Keto-rific Chicken Tenders

Lately, I’ve been experimenting with the ketogenic lifestyle for brain health purposes. The husband wanted to lose some Christmas weight, so having him on board has helped me to dive in and try new recipes. We typically eat Paleoish and Ketoish at our house anyway, just because we feel good on whole food, but going completely grain free and refined sugar free (and alcohol free) has taken things to the next level.

Spoiler alert – 3 weeks in and we feel amazing. Both of us are sleeping like rocks. I’m full and fueled throughout my day, and my mood is leveled. Now, this all could have to do with a new adaptogenic herb-based product we’re taking, but I think the nutritional changes affect soooo much!

I found this recipe for chicken tenders in the book Keto Quick Start, available here. I followed the instructions completely except chose to use ghee to cook the tenders in, and it was a perfect addition! The flavor on these tenders are crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. They weren’t dry at all, like some chicken tenders I’ve tried in the past. If coconut is a problem for you, you could probably bread them in almond flour and they’d still be tasty. But man, that flaked coconut fried in ghee left over on the pan is just mouthwatering!

All 5 family members loved them and ate them up. Do you know how tricky that can be???

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Ingredients:

1/4 cup ghee (or grass-fed butter or coconut oil or avocado oil)

1 1/2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

2 tablespoons coconut flour

1/2 tablespoon garlic powder

1/2 tablespoon pink Himalayan sea salt

1/2 tablespoon pepper

2 teaspoons paprika

2 eggs

2 pounds chicken tenders (or slice boneless skinless breasts into strips)

 

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with foil, then place a wire baking rack on top and set aside.

2. Place a large sauté pan on medium heat. Use enough ghee to coat the bottom of the pan and get it completely melted and hot

3. Create a breading station (I use two round cake pans). In one bowl, whisk the eggs. In the other, mix the coconut flour and flakes and spices.

4. Dip a piece of chicken in the egg, then in the flour mixture to coat completely.

5. Place in hot pan and cook 3-4 minutes on each side and transfer to wire rack. Start working in batches until all tenders are lightly browned and on the rack. I promise it’ll go faster than you think!

6. Put in oven for 15 minutes and be sure to check the inside of the thickest one to make sure they’re cooked through.

7. Serve on top of greens for a salad (they’re wonderful with a homemade balsamic/oil/Dijon dressing), or with other colorful veggies on the side. Sweet potato fries would be tasty as well!

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Ancestor’s Stew

The blood of my ancestors is in this crock pot stew. Kidding. But seriously, I did some DNA testing a while back and found out I’m 50% British/Irish… so there is really nothing better for me than beef stew (other than whisky of course – kidding again)!

Stew is a comfort food for me. I spent many, many years hating beef, but I always loved the stew my grandma made. I think she would be pretty proud of this recipe I concocted, as I once told her I would never ever cook with raw meat (it totally disgusted me).

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I used beef bone broth as the base (because gut health), switched out extra potatoes for a turnip and some radishes, and added my favorite herbs – oregano, thyme, and ROSEMARY. Continue reading “Ancestor’s Stew”

Gut-Friendly Breakfast Cookies

My kids LOVE sugar and gluten. But their guts don’t. So I was thrilled when I first discovered this recipe for breakfast cookies that are free of sugar, gluten AND dairy (depending on the chocolate chips you use)! I’ve made a few tweaks to the original recipe, and I have to say, they’re pretty dang good!

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Start by mashing up bananas with a fork and then add the coconut oil and vanilla. From there, dump in the dry ingredients and mix it all around with a fork. I never even need to use a spoon, and hey – that’s one last thing to load in the dishwasher right? Check out this happy banana-masher I had today:

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Oats are a little controversial for some, as they can potentially contain gluten if they aren’t labeled “gluten free.” But there are many studies that link oats with the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut, which is always something I’m a fan of! The walnuts in this cookie are a nice brain-boosting touch, and you could also add in dried fruit or even blueberries, another brain-boosting food.

The chocolate chips do add some sugar, but it’s minimal when you consider the typical breakfast food item for kids these days. It’s hard to find chocolate chips free of soy, gluten and dairy. I like the Enjoy Life brand or Lily’s because they contain stevia! Continue reading “Gut-Friendly Breakfast Cookies”

Spaghetti for Mutants

Have you heard of MTHFR? Nope, it’s not an abbreviation for a bad word (and yes that’s an overused joke). It’s a genetic mutation a large percentage of the population (estimated to be 40-60%) carries. I won’t get all science-y here since this is a recipe post, but this article breaks it down really well.

I have one copy of this mutation, and because of this, I have chosen to remove folic acid completely from my diet – and my kids’ diets. Because of my boys’ tongue and lip ties, I suspect they have it as well, so I don’t want to take any chances.

Here’s the problem – folic acid is in EVERYTHING. Bread, cereal, supplements, enriched wheat… and pasta. Even those beloved Cheerios, people!

We haven’t eaten traditional whole wheat pasta in a long time for the gluten and inflammation reason, and there are some really great gluten-free pasta alternatives out there, but I always feel like if a veggie can substitute, do the veggie.

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Continue reading “Spaghetti for Mutants”

Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Peppers

I spent about 36 years of my life hiding from beef, specifically steak. I am 37. So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered how much I love grass fed beef and even some types of steak. My body feels SO GOOD on beef. I know this isn’t the case for everyone, but for me, I’ve found brain food I was missing for a long time.

(Side note – benefits of grass fed beef include higher omega 3s for brain health and higher conjugated linoleic acid, which means reduced cancer risk, decreased “bad” cholesterol, improved blood sugar, and increase in muscle! It’s also high in B12, which is super important for those of us with the MTHFR mutation.)

These philly cheesesteak stuffed peppers are soooo easy to make and can be finished in under 30 minutes. They are keto-friendly for my keto-loving friends. If you don’t do cheese, no worries. They are delicious without, as my dairy-free 2 year old can tell you.

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Spicy Black Bean Hummus

While the kids and I have been LOVING my homemade hummus, I felt the urge to switch it up today. And in the words of my husband, “it’s legit.”

Beans are a bit polarizing in the nutrition world. They can be inflammatory for some, especially for those with autoimmune issues. If that is you, be sure to soak dry beans for 8 hours or overnight and don’t use the canned kind. Soaking will make them easier to digest. However, for most people, beans are an excellent source of fiber and folate (hello, healthy neurotransmitter function)!

That being said, the key to this recipe is in a secret ingredient – “chiles de arbol,” or “tree chilies,” if you’re a Gringa like me and Spanish is your second language. But seriously, these things are just magical! I blend them with tomato sauce for a quick smoky salsa, so I figured they would add some good flavor to this dip. I start by rehydrating them in avocado oil, along with a couple garlic cloves. Continue reading “Spicy Black Bean Hummus”

Dump and Blend Pumpkin Custard

I’m not one of those pumpkin-with-everything girls, but I do love pumpkin pie. This pumpkin custard is reminiscent of that, but it is gluten free, dairy free, and hassle-free! Just to show you how easy it is, I’m going to shut up and throw out the ingredients and directions NOW. No need to tell a cute story with it, though I will say this is a great dish to bring to a breakfast potluck in lieu of a sugary, carby insulin rocket. 🙂

img_3460 Continue reading “Dump and Blend Pumpkin Custard”