Chicken Almond Chop Salad

While being pregnant with Kaeden I became obsessed with chopped salads. I used to love leafy greens like spinach, baby kale, green or red leaf, but I was repulsed by them during pregnancy and still am. Don’t know what happened, but I fell like a cow grazing in a pasture and I just can’t do it. Missing out on my greens I began to experiment with shaved brussel sprouts, broccoli slaw, cabbage and kale. The thing I love about this combo is it is CRUNCHY for minutes, crunchy for hours, crunchy for days! Nothing is worse than tossing on your favorite dressing and the salad is soggy within seconds. I need the crunch folks. Hand me a plate of cooked spinach, collards or beet greens and I, but not the greens will vanish in seconds. Anyway! Enough of my distaste for most greens. In my opinion they only belong in smoothies were you can blend them to smithereens and not even know they are there.

Aside from this delicious recipe (must try….come on you will like it), Luke and I are starting a round of P90X3 (Luke) and Insanity Asylum (me) after Thanksgiving. Time to get our unfinished basement prepped for some sweat-filled workouts. Yippee! Oh, what a fun way to work off some baby weight and curb some of that holiday weight gain! I have never really had an issue with holiday weight gain, but that is because I either run or do some sort of physical activity to counterbalance the extra calories. I always look at weight loss or weight maintenance as a numbers game. If you are putting more into your mouth (e.g. pie, cookies, fudge, gravy, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, and on and on….) than you are outputting through exercise then you are going to gain weight. I encourage you to start with exercise, but also be careful about your food choices. Skip that extra cookie and go for a walk. Or do not make the green bean casserole, so you are not tempted to eat it. Heck bring this salad to Christmas dinner and wow people with how darn good it tastes! Most importantly, I am here to help out and am going to come up with some new recipes for you all in the next couple of weeks / months!

I know you are thinking yah, yah, okay I will try not to eat the whole plate of cookies (lord knows I want to), but you can and you will not eat it if you put your mind to it! Done with my sermon now!

Oh, I also need to share our super exciting family outing, Menards. “You save big money, you save big money when you shop Menards.” That damn song! I think I heard it 100 times yesterday. The deer haunters need to pause and aim for the speakers at Menards for my sanity. Whoop, I know we are ripping it up in our 30’s! In all seriousness Mason had a blast. They have their Christmas decorations out and he was running from light displays to ornaments to snow village. If you are looking for cheap entertainment Menards is the place! Who needs the Children’s museum, whewwwwww not us. After this little adventure we put up all our Christmas decorations. The cutest thing was seeing Mason outside “helping” daddy! We finished out the evening with a visit from my sister and her better half from Alaska! Great seeing them!

Chicken Almond Chop Salad
Serves 4
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Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. Citrus Poppyseed Vinaigrette
  2. 1/3 C Olive Oil
  3. 1 Lemon, Juice
  4. 3 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  5. 1 1/2 tsp Poppy Seeds
  6. 1/2 tsp Salt
  7. 1/4 tsp Pepper
  8. 1 Grapefruit, Juice
  9. 1 tbsp Agave Nectar or Honey
Chicken Almond Chop Salad
  1. 1 bag Broccoli Slaw
  2. 1 bag Brussel Sprouts, shaved
  3. 1 bunch Kale, chopped
  4. 2 C Chicken, cooked and chopped
  5. 1 C Raisins
  6. 1 C Almonds, slivered
Directions
Citrus Poppyseed Dressing
  1. Mix together dressing ingredients in a medium sized bowl.
Chicken Almond Chop Salad
  1. Toss salad ingredients together in a large bowl.
  2. Stir in dressing when ready to serve.
Notes
  1. This salad will stay fresh for up to 3 days in the refrigerator as long you leave the dressing off. Just put on the dressing when ready to serve.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Oatmeal Raisin Bites

Peanut butter is HANDS DOWN my favorite food and our dog’s too! If we get out anything in the kitchen that remotely resembles peanut butter (e.g. toaster, knives, celery) she immediately runs to get her peanut butter bone. For those Harry Potter fans we have to call it Voldemart or she goes crazy. I totally get her reaction! I mean really what could be more incredible than eating peanut butter right out of the jar?

Nothing in my opinion! Give me a spoon!

But I do not like just any peanut butter. I am a PB snob! I either like to make it from scratch, which is way easier than you might think if you have a food processor. All you have to do is add 4 cups of peanuts, a tablespoon of sunflower oil, 1 tsp salt (optional), couple tablespoons of coconut palm sugar or evaporated cane sugar and let the food processor go until it is creamy. When I don’t make it from scratch my favorite brand of peanut butter is Justins (for almond butter and they make a mean hazelnut spread that actually has hazelnuts instead of sugar as the number one ingredient, unlike Nutella….don’t buy Nutella, EVER). This PB is sold at Target, but is hard to find at other grocery stores, so my runner up is Smuckers natural. I hate and I MEAN HATE Jiff, Skippy, Peter Pan…..EWWWW! There is a “fake” taste to them that I just can’t get over.   

Now, as far as peanut butter combos my favorite is apple slices and PB, but I also like celery and bananas with PB. The banana/PB combo is why I made these oatmeal cookie bites. Well, and due to the fact that I am STARVING 24 hours a day between nursing and distance running! All I can think of is, “LAY OFF ME I AM STARVING.”

Aside from making these bites, we finally overcame a 102.9 degree temp in Mason on Thursday afternoon. Poor kid! We knew something was up when he was not running around the house like a maniac! Kaeden is also tipping the scales. At his 2 month appointment he was in the 100th percentile for his height/weight ratio and was over the 100th percentile for head circumference. Big kiddo :)

Tomorrow is also my birthday. BIG 3-7. What the heck happened to me just turning 21. Geez! Anyway, I got three presents from Mason. A mini-basketball, glow in the dark bracelets and a toy car. The best part about this gift was Mason loved them so much and we were able to play together, BEST PRESENT EVER! Wow, do I love my kids. My other birthday present was dinner with Luke at Fogo de Chao. Delish! Thanks gamma for babysitting and undergoing chaos for a couple of hours so mommy and daddy could have some quality time! 

Oatmeal Raisin Bites
Serves 16
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Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Prep Time
10 min
Total Time
10 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 C Banana Chips
  2. 1 C Slivered Almonds
  3. 3/4 C Peanut Butter (or Almond Butter)
  4. 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
  5. 1/2 C Raisins
  6. 1/3 C Maple Syrup
  7. 1/2 C Protein Powder (vanilla or chocolate)
  8. 1/2 tsp Salt
  9. 1 C Oats (gluten free certified)
Instructions
  1. Chop up banana chips and almonds into fine pieces in a food processor. Transfer this mixture into a large bowl.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl.
  3. Mix together with a hand mixer until everything is blended together into a thick dough.
  4. Roll into walnut sized balls.
  5. Store in an air tight container or food storage bags in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Trail Mix Cereal Bars

15 weeks as of yesterday. Only 25 weeks to go, but who is counting? ME! 

I know some ladies love being pregnant (why? I will never, EVER understand), I am not a fan. Never was during Mason and am not this time around. I guess the nerves of being the soul provider for a baby really get to me. This is especially because after having several miscarriages I am a nervous wreck and constantly think, “Oh my goodness what if I lose the baby today.” I know, I know that is a horrible thing to say, but when you have faced loss it is hard to block these feelings. Debbie Downer, yes! 

Aside from me being a worry wort, I also do not like to feel like a Goodyear Blimp for 40 weeks. I know part of being pregnant is gaining weight to support the growth of the baby, but being bloated, growing out of your clothes and being endlessly gassy or constipated just flat out SUCKS. I am high endurance athlete who loves to run and all of these things make doing my favorite stress reliever extremely difficult. Yes, I still ran into 37 weeks with Mason, but 30 to 37 I really had to struggle to run 4 minutes per mile behind my normal pace. SNIFF, SNIFF…..it is hard to do my favorite hobby half-assed and more like quarter-assed for 9 months! Actually with after birth recovery it is really closer to 11 months.

Okay, I had to get out my feelings :) Thanks for letting me vent.

Aside from my depressive, I hate being pregnant rant….I did make some really tasty trail mix cereal bars this week. I made these two days ago and the pan is already over half gone. Mostly because my husband took some with him for his boy’s date night with neighbors. Although I do have to say that Mason and I put a pretty big dent into them too.

My main reason for making these was I wanted rice crispy bars, but didn’t want to use corn syrup or marshmallows. So, I replaced the nasty and unhealthy sweeteners with a combo of honey, maple syrup and can sugar. THEY ARE YUMMY FOLKS!  

Trail Mix Cereal Bars
Serves 16
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 5 C Brown Rice Cereal
  2. 1 C Sunbutter
  3. 1/3 C Honey
  4. 1/3 C Maple Syrup
  5. 3 tbsp Evaporate Cane Sugar
  6. 1 tsp Vanilla
  7. 1/2 C Sunflower Seeds
  8. 1/2 C Peanuts
  9. 1/3 C Raisins
  10. 1/3 C Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Coated Candies
  11. 1/3 C Yogurt Covered Raisins
  12. 1/3 C Dried Cranberries
Instructions
  1. Heat sunbutter, vanilla, evaporated cane sugar, honey and maple syrup in a large saucepan over medium heat until it starts to bubble. Stir occasionally to prevent the sunbutter mixture from burning.
  2. Add in the brown rice cereal and mix together until the cereal is evenly coated with the syrup.
  3. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes and then stir in the remaining ingredients.
  4. Press down in a 13 X 9 cake pan with parchment or wax paper. Wait 30 minutes before cutting and serving.
  5. Store at room temperature for up to five days (if they last that long).
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Moroccan Lamb Stew

Moroccan & lamb? I realize this recipe is out of most of your comfort zones! Lamb has always been out of mine, but we received lamb chops in our monthly meat sharing agreement. I had no idea what to do with them or any clue on how to cook them, so I thought why not toss them in the good ol’ slow cooker! Venturing into uncharted waters, I had the slightest inkling on spice combinations so I went with some middle eastern flare that I saw in other recipes. 

Honestly, after tossing numerous herbs, spices and dried fruit into the slow cooker I had absolutely no aspirations of this tasting even remotely good. I just pictured me choking down some overcooked meat with morsels of raisins and apricots and a big swig of water. I also fully expected to whip up some quick gluten free oatmeal because I just figured it would be gross. Well folks, I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty this meal was! The flavor combos worked well together and it tasted fantastic served over the top of my Plantain Buttercup Mash. Really you could also serve it over rice, couscous (if you are not gluten free or Paleo) or even cauliflower rice too. 

I filed this under beef/pork recipes because I do not want to go through the headache of creating another subcategory for one lamb recipe :) Plus, even though this recipe is delicious I am not about to hop in my hoopdie wagon (aka…minivan) to buy lamb for more LAMB recipes. I will only be creating LAMB recipes as we get them in our CSA :) On a mini-van note, I always told myself never would I drive a mini-V, but I have to say they are some pretty pimp rides! 

Moroccan Lamb Stew
Serves 4
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 20 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
5 hr
Total Time
5 hr 20 min
Ingredients
  1. 4 Lamb or Goat Chops
  2. 32 oz Chicken Stock
  3. 2 Medium Sweet Potatoes, rough chopped
  4. 4 Medium Carrots, rough chopped
  5. 1 Medium Onion, rough chopped
  6. 1 C Raisins
  7. 1 C Dried Apricots, chopped
  8. 1 Sprig Rosemary
  9. 4-5 Sprigs Thyme
  10. 6-8 Mint Leaves
  11. 2 tbsp Garam Masala
  12. 1 tsp Cumin
  13. 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  14. 2 tsp Salt
  15. 1 tsp Pepper
  16. 1 tbsp Garlic, finely chopped
  17. 1 tsp Ginger, crushed
  18. 1 Cinnamon Stick
  19. 1 tsp Ground Cardamon
  20. 1/2 tsp Cloves
  21. 1/2 tsp All Spice
  22. 1 1/2 tsp Onion Powder
  23. 1 tsp Ground Coriander
  24. 2 tbsp Arrowroot Powder
Instructions
  1. Add meat, chicken stock, herbs, spices, onions, sweet potatoes and carrots to slow cooker. Cook on low for 4 hours.
  2. For the last hour of cooking, stir in the raisins and dried apricots.
  3. Place the arrowroot powder in a small bowl. Add in two ladles of the stew broth and stir together until arrowroot is completely combined. Stir the arrowroot mixture into the stew to thicken the broth.
  4. Serve alone, with cauliflower rice or over the top of my plantain buttercup mash.
http://barerootkitchen.com/
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Date Crumble Squares

Growing up, one of my favorite desserts was date bars because they remind me of Fig Newtons. I even went through a period where I was making them repeatedly in high school. Then I went on a ten year hiatus until I bought a gluten free date bar at the co-op near our house. It was total heaven in my mouth, so I thought why not try to attempt a grain free and nut free version at home. I must admit that I borrowed the crust (with minor modifications) from the “Pear-Caramel Pie” recipe in the Autoimmune Paleo Cookbook by Mickey Trescott. However, I made the date filling from scratch. Overall, these bars taste exactly like the ones I buy from the co-op, but I am pretty sure my version has a lower sugar content because the number one ingredient on their packaging is organic cane sugar. 

Date Crumble Squares
If you love fig newtons, you should know that these date squares taste similar and make for a scrumptious desserts. These little babies are also allergy friendly with being dairy free, nut free and grain free. Plus, they have a lower sugar content through the use of dates and raisins as the primary sweetener.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
30 min
Total Time
40 min
Ingredients
Crust/Crumble
  1. 1 C Coconut Flour
  2. 1 C Arrowroot Powder
  3. 3 tbsp Maple Syrup
  4. 1/4 C Coconut Oil, melted
  5. 1/2 C Water
  6. 1/2 tsp Salt
  7. 1/3 C Coconut Palm Sugar (used for crumble)
Date Filling
  1. 2 tbsp Coconut Flour
  2. 2 C Dates, pitted
  3. 1 C Raisins
  4. 4 tbsp Sunflower Butter
  5. 3 tbsp Tahini Butter
  6. 1/4 C Maple Syrup
  7. 1 tsp Salt
  8. 1/3 C Water
Directions
Crust
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix together ingredients (except for coconut palm sugar) for crust until crumbly dough forms. Reserve 1 1/2 cups for the crumble.
  3. Press the remaining dough into an 8x8 metal pan.
Date Filling
  1. Place ingredients into a blender. Mix on high until a smooth filling is formed.
  2. Spread this filling on top of the unbaked crust.
Crumble
  1. Add the coconut palm sugar to the remaining dough and sprinkle on top of the date filling.
  2. Bake for 30 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool completely before servings.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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Asian Ginger Coleslaw

Just finished the Minneapolis Duathlon yesterday. What a fun race and great outcome (I finished 8th out of 445 females and took first in my age division). And the outcome happened despite having a bike mishap and running my slowest run splits ever. It was hot and after recovering from a 21 mile run the weekend before I just didn’t have it in my legs to run my normal pace. I am 100% pleased with the outcome that is for sure. The best part of the race was seeing my men out there (husband and Mason). Mason gave me a high five and waved at me/giggled hysterically when he saw me running under a bridge on the course. It is moments like these that are special and unforgettable! 

Now for the coleslaw, when we traveled to Washington DC we had the most amazing crab cakes with an Spicy Ginger Coleslaw. I have always wanted to try to recreate that coleslaw. However, since I am eating this for lunch I decided to tone down on the heat and save the “Spicy” recipe for later. For now, I am going a sweeter route with this Sunbutter Ginger version. This salad is crunchy and full of flavor. 

Asian Ginger Coleslaw
Serves 8
Looking for a twist on coleslaw? Try using napa cabbage and a ginger dressing to spice things up! This coleslaw is crunchy and delightfully full of flavor. It is the perfect complement to fish tacos (omit the raisins) or can also be served for a light lunch.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
Coleslaw
  1. 4 C Napa Cabbage, shredded
  2. 2 C Carrots, shredded
  3. 2 Medium Apples, chopped
  4. 1 C Slivered Almonds
  5. 1 C Raisins (optional)
Sunflower Ginger Dressing
  1. 3 tbsp Sunbutter
  2. 1/4 C Olive Oil
  3. 1/4 C Apple Cider Vinegar
  4. 2 tbsp Maple Syrup
  5. 1 tsp Ginger, crushed or grated
  6. 1 tbsp Garlic, finely chopped
Directions
Coleslaw
  1. Using food processor, finely chop the cabbage and carrots. Set aside in a medium sized bowl.
  2. Chop the apples and add to the bowl along with the raisins and almonds.
Sunbutter Ginger Dressing
  1. Add dressing ingredients to a small bowl. Mix until combined.
  2. Pour the dressing on top of the coleslaw and toss until the dressing covers all of the ingredients.
http://barerootkitchen.com/

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