Chili Citrus Kale Chips

Those of you who know me, know that I like to dabble in the raw food world. It all started when I found this incredible cookbook Raw Food Real World. I had no intentions of becoming a raw foodie. Heck, I didn’t even know what it was! I got the cookbook years ago for my mom actually. Ok so I may have borrowed it from time to time… FINE I still have it! But that’s beside the point. I fell in love with the photos. I wanted to eat everything in there! As I read this cookbook, I learned about eating raw, and it made sense. I’m definitely not 100% raw, but I do try to incorporate as much raw whole foods into my diet as possible. I just feel better when I do. Which leads me to my recipe for Kale Chips. 

Last summer, I got more kale in my farm share than I knew what to do with! Of all the kale recipes I created, this was by far my favorite. I actually made the chips in the dehydrator for the most part (the temperature only goes up to 115 degrees so it doesn’t kill the enzymes). But sometimes, I just can’t wait 4 hours for a batch of these babies to be done. A craving hit the other day, and I definitely didn’t want to wait. So I made them in the oven. Start by washing the leaves thoroughly. Then dry them completely, and tear them into bite size pieces. In a large bowl whisk all of the ingredients until they’re well combined. Place the leaves into the bowl and, using your hands, move the leaves coating them completely with the mixture. 
Place a cooling rack inside of a cookie sheet. Spread the leaves out on the rack so that the chips cook evenly. The rack keeps the chips from turning mushy. Pop the chips into the oven and bake for about 10 minutes or until they’re crisp. Use a spatula to move the leaves off the rack and into a serving bowl. They are the perfect mix of sweet, spicy, and salty. Oh, and it’s ok to eat them all in one sitting. Enjoy! 

Chili Citrus Kale Chips-Serves 1-2

1/2 bunch kale

1/4 c extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/4 tsp chili powder

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp agave nectar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse and dry kale leaves. Tear the leaves into bite size pieces. Combine the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and whisk until they’re combined. Place the torn leaves into the bowl and mix with your hands, moving around until they’re coated evenly. Line a cookie sheet with a cooling rack. Spread the leaves onto the rack and bake for 10 minutes, or until crisp but not too brown. Using a spatula, move chips from the rack to a bowl. Enjoy!

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Chicken Noodle Soup

There’s something about chicken noodle soup that has healing qualities. Stew caught that cold that’s been going around. He came home from work, and I could tell he was not well. So, I cooked up some chicken noodle soup. It was exactly what he needed.

I usually buy chicken in bulk and then freeze it in meal size portions in ziplock bags. I’ll take it out the night before I plan to use it and leave it in the fridge. By the next night it’s defrosted perfectly. Of course, if you don’t plan that far ahead, you can always take it out a few hours early and place the bag into a bowl of water in the fridge. Place something heavy on top to keep the bag submerged.

Now, this recipe calls for 1 chicken breast in the crock pot, but I did two and shredded them both. I put one in a tupperware in the fridge for quesadillas the next night. The more I can do to make cooking easier, the better. You can even cook the chicken in the morning so they’re ready when you make the soup. While those cook, I cut the veggies. I saute them once the chicken is almost finished cooking.

Then I cook the pasta, strain it, and put it into a bowl to sit while the rest of the ingredients are cooking. I add a tbsp of olive oil and mix it up so the noodles don’t turn into one big block. I found that the soup turns to mush if I add the noodles in and let it sit overnight in the soup. If I know I’ll have leftovers, I keep the noodles in a separate container and add it to the soup as I serve it. But if there are enough people  to eat it all in one sitting, add the noodles in.

When the chicken is finished cooking, shred it with two forks into big chunks. Add the broth and chicken to the veggies and let it simmer so that all the flavors blend together. Ladle the soup (and noodles if they’re separate) into serving bowls and top with fresh parsley. The fresh herbs add a pop of color. Feel better! 

Chicken Noodle Soup-serves 4 to 6

1 chicken breast, cooked and shredded

2 tbsp olive oil

1/2 yellow onion, diced

4 celery stalks, diced

4 carrots, peeled diced

2 bay leaves

1 tsp dried thyme

1 clove garlic, minced

5 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 cup small pasta noodles (I used ditalini)

salt

pepper

  1. Place one chicken breast into the slow cooker and add enough water to cover. Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper corns, and 1 bay leaf. Cook on high for 2 hours. Once the chicken breast is fully cooked, remove from the slow cooker and shred using two forks. Set aside.
  2. Peel and dice 1/2 an onion and 4 carrots. Dice the celery and mince garlic clove.
  3. In a dutch oven or large pot, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat. Cook the onion until it is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Add the celery and carrots. Sprinkle salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook for 10 minutes until vegetables are softened.
  4. Add 1 bay leaf, chicken broth, and shredded chicken. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  5. In a separate pot, cook pasta according to package instructions. When pasta is al dente, drain and place in a bowl with 1 tbsp olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together. I keep the pasta separate until I serve the soup. Otherwise, the noodles absorb the liquid and get too big.
  6. Ladle soup into bowls and add pasta. Garnish with some fresh parsley.

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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

Ok… these are the best creation ever! I’m definitely a health conscious eater. My philosophy is, you are what you eat. I feel better when I eat well. I’ve even grown to crave and love healthy food! Now, don’t get me wrong, I have a sweet tooth just like the next person! That is why I need a little sweet bite ready when a craving hits! So I combined my two favorite flavors, chocolate and peanut butter, to make these cookie bites! They couldn’t be easier, and they’re actually good for you! How many desserts can you say that about? I keep them in the fridge so they are a bit firmer than when they sit at room temp. Just be careful, you can’t just eat one!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bites

            1/2 cup almond meal

            1/2 cup regular rolled oats (Use GF oats if you want it GF)

            2 tbsp cocoa powder

            1/2 tsp kosher salt

            2 tbsp agave nectar

            3 tbsp peanut butter

            3 tbsp pure maple syrup (add gradually until desired consistency is achieved)

            1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Directions:

1. In a food processor, process the oats until very fine, like a flour consistency.

2. Add in the almond meal, cocoa powder, salt, and agave and pulse until combined. Now add in vanilla and maple syrup gradually until desired consistency is achieved. Process until a dough forms. Stop to scrape the sides of the bowl as necessary. Dough will be very sticky! If it is too sticky to make balls, you can add a bit more almond meal.

3.Scoop dough into a bowl. Use a small ice cream scoop to form balls with the dough (lightly wet fingers if necessary). Roll them between your hands to form a ball. Store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.

Note: If dough is too dry, add a bit more maple syrup. If too wet, add a bit more almond meal.

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Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

This is for all you chocolate and peanut butter lovers out there! I am obsessed with that flavor combination. To me, there are no two things that go better together, not even peanut butter and jelly! In fact, my favorite dessert is chocolate ice cream with a scoop of peanut butter mixed in. YUM!

Which brings me to my granola recipe. I’ve seen tons of variations for granola out there. So I decided, why not make a chocolate and peanut butter version?! This granola is more of a “snack”. I tried it with Greek yogurt, but the tang in the yogurt did not go well with chocolate. So, I either have it with milk or alone. It tastes like you should feel guilty after eating it; but honestly, there are so few chocolate chips in the whole recipe that it’s really not bad for you! Make sure to let the granola cool almost completely before adding the chocolate chips. That way they don’t melt and form a clump. A little warmth from the granola will melt the chocolate just enough to spread it out evenly and coat some of the granola. I hope you love it! 


Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

2 cups quick cooking oats

1 cup peanuts

¼ cup coconut oil, warmed to liquid

¼ cup honey

¼ cup peanut butter

¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

¼ tsp salt

1 Tbsp instant coffee powder

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine all ingredients, except for the chocolate chips, into the bowl of a standing mixer. Mix on low until well combined. Spread mixture onto a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Move granola around halfway through the cooking time to keep edges from burning. Let granola cool almost completely. Transfer into a bowl and stir in chocolate chips.  A little warmth from the granola will melt the chocolate just enough to spread it out evenly and coat some of the granola. Store in an airtight container.

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Chicken With Lemon And Capers

This is one of my go-to meals. I served this chicken the other night with whipped potatoes and an arugula salad. It’s a great way to stretch out your chicken. I usually buy my chicken in bulk and freeze it in meal size portions. I had 2 thick chicken breasts, so I sliced them in half lengthwise to make 4 thinner breast pieces. They’re easier to cut if they’re still a bit frozen in the center (of course you can always buy the thin cutlet pieces to save a step). Pound each piece out so they are about 1/8 inch thick. This helps them brown evenly. Just place each breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound away. Once they’re all finished, set them aside on a plate.

I always set up my breading station before I start cooking, because the process all comes together quickly once you start cooking the chicken. Crack the egg and whisk with 1 tbsp warm water. This keeps the breading from being too eggy. In another bowl, combine both breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. I use two different kinds of breadcrumbs because the regular crumbs coat well, and the panko add nice texture. Mix well with your fingers.

Next, combine the chicken broth, lemon juice, and capers in a glass measuring pitcher. Now the sauce is ready to go as soon as the chicken is finished cooking. Set up the breading station right by the skillet so it’s easy to keep the process moving.

Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add 2 tbsp olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Cook chicken, 2 pieces at a time, until browned on both sides and cooked through the center (Add more oil to cook the second batch).

Set chicken aside and tent with foil to keep warm. Time for the sauce! Lower the heat to medium and pour the liquid mixture into the saucepan to deglaze the pan. Scrape up any brown bits with a wooden spoon. Slowly sprinkle in the flour while whisking so no lumps form. Bring the sauce to a boil and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for about 15 minutes until the sauce is thickened. The longer it simmers, the thicker it will get. Plate the chicken and drizzle the sauce on top. Sprinkle with fresh parsley for a pop of color. Enjoy! 

Chicken With Lemon and Capers

Serves 4

2 chicken breasts (or 4 thin cutlets)

1 egg

1 Tbsp warm water

½ cup fine breadcrumbs

1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

1 tsp salt

½ tsp pepper

zest of 1 lemon

1 ½ cups chicken broth

juice of 1 lemon

2 Tbsp capers

2 Tbsp flour

2 Tbsp fresh parsley

Use a serrated knife to slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise. You should have 4 chicken breast pieces. Layer each piece of chicken between plastic wrap and set on a cutting board. Pound each piece out to about 1/8 in thick. Set them aside. In the meantime, set up the breading station. Crack the egg into a bowl and whisk with 1 Tbsp warm water. In a separate bowl combine breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and lemon zest. Next, prepare the sauce mixture. Pour chicken broth, lemon juice, and capers into a glass measuring pitcher.

Once everything is ready, heat a large saucepan to medium-high. Coat the bottom with a thin layer of olive oil (about 2 tbsp). Use tongs to dip the chicken into the egg and then the bread mixture. Place chicken into your saucepan. You may have to cook the chicken in 2 batches. Cook until brown on both sides and cooked through the center.

Once chicken is cooked through, move to a plate and tent with foil to keep warm. Pour the chicken broth mixture into the saucepan to deglaze the pan. Scrape with a wooden spoon to get the brown bits off the bottom. Lower the heat to medium. Slowly add flour to the saucepan, whisking constantly until dissolved. Bring to a boil and lower the heat. Simmer about 10-15 minutes until sauce is thick. Plate the chicken and top with sauce. Sprinkle with fresh parsley.

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Café Borgia

I grew up in a small town in NJ, and there was this amazing whole in the wall coffee shop. My mom and I would go there together all the time. My favorite drink was their Café Borgia. It had espresso, milk, orange, and cocoa. It was amazing! I decided I would try to recreate this to enjoy at home! Stew was my guinea pig. We had this on a chilly rainy afternoon. It came out so delicious that I had to share! We used an espresso machine to froth the milk, but if you don’t have one, no biggy! Just whisk the milk on the stove to dissolve the Nutella. It will be just as delicious! Hope you enjoy.

Orange Mocha Latte-serves 2

1 cup strong coffee

1 cup 2% milk frothed

1 Tbsp Nutella

2 tsp orange zest

whipped cream

chocolate shavings

Brew one cup of strong coffee (I use 1 cup water with 2 tbsp coffee grinds). In the meantime, froth your milk in an espresso machine. When the milk starts to heat up, turn off the machine and whisk in 1 Tbsp Nutella. Continue to froth until the milk is foamed on top. If you don’t have an espresso maker, heat the milk over the stove and whisk in 1 Tbsp Nutella until dissolved. Set a few pieces of orange zest aside to use as garnish. Divide the remaining zest into two glasses. Pour ½ cup coffee into each glass. Then top each with ½ cup milk and spoon the froth on top. Top with whipped cream, reserved zest, and chocolate shavings.

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Nest Eggs

Nest Eggs are one of my favorite breakfast dishes. They brings back memories of when I was a kid. This was my dad’s specialty. It was the only breakfast he knew how to make. It’s so simple, yet so delicious! Start off by buttering two slices of whole wheat bread on both sides. You can change up the bread if you’d like. You can even use rice bread and make it gluten free. I use my coconut butter instead of regular butter, but you can use any butter you’d like. Then take a glass and cut circles into each slice of bread. These are your “nests”.

Crack one egg into a glass measuring cup with a spout. The spout makes it easier to pour into your “nest”. Heat your skillet to medium low and grease with coconut butter. Place your “nests” and bread circles into the skillet. Pour the first egg into the nest and then crack your second egg and pour into your second nest. Sprinkle the eggs with salt and pepper. Once the white part of the egg sets, flip your nests and the bread circles. Cook until eggs are done but the yolks are still runny. Cook the rounds until they are crisp.

The bread circles are used for dipping into your egg. Once those are all used up, cut into the nest. It’s a delicious mix of egg, bread, and salt. The flavors blend perfectly together! 

 

Nest Egg –Serves 1

2 pieces whole wheat bread

2 eggs

coconut butter

salt

pepper

Spread coconut butter or regular butter evenly on both sides of the bread slices. Use a glass with a diameter smaller than your bread slice to cut rounds into each slice. This is your “nest”. Heat your skillet to medium low. Grease the pan lightly with coconut butter. Place the nests into the pan, along with the two bread rounds. Crack one egg at a time into a small bowl or measuring glass with a spout. Pour each egg into the center of the “nests”. Sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper. Cook until the white of the egg starts to set. Flip and cook until the yolk is runny.  Flip the two rounds to brown on the other side.  Use the rounds to dip into the yolk. Enjoy!

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Mexican Salad

I started a supper club with some of my close friends a few months back. Us girls used to teach elementary school together. We’ve all gone our separate ways but still have so much fun together. It’s nice to get together once a month and catch up. Our husbands even hit it off. How perfect!

Each month there is a theme set by the host. They are in charge of making a main coarse.  Not only does the food fit the theme, but our outfits do too! It’s a good thing our husbands get along; otherwise they wouldn’t agree to dress up for some of these themes! The other couples are responsible for a side, a dessert, and a drink. So this month we were in charge of the side. The theme was Snowed In and the main coarse was white chicken chile with corn bread. My challenge was making a side that went along with the main coarse. Chile’s one of those meals that can stand alone. So I thought a nice fresh salad to highlight the flavors in the chile would do the trick!

I used a bowl that’s pretty flat because all of the toppings are layered in strips over the lettuce. The best part of this salad is the presentation. Simple ingredients are transformed into a thing of beauty. I started by making my own corn and black bean relish. It couldn’t be easier. You add corn, black beans, red onion, salt, pepper, olive oil, and lime juice into a bowl and mix it up. You’ll have left overs, which is a good thing. You can put it on chips, in quesadillas, even in eggs!

The dressing I made can really be used on any salad, but it’s perfect with this one. The cider vinegar makes it crisp, while the chile in adobo gives it a smoky and spicy kick. You can add more or less chile depending on your taste. Put all the ingredients in a jar and shake it up. 

As for the salad, layer the toppings in three sections: avocado, tomatoes, and corn & black bean relish. I top with some chopped parsley. The colors are incredible. Taking the time to prepare your food makes it so much more fun to eat. After all, we do eat with our eyes first!

Chile Dressing

3 tbsp cider vinegar

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 tbsp chopped parsley

1 clove garlic, minced

½ chipotle chile in adobo, minced

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake until well combined.

Corn and Black Bean Relish

11 oz frozen corn, thawed

1 can black beans, drained and rinsed

½ red onion, diced

2 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt

pepper

Thaw frozen corn and drain excess water. Dice the red onion. In a bowl combine all ingredients and stir. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Mexican Salad

Serves 8

1 head iceberg lettuce

2 avocados

1 cup corn and black bean relish

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

3 scallions

lime wedges for garnish

Rinse and dry iceberg lettuce. Dice lettuce into small chunks. Layer lettuce in the bottom of a large bowl or serving dish. The toppings will cover the lettuce in three sections. Halve the avocados and remove pits. Score the avocado, just to the skin, into bite-sized pieces with a knife. Then, using a spoon, scoop avocado pieces out onto the first section of the lettuce. Halve cherry tomatoes and dice scallions. Combine the two in a separate bowl. Pour mixture down the center of the lettuce. Finally, spoon the corn and black bean relish over the last section of the lettuce. Place some lime wedges around the edges. Pour the salad dressing over and mix well. Enjoy!

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Chai Tea

I remember when chai was the new thing. I was never a big fan. I guess I had to make it myself to fall in love. I love drinking tea, but this mixture of tea, almond milk, and spices just calms every nerve in my body! It’s perfect on a chilly winter night when you’re snuggled up on the couch! It’s also great poured over a glass of ice in the summer! Enjoy.

Chai Tea LatteServes 1

1/2 cup water

1 black teabag

3/4  cups almond milk

1/4 tsp ground clove

1/4 tsp ground ginger

½ tsp ground cinnamon

¼ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 cinammon stick

2 tsp maple syrup

whipped topping (optional)

Combine almond milk and spices in small saucepan. Bring to a simmer and turn off the heat. Let the spices steep, covered, in the milk for 5 minutes. In the meantime, boil the water and pour over teabag. Let sit for 5 minutes and discard teabag. Fill mug halfway with tea. Pour milk mixture through a mesh sieve. Fill the mug with the milk and spice mixture. Stir in the maple syrup. Top with whipped topping and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Use the cinnamon stick as stirrer.

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Veggie Wrap

This is one of those “use up what’s left before it goes bad” meals. I made it as a quick lunch, and it was absolutely delicious! I had some collard green leaves which are perfect for wraps! I hold the thick stem with one hand and pull the leaf away. Only pull the thick part away, otherwise you won’t have a wrap. The bottom half will have a gap where the stem was. Set the leaf down with the short side facing you. Put a handful of arugula on the half without the gap. Then pile on the avocado, mango, and red pepper. Drizzle some lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper over the top. Then fold the two short sides over the vegetables. Start with the long end and roll, just like a wrap. Cut in half on an angle and serve seam side down. 

Veggie WrapMakes 2 rolls 

2 collard green leaves, stems removed

1/2 cup arugula

1/2 avocado, sliced on a bias

1/2 mango, sliced thin

1/2 red pepper, sliced thin

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

salt

pepper

Fold the collard green leaves in half and gently tear the large fibrous part of the stem out. Leave about 3/4 of the stem in tact so you create a bed for the vegetables. Lay the leaves down with the short side facing you. Place half of the arugula, avocado, mango, and pepper on each leaf. In a bowl, whisk together lemon juice and olive oil. Drizzle the mixture over each leaf. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tuck the shorter sides over the vegetables. Begin rolling starting with the longer end. Cut on a diagonal and serve seam side down. Enjoy!

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