Kitchen – 1: Jenn – 1

Last night was our anniversary and we are actually celebrating this weekend but I decided to make something great for dinner (with what I had in the fridge of course). I found a terrific low-carb Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Casserole. Upon first inspection, I had all the ingredients. It wasn’t until I started making the dish that I realized 1) my ricotta was bad, 2) I was out of mozzarella and 3) I missed the part of the recipe where I was supposed to use cooked chicken. Easy fixes, right? Not so much. I subbed extra sour cream for the ricotta and just used raw chicken and figured it would cook in the oven. The dish was really watery and had no flavor. My sweet husband did eat it (it didn’t taste bad, it just didn’t taste much like anything). Here is the actual recipe if you want to try it the correct way :) Let me know how it turns out. The upside is that it made enough for me to use some in my omelette this morning and tonight, we are having broccoli, chicken and cheese calzones. Problem solved!

sweetpotatosoup Photo Credit: thclothesmakethegirl.com

My win last night was Paleo Sweet Potato Soup. Let me begin by saying if I only had one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would probably be bacon. My life would be shortened significantly so it doesn’t seem too extreme. The combination of the sweet potato and bacon is divine; plus, it is a super easy recipe. I am excited to have it for lunch!

Not every night in the kitchen can be a success. The key is not getting down on yourself when you do not turn out a masterpiece.

Cheers!

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Sugar Detox Edition

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We are officially past the half-way mark of this detox. I feel terrific and I have shed 3 pounds! I have found that as long as I eat regularly and don’t let my blood sugar drop too low, my energy levels are great. I have made a ton of different recipes from the 21 Day Sugar Detox book and Cookbook.

Here are a few that we have enjoyed over the week! I will link you to the actual recipes instead of typing them out. No use in reinventing the wheel :)

Pumpkin Pancakes with Vanilla Bean Coconut Butter
Even my picky husband loved these pancakes! The texture is different from normal wheat flour pancakes; they are almost crumbly. Once you get used to that and focus on the flavor, they are quite tasty! I did not try the butter part, mainly out of laziness but I think that would make them even better!

Apple Streusel Egg Muffins 
I cut this recipe in half because my husband has been weird about eggs lately so I knew he wouldn’t eat them. They are a great snack on the go! I ate one before the gym yesterday and had a ton of energy!

Tomato Basil Quiche with Bacon and Spinach
This link is to another blogger Ashley at Coffee Cake & Cardio. Her quiche is much prettier than mine!
I used 6 pieces of bacon and that was more than enough. I also subbed egg whites for 3 of the eggs; no used getting crazy with cholesterol when you don’t have to!

Still have to make my meal plan for next week! I am excited to try new things and new ways of cooking. I think my favorite meal so far (not posted) was spaghetti squash with ground chicken and marinara with Parmesan cheese. Simple, yet tasty and 21DSD compliant!

Have an excellent weekend and let me know if you try out any of these recipes!

Cheers!

Sugar Detox – Day 8

bigstock-Diet-Dieting-concept-Healthy-31806245We made it through the first week relatively unscathed! My weekly menu consisted mostly of avocado, eggs, bacon and chicken sausage with a variety of vegetables, the occasional green-tipped banana and green apples with almond butter. Dinners were more involved because my husband was included and he is not doing the detox.

Overall, I am not hungry throughout the day and my energy levels have been much higher. For example, Saturday morning I ran 7 miles and ran some errands with my mom. Normally, I would have come home and plopped on the couch for a two hour nap. Instead, I mowed the yard because I wasn’t tired. The first couple of days were not this easy. In fact, I had a terrible headache the second day and some stomach issues. Thankfully, both of those were short-lived!

Friday night, we went to my mom’s and she made dijon mustard chicken which was 21DSD compliant (thanks Mom). She is pretty good about cooking meals that fit with whatever “challenge” I am doing. I was craving a glass of wine on Friday so I had one. Boy did I pay for it Saturday! I had a terrible headache and I felt run down and my morning run was very difficult. We went over to my mom’s last night for dinner and I poured a glass of wine, had one sip and gave the rest to her. I didn’t even want it.

One of the things this detox has taught me is to eat to live, not live to eat. I love to cook and I love to eat. When you are cutting something out like sugar that would normally cause you to want to overeat, food becomes more of a survival tool than for gratification. Yes, that ice cream and cake tastes wonderful and yes a scoop and slice won’t kill you (in most cases) but when you are finished are you truly satisfied? I am realizing I never was. I had trained my brain to eat dessert after every meal so much to the point that on this detox the first thing I want after dinner is something sweet. I have started eating the sugar-free “fudge” as my nightly treat and when I am finished eating, I am truly fulfilled.

I am going to prepare a bit more for the upcoming week. Many nights, I felt like I was scrambling to make something for dinner that both my husband and I could eat. I will check back in at the end of Week 2! Look for recipes as I make them.

If you are interested in the 21 Day Sugar Detox, check out Diane’s page.

You Were Made to Crave…God

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February 2, I started leading the second semester of Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst. I am so blessed to have a wonderful group of ladies in my class! This book teaches us how to satisfy our deepest desires with God, not food. I wanted to share some of the email I sent them this morning in the hopes I can encourage you to seek God over the other unhealthy temptations of this world! If you are struggling with weight loss or food addiction, please take a look at this book.

This morning, this verse was on my Bible app:

Luke 12:29-31 NKJV
“And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind.  For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. 
But seek the kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.

I thought this was so fitting for our study; Lysa spoke about being empowered with our food choices, not deprived. Luke tells us not to worry about what we will eat or drink or to be anxious. God knows our needs; when we seek HIM and the rest will fall into place.

I found that so reassuring!

I pray you are all enjoying the reading this week. A couple of points that have stood out to me are:

Page 52 – Be Persistent

Paul doesn’t ask for wisdom one time. Paul asks over and over.

I once heard an un-biblical pastor say “Once you pray for something let it go and give it to God. Don’t keep asking over and over again.”

What a lie he told from the pulpit that day! God commands us to come to Him for everything.

Jessie showed us in Philippians 4:5-6 where it read “Be anxious for nothing , but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests

Be made know to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Just because we “give it to God” does not mean the struggle ends. He doesn’t want us to worry about it because worry takes our minds of His work in our lives. He does want us to lean on Him and come to Him when we are not strong.

That does not show lack of faith! It shows excellent faith because we continuously show God we trust Him with everything.

Pages 52-53 – Embrace a True Identity

I was made to be set free, holy, new, loved, and confident. Because of this , I can’t allow myself to partake in anything that negates my true identity.

At the beginning of the week, I sent you the verses of WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST. Please print this list and carry it with you and meditate on it. The world will tell you lies to break you and to make you feel less-than.

God made you in HIS image, so you are perfect. Please don’t misconstrue that with a free pass to be unhealthy. We are beautiful at any size, but we are also commanded to take care of these temples God has created!

This journey will set you on that path. You will learn how to use your relationship with Christ to make better choices for you to live a long and healthy life serving Him!

Page 61

Food isn’t sinful. But when food is what Satan holds up in front of us and says, “You’ll never be free from this battle. You will always bounce from feeling deprived when you’re dieting to feeling guilty when your splurging. Victory isn’t possible. You aren’t capable of self-control with food,” we must see that its inappropriate consummation can be his lure to draw our heart into a place of defeat. For others it will be sex outside marriage, the inappropriate consumption of alcohol, illegal drugs, or some other physical means.

Wow! That hit me like a ton of bricks. Thank goodness we are free in Christ! Can you imagine what it is like for people who do not know the Lord to tackle these lusts of the flesh?

1 Peter 5:8 says “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour.”

Sugar Detox – Day 4

Yesterday was rough! After a horrible night’s sleep, I was feeling run-down most of the day. Then all the sudden, this morning I woke up to go to the gym and felt like a new person! My workout was amazing and I have not needed a nap all day. I might be past the hard part of this detox.

I pulled a bunch of recipes from the 21DSD website before I started this adventure and I made one of them for lunch. I used boneless, skinless breasts but I will use thighs next time. I think the dark meat will really accentuate the flavor of the other ingredients.

Hot Sweet Ginger Garlic Chicken

PREP TIME: 5 minutes

COOKING TIME: 30-35 minutes
YIELD: 3 servings

ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
  • sea salt & black pepper to taste
  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (or other cut, cooking time will vary)
  • 1 small onion, finely sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or grated
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder or fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon white sesame seeds (omit for autoimmune friendly)
  • 1-2 pinches chili flakes (*omit for nightshade-free/autoimmune friendly)
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (available at most Whole Foods Markets or local organic grocers/co-ops for around $5-7/bottle)

preparation:

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  • In an oven safe cast iron or stainless steel skillet, melt the ghee, then season both sides of the chicken with sea salt and black pepper, and place skin side down into the pan for 5-6 minutes or until the skin browns and releases easily from the pan.
  • While the chicken cooks, combine the onion, garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, chili flakes, coconut aminos and more sea salt and black pepper in a small mixing bowl.
  • Flip the chicken thighs over so that they are now skin side up in the pan, then pour the sauce mixture over the chicken evenly and place the pan into the oven for 30 minutes or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165 degrees.

Enjoy!

21 Day Sugar Detox – Day 2

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Some friends and I decided it would be “fun” to do the 21 Day Sugar Detox this month. Other than spending way too much money on foods I don’t normally buy, it has not been so bad. Keep in mind, we are only on Day 2. Why a sugar detox you ask? If you scroll through past posts, I love a good challenge! Frankly, I get bored just eating “normal” stuff every day. Once or twice a year, I challenge myself to something new; Engine 2 Diet, Daniel Fast and now Sugar Detox. So far, it hasn’t been that bad. I like sugar and breads but I am not missing them (yet). My husband brought home a key lime pie and it hasn’t even tempted me. The only think I think I will miss is wine and beer, but I can do anything for 21 days, right? For more about the dangers of sugar, check out this post I wrote a couple of years ago, “I love you sugar, but you have to go!”

I came across this little gem when I was seeking out recipes. I apologize in advance but I did not print the source so in the interest of full disclosure, this recipe is mot mine! If you happen to know where it came from, please let me know so I can give them credit!

It is 21 DSD compliant, so enjoy!

Almost Fudge

Ingredients

  • 1 c. melted coconut butter
  • 1 c. pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 c. almond butter
  • 1/4 c. cacao powder
  • 2 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.
Spread in parchment lined loaf pan and refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Cut in small squares and serve.

Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie

The other day, there was a post going around Facebook, “23 Insanely Clever Ways to Eat Cauliflower Instead of Carbs.” I have been wanting to start using cauliflower instead of bread for sometime now, so I checked it out. Boy was I happy I did! There are so many wonderful looking dishes in that list. In true “Jenn” fashion, I decided to make something for which I already had the ingredients, Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie from OvenLoveBlog.com. I did have to make a few changes to accommodate my existing pantry stock and it still came out delicious!

Here is my amended version! Enjoy!
**My apologies for the terrible photo. It tasted better than it looks :)

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Cauliflower Shepherd’s Pie
Nutrition Info: 198 calories/7 g fat/16 g protein/7 g sugar/16 g carbs/376mg sodium
Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 2 – 10 oz bags Eat Fresh cauliflower OR 1 medium head cleaned and cut into florets
  • 3/4 lb ground chicken (you can use whatever meat you like)
  • 1/2 c white wine
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp milk (almond or dairy will work)
  • 1 c shredded mozzarella
  • 1/4 c shredded Parmesan
  • 4 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 c corn (I used frozen)
  • 1 c peas (I used canned)
  • 1/2 sweet onion diced
  • 1/2 red pepper diced
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 375° and grease a casserole pan (I used Pampered Chef Ceramic 11″ x 7″)
  • Boil the cauliflower until tender enough to blend with a hand mixer. Drain the water and set aside.
  • In a frying pan, melt the butter and when hot add the onions
  • Cook the onions until translucent and then add the wine, peppers, garlic powder, rosemary and cumin
  • Once the peppers are cooked, add the chicken and Worcestershire and cook until no longer pink
  • Mix in the corn and peas at the end and let simmer for about 10 minutes on medium. (Leave enough liquid so it doesn’t dry out in the oven).
  • Add the milk to the cooked cauliflower and mix until smooth with a hand mixer
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Pour the cooked meat and veggies into the prepared dish and spread the cauliflower on top.
  • Sprinkle the cheese on top of the cauliflower and bake for 30 min or until browned on top.

Enjoy!