Venturing out

So one good thing about this whole real foods adventure is that it is forcing me to be more creative not only eating out but also in the kitchen. I am trying to find ways to eat less meat since that is what is recommended, and also it gets expensive buying organic meat. I came across a recipe for Quinoa Zucchini Fritters, I have never made fritters before, but I had all the ingredients already and thought why not?! OH….MY….GOODNESS!!!

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These are my new favorite! They were so delicious and filling! The crispiness on the outside and then the cheesy goodness on the inside….yum! I am not goonna lie, the husband  looked at me like ‘this is what we are really having for dinner??’ But he even thoroughly enjoyed them (or was nice enough to eat them and say he loved it for my sake 😉 ). They take a little time to prep, which I am finding is going to be something I am just going to have to get used to in this whole process, but they make 12 fritters. It was even better for my lunch the next day!

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Parmesan Zucchini Fritters

Ingredients: 

  1. 3 medium zucchini, grated
  2. 1/2 cup quinoa
  3. 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  4. 1 egg
  5. 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  6. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  7. salt and pepper

Directions: 

  1. Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl. Toss the grated zucchini with salt and place in the strainer. Allow zucchini to sit about 12 minutes, then press and squeeze all water from zucchini. Repeat the process, tossing with an additional salt and allowing zucchini to sit an additional 10 minutes. Again press and squeeze all water from zucchini.
  2.  Bring 1 cup of water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 6-9 minutes
  3. Combine zucchini, quinoa, parmesan, egg, thyme, garlic powder, and black pepper. Scoop small handfuls of the zucchini mixture and form small, round patties.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the fritters to the pan and allow to cook until edges begin to turn golden, about 4-6 minutes. Flip with a spatula and cook about 4 minutes more.
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Sometimes I am lazy in the kitchen….

So far the hardest part of this whole “real” food adventure is the planning. After cooking all week, planning and prepping for each meal, I just did not feel like doing it all weekend either. There are times where I just want to be lazy in the kitchen. So I pulled the contents of my fridge and came up with a quick an easy meal that can be done for breakfast or lunch or really even dinner, a frittata! I sauteed a red pepper and an onion in some olive oil until translucent, added 8 beaten eggs, sprinkled with goat cheese and baked at 350 for 15 mins. And that was it! Meal was done! I felt accomplished.

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Later that afternoon we went to a friends house for an oyster roast, and I wanted to contribute an appetizer I knew I could eat. I was drawing a blank….either it required to be hot and in the oven, or required a lot of preparation that clearly I was not feeling. Then it hit me…..Brie drizzled with honey, sprinkled with pecans and served with apple slices! This will be my new go to app. Easy, simple, and a crowd pleaser!!

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Whats your favorite lazy recipe?!

Honey Spiced Chicken Thighs

When I buy chicken at the grocery store, I always just go for the boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Why? Well I am not really sure, its what I have always done. I have cooking chicken breasts down to a science; slice them in half length wise, heat olive oil in a pan over med heat, cook for 5 mins on each side and you have a perfect chicken breast! So while grocery shopping the other day, you can imagine my shock when I arrive at the meat section to find no organic chicken breasts available….. Standing there a little stunned, I was faced with 3 options:

1. Change my whole dinner plan completely (not gonna happen, already had groceries in the cart)

2. Buy organic chicken wings (ehh)

3. Buy organic chicken thighs

Clearly, I went with option number 3. I have never bought chicken thighs before and was really unsure as to what to do with them, but I was planning on baking my chicken so figured it couldn’t be that much of a difference. Oh my! What have I been missing out on?! Seriously this chicken was the best chicken I have ever fixed! It was tender, it was juicy, it had a little sweetness followed by a kick of spiciness.  This is a definite must try! Serve it with cauliflower rice and sauteed asparagus and you have a perfect “real” food meal!

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Speaking of which, so far week 1 of no processed hasn’t been too difficult. Definitely more planning and cooking involved, which for the most part I enjoy 😉 .  I have been making smoothies for breakfast and making double the portions of dinner, so I can take the left overs for lunch! Hopefully week 2 will be as easy as the first has been….we shall see…..

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Honey Spiced Chicken Thighs:

Adapted from: Budgetbytes

Ingredients:

  1. 4 Chicken thighs
  2. 3 tablespoons honey
  3. 1 tablespoon cider vinegar (I used a little less then a full tablespoon)
  4. 1 tsp chili powder
  5. 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  6. pinch of paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper
  7. Salt and pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, combine everything except the chicken thighs (honey, cider vinegar, chili powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cayenne, cumin, and salt). Stir until combined.
  2. Place the chicken thighs either on a baking sheet and brush the honey spice mixture over the surface of the chicken thighs, using about half of the total honey mixture.
  3. Roast the chicken thighs for about 20 minutes. Remove the chicken thighs from the oven and use the remaining honey spice mixture to brush on a second coat. Return the chicken to the oven and roast for another 20 minutes.

Bye bye processed foods

So this year for lent I am giving up processed foods.  After watching the movie Food Inc. and recently finishing the book, “In Defense of Food” by Michael Pollan, I have decided its time to really cut out a lot of the food thats actually not food. I have learned so much on this topic, its even turned my husband away from certain foods. For one, we will NEVER ever eat subway again, I just cant do it (wont spoil it for subway lovers). And yes for about a year now, I have been that crazy person in the grocery store standing in the aisle, reading the ingredients. But when we go out to dinner or we travel, I am not as conscious as to what I am putting into my body. My guildines are based off of the 100daysofrealfood.com site. So here goes the next 40 days…….

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Luckily the first meal of this no processed ordeal is actually something I cook all the time and is one of my favorites! I LOVE curry. I have found that most people either love curry or hate it. Luckily the husband loves it as well (or at least pretends to enjoy it). Not only does this dish taste phenomenal, look how pretty it is! Served over brown rice and this is a very satisfying “real” food dinner.  Maybe this wont be such a hard 40 days after all……

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Chicken Curry

Ingredients: 

  1. 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  2. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  3. 1 15oz can coconut milk (full fat and organic for real food)
  4. 2 chicken breasts cut into pieces
  5. 1 tablespoon curry powder
  6. 4 bell peppers of any color, chopped
  7. 1 leek, chopped
  8. 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium high heat, saute olive oil and curry paste, pressing the paste into the oil for 1 minute.
  2. While that sautes, combine chicken, curry powder, salt & pepper in a small bowl and toss to coat. Set aside.
  3. Add half the coconut milk into the pan and whisk together until it’s incorporated with the curry paste. Then add remaining coconut milk and simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Add seasoned chicken and cook for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add vegetables and cilantro, stir, cover and cook for about 5-7 more minutes until chicken is fully cooked.
  6. Serve over brown rice and garnish with additional cilantro.

Honey Cashew Chicken

Chinese food is my all time favorite food.  I could seriously eat it all day every day, and it does not help that PF  Changs is right across the street from our house! But the reality is my favorite chinese food is not a healthy choice to eat everyday.  So when I am craving the deliciousness of chinese takeout and feeling the laziness of ordering in, this is my go to recipe.

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Oh my this satisfies every taste bud! The sweetness from the honey and the spiciness from the Sriracha (which if this is not part of your pantry it should be!) really brings this dish together.  And its so easy to make! It takes less time to make this then to call in and pick up chinese takeout. I added way more veggies to this dish then chicken and served with brown rice.

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If you are a lover of chinese food like me, then is a definite must try!!

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Honey Cashew Chicken 

Adapted from Cooking Light:

Ingredients:

– 1 Chicken breasts cut into small cubes

– 1 tablespoon olive oil

– 2 cups broccoli florets

-1 zucchini cubed

– 1 red pepper diced

– 1 onion chopped

– 1 cup of baby bella mushrooms

– 1/4 cup cashews

– 3 tablespoons honey

-1 tablespoon rice vinegar

-2 tablespoons soy sauce

-1 tablespoon Sriracha (and if you are like us more for topping!)

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper

2. Heat a large skillet over medium- high heat. Add olive oil. Once hot add the chicken mixture and saute for 4 minutes or until lightly browned. Add all the veggies to the pan and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are crisp-tender and chicken is done. Stir in cashews

3. Combine the honey, vinegar, soy sauce and sriracha in a small bowl and whisk together. Pour over chicken and veggie mixture. Cook until thickened and serve over rice!