trader Joe's has pre-cut bags)
  3. 2-3 tbsp toasted sesame oil
  4. 3-4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced (or you could use powder if time is really tight)
  5. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  6. 2 tsp curry powder
  7. 1 tsp coriander powder
  8. 1 - 1. 5 tsp sea salt
Instructions
  1. Cut your chicken into bite sized pieces.
  2. Cut your cabbage if it's not pre-cut.
  3. Heat up your large pan on medium high heat and pour about 2 tbsp of toasted sesame oil.
  4. Add your minced garlic and let it start to get brown. After about 2-3 minutes, add your chicken and continue to turn it while it's cooking so it can start to get a little brown on all sides.
  5. After about 5 minutes, add the cabbage and stir until it starts to soften. Add 1 more tbsp of sesame oil at this point if the cabbage seems dry at all.
  6. Then turn the stove down to low and add your spices.
Notes
  1. SALT- I used 1 1/2 tsp of salt but my hubby thought it might be a little much. Test it with 1 tsp and you can always add more if you'd like.
  2. Again, feel free to play around and add a can of coconut milk, roasted cashews, cilantro, ginger, or whatever you would like.
  3. You could also use a rotisserie chicken if time is really short.
Stir It Up! http://stiritup.me/

  • Sarah - Good quick recipe. I actually used one of those bowls of TJ’s “healthy veggies” vs the cabbage and it turned out very well. I also had a bit of leftover coconut milk that I tossed in at the end.ReplyCancel

    • landriav - Thanks! Love your additions Sarah!!ReplyCancel