Almond milk, almond flour, almond butter…

We all remember the movie Forrest Gump starring Tom Hanks as a lovable, simple man from Alabama. In the movie, Forrest befriends “Bubba” Blue while serving in the army. Bubba comes from a long line of shrimp boat captains. During one scene of the movie, Bubba rattles off a litany of all the things one can do with shrimp. It is a pretty funny scene and not unlike our versatile friend the shrimp, almonds offer a variety of culinary opportunities.

Check out this great info-graphic about almonds from Nuts.com! Nuts.com is a family-owned business that has been operating since 1929. Don’t be fooled by the name! While nuts are their specialty they also offer high quality flours, candy, baking goods and coffee and tea at comparable prices delivered right to your door. I am honored to be able to collaborate with them on this post.

As you can see, almonds are a high protein, low-carb, gluten-free food. They are also a great snack as they are filling and portable! You can read more about the health benefits of almonds here.

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While I made the switch to almond butter and almond milk years ago, my favorite use for almonds these days is almond flour/meal in place of wheat flour. I love baking and this gives me a low-carb alternative while still enjoying my favorite treats! Here is a terrific almond pancake recipe from PopSugar.com. I made these one morning during the Sugar Detox and my husband was none the wiser; he loved them! Be sure to watch the heat as almond flour can burn faster than wheat flour. You will also notice the texture is crumbly versus fluffy but once you are used to the difference, you won’t go back!

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Low-Carb, Gluten-Free Almond Pancakes

INGREDIENTS

3 cups almond meal
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk, light coconut milk, or milk
2 tablespoons extra-light olive oil, walnut oil, coconut oil, or butter, melted

DIRECTIONS

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the almond meal, flaxseed, salt, and baking soda.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the milk and oil or butter and whisk thoroughly.
  3. Gradually whisk the flour mixture into the egg mixture. Add more milk as necessary, one tablespoon at a time, to reach pancake-batter consistency.
  4. Lightly oil a skillet and heat over medium heat. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto the skillet. Cook for three minutes, or until bubbles form and edges are cooked. Flip and cook for three minutes or until underside is lightly browned. Repeat with remaining batter.
  5. Serve with desired toppings.

Makes 14 four-inch pancakes. The following nutritional information is for one pancake made with unsweetened almond milk and coconut oil.

Enjoy!

*I did not receive any type of compensation for this post. 

FIT Hits the PAN Friday – Happy Spring!

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I know some of you have had a rough Winter and are looking forward to some warmer weather! A friend posted photos of more snow up in the northeast this morning so I imagine they have a little longer to wait. Here in Florida, we are already in the high 80’s. Before you get too upset with me, remember that the upper 80’s in central Florida is a tad more unbearable than it is up north as we have that beloved humidity. Spring has definitely sprung here and we have a layer of yellow on everything to prove it! Not to mention the stuffy nose, sneezing and watery eyes :) I digress…Spring is more than pollen and heat! It is also about making the switch to lighter fare to get ready for beach season. With that said, let me get to my recipe for today. This gem comes from our friends at SkinnyTaste.com.

I had some chicken thighs in the fridge that needed to be cooked, so this recipe was the perfect solution! I know some of you may balk at the thought of dark meat and I used to be right there with you. However, I found boneless skinless thighs at BJ’s from Harvestland. I love their products because they contain no hormones or antibiotics and they are reasonably priced. While the thigh meat is a little higher in fat than breast meat, it also has much more flavor and stays moist when cooking which makes it perfect for grilling!

A couple of notes regarding this dish:

  • When choosing a balsamic vinegar, don’t skimp! We use one from Key West Olive Oil Company. It is aged 20 years and it is sweet and thick. We eat it alone on salad instead of dressing. The flavor is wonderful!
  • My husband will not eat asparagus so I substituted brussel sprouts, portobello mushrooms and cauliflower. I also used mini-peppers because that was what I had on hand. Any veggies will do since you are roasting.
  • The recipe tells you to keep the veggies and chicken separate. I cannot stress that enough! Also, make sure your chicken is dry, otherwise you will end up with steamed chicken instead of roasted. I recommend using two baking sheets; one for the chicken and one for the vegetables.
  • We did not have any sides with this dish although it would be good with mashed potatoes or rice.

Enjoy!

Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
Gina’s Weight Watcher Recipes
Servings: 5 • Size: 2 thighs plus vegetables • Old Points: 8 pts • Points+: 9 pts
Calories: 347.1 • Fat: 17.0g • Protein: 31.1 g • Carb: 19.2 g • Fiber: 5.8 g

Ingredients:

  • 10 (20 oz) boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • 20 medium asparagus, ends trimmed, cut in half
  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1 cup carrots, sliced in half long way
  • 2 red onions, chopped in large chunks
  • 10 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • salt and pepper
  • 3 tbsp fresh rosemary
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and sliced
  • 2 tbsp oregano or thyme
  • 4 leaves fresh sage, chopped


Directions:
Preheat oven to 425°. Wash and dry the chicken well with a paper towel. Combine all the ingredients together and using your hands and arrange in a very large roasting pan. The vegetables should not touch the chicken or it will steam instead of roast. All ingredients should be spread out in a single layer. If necessary use two baking sheets or disposable tins to achieve this. Bake for 35 – 40 minutes.

I’m not a liar but Facebook sure is.

Ivey Nutrition & Wellness:

I love this post! So true!

Originally posted on fielekefrontporch:

I have some confessions about pictures I pulled from my Facebook feed…

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In this picture, what you see is my sweet Ru & I, snuggled up happy as can be. What you don’t see is that my best friend was in town visiting me taking care of me because I really hate it when Josh travels for work for a week and I have to hold down the fort with a 2 & 4 year old.

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In this picture, what you see are the cutest little girls ever with their beaming proud Momma. What you can’t see is that this was the day after our social worker told us it will probably be a long wait to adopt a baby, longer than we hoped, and I was still processing and grieving that news.

10959617_10101604449966544_6846384602493608323_nIn this picture, you obviously see my stud of a husband making me a really happy lady. But…

View original 500 more words

The Best Defense is a Great Offense

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Over the last several months I have been bombarded with prayer requests from friends and family going through some very scary and heart-breaking events. I have always considered myself the “fixer” when things are broken; relationships, financial problems, health issues, etc. These recent events have been so complex that the Lord has humbled me and the only thing I have been able to do is pray. There are no quick fixes and frankly, I am out of answers. As these events have been unfolding, the Holy Spirit revealed to me that my problem has been that prayer should have always been my first defense, not my last. In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul told them to “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (emphasis added). We are given this admonition throughout scripture.

Psalm 55:22 ” Cast your burden on the Lord and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved.”

Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”

Romans 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

May our hearts be turned toward our Creator so that our first defense is Him! May our finite minds stop trying to “figure out” our infinite God. May we bow in prayer first to the One who was, is and forever shall be!

Psalm 121:1-2
“I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord,
Who made heaven and earth.”

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!