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Thai Nut Dipping Sauce

21 Mar

Today I tried the crossfit open workout 13.3 and the wall balls killed me.

I thought I was going to get to double unders no problem, but I didn’t even make it. So, while having a pity party for myself, I’m trying to focus on the positive, and how far I’ve come since starting crossfit last June.

I have been mostly Paleo since January. I would say I have two cheat meals a week, and they aren’t eating a whole pizza, but eating out at a place that probably uses vegetable oil in stir frying my fajitas.

I feel great, have increased energy. Finally feeling comfortable in the kitchen, I’ve been going through old recipes and attempting to make them Paleo. A while ago, I posted a Thai Peanut dipping sauce. I switched out some of the ingredients, and this is what I came up with. It was delicious! Perfect for dipping reheated chicken and drizzling on some salad. I really had to contain myself to not just eat spoonfuls of it.

Thai Nut Dipping Sauce

Thai Nut Dipping Sauce
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 teaspoons lime juice
1/4 cup sunflower seed butter
1 tablespoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon coconut aminos

Wisk all the ingredients together then put on top of everything. Protein, veggies, whatever you can think of. I had it with leftover grilled chicken.



Sweet Potatoe Chicken Curry with Rice

13 Apr

Pinterest is again sparking creativity in the kitchen. It is just so useful to be able to bookmark recipes and then seem them all in one spot with pictures! Some of my connections on Pinterest are doing this Paleo diet. According to wiki it’s: “a modern nutritional plan based on the presumed ancient diet of wild plants and animals that various hominid species habitually consumed during the Paleolithic era.”

I’m not doing this diet. But some of the recipes sound great and I just change them to make it how I want!

Here is an example of a sweet potato chicken curry here, in Paleo form. Below is my non-Paleo adaptation (with more specific instructions and scaled down for two).

Serves 2 . Prep time: 10 minutes. Total time: 30 minutes.


  • About 1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts
  • 1 sweet potatoes diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 zucchinis
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 4 medium sized carrots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 head of cauliflower
  • 2 teaspoons of curry paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon of powdered ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • Rice
  • Cilantro (optional)


  1. Coat the bottom of the pot with vegetable oil and brown the chicken chicken. About 2 minutes on each side.
  2. Add chopped carrots, onion, zucchini, cauliflower, sweet potatoes and garlic into the same pan and saute. About three minutes.
  3. Add in tomatoes, potatoes, the rest of the spices, and coconut milk.
  4. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes.
  5. During this time make your rice.

Dish up rice, top with your curry and some optional cilantro and serve.

1 head of cauliflower

Chicken Satay Skewers and Peanut Dipping Sauce

27 Mar

A few weeks ago we had a glimpse of spring T-shirt and short weather so the first thing I did was pull out the BBQ. I decided to make Chicken Satay Skewers based on this recipe from Eclectic Recipes.

I took pictures and had every intention of posting… and then completely forgot. Going through the photos on the camera I rediscovered them. And now that it’s the more March appropriate 50 degrees, I’m longing for our flirt with spring. So here’s the recipe to egg on more spring weather.


Chicken Satay Skewers and Peanut Dipping Sauce



  • 1 large boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut in 8 strips
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon curry paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce

Peanut Sauce

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons lime juice
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 8 bamboo skewers


  1. Combine 1/2 cup coconut milk, 2 teaspoons lime juice, 1 teaspoon curry paste, 1/4 teaspoon sesame oil and 1/4 teaspoon fish sauce in a large bowl. Mix well.
  2. Place cut up chicken in marinade. Then skewer the individual pieces chicken and place in on lined cookie sheet.  Marinate for 2 – 3 hours–or as long as you have time.
  • Marinade: The recipe originally wasn’t written very well to indicate a marinade. The first time I tried it I didn’t realize this, so I only had 30 minutes and it came out just as tasty.
  • Skewer Tip: skewer each piece with two skewers to that they are easier to turn.


  1. Pre-heat grill.
  2. Place chicken on grill and cook until done, about 15 – 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken breast has reached 165 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, mix ingredients for peanut dipping sauce.
  4. Serve chicken with peanut dipping sauce.

I served as main dish with rice and salad. It was so delicious and easy that the next time we had a guest for dinner I made it again and it was a hit. Could also work well as appetizer or side.


Mon Poulet Roti

17 Mar

For the most part, Northern Califoria has looked like this for the past couple days:

To boot I’ve been in and out of doctor’s appointments with painful swollen lymph nodes in my neck and a truck load of school work to do. What do I want to do in times like this? Cook! So last night on my way home I picked up a fryer chicken to roast. Now, this might seem oxymoronic, but the labeling of the chicken doesn’t stop me from doing with I want with it. Fryer chickens are generally smaller and more tender… which means I can roast it for about an hour and a half and it comes out perfect. Although it was a weeknight, this really was not that complicated of a dinner. Just come home, rinse chicken, salt, pop into oven. Do chores/homework for an hour and a half and bam! amazing home cooked comfort food dinner.

Now, I don’t always buy all organic and sustainable raised things. But I try. Yesterday I did my shopping at The Nugget, a locally owned grocery store that does provide affordable organic and local food. They also provide little recipe options in case you don’t know what you want. I knew I wanted roasted chicken and mashed potatoes, but I didn’t know what veggie. Basic green salad seemed to summery so when I saw their recipe for Braised Greens I thought it was a perfect compromise.

Although I considered this a very fancy meal, I was shocked at how little it cost! I decided to share:

Rocky Whole Chicken (sustainably, humanely, raised without antibiotics) $5.71 ($1.5/lb)

Red Potatoes $.54 ($.50/lb)

Sunflower Seeds $1.32
Organic Pumpkin seeds $1.15
Organic Mustard Greens $2.99
Organic Red Chard $1.99
Organic Mustard Green $2.99
Shallots $.92

TOTAL $17.61

Such a deal! Really, I was so impressed. There was enough food that this meal probably could have fed 5, really. I’m going to make soup with the left over chicken, and we have enough greens for about two more salads. Although there aren’t any more potatoes… not sure where they all went!

The mashed potatoes I made with no fuss during the last 20 minutes of the chicken roasting. The Braised Greens I made as soon as I took out the chicken and it was resting. The chicken, was TO DIE FOR!

I basically followed this “Favorite Simple Roast Chicken” from epicurious, with a couple deviations.

Mon Poulet Roti


  • One 2- to 3-pound farm-raised chicken
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it very well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.

Truss the bird. There are lots of videos on how to do this. As you can see from the pictures, I didn’t do it exactly right. But it didn’t matter. I just tied the legs together and it came out fine.

Salt and pepper the chicken. I basically ground fresh sea salt over the top of the chicken and rubbed it in. When it was done, the skin was crunchy and you could get little bits of the salt–heavenly.  Season to taste with pepper.

I used my chicken pot, but you could use any roasting pan. Then put it in the oven, and forget-a-bout it. Really. I left it alone. No butter, no basting. Nothing. 

I was using an old fashioned meat thermometer so every once and awhile, I’d just peak to check on it, but other than that, nothing.

My bird was about 3.5 lbs. So it was about 1.5 hours before it reached the FDA recommendation of 165 degrees. Make sure you check your bird is done. Then bring it out and let it sit–good idea to baste it now.


While the chicken was resting, I made the Braised Greens according to the Nugget recipe, carved up the chicken, and served! Well, I ate the wings and the butt (the best parts) before the chicken even got to the table, but Andrew didn’t even notice.  Amazing weeknight meal and completely satisfied my need for comfort food (and my wallet thanks to the Nugget!)

Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders

21 Feb

Trying new things is fun when they are like things you already love! Such is the theory behind Oven-Fried Chicken. We are known to crave the occasional fried chicken or chicken nuggets. So why not tried an oven-baked at home version for a healthier option? This recipe is adapted from Better Homes and Gardens recipe. Andrew was very impressed with my first attempt, so these pictures were from my second round. Second time was better, and I think I could improve on it every time.


  • The main obstacle was getting the coating to stick to the chicken, which I think comes with practice. Make sure the crackers are crumbled before you put the butter in, so that they arehard enough to crack into little pieces that are small enough to stick to the chicken.
  • A baking rack is essential to making sure that the bottoms of the chicken tenders are tender all the way around. No need to flip half way!


  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 3 tbl milk
  • 1 3/4 cups crushed crackers (I used flavored ones to add some spice to the chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon dried tyhme, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 chicken breasts, cut up into tenders


1. In a small bowl combine egg and milk. For coating, in a shallow dish combine crushed cornflakes, thyme, paprika, salt, pepper (make sure the pieces are small first); stir in melted butter. Set aside. Dip chicken pieces, 1 at a time, into egg mixture; coat with crumb mixture.

2. Arrange chicken on baking rack, with baking sheet underneath to catch falling crumbs. Make sure the pieces aren’t touching. Sprinkle chicken pieces with any remaining crumb mixture so they are generously coated.

3. Bake, uncovered, in a 400 degree F oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink. Do not turn chicken pieces while baking.

Nutritional Info: Per 4 tenders

  • 250 cal
  • 7 g total fat
  • 112 mg chol.
  • 336 mg sodium
  • 16 g carbo.
  • 0 g fiber
  • 29 g protein
  • 7% vit. A
  • 23% Iron

Cajun Chicken and Andouille Soup

3 Feb

Hello WordPress! I almost forgot about you! But then, I just joined Pinterest and realized that it could help me organize all of my recipes along with this blog. So let’s get back to it!

As always, I’m on the look out for simple, quick, tasty, and hopefully somewhat healthy recipes. I have started to use Women’s Health website to find some good recipes that breaks down the calories, sodium, and protein and other good-to-know nutrients. However, their website is awful to navigate and rarely has any good pictures. I also find myself changing a lot of the recipes to make more sense to me.

My modification of their Cajun Chicken and Andouille Soup has become an instant hit around here. I’ve made twice in the past two weeks. Really delicious and super easy to make.

Disclaimer: I have been to Louisiana several times and know what “real” Southern food is. This isn’t it. This is definitely the “California” version of Southern food. But it does give me a little taste, and it’s delicious otherwise–so who cares?


*Ingredient note: look for any sort of brand of “cajun seasoning” in the seasoning aisle, or you could make one up–it would probably have less sodium. But since I have contacts in the south, I used a new one I got for Christmas, Walker & Son’s “Slap Ya Mama” seasoning, and it’s delicious. I also like to think it adds to my authenticity, but probably not.


  • Chop everything up, throw it into the pot and simmer for 4-8 hours. Really, because these are such hardy ingredients you could probably do it for as long as you want it to simmer for.  How simple is that?

I served mine with corn bread muffins:

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Chicken and Everything Else Salad

11 Feb

We are so close to Spring I can taste it. I know… I’m such a Californian, but even just a bit of fog and rain is enough to be “winter” around here and make me crave beautiful California sunshine. We’ve had a glimpse of what’s to come this week with temperatures in the high 60’s and sometimes even in the 70’s! In this spirit I thought about summer time foods–BBQing and salads! Then I thought, why not combine the two! Since I haven’t had a huge salad for dinner in awhile, once I thought to have one, I decided to throw basically everything I had into it… hence the name “Chicken and Everything Else Salad.”

The other great thing about California is that even though it’s “winter” I can still dig into the ground enough in order to grow some plants! In December I put in some Simpson Elite lettuce and Spinach, they finally look big enough to start “harvesting” so I cut off a couple leaves to put this together. Can’t get much more convenient then that!

Chicken seasoning adapted from Weber’s Real Grilling book.

Chicken and Everything Else Salad

Chicken Seasoning:

  • 2 teaspoons EVOO
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon prepared chili powder
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

Salad “Extras” Ideas

  • Spinach any other kind of green leaf
  • Dried cranberries
  • 2 cups cooked tri-color rotini
  • Garlic croutons
  • Caesar dressing
  • 1/2 cook Quinoa
  1. Combine the seasons for the chicken and spread it all over the chicken
  2. Grill the chicken over Direct Medium heat until the meat is firm to the touch and no longer pink in the center, 8 to 12 minutes, turning once. Shred into bite sized pieces.
  3. In a large bowl, combine everything you can think of. Add dressing and toss. Season with pepper.

Chicken Adobo with Bok Choy

30 Jan

For my birthday, my mom got me a year subscription to Real Simple magazine. I really do like this magazine. It can be quite trendy and there are quite a few ads. But as far as magazines go, I really like the recipes as well as the stories about people’s lives. The only weird thing about the subscription is that my birthday was in September, and I got my first issue last week… I wrote and complained, but they just said the year would start with this issue. I don’t know why it took so long. But the wait was worth it, I tried the first recipe out of it today.

Andrew and I eat “stir fry”probably once a week. This consists of a bag of frozen vegetables with chicken and rice. Although it’s good, it can be a bit boring. So we thought we’d try it up with this recipe. I was actually a slow cook recipe that I didn’t think needed to be slow cooked, I just did it in the pan all at once. The “Tip” on the page is that Adobo is typically thought of as a Latin American dish, but this is a Filipino verson. It notes that you could subsitute spinach or chard for the bok choy. I also used boneless skinless chicken breasts instead of bone-in thighs, which would take longer.


  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Black pepper
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, diced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 1 large head bok choy, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced (mine were from my backyard!)


  • Start cooking the rice as directed

  • In a heavy weight pan, put a quarter sized dash of olive oil. Saute the onions and garlic until browned. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, brown sugar, bay leaf, and pepper.
  • Place the chicken on top and brown (about 5 minutes). Add the paprika.
  • Cook over medium heat until the chicken and onions are tender, about 15 minutes.
  • When you have about 3 minutes left, gently fold in the bok choy and scallions


  • Serve with the rice.

Chicken Tagine

15 Jan

Another Recipe from One Pot.

This time I thought this recipe look good, and full of vegetables. You could also add a lot of other vegetables (bell peppers were suggested).  It made plenty of left overs and when I was heating them up, I got a ton of complements on how good it smelled!


  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, cut into small wedges
  • 2-4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 skinless, boneless, chicken breast
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 cinnamon sticks, lightly broken
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 eggplant, diced
  • 1 package button mushrooms
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2.5 cups chicken sock
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 1/3 cup no-soak dried apricots, chopped (I actually forgot this, so I subsituted dried cranberries, which was nice)
  • 1 tbsp chopped cilantro (garnish)


  • Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the chicken and cook, stirring constantly, for an additional 5 minutes, or until seared on all sides. Add the cumin and cinnamon sticks to the pan halfway through searing the chicken.

  • Sprinkle in the flour and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the eggplant and mushrooms and cook for an additional 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  • Blend the tomato paste with the stock, stir into the pan, and bring to a boil. reduce the heat and add the chickpeas and apricots (craisins). Cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.

  • Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve at once. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Chicken Tikka Masala

12 Nov

Monday night I was reminiscing about wandering the streets of Delhi and the cheap delicious food.  Then I looked in the fridge and realized I had plain yogurt and cream… might as well make some myself.  Thanks to the Indian cooking book that my mom bought me about this time two (really… two already??) years ago, I made a pretty good version of Tikka Masala without having to spend too much time or money at all.


From the book “the food of india: a journy for food lovers


  • 1/2 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 tbl garam masala (available at most stores from McCormick, if you don’t have it substitute with cardamom, bay leaves, pepper, cumin, cloves, and coriander)
  • 1 1/2 tbl lemon juice
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 inch piece of ginger, grated
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 lbs skinless chicken breasts, cut into cubes


  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tb cardamom seeds
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 14 oz tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1/4 teas ground cinnamon
  • 1 tb garam masala (see note above)
  • 1/2 teas chili powder
  • 1 teas brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup heavy cream

*The recipe originally said to marinate overnight but I wasn’t that organized so it only marinated for about an hour and it was still pretty good but it probably would have been better if it had sat over night.*

  • Blend all of the marinade ingredients together and taste.  Put the chicken in the marinade and mix thorougly.  Let it sit in the fridge overnight (or as long as you have).
  • Heat oil for sauce in large heavy saucepan. Add the onion and cardamom and fry until onion is soft ans starting to brown.  Add the garlic to the pan.  Then add the tomato and cook until thick (7-10 minutes).

While you are waiting for the sauce to thicken you can prepare the chicken.

  • Heat the oven to 400F and thread the chicken pieces onto metal skewers if you have any (I just dispersed them on a cookie sheet lined with foil).  Roast, uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until the thicken is cooked through and browned on edges.

chicken in oven


While the chicken is baking you can finish the sauce.  To the saucepan add cinnamon, garam masala, chili powder and suage and cook for about 1 minute.  Stir in the cream, let simmer until chicken is done.

  • When browned, add the cooked chicken pieces to the saucepan and gently simmer for 5 minutes.  For picky eaters (Andrew) you can serve the chicken and sauce separate so they can put there own amounts of sauce over the chicken on a bed of rice.