Whole 30-Approved Avocado Sonoma Chicken Salad

I’m a sucker for chicken salad. Regular chicken salad, Sonoma wine country chicken salad, curried chicken salad, chicken salad with bits of pineapple, with mayo, without mayo—literally, I have yet to find one I don’t like.

whole30 avocado sonoma chicken salad combined

I’ve posted my absolute favorite chicken salad recipe, the best I’ve ever had. But it also isn’t necessarily the *healthiest* one. This one, however, might be.

whole30 avocado sonoma chicken salad avocado

I haven’t done Whole 30 myself, though I’ve thought about it. Honestly I can’t commit myself to a month of anything that requires drastic change, not with my insane work schedule. I like the idea, though, for the most part…except giving up wine, that’s just CRAY.

whole30 avocado sonoma chicken salad lemon

This chicken salad has no mayo and is chock full of whole, raw ingredients. It brings fiber, healthy fats, and a one-two protein punch from the chicken and pecans to the party. I devoured it on my little Trader Joe’s 12-grain crackers for lunch a few days in a row, and found it satiating and tasteeeee!
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Double-Chocolate Banana Muffins (gluten-free if you want)

That looks totally decadent, right???

Double-Chocolate Banana Muffin

They kind of are—and they’re also super healthy.  They get their moistness from banana, coconut oil, and honey, and a deeeeeep chocolate flavor from both Dutch-process cocoa powder as well as dark chocolate chips.

Double-Chocolate Banana Muffins baked

They came together super fast and baked up like a dream. And, they can be made gluten-free so easily without any weird fake mixes or flours.

Double-Chocolate Banana Muffins

And just look how prettttttty they are! The almond meal makes them a little heartier than your average muffin, and since they don’t have refined sugar they’re less likely to make your blood sugar spike then dip.  I call that a breakfast win! [Read more…]

Slow Cooker Caramelized Chicken

My takeaway from this recipe?  Sure ain’t pretty, and fairly sure mine didn’t “caramelize”, but it sure was delicious!

Slow Cooker Caramelized Chicken

The pictures of this recipe from Skinny Ms. (see link at the bottom) look beautiful, so not sure what I did wrong to keep it from caramelizing.  However, the flavors are so great that it was a keeper recipe anyway. It’s sweet and salty and layered, with a little kick from the cayenne.  (Well, “little” depending on how much you put in…I’m a baby.)

slow cooker caramelized chicken green onions

It also is super fast and easy. The only down side is that cleaning my crockpot was insanely difficult afterward—I have a really old crockpot and it doesn’t have a removable piece. I’ve never used liners but might have to see if they make one for mine, because cleaning that was ridiculous.  [Read more…]

Slightly-Sweet Unleavened Bread

Most years I try to make it home for Passover and the first Day of Unleavened Bread. It’s nice to spend the time with my parents and sister, bro-in-law, and their squidlets.

kansas from the sky

The trip started with a pre-3:30am (Eastern) wake-up to catch a 5:35am flight, stop over in Dallas for a bit, then descend into Wichita. Needless to say, I was really dragging all weekend…

slightly sweet unleavened bread nessa

My sister tried out a new unleavened bread recipe when we went to their house for Passover Thursday night, and we loved it so much that I made it again the next day (and again when I got back to Atlanta). I had the cutest little helper that there ever was…

Slightly Sweet Unleavened Bread sliced

I love this unleavened bread.  It’s dense but not dry, hearty and satiating (due to the whole wheat flour and butter), and has a hint of sweet from the brown sugar and honey. It was also just as good leftover as fresh out of the oven.

Slightly Sweet Unleavened Bread done

Even better—you can mix it up by hand, pat out on the baking sheet, and it’s ready in half an hour, from start to finish! [Read more…]

Pasta with Spinach, Tomato, & Feta

Somehow I totally forgot about this recipe.

Pasta with Spinach, Tomato, & Feta

I started making it in college, and pretty soon it was my standby recipe. I made it at least once a week while I was doing my internship, and later once I moved to Atlanta. Sometimes multiple times a week. It was easy and cheap, came together in the time it took the pasta to cook, and felt kind of fancy. Before I started this blog I basically had a 3-recipe rotation…

pasta with spinach tomato & feta tomatoes cooking

Then somehow I totally forgot about it once I started trying out lots of recipes for this site. But when I was at the grocery store last weekend trying to figure out what to do for dinner (since my Kroger was totally out of avocados, which I’d kind of needed), I saw these beautiful heirloom tomatoes and this recipe popped into my mind. It’s very forgiving, the veggie amounts aren’t super exact and neither is the feta amount. You could substitute kale for spinach, though it definitely would change the texture a little. I recommend this for a night where you just need something on the table fast, and want fresh, healthy ingredients. [Read more…]

Stove-Top Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

I feel like I have to sneak one more winter-y recipe in here, even though it’s TOTALLY SPRING!

(Though you wouldn’t know it from our gray, rainy day today…)

Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese

Oh man, I’m so glad it’s spring. Bring on farmers market fruit and veggies, grilling out, and foods that make me feel skinny. But first—hearty, cheesy, decadent (but not TOO decadent) girls’ night food.

stove-top butternut squash mac & cheese casey

We had a girls’ night at my place a couple months ago, and wanted something super easy, that I didn’t have to put a ton of time and effort into while we were all drinking wine and chatting.  This recipe came together very fast, and the only complicated piece was cutting up the butternut squash, but you could easily just buy it pre-cubed.  I even had a pretty helper—that girl’s got her priorities, has both a glass and bottle nearby! [Read more…]

Brussels Sprout & Kale Slaw with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

My thirst for brussels sprouts shall never be quenched!

Shredded Brussels Sprout Salad with Maple-Cider Vinaigrette

This salad is surprisingly hearty, with the crunchy and chewy sprouts and given a boost from the walnuts. I will say that I was a little nervous about this salad, since to me brussels sprouts are one of those things that always need cooked in order to be eaten. But overall it was delicious, filling, and super healthy! [Read more…]

Single-Serving Cherry Crisp

Sometimes I get obsessed with things.

Single-Serving Cherry Crisp

Sometimes that’s just obsessed with eating something. Sometimes it’s creating something that I can’t find. Other times it’s finding the perfect version—which may mean making it a TON of times. Homemade pad thai. Black bean brownies. Dreamy scones.

This is one of those things. I love fruit crisp, but sometimes it’s not worth the effort to make a whole pan (plus, then I eat the whole pan, which…).

Single-Serving Cherry Crisp done

I first got the idea when I made a sweet dark cherry pie for Thanksgiving last year. I’d never really worked with cherries before, always sticking instead to apples, pears, and peaches. I kind of winged it (wung it?) and made up the recipe after reading a few different ones, and it turned out great. And then one night recently I was jonesin’ for something sweet, and the idea of fruit crisp hit me (I wasn’t in the mood for chocolate for some reason). All I really had, though, was a bag of frozen cherries for smoothies. I decided to give it a go, and made two—one in the oven and one in the microwave. Shockingly, I liked the microwave version and it took WAY less time.

Single-Serving Cherry Crisp finished

Since then I’ve made it several more times because I couldn’t quite get the flavors exactly like I wanted. This is a pretty fluid and forgiving recipe. You can add a little honey or sugar to the filling if you feel it needs it (or are using tart cherries), but mine is plenty sweet. Also, you could make it gluten-free by using a flour alternative like oat flour, coconut flour, almond meal, etc.  I tried a few different spice combinations in the filling and topping (cardamom, ginger, etc.), but ultimately found that simpler was better—cinnamon and some almond extract. [Read more…]

Maple Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies (Gluten-Free)

I’ve been super absent here lately.

It’s mostly because I’ve been working eleventy-billion hours, which means I’ve been exhausted and never home. And the tiny bit of free time that I’m able to grab has been devoted to trip planning for two big upcoming international trips. So suffice to say, I haven’t been cooking much lately, and haven’t had the energy to try new recipes. And the few new recipes I have tried have been kind of meh. And you deserve better than meh.

maple peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie baked

These are definitely not meh. They’re not the most amazingly glorious things you’ve ever put in your mouth, but they are delicious and sweet and pretty darn healthy when it comes down to it. As I’ve mentioned a few times, I’m always on the lookout for good gluten-free recipes that use normal ingredients.

Maple Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

They have an interesting texture—the dough acts a lot like no-bake cookie dough, quite sticky. And the baked cookies are crumbly (not dry, just break apart easily), and super chocolate-y, and really quite sweet.

Maple Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies with Milk

These are made with oat flour, peanut butter, coconut oil, and maple syrup. You can use whatever kind of chocolate chips you want, but I tried these huge Ghiradelli dark chocolate discs. SO. MUCH. CHOCOLATE.

maple peanut butter oatmeal chocolate chip cookie dough

Overall these were a great gluten-free addition to my repertoire. They were super easy to throw together, and healthy enough that I didn’t feel guilty sneaking one or two with my coffee the next morning! [Read more…]

Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Skillet Cookie

Cookie cakes are a big meh for me usually. One time my co-worker had this incredibly detailed dream, and part of it was that I got married at work (like seriously, back in the open-office plan desks) and there was a cookie cake.

And I was like, “Well, that’s how you should have known it wasn’t real! I hate cookie cakes!”

Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Skillet Cookie

I don’t know what possessed me to try this deep-dish cookie pie originally. I was home for Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving is a whirlwind of giant family meals, needing to feed 15 people, 25 people, 35 people. Lots of dishes. Loading and unloading things from the car. Figuring out what gaps there are in the list of food everyone’s bringing. So I vaguely remember needing to throw together a dessert last-minute, so it needed to be simple, a crowd-pleaser, and ready to walk out the door in under an hour.

Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Skillet Cookie done

The result was WAAAAAYYYYY too sweet for me, but I could see the seeds of something good and easy in there, so I shelved it until I could play around with ingredients a little. Now, three or four batches later, I love the result.

Giant Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Skillet Cookie finished

By decreasing the sugar significantly, substituting some whole wheat flour, adding peanut butter and dark chocolate chips instead of just semi-sweet, and throwing a sprinkle of sea salt, the resulting skillet cookie is sweet but not cloying, a little denser, and offers infinitely more complex flavors (also healthier, but that wasn’t the main point). If an achingly sweet version sounds good to you, don’t fear—the original is linked at the bottom of this post. But this version is much more up my alley, and has been pronounced AMAZING by some of the dudes in my life, so it’s still a major crowd-pleaser.
[Read more…]

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