My current favorite snack: Quick and easy broiled grapefruit

I’ve eaten more grapefruits in the last few months than I have in my entire life. I’m not sure if it because I am pregnant, or because I found a great way to eat them (maybe a little bit of both). Bonus? It only takes a few minutes to prepare!

There are different variations of this recipe, but the following is the one that’s my favorite:

Easy Broiled Grapefruit

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 1/2-1 tbsp butter
  • 1-2 tsp honey (or brown sugar)
  • Pinch of ground ginger (I haven’t tried using fresh)

Directions:

  • Turn oven on broil
  • In a small dish, microwave butter until melted. Stir in honey and ginger
  • Cut grapefruit in half, and section
  • Place grapefruit halves on baking sheet (I put tinfoil on the baking sheet), open side up
  • Spread butter and honey mixture onto the fruit
  • Broil 4-6 minutes
  • Enjoy!

*I usually only broil it for 4 minutes and while you have to be careful taking it out, it is usually just the right temperature to eat right away

*Work with the ingredient amounts to come up with what works for you!

*Some people also like to add cinnamon and cardamon to the mix

*If using brown sugar, it gets a little crispy under the broiler (= delicious)

 

 

Chicken and Broccoli in Creamy Pesto Sauce

We had my mother and father-in-law over for dinner Saturday night and served them one of my favorite dishes: Chicken and broccoli in creamy pesto sauce. For convenience, this recipe utilizes cream sauce and pesto that is already made, feel free to make your own sauce for this recipe.

This meal is usually a treat for us because of the cream sauce. This meal also isn’t the cheapest, but there are ways to save. I wish I was able to take pictures of this lovely dish, but we were busy entertaining and busy eating and there was none left afterwards!

Chicken and Broccoli in Creamy Pesto Sauce
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • About 2 lbs chicken breast (I bought in bulk and on sale, and paid about 81 cents per serving, $3.25 total)
  • 2 heads of broccoli, cut into florets – $3 total
  • 1 container fresh pesto $4.99 (or, save money and buy the pesto flavor packet in the marinade aisle – $1.99)
  • 1 container fresh Alfredo sauce $3.99 (or, buy in a jar, $2.50)

Total – $15.23, or $3.80 pp – using budget shortcuts, $10.74, $2.68 pp

Optional recipe enhancement:

  • 1 bunch asparagus, cut into small discs, with heads set aside – 80 cents
  • 3 tbsp butter – 89 cents (and we use butter that is about $7 a pound)
  • 5 cloves garlic, diced – 40 cents

Enhancement cost: $2.09, 52 cents a person (less if you don’t use pastured butter)

Directions:

  • Season chicken breasts with pepper, garlic powder, and anything else you may like
  • Cut asparagus into thin discs, leaving the heads intact
  • Grill chicken breasts in large pan, set aside
  • Add butter, garlic, and asparagus to separate pan and cook on low until garlic starts to brown, set aside (optional step)
  • Meanwhile, cook broccoli until crisp tender
  • To make sauce – combine Alfredo sauce and 2/3-1 whole container (to taste) of pesto (or whole envelope), simmer in small pot until warmed through, may add milk if too thick. Add garlic asparagus mixture if using.
  • Mix broccoli with sauce and serve over chicken (if you are a pasta eater, this tastes great with pasta)
  • Enjoy!

Total meal cost for 4 people: about $10.74-$17.32, depending on ingredients used (prices will also vary with where you buy your ingredients and if they are on sale or not)

Spinach, Pepper, and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts and Dessert

We had a pretty low-key Valentine’s Day; we ate a lovely dinner and splurged with homemade lava cakes and cookie dough ice cream. We exchanged some notes and treats and called it good.

I decided to experiment with pepper stuffed chicken breasts and I’m so glad I did! They tasted great even for leftovers. We paired the chicken with some asparagus grilled with butter, lemon juice, lemon pepper, and a little bit of garlic (my favorite).

Wish I had a better photo, but I was too hungry to try!

Spinach, Pepper, and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
I made about 5 servings, but ingredients can be easily altered to make more or less
Bake at 425 degrees

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3 Days Until Christmas: Christmas Breakfast

Just a few more days until Christmas and I’m super excited! My holiday celebrations kick off tomorrow evening so I will have a festive filled Christmas weekend. To elevate my mood even further, I was able to enjoy a real food breakfast this morning and a real food dinner last night (which has been few and far between since becoming pregnant)!

I’m spending today decorating our traditional sugar cookies and prepping grain-free meatballs so I can throw them in the crockpot tomorrow morning.

I’m also getting the final ingredients to make our traditional Christmas breakfast. On Christmas morning my brother and mother (and maybe some cousins) are joining me and my husband for breakfast and a gift exchange and while my husband cooks eggs and bacon, my brother will be making biscuits and chocolate gravy. Yes, you heard right; chocolate gravy.

My father has a lot of family from Tennessee and the South and I am sure chocolate gravy is much more popular over that way than here in CA. When we visited some maternal family in Oklahoma our great aunt Sue made us chocolate gravy and biscuits as well.

My brother won’t let me post our family’s recipe, but this I found a recipe online that is pretty similar. We don’t usually let it get as thick as pudding, we like it a bit more runny, so we substitute some of the milk for water.

Mom’s Chocolate Gravy from Redneck Epicurean

Ingredients:
Serves: 6

1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (we prefer Hershey’s)

Directions:

Mix all the dry ingredients in a heavy saucepan with a whisk. Using a whisk blends everything better than a spoon. Stir in the milk.

Cook over medium heat stirring constantly. Remove the pot when the mixture is thick like pudding.

Add the butter. Stir in until completely melted. Serve over biscuits with a teaspoon of butter dolloped on top.

Even though our preferable lifestyle/eating habits are whole foods (and generally grain-free) I think it’s ok to have a special treat once in a while.

I think a great healthier alternative would be soaked cinnamon rolls from Modern Alternative Mama’s new book, Treat Yourself, which you can win!

What are you making Christmas morning?

12 Days Until Christmas: Grain-free Appetizers

I have two holiday celebrations before Christmas and everyone is to bring an appetizer. Since I am sure there will be plenty of indulgences, I am dedicated to bringing something healthy that is grain-free and sugar-free.

Here are a few finger foods/appetizers that I have either made with success, or I plan to give a try:

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No-Fail, No-Knead Bread for Thanksgiving (or any occasion)

Crusty loaf ready to eat!

I was recruited to make the bread for the Thanksgiving celebration with my in-laws. I’ve made bread a few times – every single time using the no-knead bread recipe that is all over the internet. Since I haven’t yet made it (waiting for the last possible minute so that maybe I can bring the bread warm!), I don’t have any pictures (haven’t made it in such a long time since we have been eating mostly grain-free!).

The classic recipe was made popular by the New York Times, as adapted from Sullivan Street Bakery. Here are the ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
  • ¼ teaspoon instant yeast
  • 1¼ teaspoons salt
  • 1 5/8 cups water
  • Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed (optional)

I like to make it a little more different to add some flavor. Here’s my version of the no-fail, no-knead bread:

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Cheesy Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce

While my husband and I are for the most part, grain-free, we do allow ourselves cheats or treats occasionally. Chicken Enchiladas are one of our favorite leftover-chicken-meals and it’s quick, easy, and flavorful.

Disclaimer: These are white girl enchiladas, but I still maintain that they taste pretty good.

Chicken Enchiladas with Green Sauce

A small batch on Enchiladas before going into the oven.

Exact measurements aren’t important when it comes to making these. You can make as little or as much as you want, just adjust the ingredient amounts. I have listed the amounts we usually use, but these are in no way, the only amounts in which to make enchiladas. Play around with what works for you!

Ingredients:

  • Leftover chicken, shredded (approx. 1/2-1 full size chicken)
  • 1 jar salsa verde, divided (we like the one from Trader Joes)
  • 1/4 cup sour cream + more for serving
  • 1/2-1 lb pepper jack cheese, shredded and divided
  • Flour tortillas (Depends on size, but we usually use 3-8 tortillas)
  • Optional: Seasonings for chicken (Cumin, garlic, chili powder, etc.)
  • Other optional ingredients: Green chiles, olives, and veggies

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease pirex dish or other pan.
  • Mix shredded chicken, 1/4 cup sour cream, 1/3 jar salsa verde, 1/4-1/2 amount of cheese, and any other seasonings or ingredients.
  • Spoon into center or tortilla, and roll tortilla. Place tortilla roll seam side down in dish. Continue until you use all of the chicken mixture.
  • Spread 1/3 jar of salsa verde on top of enchiladas and the sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.
  • Bake 10-15 minutes or until cheese it melted and enchiladas are cooked all the way through.
  • Serve with sour cream and green sauce.

This small batch on Enchiladas uses 3 large sprouted tortillas and has green chiles in the filling

Natural Dishwasher Detergent Fail

Looks like I have been M.I.A. these last few weeks. I have just been busy doing random things and haven’t spent too much time on the internet. Give me another couple of weeks and I should be back here full-swing!

Anyways, I wanted to post about homemade dishwashing detergent. There are plenty of recipes out there for you to substitute store bought cleaner for you dishwasher with something natural and homemade. The many recipes I looked at involved 2 or more of these ingredients:

  • Borax
  • Baking Soda
  • Castille Soap
  • Vinegar
  • Lemon Kool-aid (or citric acid)

Despite using various ratios and different recipes my dishes did not turn out very clean. Even with the vinegar and lemon kool-aid rinse the dishes still came out cloudy with a powdery film.

Maybe my dishwasher is too old or our water too hard, but we had to turn back to store bought dishwasher detergent.

Anyone else successfully use homemade dishwasher detergent?

 

 

Spaghetti Sauce vs Tomato and Beef Soup

I’m a picky red-sauce eater. Most restaurant sauces make me gag; they are too sweet and I don’t care for the green pepper taste that many of them seem to have. I prefer to make my own sauce at home. Spaghetti was one of the first things I learned to cook – my dad taught me, so I have fond memories with it as well.

This week I was craving spaghetti sauce but since we aren’t eating pasta, I could only eat the sauce. Then I got to thinking, meat sauce is just like tomato soup with ground beef (close enough, right?). So I kept telling myself that it was perfectly okay to eat the sauce sans noodles. And I still enjoyed it. I could try it over zucchini strips (aka zucchini pasta) or any other vegetable. You can also dip celery or vegetables into it, or just eat it with a salad.

It’s still warm and sunny here, but this would be a nice winter meal, too.

Serve meat sauce/tomato beef soup/spaghetti sauce in a mug or a bowl

Lulu’s Favorite Garlic Meat Sauce

Makes approx. 4 servings (more if using pasta and not heavily sauced)

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