hunter's chicken

Hunter’s Chicken

This is one of those childhood dishes that I remember eating my whole life, and is one of my favorites. I don’t know why it took me so long to get it on the blog! It’s one I pull out for company because it seems impressive while being really simple, so I’m not stressed out for my guests.

It starts out with 1 pound of chicken. I prefer to use thighs because they fall apart really nicely in the sauce, but you could use whatever chicken parts you want. I believe this dish originally called for a whole, cut-up chicken. You can make it that way too, but then the chicken parts stay whole instead of breaking up into the sauce. Still perfectly good, just a different variation!

So, take your chicken thighs, or whatever you’re using, and dredge them in tapioca flour or arrowroot flour.

hunter's chicken hunter's chicken

Then place the chicken in the bottom of a very hot pot coated with some oil. (coconut oil, palm shortening, lard, ghee, or olive oil.)

hunter's chicken

Sautee for a few minutes until browned and crispy, and then flip them over.

hunter's chicken

Add in some chopped onions and minced garlic.

hunter's chicken

And then add in 3/4 cup of white wine, 1 cup of chicken stock, 1 small can of tomato paste, and the spices: bay leaf, basil, marjoram, and salt and pepper. Stir it all together!

hunter's chicken

Simmer for 45 minutes, then add sliced mushrooms and continue to cook for another half hour. (If your family rebels at the suggestion of mushrooms, as mine does, you can leave them out. But they’re delicious!) At the end, if you’re using boneless chicken thighs you should take your spoon and break them apart.

hunter's chicken

Serve over pasta. We usually use a brown rice and quinoa spiral pasta from Trader Joes which is really good!

hunter's chicken

And that’s it. This is one of those good simple recipes to have in your everyday-recipe-that’s-good-enough-for-company arsenal!!

Hunter's Chicken
Author: 
Recipe type: dinner
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6 servings
 
I use boneless thighs in this recipe, since they break up nicely in the sauce. However, you could use whatever chicken parts you wish, even whole, bone-in parts. The recipe will be slightly different in texture depending on what you choose, but will taste the same!
Ingredients
  • 1 lb chicken parts (I prefer boneless thighs)
  • tapioca or arrowroot flour (enough to dredge the chicken in)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¾ cup white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • small can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ tsp marjoram
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ½ cup sliced mushrooms
  • oil for cooking
Instructions
  1. Dredge the chicken parts in arrowroot or tapioca flour until completely covered.
  2. Put enough oil to cover the bottom of a wide pot or dutch oven, and heat over medium-high until very hot. Place the chicken parts in the pot and sautee for a few minutes, then flip to the other side.
  3. Add in the onions, garlic, wine, chicken stock, tomato paste, and spices and stir.
  4. Turn heat down and simmer for 45 minutes.
  5. After 45 minutes, add in the mushrooms and cook for another ½ hour.
  6. Serve over pasta.

 

pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Pie

Okay, this recipe has been a long time coming. I’ve been meaning to share it since Thanksgiving! Oh, well. It’s a little late for the holidays, but, really, is it EVER a bad time to eat pumpkin pie? I mean, why do we need to wait for November to have some of this deliciousness? It’s made with a winter squash (pumpkin or butternut squash), so in my book that makes it fair game at least until April. And if I’m really craving it, then it’s fair game any time of year.

This pie is a really easy one to make without refined sweeteners because of all the spicy flavors in it. However, there is a comparatively large amount of sweeteners in the recipe, so this isn’t something to eat if you’re sensitive to them or are recovering from inflammatory symptoms. However, it is a really good real-food version of a classic favorite!

First, prepare a pie crust. I explain how to make a spelt crust in my quiche recipe. Basically do the same thing, but if you want you could add some stevia or some other sweetener to the dough. (If you can’t eat grain/gluten, or just don’t feel like making a crust, you can just leave it out and turn it into a custard! I explain more below.)

In a large bowl, combine 1 1/2 cups cooked and pureed pumpkin or butternut squash (fresh is good, but canned is fine too), 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 2/3 cup palm sugar, 2 Tbsp maple syrup, 2 eggs, 1 Tbsp melted butter, and the spices: cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, and salt.

pumpkin pie

Pour the mixture into the uncooked pie crust and cover the edges of the crust with tin foil or a crust guard to prevent it from burning.

pumpkin pie

Bake at 425 for 40-45 minutes. The center should be slightly jiggly, but set, when finished. When you shake it, it should act a little like jello.

pumpkin pie

And that’s it! Is that simple, or what? And delicious!

NOTE: If you don’t feel like making a crust, you can just leave it out! Instead, turn this into pumpkin custard. Instead of pouring the mixture into a pie shell, pour it into a buttered 8×8 baking dish. Place the baking dish inside a 9×13 baking dish. Put it in the oven, and then fill the 9×13 dish with boiling water. (See my fruit custard recipe for pictures if you’re confused about that.) Bake as usual. 

Pumpkin Pie
Author: 
Recipe type: dessert
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
 
Don't feel like making a crust? Leave it out! It's perfectly good that way! Instead, prepare the custard and pour it into a buttered 8x8 dish. Place the 8x8 dish inside a 9x13 dish and fill the 9x13 dish with boiling water. Bake as instructed.
Ingredients
  • Prepared pie crust for 9 inch pie (I have a spelt crust on my quiche recipe on the blog if you need one)
  • 1½ cups cooked and pureed pumpkin or butternut squash (or canned)
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • ⅔ cup palm sugar
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp melted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ⅛ tsp salt
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. Mix all ingredients together and pour into unbaked pie shell.
  3. Bake for 40-45 minutes until the center is jiggly but set, kind of like jello when shaken.
  4. Slice and top with heavy cream that's been whipped and sweetened with maple syrup.

 

cider vinegar drink

Healing Vinegar Drink to Ease Joint Pain

So, you’ve fallen off the wagon? Or perhaps the holidays were a little more indulgent than you planned? And now you’re paying for it. You’re paying for it with joint pain and stiff joints when you wake up in the morning. Maybe you’re also paying for it with not-so-nice tummy feelings as well. You know that getting back on the anti-inflammation wagon will fix things up again…but is there anything else you can do to speed the process?

Yes! There is!

This is something that I’ve been doing for about a year on a regular basis, but especially during flare-ups of joint or digestive discomfort. It’s a drink made with two joint-support powerhouses: raw apple cider vinegar, and gelatin/collagen!

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “What kind of maniac DRINKS vinegar!?” Well, I’m not suggesting you just down the stuff straight, of course. When you combine a tablespoon or two in a glass of apple cider, it just tastes like apple cider that has started to ferment. Just a little tangy. It’s perfectly palatable that way. I’ve even started to crave it at times.

Take this twice a day, morning and night – or more, if you feel like it. If you want this to help specifically with digestive problems as well as joint pain, take this before meals, but otherwise it doesn’t matter if you take it with food or without. Now, if you’ve accumulated a ton of inflammation and have been eating a lot of bad-for-you foods for a long time – then it will take a little while for you to feel that this is helping. It will be helping, but you might not feel it at first; you’ll have to take it regularly for several weeks, combined with a clean diet, to start feeling relief. However, it will speed it up faster than just clean eating alone. If you’ve just had a little blip of bad food choices, though, and are feeling the results in your body, this should start to help you right away as you return to your standard good food choices!

Assembling your drink. (It’s not rocket science folks.)

Since you have to be careful how much fruit juice you drink when you’re managing inflammation, I always start out with the glass half or 3/4 full of water first.

vinegar drink

Then fill it the rest of the way with apple cider or unfiltered apple juice…

cider vinegar drink

and pour in a tablespoon or so of apple cider vinegar. This has to be the good raw kind – like Braggs – not the pasteurized stuff.

vinegar drink

Then I stir in a tablespoon or so of gelatin. It has to be a special kind of gelatin, though, called collagen hydrosylate. It dissolves completely in both hot and cold liquid, so you can add it to anything you want. I suggest Great Lakes brand – the kind that comes in the green can. (You can order it here in bulk, or in individual quantities from Amazon.) Stir it in right away until dissolved.

vinegar drink

That’s it. Since I get a little paranoid about if the vinegar might be eating away at my teeth, for good measure I also rinse out with water after I finish drinking it.

There are other benefits to this drink beyond just joint support, of course. The gelatin is good for joints, skin, hair, and soothing the intestine. Apple cider vinegar is known to be good for a wide variety of things. I personally have found it to help with digestive discomfort, heartburn, and healing faster from a sore throat. So, this can help you in many ways – not only in soothing achy fingers!

 

custard

Baked Fruit Custard

When I was little, my mother would often make baked custards. They were perfect little creamy desserts, topped with nutmeg. They were especially wonderful when we weren’t feeling well – nutritious, comforting, and easily digestible. So as an adult I learned to make them for myself, and anytime I had a little cold coming on and didn’t like eating too much, I’d whip up a batch of them and be transported back to the comfort of childhood and being taken care of by my mother and these custards!

Then, I changed my diet. I dropped sugar. And for a couple years I didn’t eat custards anymore, because I didn’t think I  could make them the same without sugar.

Well, I’m very pleased to say that I was completely wrong about that! I can make custards without sugar! All it takes is adding in a bunch of fruit to make up for the missing sugar. I’ve been playing around with proportions of ingredients for a while until I found the perfect combination. The result is something that’s different (being packed with fruit) but also very familiar. The custard is light and sweet and smooth and comforting, just like I remember. So now custard is back on the menu!

This recipe has 1/4 cup of maple syrup in it, but you could reduce that or even eliminate if you needed to. (The custard won’t be as sweet, but the fruit should compensate for it). I use mashed bananas to add sweetness to the custard, but for some reason these DON’T taste very banana-y. I swear! So don’t let that scare you off!

This dish makes a nice dessert, but also a great breakfast. Or, if you’re feeling unwell and can’t stomach heavier meals, an anytime-food! The fat from the milk, protein from the eggs, and nutrients from the fruit make this a great nourishing dish! 

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raw apple pie

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Wondering what to make for Thanksgiving dinner? Here are a few tried-and-true ideas…many of which I’ll be making for my own family next week! I’ll also be making a pumpkin custard (pumpkin pie without the crust), as well as a pumpkin/cream cheese fruit dip. Mmmm! You can look for those posts after the holiday! In the meantime, maybe some of these will give you inspiration!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup – This soup is creamy, with a combination of sweet and savory. Really good with some crumbled bacon and slices of mild cheese melting on top!
butternut squash soup

Maple-Cider Sweet Potatoes – this is my absolute favorite sweet potato recipe! So good. Sweet potatoes sprinkled with cinnamon and pecans, dotted with butter, and then drizzled all over with a mix of spiced cider and maple syrup. Mmmm! A real crowd pleaser
Maple Cider Sweet Potatoes

Herbed Corn - this is another Thanksgiving staple in my home. The sweet corn, creamy butter, and savory herbs all go together perfectly in this side dish!
herbed corn

Whole Grain Honey Cornbread - Looking for an alternative to bready stuffing? Perhaps this cornbread will fit the bill instead!
Whole Grain Honey Cornbread

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette – How about a holiday salad of spinach and greens, pomegranatet seeds, and walnuts? This simple, delicious dressing goes perfectly with any salad.
dressing

Stewed Apples with Nut Streusel – This could be a perfect dessert alternative for those who can’t tolerate any sweetener at all, or could be simply another side dish!
apples

Raw Apple Pie – This pie is sweetened only with fruit, and so is safe even for the most inflammatory-sensitive person!! You can change it up and add things too – like cranberries, or nuts, or other fruits.
raw apple pie

Ginger-Molasses Muffin Tops – These use dates to substitute for some of the sweetener, leaving a fluffy, pillow-like, spicy dessert that’s something between cookies and muffins!
gingerbread muffin tops

Frozen Mexican Hot Chocolate – How about ice cream?! This chocolate ice cream is jazzed up with a pinch of cinnamon. Perfect for this time of year!
chocolate ice cream

Hot Cranberry-Cider Swizzle - I serve this every Thanksgiving and Christmas! It’s a great drink to have waiting hot, in the crock pot, for people to drink while they wait for dinner to be ready!
Hot Cranberry Cider Swizzle

liver

Liver Pills (or, How To Eat Liver If You Think It’s Gross)

Liver.

For more than a year, I’ve had a liver sitting in my freezer. I got it as part of my meat share, from a grass-fed cow raised on a local farm. It’s just been sitting there, a big lump wrapped in butcher paper, getting in the way of the food I actually want to eat. I finally shoved it down into the darkest, deepest corner of the freezer to get it out of the way, and tried to forget about it.

But, I never really did forget about it, because I knew that it was good for me. Like..super, duper, one-of-the-best-foods-a-person-could-eat good for me. Liver is one of the best sources of iron, as well as Vitamin A and all the B vitamins (B-12 in particular), and a mysterious “anti-fatigue” element that dramatically increases energy and stamina. Surely, I had to find a way to get this stuff into my body.

But every time I thought about it, I just shuddered and then quickly shoved the thought into the same deep, dark corner in which the liver was languishing in my freezer. I just couldn’t face it.

Well, folks, I finally faced it. Two weeks ago, knowing that my health is still on the mend from adrenal fatigue and that I needed extra support with winter coming on, I decided I should take advantage of the wonder-food I had hidden in my freezer. I recalled an article I read once about someone turning their liver into easy-to-palate frozen liver pills – things you could just pop in your mouth and swallow down with juice. So I thought, “I can do that,” and set out to transform my lump of scary organ into something I could imagine putting in my body.

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IMG_2866

Long Absences, Trips to China, and Adrenal Fatigue

I’ve been gone a long time. I know! My last post was waaaay back on June 28, which is an eternity ago in blogging years!

So here’s what happened: My family and I went to China in August. And the preparation for that took over every millimeter of brain space for the entire month of July so blogging completely went out the window. And then I got back and kind of became a raving lunatic in the grips of adrenal fatigue. (That picture up there really just sums up how I felt for about 2 months). But more about that later.

First, it was an amazing trip! We went to volunteer with an organization called Evergreen. Evergreen runs a camp for children and youth in the summer called Joy in the Journey, a place where they can practice English and also just have a break from the intense academic pressure that’s put on Chinese kids. My husband is friends with the man who is in charge of that camp, and so we were excited to go help! We taught English, helped cook, led activities, learned some Mandarin, and forged relationships. And we got to see the Great Wall! As a mother, it was completely satisfying to see the impact the trip had on my children, and how much of a life-changing experience it was for them! Here, briefly, are a few pictures for the curious among you, before we go on with the point of this post.

food We got really good at chopsticks! d and t eating IMG_3327 IMG_4672 Fulfilling a life long dream to walk on the Great Wall! IMG_4301 IMG_4398 IMG_4083 This was a completely exhausting, but also completely amazing, bike ride through the Shanxi countryside. IMG_4162 IMG_4170 IMG_2890 IMG_4180 IMG_4175 IMG_2957

As amazing as the trip was, though, it took a HUGE toll on me physically. I knew I wasn’t doing well while we were there, but I thought I’d just push through it and come home and be all better again.

Well, I was wrong.

After a few weeks back home I was doing worse than ever. I was tired all the time but I couldn’t sleep. I was extremely, irrationally emotional. Tiny little life stressors became huge deals that sent me spiraling. I cried all the time. I was, in short, a complete mess. And the very last thing on my mind was keeping up with the blog!

It finally dawned on me what I was experiencing.

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