Thursday, March 31, 2011

Easy Cheesy Chicken Bake (sugar free • gluten free • low carb • gaps)

This recipe comes out moist and flavorful every time. The coconut flour used to bread the chicken adds a great flavor and doesn't dry things out.

First I mix together my coconut flour, freshly grated colby cheese, freshly grated parmesan cheese, garlic powder and onion powder.

In another bowl I melt butter and add in garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper. I pound out my chicken breasts, salt and pepper them, dip them in the butter, and then into my coconut flour mixture. I line them up in a glass baking dish.

I bake them in the oven for 35 minutes.

I top each one with more freshly grated colby cheese and then place back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

They finish up looking toasty around the edges with the cheese all melty and gooey. Lots of things are better with melty gooey cheese on top. Atleast in my opinion.

Easy Cheesy Chicken Bake

  • 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 3/4 C Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 C freshly grated Colby cheese, plus extra for topping at the end (or whatever cheese you want to use really)
  • 1/4 C freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 Tb Garlic Powder, divided
  • 1/2 Tb Onion Powder
  • Black Pepper, to taste
  • Sea Salt, to taste
  • 1/4 C Butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Butter up a 9x13 glass baking dish.
  3. Mix together, the coconut flour, colby cheese, parmesan cheese, 1/2 Tb of garlic powder and the onion powder in a bowl.
  4. In another bowl, combine the melted butter, 1/2 Tb garlic powder, sea salt and black pepper.
  5. Trim, rinse, pound out, then salt and pepper chicken breasts.
  6. Dip the chicken breasts into the butter mixture and then coat with coconut flour mixture.
  7. Place in buttered baking dish and bake uncovered for 35 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and top with grated colby cheese, then return to oven for another 10 minutes.
  9. Enjoy!

In the pictures, I only made three pieces of chicken, but my recipe amounts are for four.

This is part of Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday and Monday Mania Carnival.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy Thoughts...

It's been a good day today. Which I needed, as the last couple of weeks of utter exhaustion, crazy busy scene at work, the munchkin's teething and other things I won't bore you with, have taken its toll and I needed a good day of reprieve. So I am going to take a moment to brag about some stuff that is making my happy today. It's the little things after all.

I got some sleep last night. Other then my usual 4:00 trip to the potty room (this has been going on ever since I gave birth), I slept soundly through the night.

Our new bed (with the help of the mattress topper) has finally allowed me to wake up without any back pain, shoulder pain or hip pain. That, coupled with some good sleep, has made me feel like a new woman today.

The Munchkin has slept really well the last two nights even though she has several teeth all pushing through at once. She gets pretty crabby about it towards the end of the day, but somehow it isn't affecting her sleep too much (for now).

The next book in the Earth Children Series by Jean Auel FINALLY came out yesterday. It's the sixth book in a series that has been in the works for over thirty years. I am sad the reviews haven't been that great, but I absolutely loved the others, especially the first 2, so I am ready to read the last book and finish the series. I ordered my copy and it should be in my hands by Friday. I have been waiting for this book for YEARS. And I am flippin excited about it.

Our "Parents as Teachers" representative came over last night and gave the munchkin her DENVER test. She is doing great and for that I am thankful.

We had bought a new comforter for our bed a couple of weeks ago and its been balled up in the corner waiting to be washed. It doesn't fit in our washer, so I have been trying to figure out how I am going to wash it. Here were my thoughts... "Should I take it to the laundry mat?" "The dry cleaner?" "How far out of the way is it gonna be?" "I don't have time for this shit!" Then I got a coupon in the mail from a dry cleaner that just happened to be right on the way to my work (don't even have to turn on another street) for washing a comforter for a really cheap price. Hot dog. I dropped it off this morning.

I have three dates planned with three of my girlfriends in the upcoming days. One is coming to visit me tonight. We will hang out at my house and sip on some wine. Another is meeting me for sushi tomorrow night at my favorite sushi restaurant. Good company, sushi and wine... need I say more? And Saturday night another good friend and her hubby are coming over for dinner and a little fire in the fire pit. We are supposed to have nice weather here this weekend.

The sun is shining. It has been awfully gloomy around here the past couple of days.

So I am going to enjoy and relish this day. I am going to be grateful for the little things that come along and tomorrow, when things go back to normal, I'll try to remember today.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Apparantly Sleeping is Just Not in the Cards for Me....

So for the past six months or so our bed has turned against us. Its definitely been around for a while, and although it was once a very comfortable nest, it had become something we dreaded getting into. Mostly because we knew that when we woke up, we would be riddled with back pain, shoulder pain and hip pain. I would also wake up every hour or two and need to reposition myself. And forget about ever sleeping in, the longer you were in it, the more sore you were the next day. So we finally caved and decided to fork over the money and get a new one.

Of course, we couldn't afford the one we REALLY wanted, which was a Tempur-pedic. I can't believe how much money they want for those damn things! They may very well be worth it, but if you don't have the money, then you don't have the money. After lots of research, price shopping and review reading, I settled on one that fit our budget and would hopefully give us a better night's rest. We waited a week and it was delivered to our door step. At first we thought it was the best thing in the world, and it was definitely more comfortable then our previous bed, but after a few nights we realized this bed was FIRM. Seriously way too firm for us. It was supportive and all, but we needed some cushion! My back pain was gone, but my hips were aching all day long now. So then I started researching memory foam toppers to go on top of it. I shopped around, picked one out, two days later (last Thursday) it was on the bed.

We realized right away that it was now just right for us. It was kinda like sleeping on a cloud and we loved laying on it. About the same time, the munchkin had started getting 6-8 teeth in all at the same time, so comfy or not, we were still up quite a bit with a very unhappy little girl. She never needed us to actually come into her room, but throughout the whole night she would wake up and groan or cry out and would in turn, wake me up. I feel so bad for her. Every time I get ready to head in there, she falls back asleep or gets really quiet. So I am caught in the hallway wondering what to do.

Yesterday, she seemed like she was feeling better. Maybe I was finally going to get a good night's sleep! I went to bed early even, so I could catch up. I have been feeling like such a zombie lately... I really needed some rest! I actually made it into bed around 9:30, which is a record for me these days. I must have been utterly exhausted because I don't even remember laying there for long. I was out like a light.

Next thing you know, I am vibrating and bumping around to some really loud and heavy bass. I look over at my clock and it's 1:45 am. Awe man... and I was sleeping so good for a change! I thought, It can't last too long, then I can go back to sleep. So I waited. I waited 15 minutes and started to get super pissed. Plus, I was afraid they were going to wake up the munchkin who was finally getting some good sleep herself. I got out of bed, went to the front door and peeked out the window. The neighbor's kid was sitting in his car across the street, no doubt smoking pot and listening to techno music. So I have nothing against pot, nor techno music for that matter (I've seen and enjoyed plenty of both back in my day), but wtf?! Its now 2:00 am and if you are gonna smoke pot in your car outside, don't you want to be a little more discreet about it? I started flashing my front porch light, hoping that it would get his attention and he would realize he was messing with people's sleep. Nothing. I realized if I wanted to go back to sleep any time soon I was going to have to brave the cold and walk my happy ass over there. So I pulled on some sweat pants, shoes and a coat and marched myself over there.

As I got closer to his car, I could see the window was rolled down half way and could smell the weed. Seriously, this kid is like 18 years old. How dumb do you have to be to combine smoking pot out in your car and really really loud bass at 2:00 am. Are we trying to attract attention to this or what? I walked straight up to his car and banged on his window as hard and fast as I could. He leaped up in his chair, started flaring his arms around, while a look of total and utter panic swept over his face. His reaction alone, almost made me feel better. I seriously scared the shit out of him.

He looked out at me "You scared the crap out of me!". I replied, "I can hear your bass in my bedroom." He said, breathing really heavy and with a shaking voice, "I am so so sorry!" I told him to just turn it down and started walking back to my house as he apologized again. I could hear him shutting off his car and the night was finally silent again. I kicked off my shoes, my pants and my coat along the path back to my bedroom and couldn't wait to get back to sleep. Joe was still out, of course, that guy can sleep through anything.

As my head hit the pillow and I closed my eyes, I started to hear another really loud sound. That little asshole's car alarm was going off! You have got to be kidding me! I laid there for a few minutes, thinking surely he is going to turn it off soon. Ten minutes later, it was still going on and I am not gonna lie, I was pretty much fuming at this point. And my husband was still sleeping! I went to the front door and peeked out. There was no one in the car. Apparently, they couldn't hear the alarm going off from inside their house (he doesn't park his car in front of his own house).

So back to the bedroom and I am waking up Joe. How that man can even still be sleeping through all of this is amazing to me and damnit, I was not going to deal with it by myself any longer. Joe gets up, puts on his coat and heads across the street. As soon as he gets to the door and knocks, the kids bedroom light shuts off. Joe waits, nothing, he knocks again, nothing. He just stands there for a while. Personally, I would be ringing the doorbell AND banging on the door. I might even be yelling too. I would not care if his parent's were woken up. Luckily for them, Joe is way more laid back then me. No one ever comes, Joe gives up and heads back home. At this time, the car alarm is starting to slow down, sputter and cut out as the battery power starts to run out. Then it stops. Finally.

We headed back to the bedroom and crawled into the bed. It was now almost 3:00am. Thanks jerk. Another night of crappy sleep.

So I am hoping, really really hoping, that I might actually get some good sleep tonight. If I don't, I am just gonna call in sick to work one of these days, have Joe take the munchkin to the sitter and just stay home in bed ALL day long!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Roasted Sunchokes, Brussel Sprouts and Carrots (sugar free • gluten free • low carb)

Roasting in the oven is a wonderful way to enjoy vegetables during the winter and to help heat up your kitchen a little. While winter comes back for (hopefully) one last visit before spring is here for good, last night I decided to cook up the bag of Jerusalem artichokes I had picked up earlier in the week. Also known as the sunroot, sunchoke or earth apple.

They are some gnarly looking fellas... almost like ginger roots. Their names are misleading, as they are not from Jerusalem, nor are they artichokes. They were a Native American staple but are now more popular in Europe. They are the tubers of a plant that is related to, and similar in looks to, a sunflower. They were actually linked to leprosy at one point and shunned only because they looked similar to the deformed fingers of people with the disease. Ewe. Now that you have worked up an appetite, maybe I should tell you about some of its more appealing attributes.

Sunchokes (I like this name for them best) are very rich in inulin (not insulin), a carbohydrate which is linked to good intestinal health because of its prebiotic properties. This also breaks down as fructose in the body, instead of glucose, which makes this a great substitution for potatoes for diabetics. They are a good source of Thiamin, Phosphorus and Potassium and an excellent source of Iron.

They can be cooked and eaten just like potatoes except sunchokes can actually be eaten raw. Slice them thin and try them in a salad, dips or salsa. They have a somewhat nutty flavor, somewhere between an artichoke heart and a sunflower seed, and are similar in texture to a water chestnut.

One warning: Apparently they can make you a little gassy. Maybe not. Maybe don't eat a half a pound on your first try. Just sayin.

I decided to cook them up with some brussel sprouts (which I have been obsessed with lately) and some carrots. First scrub the sunchokes under running water with a brush and cut them into 1/2" to 1" cubes. Leave the skins on. Next, trim off the ends of the brussel sprouts and halve them. Clean, peel and cut up your carrots. Toss everything together in a bowl with a generous amount of olive oil and sea salt.

Lightly coat a cookie sheet with more olive oil. Then Spread the vegetables in a single layer on the pan. It's okay if they are touching, but try not to have them on top of each other. Sprinkle more salt across them.

After 15 minutes, remove pan and stir everything around, then return to even. Repeat every 15 minutes until the veggies have cooked for 45 min - 1 hour. They will be browned and crispy on the edges when they are done.

Put the veggies in a bowl and add a few tablespoons of butter and grated parmesan cheese (don't add too much cheese, just sprinkle some around).

Serve immediately and enjoy!

This Recipe is part of Food Renegade's, Fight Back Friday

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Steak Butter (sugar free • gluten free • low carb • gaps)

I love me some steak butter! The first time I ever had it, it was at one of our favorite steak restaurants served on top of filets. Then I used to always buy it at the meat market when we would would pick up steaks. After I realized I can make my own even better, I usually do. I make up a big batch and keep it in the fridge. Here's my quick, basic recipe.

Steak Butter
  • 1/2 C (1 stick) Butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Minced Onion
  • 1/4 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly Cracked Black Pepper

Mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl.

Move to a smaller dish with a lid and store in fridge for several hours before using.

Easy Peasy.

Cook up your steak and serve topped with the steak butter. Yum!
You could also use it to rub all over your steak before cooking it.
It's also delicious on bread.
Or licked right off of a spoon. Just kidding (sort of).

Anyone else make their own steak butter? Any recipe suggestions?

Also, if anyone is interested in learning more about fats and oils and what you should be cooking with and why, here is a really great article I found that really summed things up in an easy to understand way with references for more information.

The Complete Guide to Fats and Oils - What to Cook With (or not), What to Avoid and Why.

This is part of the Nourishing Gourmet's Pennywise Platter

Monday, March 21, 2011


The weather outside is making it really hard to work today. I just want to sneak out and play! It's also got me making lists everywhere! Spring cleaning anyone? Seems like there's so much to do all of a sudden after being dormant for most of the winter.

Yesterday, Joe was on a roll, and as exhausted as I was, I had to try to keep up as that rarely happens. Not that he's lazy, he's just always so busy between work and school. He fixed a couple of things around the house and then asked me if I wanted to clean out all of the Munchkin's clothes that were too small for her so we could put away all of the new stuff I had picked up for her on Saturday. This was HIS idea! The thought of him possibly taking some sort of speed did cross my mind. Granted, he is the one who gets her dressed in the morning and it would definitely make things easier, but still, I couldn't believe it! He also asked me this as I was mid cleaning out the refrigerator, which I had thought was my last chore for the day. Boo.

So we removed everything she had grown out of. Which turned out to be pretty much everything. Since I haven't done this in a while, we filled up two huge tubs. Now her closet and drawers are practically empty with what little I picked up for her over the weekend. She was down to only a few things left that would (sorta) fit her and knowing how much it was going to cost, we had been putting it off. This weekend though was the annual Give and Get program and I had a 30% off my entire order at Gap and Old Navy (while supporting a wildlife protection agency, bonus!). I scoured the clearance and sale items, and with my coupon I managed to get her quite a few really cute things for some really great deals. Score! I mostly bought 24 mos and 2T. I can't believe she is already wearing 2T! Girlfriend is tall though and although the clothes may be a bit loose on her, they work and will last longer then if I bought her more 18-24 mos stuff. Now I don't have to feel so bad sending her to the sitter with her belly hanging out and ankles showing. I might have also found a pair of pants for myself. Just one. Maybe a pair of earrings too. Oh and some socks. Ya know, things I NEED.

I also felt really guilty about all of the clothes we packed away that she had never even worn or had only worn once or twice. What a waste of money! I am going to try to mostly only get her stuff that will be worn on a regular basis, that she can mix and match more and really try to avoid those super tempting adorable dresses that cost too much and aren't very practical. Sigh. Well, maybe just a few dresses.

I also have a stack of clothes that I am going to donate. Like ones people gave us that we didn't really like. You know the ones. I just can't dress her in the frilly stuff with doilies hanging off. It's just not her thing. The munchkin has standards. Plus Joe likes to dress her in the mornings in things he thinks she will be comfortable in while she takes her nap. He doesn't want her to be uncomfortable while napping! I think it's cute he even thinks of that stuff.

So tonight, maybe I'll try to check some more things off that to do list. Maybe while I am on a roll with clothes, I'll go through mine. How does spring bring about such an impulse and need to get a million things done right away?

I'll just sit outside and enjoy this weather instead with a nice glass of wine after the munchkin goes to bed.

Yes I think that plan sounds much better.

Danger of GMOs

I hate being a debbie downer, but this video is something everyone should watch. I don't know about you, but I am sick and tired of being a guinea pig all for money and greed. Seriously.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

A Day at the Park

Spring is finally here! I called up my sister, we grabbed our families and took the girls to the park today. They had a blast!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My New Lens Finally Came In!!

My new lens finally came in the mail today! It's been on back order for what seems like forever. I actually wasn't expecting it for a few more weeks, so getting it earlier was pretty fantastic. Here's some pics I shot with it. Obviously I am a big ametuer, but I gotta say, these didn't turn out half bad!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend!

Friday, March 18, 2011

A Birthday Party and Some Fun With the Cousins!

Last weekend we went to my friend Gina's son's bday party. The munchkin had a blast. I couldn't believe how much fun she was having! It was a big room with HUGE inflatable slides, bounce houses, animals, really just a bunch of stuff to run around on and jump in and on.

It was definitely her idea of the perfect party.

It was fun playing around in there with my new camera. The lighting was so weird due to all of the crazy colors reflecting off of everything and the fluorescent lights, but it's all a learning process.

On a side note, my new lens that I have been waiting for and that has been on backorder forever has finally shipped!! I should have it by Monday. Yay!!

Here she is peering into the entrance of one of the giant slides.

Crawling around checking things out.

She's always been a sucker for a ball pit.

It was fun for us too! We got to carry her up and slide down with her.

After a few times, she was even brave enough to climb up on her own.
We still slid down with her though.

Crawling through an obstacle course...

Here's Gina and her adorable little man G. Seriously, how cute are they?

The munchkin just loves to feed people.
Here she is sharing her crackers with another little girl.

Snuggling up with daddy.

She pulled some "food" out of Joe's shirt and fed it to Michele (that's her new thing).
I bet Michele loved eating whatever was found in Joe's shirt.

Feeding dad.

She was so wiped out after the party. We came home, ate lunch and she crashed. I think I thanked Gina and her hubs B for planning a party at 10:00am, several times. It might seem early to some but it really couldn't have been more perfect for us. The munchkin takes a nap like clockwork every day at 1:00. And girlfriend gets crabby if things are thrown off schedule. Seriously crabby. The party was from 10am-12pm, and after going home and eating lunch, she was down for her nap by 1:00.

Sunday my family came over for dinner. Both of my sisters came and brought their girls. My parents and my grandparents were in attendance as well. I love it when all of the girls get together. The munchkin has so much fun with them.

Here's her oldest cousin Aubrey. Isn't she sweet?

Starting from the back left, The Munchkin and her (6 weeks) younger cousin Q (Amy's daughter), then in the front Aubrey, who will be 4 in June and Alex, who just turned 2 in December (Erin's girls).

I am excited for the munchkin. She gets to grow up with all her cousins, so close in age and living so close by. Me and my sisters are pretty close with one another, so these kids are gonna be together alot!

It's amazing how much destruction four little girls can do to a house. By the end of the evening, it definitely looked as if a small tornado had made its way through our home! Ahhh to have that kind of energy again!

I am so glad it's Friday. It's been a long hellish week at work and I am so ready for the weekend. My bestie Anna has agreed to blow off work early and meet me for some retail therapy. I am really excited! I haven't seen her much lately and I miss her gobs. Plus she's pregnant and I need to rub her belly. We are going to head to the outlet mall to hit up Gap and Old Navy with our 30% off coupons. I haven't bought the munchkin clothes in a while either and poor girl is looking sad with her short pants and belly-showin-out-the-bottom shirts. We went to a friends house last night and I caught grief for her super short skirt. Yeah it was a 12 months skirt... I still thought it was cute. Ooops. Hopefully I can stock up on some new clothes for her this weekend!

Happy Friday Everyone!!