Chicken Avocado Salad

Posted on Sep 16, 2013 | Comments Off

Several years ago, during my husband’s second deployment, a girlfriend decided that I desperately needed a day of fun. We spent the morning wandering around Pike’s Place Market in Seattle and found a very random little bistro overlooking the waterfront for lunch. It was a pretty, sunny late summer day- the type that just calls for very fresh food. I had an absolutely delicious chicken salad sandwich that has resulted in random cravings ever since. I live far from the Seattle waterfront now but this easy, satisfying but light meal can made with ingredients that are typically already in my kitchen.

Chicken Avocado Salad

ingredients

1 cup shredded/cubed cooked chicken

1/2 avocado

1/4 cup (or a small handful) grapes (red are prettier, but I ususally have green)

juice of half a lime

Red Pepper Chili Flakes, to taste

Salt and Pepper, to taste

 

method

  1. Mash avocado coarsely (I like to leave chunks) and season to taste with salt and pepper. Add lime juice and stir to distribute.
  2. Add chicken and combine until mixed.
  3. Stir grapes in gently so they aren’t crushed.
  4. Season with chili flakes to taste. I like a solid pinch for  a little spice.

*serves 2*

When I’m doing a Whole30, I eat this chicken salad just like this on it’s own. It makes a great snack to have in the fridge. I prefer it chilled so the grapes have some snap to provide texture. When I’m not mid-Whole30, this salad is absolutely to die for on a brioche roll. It’s not bad in a lettuce wrap either. 

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Weekly Menu- Whole30 Week 2

Posted on Sep 15, 2013 | Comments Off

 

  weekly menu button

Now that I’ve muscled past the blahs and tiredness of Days 2-5, round number three of Whole30 is looking up. It is SO much easier when I’m not having to cook non-Whole30 dinners for my husband. The funniest part has been realizing that aside from dairy and the occaisional sandwich, my 4 year old’s diet is already pretty on the money- his favorite snacks are fruits and veggies, he loves salad, and he can always be counted on to the protein in a meal.

For week 2, I’m adding back more of my workout- I just didn’t have the energy in week 1- so I’ve included more sweet potato, mostly at lunch which I eat shortly before going to the gym.

  Whole30 Grocery shopping

Curious what it costs to eat like this? Including all of my produce for the work, all of my protein except the steak (which I have in my freezer), some odds and ends for my son’s lunches, some spices I finished (about $12 worth) and a couple household items, I spent just under $100. I generally grocery shop once a week with some carry over on my staples- salad makings, sweet potatoes, frozen vegetables and coconut/almond milk. Typically, I spend between 75 and 85 on just food (not counting household items) for my son and I (my husband is off being Army strong at the moment). When I’m not doing a whole30, I spend about $60 a week, sometimes less if I’ve gone to Sam’s Club or Costco for my produce.

  Whole30 button

**I plan a handful of  breakfasts and lunches for the week and rotate. I choose 6 meals a week, plan on leftovers one night and choose the morning of based on our schedule and what I feel like having**

Breakfasts

egg scramble (with whatever vegetables

taco omelet

fruit

Lunches

Cauliflower Leek Soup

Sweet Potato Hash

Crockpot Chicken and Sweet Potato

Chicken and Avocado Salad

Dinners

Shepard’s Pie

Zucchini Crust Pizza

Tuscan Chicken Soup

Roasted Chicken with roasted broccoli

Brussels Sprouts Stir Fry

Steak and Salad (with fries for my little one by his request)

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Cauliflower Leek Soup

Posted on Sep 15, 2013 | 2 comments

cauliflowerleeksoup copy

 

The perfect “creamy” soup for the dairy-free foodie

This soup’s simple ingredients and fuss free preparation are no indication of its sheer fabulousness. We’re still in the upper 90s here in central Texas but this soup from Awkward Girl Gets Fit (with a couple small changes) left me wanting to curl up with a mug of soup and a blanket. A quick saute of the cauliflower before you add the broth brings out the nutty flavor of the cauliflower. 

Cauliflower Leek Soup

ingredients

2 slices bacon

2 leeks, cleaned and sliced

1 small head of cauliflower, broken into florets

2 cups chicken stock

1/2 cup coconut milk (optional- I left this out)

1 clove garlic, finely minced

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1 tsp Smoked Paprika

method

  1. Slice the bacon in half-inch pieces and heat over medium to medium high heat. You want crispy, well cooked bacon to provide a textural contrast to the soup. Take your time and let it cook slowly. Move bacon to a paper towel to drain.
  2. Add sliced leeks and garlic to the rendered bacon fat and cook until it begins to go translucent.
  3. Add the cauliflower and saute for a 2-3 minutes before adding stock and seasonings.
  4. Simmer until cauliflower is tender and remove from heat.
  5. Use immersion blender, blend until smooth.
  6. Adjust seasonings as needed and serve topped with crispy bacon!

 

linked up over at Loving A Soldier’s Focus on Family

”Focus

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Tuscan Chicken Soup

Posted on Sep 13, 2013 | 2 comments

 Easy, delicious and Whole30 compliant, this vegetable filled twist on chicken soup surprised me by being both tasty and filling.

 

tuscanchickensoup

ingredients

1 tbsp fat of choice (I used coconut oil)

1/2 large yellow onion

2 carrrots, peeled and diced

2 stalks celery, trimmed and diced

1 zucchini, diced

large handful kale, chopped

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp thyme

4 cups chicken broth

salt and pepper to taste

 

method

  1. heat fat of choice over med low heat, adding onion, carrots and celery. Cover and reduce heat to low and let vegetables sweat for 20 minutes.
  2. Add zucchini, seasonings and broth and bring to simmer. Cook until zucchini is tender.
  3. Add kale, stirring to combine and cook until kale is just starting to wilt (1-2 minutes).

 

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The everyday cost of war

Posted on Sep 11, 2013 | 2 comments

*this isn’t a recipe, it isn’t a work out. But I put tremendous energy into my families’ food because it is a tangible way that we care for each other and such a basic building block of our lives. My Authentic Plate is built around the challenges I face and what I do with them. And this is a challenge we deal with every day.*

Bedtime when Daddy is TDY

Bedtime when Daddy is TDY

 

On a bright, late summer day a few weeks ago, I loaded my 4 year old into the car and headed up the road to our neighborhood Target to finish up his school supply shopping. He’s starting pre-K at the local elementary school so this first year of gathering pencils and construction paper is extra exciting and a little bittersweet.

But I didn’t expect my little guy to bring my day to a screeching, heartbreaking stop on that 6 minute drive.

As I pulled out of our neighborhood, in the middle of his normal stream-of-consciousness babble, he asked me “what is a bomb?”

Me: “It’s something that explodes, buddy, why?”

Him: “Why did the bad guys put a bomb on Daddy’s soldier b-ehicle?” (he has trouble with his Vs)

Me: “What are you talking about, bud?”

Him: “The bad guys put a bomb on Daddy’s truck because they wanted him to die. Why did they want him to die?”

I’ll be honest. I had a moment there while driving where I had no idea where I was or what was going on. The only thing I could think about was the fact that our pre-schooler had apparently overheard us, or his Dad while at work (he’s gone into the office with him a couple times recently), talking about his injuries down range.

We talked a little bit about how sometimes for his job, Daddy went far away to help people be safe. And that sometimes people did bad things that we didn’t like (like hitting when my friend won’t share the legos?, he asked).

By the time we got to Target and were getting out of the car, his busy brain had moved on to the exciting prospect of an Icee and new crayons.

My mind and my heart were stuck back in that moment. The realization that our son, on some level, understood that what his idolized Daddy does for a living is dangerous, that he could die. Even if he doesn’t really understand what dying means. And my heart cracked a little on that brief, sunny drive with the sun roof open and the radio on.

Every day on the news, the political blogs, in social media, we are reminded of the financial costs of war. As budgets are cut and belts tightened, we watch politicians sigh and moan over dollars and contracts. They argue and debate the costs of war.

But to experience the true cost of war, they need to help a wounded warrior learn to walk with his prosthetic. They need to watch the recently redeployed soldier struggle to reintegrate with her children while they all battle difficult, conflicting emotions. They need to go with the new widow as she tries to decide where to go with her life now that it is been irrevocably and permanently altered.

And they need to sit in that car and explain to my happy, sensitive, suddenly too serious 4 year old exactly why it is that someone made a bomb to kill his daddy and why he goes there any way.

THEN, they can go back to their wheeling and dealing and posturing for the cameras while they add and subtract the cost of war.

 

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What is Whole30?

Posted on Sep 10, 2013 | 7 comments

My facebook, twitter and instagram followers have been enjoying references to my just-started round of Whole 30 for the last several days. I received a twitter DM yesterday asking me “ummm….what is it? and WHY?”

  Whole30 button

If you want the full details, check out Whole9Life’s Start Here page.

The short version is that it is a whole food focused approach to maximum nutritional support. There are many, many things that we eat that are fine in moderation, as treats. With the Whole30, you’re eliminating those “less healthy” items- which includes the primary foods that cause physiological reactions.

Briefly, I fill my plate with meat, seafood, eggs, vegetables, fruit and healthy fat sources like coconut, avocado and olive oil.

I do not eat sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes and dairy.

There is no eating out. No convenience options except the ones I prepare myself.

This is my third round of Whole30. I know that I feel great for the first day, have an energy crash on the second (today) and third day, and then begin a slow climb to feeling great. My biggest challenge? being prepared, having snack options on hand that don’t require prep, and DRINKS. Not the alcoholic version but hot tea, sweet tea, the occasional soda. I don’t consume ALOT but after a couple of days I’m having to choke down water to prevent dehydration.

Now, I always drink a solid amount of water- but its interspersed with mainly hot tea and sweet tea. Its the drinks that I miss the most and battle cravings for when doing a month of Whole30.

I’m posting all of my meals and snacks on instagram and working on getting my recipes typed up. Don’t worry- I still insist on eating WELL when I’m eating right.

 

day1dinner

 

 

The

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Honey Sesame Chicken

Posted on Aug 25, 2013 | 3 comments

honey sesame chicken

While this dish has a little too much honey to be something we would eat on a regular basis, it is a fabulous fake-out dinner when we’re wanting a treat.

Honey Sesame Chicken

ingredients

4 chicken breasts, chopped

3/4 c honey

1/4 c tamari (soy sauce)

1/2 yellow onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 c chicken broth

2 tbsp coconut oil

salt and pepper

sesame seeds

method

  1. heat coconut oil over med hi heat, saute garlic and onion
  2. chop chicken into bite size pieces and add to pan.
  3. Add honey, tomato paste, chicken broth, tamari, salt and pepper.
  4. Turn down to medium low, cover and let simmer, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through and the sauce begins to thicken, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add sesame seeds (I used 2 1/2 tbsp) and mix until evenly distributed.
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