Chunky Turkey Chili

Ok, so this was SO delicious and again, one of my “just throw some in there” kind of recipe, but I’ll tell you what I did:

  • l lb. Lean Ground Turkey Meat
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Jalapeno (with seeds)
  • 1/2 Cherry Chili Pepper (with seeds)
  • 1/2 Chili Pepper (with seeds)
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • S&P
  • Chili Powder
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Grape Seed Oil or Olive Oil)
  • 15 oz. Can Garbonzo Beans (un-drained)
  • 15 oz. Can Kidney Beans (un-drained)
  • 7.5 ounces Cannellini Beans (drained)
  • 2 (14 oz.) Cans Diced Tomatoes (un-drained)

I started with a large soup pot on medium heat and added a little oil. I chopped my onion and allowed it to cook for about 2-3 minutes and then added the chopped garlic cloves. After a few minutes, while stirring occasionally so the garlic didn’t burn, added the chopped peppers (green, jalapeno and both chili peppers) and allowed them all to cook for a few minutes. I then added the turkey meat and broke it all apart. I let that cook, mixing occasionally until the meat was almost all brown. I added my seasonings, mixed and let the turkey brown with all the flavors. I then added all the beans and tomatoes, mixed, covered and lowered the heat down to a simmer. I let this all cook together for about a half hour and topped with a little shredded cheddar cheese and sprig of cilantro!

I enjoyed this chili with a couple glasses of Jacob’s Creek Shiraz, which went perfectly!

Yes, the bottle is now empty.

Paleo Plantain Honey Bread

If you’re dieting or trying to eat better in general, you may be missing that “starch” in your diet. I know when I’m trying not to eat many carbs or starchy foods like breads and pastas, I feel like I’m being deprived and never really feel full or satisfied.

This bread was really delicious in the morning, toasted with organic peanut butter and a cup of coffee. You can have my pasta but leave me my coffee!

Here’s what I did:

  • 3 Green Plantains
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Coconut Oil (plus extra to grease pan)
  • 2 Tbs. Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 Tbs. Raw Honey

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Grease your bread loaf pan with a little coconut oil. Peel and cut the plantains and put in your food processor and pulse on high until completely blended. Add the eggs, honey and coconut oil and blend again. Finally add the coconut flour and baking powder and mix one last time.

Pour mixture into your greased pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool, slice and enjoy with some peanut butter and coffee:)20160206_225023.jpg20160206_232823.jpg

Healthy, Gluten-Free Chicken Carbonara

So, as you probably know by now, I LOVE to eat! If food is involved, I’m there. If I ate the way I want to eat, I’d be extremely unhealthy and I’d be concerned with my blood pressure and cholesterol. That’s why I re-create these recipes so I can enjoy everything I WANT to eat without consuming an absurd amount of calories and fat.

I was so completely satisfied with this dish, even without the pasta! I poured the cabonara over mashed cauliflower and thin zucchini noodles, which turned out to be the perfect combo.

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No dish is complete without a glass (or bottle) of wine, in my professional wine-drinking opinion, which is why I decided on the chardonnay, pinot grigio blend. I wanted the buttery flavor of the chardonnay with the light/crisp taste of the pinot grigio.  Let me tell you, Villa Cerrina knows their stuff!

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Here’s What I Did:

  • 1 1/2-2 lbs. Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 Onion
  • 4 Slices uncured turkey bacon
  • 1 tsp. oil (I used grape seed oil, but you can use olive oil or other)
  • 1/4 Cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 Cup half and half
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. arrow root
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • S&P to taste
  • 3/4 Cup steamed, cut green beans

 

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, chopped. Allow it to cook alone for a couple minutes while stirring occasionally. Once the onion begins to soften, slice the turkey bacon into small, 1/4 inch pieces and add to the onion. Let this combo cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken, cut into cubes, and sprinkle all seasonings including S&P.

Once the chicken has cooked 1/2 way through, add the chicken broth and lemon juice and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the half and half, butter and arrow root, mixing well. Turn heat to medium/low, cover, and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and sauce has thickened.

I cut and steamed the green beans at the end and tossed them into the mixture so they were a little crisp.

For the cauliflower, I literally just steamed the crowns, drained and pulsed on high in my food processor. You really don’t need any seasonings or fillers in this because you want to enjoy the flavor and sauce from the carbonara.

For the zucchini noodles, I peeled the zucchini with a potato peeler on 4 sides until I hit the seeds. I put the noodles in a small skillet with a tiny bit of oil and tossed around frequently with a little salt and pepper. These noodles cooked very briefly because you don’t want them to get soggy, which they will very quickly.

Pour your mixture over the cauliflower and place the zucchini around the outside. Pour yourself a MUCH deserved glass of wine WHILE you cook AND while enjoying this delicious light version of a favorite dish!

 

A Little Moisture Trick!

Sometimes gluten-free ingredients are a little on the dry side, which if you’re a gluten-free goddess, you are well aware of! I made my favorite pancakes the other morning and decided to add a little almond milk..AFTER they were cooked..I poured a little bit of the milk over the pancakes like it was whipped cream and it was JUST what they needed:)

I still put some fresh berries and a little pure maple syrup..I think I’m gonna go make some more!

I ate these a lot pre-wedding in the morning to start my day. They are filling but won’t make you feel bloated or like you’ve over-indulged.

Gluten-Free Turkey Meatloaf

This recipe is by far the yummiest, most satisfying meatloaf I have EVER had and I don’t feel guilty in the slightest because the only 2 “fillers” are corn flake crumbs and almond meal! I use mushrooms (weird?) to add flavor and moisture and a little Worcestershire sauce for a little kick. Please make and enjoy!! If you want a glass of wine while you make and enjoy this dish, I had Bluefin’s Petite Sirah. At less than $6 a bottle at Trader Joe’s, can you really pass on it??

  • 1 lb. Ground Turkey Meat ($2.99 at Trader Joe’s!)
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Chopped Baby Bella Mushrooms
  • 1/2 Cup Almond Meal (Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/3 Cup Corn Flake Crumbs (I used Kellogg’s)
  • 1/4 Cup Ketchup (+ another 2 Tbs. for topping)
  • 2 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Tbs. Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. Parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/4 tsp. Onion Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
  •  1/4 tsp. Baking Powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine the 3 eggs, beaten, and the turkey meat. Mix well. Add the mushrooms and mix again. Put the almond meal and corn flake crumbs and mix once more. Finally, add all remaining ingredients and mix together, then pour into a greased loaf pan spreading evenly (I used Trader Joe’s Extra Virgin Italian Olive Oil Spray to grease the pan).

Take the extra 2 Tbs. of ketchup and spread evenly over the top of the loaf.

Bake for 45 Minutes and enjoy! 20160130_200224.jpg

I’m Not Funny…Or Witty.

So…as it turns out after reading several awesome blogs on both skin care and cooking, I have come to the sad realization that I am neither funny nor witty.

I hate to say that, because I always think I’m funny, but that’s just the conversations I have going on alone in my head. It’s with a tilt of the head and a smart remark that no one else can hear that I chuckle to myself. Embarrassingly, however, I think if I uttered these thoughts aloud, no one would laugh but me…so alas, I keep them to myself.

Before you think to yourself “maybe she actually IS funny, but doesn’t speak her mind”, first of all, I thank you for your faith, BUT I have tried sharing the thoughts that go on in my mind and instead of laughs, I get a lot of “aawwww”s, which are really in sympathetic tones to my attempts at witty humor.

I accept this. I’m not the girl who takes her top off and posts pictures of myself on a camel because she’s gorgeous and hilarious (all praise Chelsea Handler), or bakes a killer turkey stuffed with garlic butter, all while looking completely gorgeous AND being both funny AND witty (God bless you, Chrissy Teigan), or the beautiful, talented and hilarious Ali from http://bitchesbeglutenfree.com/me.html

It’s cool, though. Respect.

Hope you like all my stuff..even though it’s not funny…or witty. I just like wine and food and skin care.

The “Gluten-Free/Paleo” Life

Ok, so I say “gluten-free” and “paleo” BUT I don’t always eat this way. I try to eat mostly whole foods and stay away from breads, pastas and rice. TRY. Sometimes, like last night, I make a delicious dish that has rice in it and you just can’t substitute, like rice noodles for pad thai. I mean, zucchini noodles aren’t gonna cut it!

I drink wine. A lot. I love wine, I’ve been drinking wine since I was a little girl at my Nonna and Papa’s kitchen table. It’s not paleo and I could care less. These pictures were taken in Punta Cana for our wedding in November and you can bet your bottom I was drinking wine before the wedding…that shit was stressful.

When I do cut back on all the yummy things like pastas and breads, I don’t substitute them with gluten-free versions. I don’t have celiac disease, forcing me to improvise. I just feel less bloated and more toned when I avoid those simple carbohydrates.

Any advice I might give a future bride or anyone trying to get a bit more fit is to cut out the foods you know you shouldn’t be eating and replace them with whole foods that fill you up and satisfy your palate. Add weights into your workout routine. I was always a cardio queen. Give me an In Touch magazine, a stair-master and Rhianna radio on my Pandora and I’ll sweat my butt off and feel like I accomplished something, BUT it never toned my body. Adding Body Pump class (moderate weights with lots of repetition/total body workout) was what got me tighter and smaller. I always thought weights would make me bulky, but they did NOT. I didn’t drink soda or juices either. Ever. I’d rather have stevia in my coffee in the morning and wine during the week than a soda or glass of juice any day. I heard recently that one serving of soda has more sugar in it than you need for the entire week!

My go to substitutions to cut cravings and fill/satisfy me:

  • Avocado! I put this in salads, added it to veggies for side dishes or under a meat/protein
  • Beans! Especially black beans, I eat these in place of pasta or rice.
  • Zucchini! I made noodles under a sauce, diced and added to ground turkey for meatballs, cut up and sautéed to add to veggies to help fill me up
  • Mango! I know there’s a lot of sugar, so I would eat it early in the day and make ceviche with it, which included avocado, shrimp and lots of lemon and cilantro. I also ate it alone as long as I wasn’t going to have any other sugar for the day. It’s like candy!
  • Spicy sauces and seasonings! When you’re trying to eat well, you get bored after a while (or at least I do!) and start craving other food. Adding a lot of spice (if that’s your thing) REALLY helped me, and is actually great for your metabolism. I added siracha to eggs, cayenne pepper to bean salads and Frank’s Red Hot to pretty much anything, especially chicken tenders (a paleo version, found in my recipes) for a “buffalo chicken” dish with celery and carrots.
  • Protein muffins and paleo pancakes were perfect every morning with my cup of coffee (which I would rather cut off a limb than take away) and filled me up. (Both found in my recipes, as well)
  • Sparkling water with lemon and lime, MAYBE a splash of cranberry. This “mocktail” was my go-to when I was cutting back on the wine. I still put it in a fancy glass:)

Kind of regretting the 2 Hershey Kisses I had before this post:/ Oh well, no Nature’s Path cereal for dessert tonight! (something else I do).

 

Gluten Free Chicken Pad Thai

SOOOOOOO delicious!!

  • 1 Tbs. Sesame Oil
  • 1/2 Shallot
  • 3 Eggs
  • 2 lbs. Chicken breast
  • 3/4 Fresh Cilantro
  • 3 Tbs. Chopped Scallions
  • 1 1/2 Cup Bean Sprouts
  • 1/2 Cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Siracha
  • 1/4 Cup Fish Sauce
  • 1/4 Cup Liquid Amino Acids
  • 1/4 Cup Oyster Sauce
  • 1/2 Cup Crushed Peanuts
  • 16 oz. Flat Rice Noodles

In a sauté pan, pour a little sesame oil and heat over medium. Beat the eggs and pour into heated pan, scrambling as they cook. After cooked completely, set aside. Pour a little more of the sesame oil into the pan and throw in the chicken, cut into cubes.

While the chicken is cooking, stirring occasionally, cook the rice noodles as instructed (I boil for about 4 minutes because I like them cooked al dente).

Once the chicken has cooked thoroughly, remove the chicken, leaving the juice and add the diced shallot into the pan, stirring a few times while the shallot softens. Once the shallot has softened, add the egg and chicken back into the pan. Toss together and add the noodles. Finally, pour the liquid ingredients over everything and toss together. Finally, add the cilantro, peanuts and bean sprouts and toss once more. Serve immediately and ENJOY!!

I enjoyed this tonight with some Grower’s Reserve Chardonnay…because, you know…I like to drink wine while I cook…and eat;)

Blueberry Reduction Pork Chops

So sometimes (very often, actually), I don’t follow any recipe, nor do I write down what I’m doing as I do it. Last night’s dinner was a perfect example of that, but I’ll tell you what I did the best I can!

This was a thick-cut boneless pork chop. I had 4 total, which equaled around 2 lbs. In my cast iron grill pan, I sprayed cooking oil so the pork chops wouldn’t stick and heated over medium-medium/high. I placed all 4 pork chops and sprinkled them with smoked paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, dried basil, dried parsley and a little cayenne pepper. Once they started to brown on the bottom, I flipped them over and repeated the same seasonings. Once they were about 1/2 way cooked through, I put them in a preheated oven of 350 for about 10-15 minutes.

In another cast iron skillet, I cut up parsnips and purple carrots. On the stove top on medium-medium/high heat I poured a little grape seed oil and added the parsnips and carrot. I then sprinkled them with cinnamon, turmeric, nutmeg and a little pink sea salt. Once they started to soften, I put them in the oven for about 15-20 minutes.

The broccoli was simply steamed and sprinkled with lemon pepper!

But the REDUCTION SAUCE was to die for! I put a small container of blueberries with a little chicken broth on a small pot on the stove over medium heat. I mashed the blueberries with a potato masher and allowed them to cook down a little then turned the heat to medium/low. I added more chicken broth (only about 1-2 Tbs. each time), about 1 Tbs. whole grain Dijon mustard, about 1 Tbs. of honey, and about 1 Tbs. of balsamic vinegar. I allowed that to all slowly cook together and kept tasting it to see what it needed. This was a thick reduction and it was delicious!! My husband was really skeptical (I don’t know why he doesn’t just trust me at this point?!) but he put a little on the side. Once he tried it, he got up and poured this all over his pork chop!!

I paired this dish with Panilonoco Cabernet Sauvignon!

Paleo BBQ Chicken

  •  

  • 2.5 Lbs Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • 6 oz can Organic Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup 100% Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbs Honey
  • 2 Tbs Molasses
  • 1 Tbs Grape seed Oil
  • 1/2 tsp Pink Himalayan Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Minced Onion
  • 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1/8 tsp Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp 21 Season Salute (Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/8 tsp Ground Cloves

 

In a medium-sized mixing bowl, mix together the tomato paste, apple cider vinegar and 1/4 cup water. Add the honey, molasses, grape seed oil and mix well. Add all of the seasonings and mix once more.

In your slow cooker on high, put the chicken breasts and pour your sauce on top. Spread it out and pour the other 1/4 cup water. Cover and allow to cook for about an hour and a half or until the chicken is easy to pull apart with 2 forks. After shredding the chicken apart, cover and turn heat to low. Allow to cook for at least another 1/2 hour.

I served mine over mashed cauliflower with fresh scallion!

(Mashed Cauliflower: Remove stems from half a head of cauliflower and steam the crowns until you can puncture with a fork. Drain and put in your food processor, blend until smooth. Transfer to mixing bowl and add 1 Tbs half and half, cracked pepper and salt to taste. I also add a sprinkle of fresh grated parmesan! Top with scallions.)