Sunday, December 27, 2015

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

Moving day came and went and I think I had a harder time than Charlie. We spent the last night we will spend in our house Christmas Eve, said "good-bye" to our house and while Charlie went off to her dad Christmas day, Matt and I moved her furniture and the rest of the things I am taking to his house. I am leaving it furnished until I sell it, but with everything personal gone I feel like it is already gone too. This house has meant more to me than any other house... I know, it is just a house, a place where the memories took place and they are obviously not lost with the house, but it holds a lot of milestones for Charlie and me. 

This was the first major purchase of my life, the first time I ever lived on my own without another adult, the place where we played all summer in her pool in the backyard, the driveway where she first rode a bike, the sidewalks that led to the library and the Dairy-O, the rooms where we cuddled and where she went from a baby to a toddler to a little girl. 

 This house will be great for another family to begin and we are off to our next great adventure in life...after all, home is wherever we are together. 

All of my friends seem to be getting sick right now so I thought what better than some homemade chicken noodle soup?! Of course if you don't eat noodles you could omit them or whisk 2-3 eggs together and pour them into your boiling soup as you are stirring and that creates a nice texture. :)

Easy Chicken Noodle Soup

- 1 Rotisserie Chicken, shredded (about 4+ cups of cooked chicken)
- 3 Quarts (12 Cups) Chicken Broth (or homemade chicken bone broth!)
- 4 Carrots, peeled and diced (or 2 of celery and 2 carrots)
- 1 Sweet Onion, finely chopped
- 1 Garlic Clove, minced
- 1 tsp Black Pepper 
- 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
- Salt* taste to see if you need more of this 
- 6 oz Wide Egg Noodles* or see above paragraph for noodle-less option

1. Heat a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Drizzle in a tablespoon of olive oil and add the onion, carrots and garlic. Saute until they are starting to soften, about 5 minutes. 

2. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the noodles and cook according to their directions- except subtract 1-2 minutes because the soup will simmer. 
3. Add the spices and chicken. Reduce to a simmer and cook 30 minutes, taste for salt. 

Monday, December 21, 2015

Crockpot Ropa Vieja

It is finally Winter Break!!! I am ecstatic to have two weeks off. My box was hosting a competition on Saturday so Matt, Mara and I decided to take a trip down to CrossFit in the D(etroit) and test out their TrueForms and see the new place. It was awesome. The workout was pretty tough though even with a partner... Mara and I did the workout with the following weights:
15 min per Round: 
63-45-27 Burpee Box Jump Overs 20"
21-15-9 Muscle Ups
-5 min break-
AKBS @53#
2x Front Squat 35# 
- 5 min break-
10 min AMRAP 
Cal Row/Power Snatch 105#
 Then we ran on the TrueForms which are more exhausting than they appear! 

Just because our shoulders haven't been worn to shreds this week, Maven's workout had "wall walks" in it. Matt and I are not so awesome at them and it was more like a twerk-look than anything. Shoulders were on fire. The 100 thrusters before that were better than the 10 wall walks and I don't think I would ever say that about anything compared to thrusters. :) 

I am not abandoning my slow cooker just because it's a break from work for me! "Ropa Vieja" is basically Cuban stew- it translates to "old clothes" actually because the finished product looks like shredded fabric. Instead of using stew beef, I used flank steak, but skirt steak could easily be substituted. My last flank steak recipe in a slow cooker (See "Crockpot Shredded Steak") turned out so well I thought I would try another. :) I read a bunch of recipes, looked in my pantry, and this is what I came up with.... I ate it over rice, but it would be great by itself too. 

Crockpot Ropa Vieja

- 2-3lbs Flank Steak, trimmed (or skirt steak)
- 1 Sweet Onion, thinly sliced
- 2 Bell Peppers,  any color, thinly sliced
- 1 Jalapeno, finely chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
- 1 tsp Salt 
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1 tsp Ground Cumin
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1/4 tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 Cup Beef Stock
- 1 Tbsp Lime Juice, or white wine vinegar
- 1 6-ounce Can Tomato Paste
- 1 14.5 ounce Can Crushed Tomatoes
- 1/3 Cup Raisins* optional, but add something like dried dates if you are omitting
- 1/2 Cup Pimiento Olives, halved

1. Sprinkle the steak with salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over high heat and drizzle in a tablespoon or so of olive oil. Cook the steak for 3-4 minutes on each side until it has a fantastic crust.

 Remove it from the pan, add a bitt more oil and add the peppers, garlic, and onion. Saute 3-5 minutes until soft. (I have made it without doing this and just adding everything to the slow cooker and the difference is hardly noticeable.)

Add the vegetables to the slow cooker. Whisk the spices, stock, lime, tomato products and beef stock. Add the steak to the top of the vegetables, top with the raisins. Pour the sauce over top. 

2. Cook on LOW 8 hours or HIGH 4-5 hours. Remove the steak, carefully, and shred it if it isn't already falling apart. Add it back to the crock pot and stir in the olives. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Baked Eggs in a Sweet Potato

We are entering the final days of work before I am off for a few weeks. Charlie is feeling it too. I bet she is ready to spend some time just at home and not constantly running around. When she was at the gym the other day she took pictures of me and my friends while we were working out... I didn't realize it until I looked at my phone later. What a little stinker. 

 Our schedule may be wearing her out, but what is it about a sleeping child that is so innocent and peaceful looking? I am in love with my little girl more every day. 

 If you would have asked me a year ago if this is where my life would be this winter I would have laughed at you... I have never been so excited for my future. In the next few weeks... I am about to have two glorious weeks off of work, Matt and I are moving in together and then there is Christmas and New Year's to celebrate. It is definitely my favorite time of the year. We set up a real tree at his house too even though we won't be officially there until Christmas Day. 

 I am just disappointed there is no snow. Charlie would love some snow and to be honest I wouldn't mind a little winter. I have always liked the seasonal changes of Michigan so bring it on! This past weekend Matt and I chopped down a tree and raked more leaves, I was sweating so badly I wasn't even wearing a sweatshirt and this is mid-december in Michigan! It was quite the workout, made better by the fact that our log stack fell and it had to be put back together again. Grrrr. I am glad I workout because I can't imagine how hard stuff like that would be if I didn't.

I have been wanting to do this for a long time and I finally tried it out. The idea came after I baked eggs in an avocado. It is simple and surprisingly delicious. Baking time will depend on how done you want your eggs. I put ours in tupperware and they were still warm when we got to work. :)

Baked Eggs in a Sweet Potato

(Serves Two)

- 4 Slices Bacon, cooked until crispy (I used leftovers from the weekend)
- 2 Sweet Potatoes, baked
- 2-3 Eggs
- Salt and Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

1. Poke holes in the sweet potatoes and bake them 60 minutes until they are cooked through.

Raise oven temperature to 375 degrees

2. When they have cooled enough to touch, cut off the top part, about 1/4 of the potato, and scrap out the insides leaving a decent amount of potato so it stays together.

3. Put half the bacon in the bottom of each potato. 

Crack open an egg or two and carefully drop that in each potato. 

Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake 20-30 minutes until the white part of the egg is set and yolks are runny.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Meal Prep- Week 5- Chicken Chili, One-Dish Chicken and Green Beans, and Paleo Enchiladas

Thanksgiving week meant leftovers for meal prep last week.... but I am back to it! Working out with friends who kick my butt.....

....and we set up our tree for the last time in our house since we are moving and are ready to enjoy the pretty lights for the next few weeks....Charlie is at a perfect age this year and has a variety of descriptive words to tell me how much she is enjoying this time of year with the lights, Santa, snow, etc.

This recipe has two originals of mine and one adapted from Giada Delaurentiis that is not paleo because of the beans but pretty close! I am also including nutritional information for the chili for those of you tracking macros, etc.

White Bean Chicken Chili

(Serves 4 easily)
(Link to the original recipe from Giada)

- Olive Oil
- 1 Large, Sweet Onion
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 2 lbs Ground Chicken
- 2 Tbsp Cumin
- 3 tsp Chili Powder
- 1 Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- 1 Tbsp Dried Oregano
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
- 1/4 Cup Arrowroot Powder
- Water
- 2 (15-oz Cans) Cannellini Beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 lb Swiss Chard, chopped
- 2 Cups Sweet Corn, frozen, fresh or canned
- 4 Cups Chicken Stock

1. In a large dutch oven heat a little oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent. (About 5 minutes)
2. Add the chicken, a sprinkle of salt and cook until the chicken is cooked through. At this point I drained the liquid in the pan because there was too much. Add the spices and stir until fragerant.
3. Add the stock, beans, corn and swiss chard. Bring to a boil. Make a slurry with the arrowroot powder by adding a little water (2 Tbsp-ish) and dissolving it. Add this to the boiling soup. Reduce the heat and summer 45 min-1 hour until the soup has thickened. If it is not as thick as you would like add more arrowroot/water- bring to a boil for just a few minutes for it to thicken and then turn off the heat again.

Paleo Enchiladas

I was thinking next time I would use corn tortillas just because these are a lot more labor intensive, but with the frozen, "riced" cauliflower at Trader Joe's the process of making them became a lot easier. I used the concept of making pizza crust with cauliflower for the tortillas in this. 

Cauliflower Tortillas

(Or two bags of the riced, frozen cauliflower** If you are doing this, thaw it and squeeze it in a thin towel to get as much of the liquid out as you can- it will be about a cup or more** Then proceed to step two)
- 1 Small Head of Cauliflower
- 3 Eggs
- Pinch of Salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1. Break the cauliflower into florets. Pulse in a food processor until a texture finer than rice is formed. Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake 10 minutes OR microwave 4-5 minutes stirring part way through. When it is cooled, place in a thin towel and squeeze as much liquid as you can out... at least a cup!
2. In a bowl, mix the eggs, salt and cauliflower. Press onto a parchment lined baking sheet as thin and even as possible. It is is fairly liquidly, that's ok! It will firm up when baking. Bake 10 minutes. Flip as best you can and bake another 10 minutes. Now you can cut them into the shapes you need for your enchilada assembly.

Enchilada Sauce

- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 3 Tbsp Chili Powder
- 3 Tbsp Arrowroot powder
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4 tsp Salt
- 1 1/2 Cups Water
- 1 15-oz Can Tomato Sauce (check ingredients for sugar!)

1. In a skillet over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, chili powder and arrowroot powder. Whisk constantly for a few minutes until it is bubbly and a light brown color (3 minutes at most!)
2. Add the rest of the ingredients, whisk until smooth, and simmer 7-8 minutes.


- 1 lb Chicken Breasts- cooked and shredded. Or be lazy and buy a rotisserie chicken and use the whole thing :)

Other ingredient options!

- 3 Green Onions, chopped
- Corn
- Cheese

Putting it all together....

1. In an 8x8" glass baking dish, pour enough of the sauce to just cover the bottom (about 1/4 cup)
2. Place a tortilla that fits the pan on top. Add 1/2 the shredded chicken, (green onions and corn if you are adding that), 1/3 of the sauce and repeat one more time ending with the sauce on top. *If you aren't paleo some cheese in the layers would be awesome!
3. Cover with foil and bake 35-40 minutes. Remove the foil and bake another 5 minutes until the top is bubbly. As it cools it becomes easier to cut. Enjoy!

One-Dish Chicken and Green Beans

Taking a note from my very successful salmon dish, I decided to do it with chicken. I was lazier this time and didn't mix the seasonings into the bad. The butter made an interesting pattern when it was done, but this healthy meal is easy and with only one pan, clean up is a breeze!

- 4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
- 1 lb Green Beans, trimmed and cut in one-inch pieces
- 1 Tbsp Lemon Pepper
- 4 Tbsp Butter
- 1 tsp Salt

Preheat Oven to 400 Degrees

1. In a 9x11" baking dish, arrange the chicken and tuck the green beans around it.
2. Place a 1/2 tablespoon of butter each chicken breast and the rest on the green beans. Sprinkle with the seasonings. Bake, uncovered, 40-45 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken. Juices will run clean when it is done. Toss to coat everything and serve when it is done or there are four lunches made for the week!

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Egg and Spinach Pizza (Paleo)

What a fun Thanksgiving break!!! Matt and I hosted Thanksgiving because we like cooking and I know my mom is sick of it. :) She still cooked a lot though! We smoked a turkey and roasted one... I got to set the table all pretty and there was plenty of wine... It was fantastic. 

We also had a black tie wedding to attend Saturday night at the Masonic Temple in Detroit for the owners of our gym. My sister, Mara, rented a bunch of dresses so I wore one of those because why let it go to waste?! If you are not wanting to buy a formal dress I suggest "Rent the Runway"... so many pretty dresses that my friends wore were from there. Mine got stepped on though and I might be owning it in the future if it is too damaged... eek! 

Now that Thanksgiving is over I have three weeks before Winter Break Starts... time to clean up my diet for a bit. I am usually really, really good, but lately I have been really, really bad. I attribute this to my happiness but at some point I need to realize it is hurting my workouts and making me feel bad when I get dressed in the morning. I decided to put some healthy things on my classic paleo pizza crust. If you haven't made it yet you really should... it's the closest I have ever gotten to traditional pizza and mimics a crunchy thin crust. I couldn't find pizza sauce that didn't have sugar, etc. in it so I used a can of crushed tomatoes with some italian seasoning and salt. 

Egg and Spinach Pizza 

- 4+ Eggs (1 separate for the crust)
- 1 Cup Potato Starch (NOT potato flour)
- 1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour/Starch
- 1 tsp Baking Powder
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1/3 Cup Warm Water
- 10 oz Chopped Frozen Spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
- 1 Cup Crushed Tomatoes
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

1. In a bowl whisk the starches and baking powder. Whisk the olive oil, water and one egg. Add this to the flours and whisk until smooth. Pour this (yes, pour, it will be liquid) onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and spread it out as large and even as possible. Mine is roughly 13"x9". Bake 15-20 minutes until golden and crispy on the bottom.

Remove from the oven. Turn up the heat to 500 degrees.

2. Top the pizza with the sauce, seasoning and salt. 

Add the spinach on top. Carefully place 3-4 eggs on top of the spinach. Bake another 10-15minutes until the eggs are cooked through the whites but the yolk is still runny. Cook it longer if you want your eggs done more. 

Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 446
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 18 g28 %
Saturated Fat 3 g17 %
Monounsaturated Fat 12 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 164 mg55 %
Sodium 1418 mg59 %
Potassium 687 mg20 %
Total Carbohydrate 64 g21 %
Dietary Fiber 6 g23 %
Sugars 3 g
Protein 10 g20 %
Vitamin A146 %
Vitamin C34 %
Calcium32 %
Iron63 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.