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The Oak Tree

Ready to be inspired?

I’ve had a really rough two months so I need all the inspiration I can get.

One thing I’ve learned in my short life (yeah, I consider almost 60 to still be “short”), is that when I focus on others I feel better. And so it was that I went to Hallmark and found a beautiful card that had a poem in it and mailed them off to two people who are struggling right now.

I could have sent this card to myself but, hey, that would have been a little weird, no?

Instead, I’ll share it with you.  If life is battering you and it feels like something is sitting on top of you and you’re barely able to get up, this poem is for you.

The Oak Tree

A mighty wind blew night and day
It stole the oak tree’s leaves away
Then snapped its boughs and pulled its bark
Until the oak was tired and stark

But still the oak tree held its ground
While other trees fell all around
The weary wind gave up and spoke.
How can you still be standing Oak?

The oak tree said, I know that you
Can break each branch of mine in two
Carry every leaf away
Shake my limbs, and make me sway

But I have roots stretched in the earth
Growing stronger since my birth
You’ll never touch them, for you see
They are the deepest part of me

Until today, I wasn’t sure
Of just how much I could endure
But now I’ve found, with thanks to you
I’m stronger than I ever knew.

Johnny Ray Rider, Jr.

It reminds me of an Old Testament Scripture …

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
 whose confidence is in Him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
   that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
   its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
  and never fails to bear fruit.”  

Jeremiah 17:7-8

As a friend of mine would say: Keep your chin up ~ all three of them.

 

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Balsamic Chicken
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Paleo Balsamic Chicken

So here’s another really really good recipe for chicken ~ Balsamic Chicken ~ which is also paleo.

Have you ever used balsamic vinegar with chicken before?  I had tried a different recipe called Balsamic and Rosemary Chicken Breasts which also came out very good and was quite simple also.

Here are the ingredients you’ll be needing (olive oil not shown):

Balsamic Chicken Ingredients

Balsamic Chicken Ingredients

I coarsely chopped the vegetables.

Slice the veggies up

Slice the veggies up

Next I added the veggies to the skillet …

Add veggies to skillet

Add veggies to skillet

I cut my chicken into smaller pieces so they are more manageable and you don’t have to use a knife. Then I seasoned them with the salt and pepper.

Cut chicken into smaller pieces

Cut chicken into smaller pieces

Once the veggies are almost cooked through, I moved them to the side and added the chicken to the skillet.

Add chicken to the skillet

Add chicken to the skillet

When one side of the chicken was browned, I turned it over to the other side.

Cook everything through

Cook everything through

Then I added the balsamic vinegar and the canned tomatoes.

Ahhh … this is going to taste really good. I can smell it …

Ready to see the recipe?

Ingredients

  • 1 large yellow onion, coarsely sliced
  • 2 bell peppers, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (more if you want it spicy)
  • 4 pieces skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into smaller pieces
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 – 15 ounce can diced tomatoes, drained

Directions

  1. Coat a large skillet with olive oil and heat it over medium heat.
  2. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté until the vegetables start to soften.
  3. If the vegetables start to stick, add a tad more olive oil.
  4. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes then sauté for a minute or so.
  5. Cut the chicken thighs into smaller pieces then season them with the salt and pepper on both sides.
  6. Move the vegetables to one side and add the chicken to the skillet so that each piece will touch the bottom of the skillet.
  7. When one side of the chicken is browned, turn the chicken over to the other side.
  8. Add the balsamic vinegar along with the canned tomatoes, and bring this to a boil.
  9. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook uncovered for about 30 minutes.
  10. Stir occasionally to make sure everything is cooking through.

And that’s it! You can serve this on a bed of rice or over noodles (we use pumpkin ginger noodles that we found in a local natural food store).

Then, sit back and enjoy!

Balsamic Chicken

Balsamic Chicken

For additional paleo recipes, click here.

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Celery and Cilantro Salad with Raisins
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Celery and Cilantro Salad with Raisins

This paleo Celery and Cilantro Salad with Raisins is a very very interesting recipe and you do have to enjoy eating celery which is the main ingredient but I don’t believe you’ll be sorry you tried it. I made it in a small quantity since it’s just my beau and I.

The white balsamic vinegar and cilantro give it a great kick. And, since I really really like raisins it was just a good fit for my palate.

So ~ let’s take a look at what ingredients you’ll be needing:

Ingredients for Celery and Cilantro Salad with Raisins

Ingredients for Celery and Cilantro Salad with Raisins (olive oil not shown)

There are different ways to cut your celery for this recipe. I chose to cut my celery strips in 4 pieces width wise and then slice those in 4 lengthwise. I thought it would look pretty that way.

Cut Celery into Thin Strips

Cut Celery into Thin Strips

Most of the time, people use whatever raisins are in the cupboard and sometimes, yeah ~ it does happen ~ the raisins are old-er. So (unless you have fresh raisins), we need to plump those raisins back up and there are two ways to do this. One way is to simply put them in cool water for 20 minutes or so, drain them, add the white balsamic vinegar to them and let that sit for a little while.

Or, I chose to go with adding the white balsamic vinegar to the raisins and then putting them in the microwave for a minute or so until they came back to life (this idea was on the original recipe which I adapted). Either way will work.

And, to make things more varied, I used a medley of raisins instead of just one kind.

The cilantro  will be cleaned, leaves removed from the stems and then coarsely chopped.

So … let’s take a peek at the whole recipe, shall we?

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup medley of raisins
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 7 stalks of celery, cleaned and sliced thinly into bite size pieces
  • A handful of cilantro, stems removed and chopped coarsely
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Directions

  1. Combine the raisins and vinegar in a small microwave-safe bowl then microwave for about a minute.
  2. Drain the raisins in a sieve over a bowl. Discard all the liquid except 1 tablespoon for the salad.
  3. Combine the raisins, celery, and cilantro in a medium size bowl.
  4. Add the salt and pepper to the reserved vinegar and blend everything together.
  5. Add the olive oil to the salt mixture and blend it all together.
  6. Add the olive oil mixture to the salad a little at a time tossing it until you get the right amount of dressing on the salad.

This recipe is quick, has a nice crunch to it and tastes great. I served it with Paleo Cabbage with Beef and slices of cucumber.

Celery and Cilantro Salad with Raisins

Celery and Cilantro Salad with Raisins

For more paleo recipes, click here.

(Note: This recipe was adapted from the Cooking Light cookbook.)

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Paleo Cabbage with Beef
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Paleo Cabbage with Beef

Do you like cabbage? I’ve grown to like it very much and this recipe, which is adapted for paleo folks, makes me enjoy eating it even more. It doesn’t even taste like “cabbage” ~ not that there’s anything wrong with the taste of cabbage.

So, let’s take a look at it shall we? Here are the ingredients:

Ingredients for Paleo Cabbage with Beef

Ingredients for Paleo Cabbage with Beef (Olive Oil not shown)

I used 1/2 green cabbage and 1/2 purple cabbage as I wanted to vary the color in the recipe. That’s the only reason.

Next, in a large pot, I added olive oil and let that warm before adding the shallots, salt, turmeric, and the red pepper flakes (a little for a mild taste and a lot for spicy).  I allowed this to cook through for a few minutes before I added the beef which I cooked until it was browned.

Brown the Beef

Brown the Beef

Next I added the sliced cabbage and the tomato wedges. I added the nuts once everything was cooked through.

See how easy that’s going to be? Shall we look at the recipe in its entirety?

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 whole shallots, sliced thinly
  • 1 teaspoon salt or to your taste
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pound ground sirloin
  • 1/2 green cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 purple cabbage, sliced thinly
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes, sliced thinly
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds

Directions

  1. In a large pot, add the olive oil and let it get warm.
  2. Add the shallots, salt, turmeric and the red pepper and mix this together until the shallots are soft.
  3. Add the beef and mix everthing together frequently until the beef is browned.
  4. Next, add the cabbage and the tomatoes and stir everything together a few times.
  5. Reduce the heat to a medium low, cover the pot and cook everything through for 10-15 minutes until the cabbage has softened.
  6. Stir in the almonds and cook for a few more minutes.

Then enjoy!

Paleo Cabbage with Beef

Paleo Cabbage with Beef

Paleo Cabbage with Beef

Paleo Cabbage with Beef

Recipe adapted from MyRecipes.com.

(For more paleo recipes, click here.)

 

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Paleo Baked Salmon With Leeks and Peppers
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Baked Salmon with Leeks and Peppers

I made this recipe when I was in a hurry so there’s only one picture. (I had a date with my husband to go see a movie ~ now, that’s something to hurry for.)

But, I wanted to share it with you because it was quick and came out quite delicious. Baking it in foil made this salmon come out nice and moist.

It’s already paleo so there are no adjustments that need to be made.

Ready to see the recipe for this paleo Baked Salmon with Leeks and Peppers?

Ingredients

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red pepper, sliced
  • 1 large yellow pepper, sliced
  • 2 medium leeks, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 4 teaspoons dry white wine (optional)
  • Lemon wedges, optional

Directions

  1. In a large skillet, heat the butter on medium heat until it’s melted.
  2. Stir in the leeks and bell peppers.
  3. Add the salt and tarragon and stir to combine.
  4. Cook this through until everything is soft.
  5. While the vegetables are cooking, preheat the oven to 375°.
  6. Cut 2 12×12 inch foil pieces – one for each salmon fillet.
  7. When the vegetables are ready, pour half of the mixture into the middle of each piece of foil.
  8. Add the salmon to the top of the vegetables and sprinkle with the dry wine if you’re using it.
  9. Surround/close the fish with the aluminum foil in a tent style but make sure no steam can escape.
  10. Bake on a cookie sheet for approximately 13 minutes in a convection oven.

If you’re so inclined, squeeze a little bit of lemon juice on the top of the salmon when baked.

And then, sit back and enjoy it.

Paleo Baked Salmon With Leeks and Peppers

Paleo Baked Salmon With Leeks and Peppers

For more paleo recipes, click here.

Note: Original recipe was found at Simply Recipes.

 

 

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Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds
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Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds

Brussels Sprouts? There aren’t too many people I know who like Brussels Sprouts and I used to be one of them. I have found that the “trick” is to not overcook them as when you do they have a higher chance of tasting bitter.

This Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds recipe, from Simply Recipes, needed no changes to “make” it paleo. So, I followed the recipe almost to a “t.”

Here are the ingredients needed (salt and pepper not shown):

Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds

Ingredients for Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds

My brussels sprouts were pretty large so I didn’t need too many of them. When choosing them, try to get ones that are similar in size so the cook time will be the same. Otherwise you’ll either have some that are over or under cooked.

Prepare the slivered almonds by toasting them in the oven.

You’ll be parboiling the brussels sprouts which means you’ll be adding them to boiling water for a few minutes til they are almost cooked but not quite.

Parboil Brussels Sprouts

Parboil Brussels Sprouts

After about 3 minutes, you’ll be taking the brussels sprouts out of the boiled water with a slotted spoon and putting them in a bowl of ice water. This will allow them to keep their pretty green color and stop the cooking process.

Next, in a skillet on low heat, add half the butter and saute the onion. After the onions are clear, add the remaining butter, almonds and the brussels sprouts. Season this with salt and pepper.

Saute Onions in Butter then add the Brussel Sprouts

Saute Onions in Butter then add the Brussel Sprouts

Toss everything together until it’s well mixed and raise the heat up to medium to allow the mixture to heat through together for a few minutes.

Next you’ll be removing the skillet from the stovetop and adding the lemon juice to the brussels sprouts mixture.

And that is how easy this recipe is. Ready to see it?

Ingredients

  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, cleaned and trimmed
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup toasted slivered almonds

Directions

  1. In a medium pot, bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil.
  2. Add the brussels sprouts and parboil them for 4 minutes. They should be almost cooked but not completely.
  3. Prepare a bowl of ice water and when the brussels sprouts are ready, transfer them over and let them sit in the ice water for 1 minute. This will help them retain their flavor.
  4. Transfer the sprouts to a cutting board and cut them in half.
  5. Next, in a skillet on low heat, add half the butter and saute the onion.
  6. After the onions are clear, add the remaining butter, almonds and the brussels sprouts then season this with salt and pepper.
  7. Toss everything together until it’s well mixed and raise the heat up to medium to allow the mixture to heat through together for a few minutes.
  8. Lastly, remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the lemon juice and stir it all together one last time.

This makes a really great side dish. I served it with Chicken With Sweet Potato and a side salad.

 

Blend Everything Together

Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds

Enjoy!

For more paleo recipes, click here.

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Faith and Trust

Five jumbo jets flying in formation.

When I looked at this video it reminded me of our spiritual lives as we “study to show ourselves approved” like the pilots studied to perform this maneuver.

But there are times when we, like the pilots, can’t “see” what’s around us. The pilots heard a voice telling them to “go” and they moved out in faith and trust just as we must do at times.

God is always showing us the way. We just have to listen.

I hope you enjoy the video.

 

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Paleo Baked Chicken with Sweet Potato
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Baked Chicken with Sweet Potato

There are a few recipes that are similar to the one I’ll be posting that are called Chicken Vesuvio and all vary greatly in their ingredients.

I decided to give this paleo dish a more simple name ~ Baked Chicken With Sweet Potato ~ so that you would have a pretty good idea of what was in the recipe.

Here are the basic ingredients you’ll be using:

Ingredients for Baked Chicken with Sweet Potato

Ingredients for Baked Chicken with Sweet Potato

And here’s the second set of ingredients (Olive Oil not shown):

Ingredients (2) for Baked Chicken with Sweet Potato

Ingredients (2) for Baked Chicken with Sweet Potato

I prepared the chicken by trimming, cleaning, drying then adding the spices to it.

Prepare the Chicken

In a cast iron skillet, I added a small amount of olive oil. After the oil was hot, I browned the chicken on both sides.

Brown the chicken

Brown the chicken

While the chicken was browning, I cut up the onion and the sweet potato.

Dice Sweet Potato and Slice the Red Onion

Dice Sweet Potato and Slice the Red Onion

After the chicken is browned on both sides remove it from the skillet and place it in a glass baking dish.  Next, add a small bit of olive oil to the skillet then add the garlic, diced sweet potato and sliced red onion and cook this through for a couple of minutes. Then add the olives along with a a small bit of the olive juice.

Cook the potato, olives, red onion and garlic

Cook the potato, olives, red onion and garlic

The mixture will be added to the top of the chicken and baked in a pre-heated 375° oven for approximately 40 minutes or until the chicken’s juices run clear.

Ready for the recipe?

Ingredients

  • 4 bone-in skin-on Chicken Thighs, cleaned, trimmed and dried on paper towels
  • 1 medium sized Sweet Potato, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 Red Onion, sliced thinly
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup Black Olives, whole with a little bit of the juice
  • Thyme, to sprinkle on the chicken
  • Red Pepper Flakes, to sprinkle on the chicken
  • Salt, just a dash
  • Olive Oil

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. After preparing the chicken, season it with the salt, red pepper flakes and the thyme.
  3. In a cast iron skillet on medium heat, add a little bit of olive oil, add the chicken and brown it on both sides. When they are ready, put them in a large glass baking dish.
  4. Add the garlic, potato and the red onion to the skillet and cook this through for a few minutes. (Note: You do not want the potatoes to be cooked all the way as they will bake in the oven.)
  5. Add a small bit of olive oil to the potato mixture, mix everything together then add the olives and stir until all is combined. Turn off the heat to the skillet.
  6. Transfer the potato mixture to the baking dish and distribute it evenly around the chicken.
  7. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 40 minutes or until the juices of the chicken run clear when a knife is inserted.
  8. If you want an even crispier skin, remove the foil about 10 minutes before the chicken is cooked through.

I served this with Brussels Sprouts with Toasted Almonds and a side salad.

Enjoy!

Paleo Baked Chicken with Sweet Potato

Paleo Baked Chicken with Sweet Potato

For more paleo recipes, click here.

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Paleo Salmon Patties
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Salmon Patties

A new year … a new recipe.  Have you resolved to eat better this year? I hope so. Health is so important and one thing I learned is that what you eat definitely affects how you feel.

Eat sugar and you’ll start feeling sluggish with little aches and pains running throughout your body. Just saying …

This Paleo Salmon Patty recipe was adapted from one found at OurPaleoLife but they call them Salmon Filets.

The patties use fresh salmon instead of canned and came out delicioso (delicious).

Here are the ingredients you’ll be needing (salt and coconut oil not shown).

Ingredients for Salmon Patties

Ingredients for Salmon Patties

Make sure to have your eggs at room temperature as that affects how the patties will cook through. If you forgot to take the eggs out early, just put them in warm water for 3 minutes or so and that will work just as well.

I used two pieces of salmon that in total weighed 9 ounces. After baking them in the oven until cooked, I allowed them to cool and then used my clean hands to shred them into pieces.

Smush the Cooled Salmon

Smush the Cooled Salmon

After I hand shredded the salmon, I set that aside in a bowl and grated 1/4 cup of raw sweet potato (peeling it first). A side note: I peeled and boiled the rest of the sweet potato and made a sweet potato mash to have as a “side” dish (don’t want to waste any food).

Grate the Raw Sweet Potato

Grate the Raw Sweet Potato

Then it was a matter of adding the diced onion, eggs, minced garlic, and the sweet potato into a bowl and mixing it all together.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl

Mix all ingredients in a bowl

Once that was mixed, I added the red pepper flakes and fresh ground pepper and combined this into the salmon mix.

Add Spices

Add Black Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes

And then it was just a matter of adding a little bit of coconut oil to a skillet (how much depends on how big your skillet is), using your hands to make the patties as small or as large as you want them and frying them up. I made palm sized patties.

Ready to see the recipe?

Ingredients

  • 9 ounces Salmon Filet, baked, cooled then shredded into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup Almond Flour, sifted so there are no lumps
  • 1 small Onion, minced
  • 1 clove of Garlic, minced
  • 2 Eggs at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup raw peeled and grated Sweet Potato
  • A pinch of fresh ground Black Pepper
  • A pinch of Red Pepper Flakes
  • Coconut Oil for frying

Instructions

  1. Bake your salmon filet until it is cooked through then remove it from the oven and set it aside until it cools. (I cooked mine at 350° Fahrenheit for 25 minutes but ovens vary so check and re-check to make sure you don’t bake it too long.)
  2. Once the salmon cools, shred it with your hands into small pieces inside a medium sized bowl.
  3. Add the minced onion and garlic to the top of the salmon in the bowl.
  4. Next, add the eggs, almond flour and the grated sweet potato to the salmon bowl then mix everything together until it’s all blended.
  5. Add the black pepper and red pepper flakes to the salmon mixture then taste it until you have the right taste for your “buds.”
  6. In a medium or large skillet, add a little bit of frying oil ~ just enough so that the patties will be able to fry in it ~ and wait until it gets nice and hot.
  7. Once the oil is hot, make palm size patties with your hands that aren’t too thick and place them in the oil to fry.
  8. When one side of the patty is fairly browned, turn it over and fry the other side.

And that is pretty much it. These patties were delicious.

I served my Paleo Salmon Patties with Garlic Aioli, Guacamole, Mashed Sweet Potato (from the leftover potato) and fried Plantains.

Paleo Salmon Patties

Paleo Salmon Patties

Enjoy!

For additional paleo recipes, click here.

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IMG_1890
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A New Year’s Resolution

So, did you make a New Year’s resolution for 2015? I haven’t made a resolution in a few years but this year I wanted to do something different. Something more intentional.

What did I come up with, you ask?

I’ve decided to live my life less “technologically inclined” and more “people inclined.” That is, with a more personal and less “over the waves” kind of relationship.

What exactly does that mean? I’m hoping to do less texting and emailing and more, dare I say it?, calling people to hear their voices or sending snail mail so they get more than junk and bills in their mailboxes.

I know there are some benefits to technology but I have found that, quite frankly, it’s a bit too much. On Facebook, there is almost an “air” of expectation to “like” peoples posts for fear that, gasp!, they might believe that “no one is listening to me.”

A friend recently went on Facebook and said that what normally would take 10 minutes to read through a days updates was taking more than 30 minutes.

What goes on in peoples lives is important as everything influences us for good or for bad but seriously, there are so many pictures with captions that it’s hard for me to understand why people can’t just say what they mean instead of looking for all these pictures to state and re-state the same things.

So ~ I’d like to add “less” to the problem. Hmmm … can you add less? (laughing)

You suppose it’s a middle-age mindset I have?

It is refreshing for me to get cards in the mail or notes from people telling me they thought about me. Even a phone call recently from someone I haven’t seen in 4 years was welcome this past Thanksgiving.

No worries though ~ I’ll still be updating my blog.

At the same time though, I’d like to have more intimate relationships with people because, after all, that’s what life is all about.

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