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(Paleo!) Chicken Soup

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I decided to come home for the weekend and it is cold.  And also my dad’s fridge was completely empty and he is out of town until later tonight.  So I decided that today would be a great day to make my chicken soup because it’s super ridiculously easy and we had some of the ingredients on hand.  And noooooow, I am going to have to cook again because my (non-Paleo, mind you) family helped me eat the whole pot.

So, on a cold day when you’re craving some chicken noodle soup – make this.  I promise you won’t even miss the noodles. My carb-loving sister says she didn’t even miss the noodles.

Paleo Chicken Soup

  • 8 cups chicken stock/broth (look for a “clean” chicken stock if you don’t make it yourself – no added sugar)
  • 2 medium size carrots
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 large onion
  • 1/2 head cabbage
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 tablespoons thyme
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2-3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Boil and shred your chicken thighs.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium high heat.  When it has warmed, add the chopped celery, onion and carrots.  Cook in the pan until the onions become translucent, about 5-10 minutes.

Add the chicken broth or stock, chicken, parsley and thyme and allow to come to a low boil.  Add the shredded/chopped cabbage and cook for another 10-15 minutes, until the cabbage is done to your liking.  Feel free to add salt to taste.

Enjoy.

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Dairy-Free Tomato Soup (And Some Notes on Non-Competitive Self-Control)

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So here is something I forgot to mention about my competition eating rules in the last post: I ditched dairy.  My boyfriend has been off dairy for quite sometime, mostly because it makes him break out.  And it hasn’t ever done great things for my asthma, so I decided to give dairy-free a shot for at least the length of the competition.  The weirdest part is how much I haven’t missed it as a daily staple.  Sure, I totally love a cheeseburger every now and then, but I don’t really miss my Greek yogurt or cheese sticks like I thought I would.  And my asthma has been a lot better (even through allergy season!), so I’m going to keep dairy in the “treat” category.

Speaking of keeping things in the treat category: I am missing having a specific, measurable reward to work toward.  The great thing about participating in the competition at work was that I had a concrete goal that came with a specific timetable and monetary compensation if I won. Now, the only thing keeping me honest is . . . well. . . me.  The strange part is that I don’t want my lady abs any less, it’s just that there’s nothing on the line if I don’t get them pronto.

Despite constantly thinking “I could eat a giant bar of chocolate if I wanted to” or “I don’t really have to work out today”, I’ve actually managed to carry all of my well-established good habits over into this week.  I have just had to spend a lot more time looking at my fitspiration board on pinterest (link is on the right hand side for anyone needing some motivation) and reminding myself how absolutely crappy I felt after lazing around and binge-eating all last weekend.  My stomach looked puffy for days.

And here’s the biggest thing: I don’t want to screw up my progress by eating poorly.  I’m working really hard at least 4 times a week at CrossFit, and I am not working that hard and dealing with perpetually sore muscles to look the same.  I am working this hard to look better. Fitter. Sexier.  I am also not working this hard to suffer from headaches and nausea after eating a boatload of crap.  I am working this hard to feel as good or better than I look.

So, I persist on my quest for lady abs and optimal health.  This week, luckily, that quest was aided by this delicious soup.  Which, incidentally, was my first successful batch of tomato soup from scratch ever.  And it also helped me use up the rest of the tomatoes my dad gave me from his garden, which were starting to look a bit less than ideal.  Anyways, here’s the recipe.  Make. Eat. Enjoy.

This soup is Whole 30-friendly, Paleo-friendly and Vegan-friendly.

Dairy-Free Tomato Soup

  • 12 large tomatoes (you could use canned tomatoes in a pinch, but I highly recommend roasting fresh ones)
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet onion
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • basil (fresh would be best, I only had dried so I used that)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk

Preheat the oven to 375°.  Cut the tomatoes into halves and toss with olive oil (season with salt and pepper if desired).  Bake for 25-35 minutes until well roasted.

While the tomatoes are roasting, finely chop the onion and garlic and sautee in a large pot.  I let mine begin to caramelize before adding the roasted tomatoes from the oven.  Once all of the tomatoes have been added, let cook on medium heat for 5-10 minutes.  Blend until smooth with an immersion blender (you could transfer to a food processor for this if you don’t have one).  Add coconut milk, bay leaves and as much basil and black pepper as desired.  Turn heat to medium-low, cover (to prevent soup from getting all over your stovetop) and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Whole Wheat Banana Muffins

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When brainstorming ideas of what foods I should make and put recipes of on my blog, I consulted my boyfriend, Chris (who I think is going to end up benefiting greatly from my blogging ventures).  He immediately answered: muffins!  It is, he argued, the perfect time of year for muffins and quick breads.  They’re warm and hearty and satisfying.

You can’t argue with that.

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Mom’s Cream Puffs

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My mother made the most delicious cream puffs.  No, really.  The most delicious cream puffs you will ever taste.  For my twenty-first birthday, she made three dozen cream puffs for dessert.  I ate a dozen of them by myself.  In one day.  About eight of those were in the space of two or three hours.  If I didn’t have the recipe for them, I would think that there was something illegal in them (cocaine!) that makes you compulsively go back for more.

I love this recipe because it’s simple.  It’s not easy, but it’s simple.  The ingredients are all pretty basic.  There aren’t layers of flavor.  It’s just a simple, perfect cream puff.

How does this tie in to living healthfully?  Personally, I believe that eating something just to enjoy it is an essential part of the human experience.  Labeling foods as “good” or “bad” is counterproductive.  It makes food the enemy.  But if you occasionally allow yourself to eat something just for the joy of it, you’re less likely to give up on establishing healthful eating habits.  A treat is a treat because it’s something that you don’t have often, but you enjoy it immensely when you do.  If I ate cream puffs on a weekly or even monthly basis, I wouldn’t enjoy them nearly as much because they wouldn’t be as much of a treat.

Click below for the full recipe.

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Lentil Soup (for Karrah)

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Today is Thanksgiving, and I am thankful for my family.  Today, I am particularly thankful for my little sister (and my Turkey Day running partner), Karrah. She is awesome.  She does things just because they’re a challenge for her.  She has endless determination when she puts her mind to something.  And she has the strongest work ethic of pretty much anyone I know.  She is, however, also a freshman in college, which means that she’s just figuring out how to configure portable foods and schedule cooking meals into her busy schedule.  She flattered me when she asked me for my recipe for lentil soup, so here it is.  For her.

(And of course she would want the recipe for the least photogenic food I make. . .)

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