Throwback Thursday: Paleo “Cheese Its” and 90s Icons!

It’s been a great week! While you all know my heart belongs to Backstreet Boys (#BSB4EVA) I must admit that when Boys II Men came to perform at work this week, I did have a fan girl moment (or ten). It was like 90s on 9 (only the best radio station EVER) jumped out of my car and into real life.

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What do you wear when you know you will be in the presence of The Boyz (who are now very much men)?  I knew I HAD to rock my Azeeza Michigan T– Because  Well, I’m from Motown The Boyz are from Philly and together we make Motown Philly… yes, I’m cool like that.

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The Boy (as in my boyfriend, not one of the Boyz) also happens to be from Philly. Coincidence that we make up one of the BEST songs to come from the 90s as a couple? I think not. (Fun Fact: when I told Boyz II Men that 1) I wore this shirt on purpose so that as a whole we would make up Motown Philly and 2) That My song with The Boy is in fact Motown Philly they weren’t all that amused…)

Then the next day, I got to produce Carlton Banks!! (aka Alfonso Ribeiro) and his partner Witney Carson who are killing it on Dancing with the Stars.

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And while we are on a fun 90s throwback streak… let’s discuss 90s snacks. One of my favorite snacks when I was a kid was Cheese Its. Sure they were florescent orange and artificially cheesey but that is precisely  why I loved them so much! (Although I hated the white cheddar ones. Those (and anyone who liked them) were gross)

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Well as it turns out, one of my fav paleo bloggers and cookbook authors, Danielle Walker, of Against All Grain, makes a paleo version! AND she came into work this week too!  Clearly this was all meant to be.

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I was so excited to meet Danielle because her story is truly inspiring. She suffers from an auto immune illness and was incredibly sick but cured herself entirely by eliminating white sugars, grains, dairy etc from her diet. I find it incredibly empowering that she took her health into her own hands and now inspires people to do the same. SO many people don’t realize that what they are eating is what’s making them sick and that many times medicine is just covering up the symptom, not the root of what’s making you feel so terrible.

She was as sweet as can be and her food is amazing too!

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So this week, I attempted her recipe for cheese crackers/aka Paleo Cheese Its!  I started with my ingredients:

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2.5 tablespoons of Nutrtional Yeast (it gives food a cheesey taste… without you know, cheese.)

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1/4 tsp of salt:

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1/2 tsp baking soda:

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2 cups of almond flower (I ran out of Bob’s Red Mill so I had to use 1/2 cup of trader joes):

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4 tsp melted coconut oil:

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4 tsp cold water:

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4 tsp egg whites:

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Mixed it all up for about 40 seconds until it became like a dough:

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Put it parchment paper and shaped it like a ball:

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Put another piece of parchment paper on top and looked for a rolling pin… turns out I don’t have one. Based on my kitchen inventory, I was a bit surprised. But I settled on using the wandy thingy from my Vitamix:

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It didn’t work that well… so I smoothed it out a bit with a spatula…

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Then I cut them into cracker shapes!

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and stuck a hole in the center… JUST LIKE CHEESE ITS!

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And I baked them in the oven for about 12 minutes rotating the pan once:

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And they came out smelling yummy but looking rather ugly….

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Let’s compare to Danielle’s…

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Yeah, mine def didn’t look like that.

Also, since I didn’t have a proper rolling pin some were much thicker than others.

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BUT, they tasted great.

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Not like a Cheese It. but like a cheesey cracker and that was good enough for me! Danielle’s pointer when I told her that my crackers came out ugly — was not to use Bob’s Red Mill. Noted. Will not repeat!

Hope you’re having a fabulous #TBT

xoJ

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Made It Monday: Prest-O Change-O… When Your Cauliflower Becomes A Pizza Crust!

Happy Monday!

This weekend was a particularly fantastic one… It has a busy few weeks of family events, weddings, the Jewish Holidays and a lot of other fun but tiring hullaballoo so it was nice to have a regular weekend to just veg out and relax.  It was beautiful here in Southern Cali so The Boy and I spent a lot of time walking (I didn’t get in my car once!) —  It felt like I was back living in Chicago… only I was happy and warm… and wearing a tank top… in October… This really never gets old.

Also, I feel I need to share that I had a bit of  a scare this weekend. All of a sudden at 8:00 am on a Saturday — while still in a half asleep stupor, I realized that I was awake and in my kitchen baking… I’m not sure what has happened to me, you guys, but I’m pretty sure it’s a serious cause for concern.

Although my apartment did smell heavenly by 9:15 am.

Saturday night, I had a friends 30th birthday party at a famous and delicious pizza joint here in Los Angeles and while I did enjoy the eggplant and other veggies I ate (as well as the giant bowl of gelato that was meant for “the table”… oops) I must admit I also had a severe case of FOMO while everyone was chowing down on their pizza.

Because if there’s one thing I miss being Paleo-ish its’s pizza. Nothing says life is GREAT (even when it’s not-so-great) like a slice of saucey/cheesy/crusty goodness.

But whether you’re gluten free or pro-gluten, paleo or the please-pass-the-brownies kind of gal (or guy), we all know that indulging in the saucey stuff on the reg = not cute things for your thighs… or your heart for that matter. No matter what kind of eating lifestyle you follow, who doesn’t want a healthy pizza alt that still tastes great?

People who hate puppies, that’s who.

So when I came across this recipe for a dairy free cauliflower crust pizza, I was immediately enticed to try it. Sure I was skeptical, it’s like someone telling you that a bowl of sardines will ultimately taste like a hot cookie skillet… um, okay suuuuuure, you weirdo. But after seeing the pictures, I figured if there is in fact a way to turn the “it” vegetable of the moment into the “it” food of all time (Pizza = the Little Black Dress of food, right?!) then I was IN.

So I shopped for my ingredients and arranged them for a photo…Then I placed my baking sheet in the over (a pizza stone works too if you’re all fancy like that!) and I preheated the oven to 450 degrees. 

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Sliced up my cauli:

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And chopped it up in a food processor until it looked like snow:

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Then I heated it up in a microwave for about 4 mins on high:
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And let it cool a bit (note you want to let it cool a LOT. I would suggest cooking the cauliflower about an hour or so before you want to make the pizza because this part took a while and I was hungry by the time this whole process was done!) Once it’s cool, you strain out the excess water (there’s a lot of it!) in a cheese cloth:

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And you’re left with what resembles dough!

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Then you add 1/4 tsp of kosher salt along with 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil:

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1/2 teaspoon dried oregano:

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1/2 teaspoon garlic powder:

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2 tablespoons almond meal:

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1 tablespoon (or more if desired) nutritional yeast (you could also leave this out entirely if you like but it makes the crust have a cheesy flavor):

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1 tablespoon olive oil:

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1 egg:

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Then I took a piece of parchment paper and drizzled it with some oil and added my “dough” and used my hands to make it look like a pizza! (I felt like such a chef!!!)

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Using a cutting board I slid the parchment paper onto my hot baking sheet in the oven and let it cook until it was golden brown (about ten minutes) and it looked like this (also, it smelled goooood):

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Then, the fun part! Decorating the pizza! I added some sauce:
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Some cheese made from almonds:
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some spinach (pre-cooked) and some butternut squash and roasted onion I had leftover (already cooked)
and stuck it back int he over for 5 more minutes:
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And got this beauty:
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I cut it up like a pizza and served it with a salad to my gal pal and I…
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and while it didn’t taste like Dominos or Chicago deep dish, it did satisfy our pizza craving– while still being paleo, gluten free, dairy free, and overall, guilt free!
A final thought: While delish, this recipe definitely takes a good amount of prep  so I would suggest not doing while you’re a) hungry or b) starting too late.. because we didn’t end up eating dinner until about 9:45pm.
I highly recommend though! And for those of you who do eat dairy, there are a lot of good recipes out there that use cheese in the crust which I’m sure makes it even more delish. I’ve also seen variations using zucchini instead of cauliflower for the crust!
Happy Monday!
xoJ
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Friday Finds: Gluten Free Snacks, Paleo Cookies and Dairy Free Beverages to Keep All Our Bases Covered!

It’s FRIDAY! (cue Rebecca Black)

and also cue… MY FRIDAY FINDS

So when I was visiting NYC this past September for my cousins wedding, I came across this spot:

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and I was rushing by to get back to my hotel to go to the airport, BUT this sign caught my eye:

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and just I couldn’t turn away. Like a Buzzfeed article referencing anything from 1998 or a cute old man rocking a pair of Depends,  I’m a sucker for any GFZ  (Gluten Free Zone) and this one was pretty great– they had a whole bunch of brands I had never heard of but this story ended tragically:

I didn’t have time to get anything AND make it to Chop’t in time to get my salad for the plane. It was like Sophie’s Choice Gluten Free Meals Edition.

So I noted what stood out and went on my merry way. I emailed the lovely founders of one of the companies I saw-  Raw Sweet Snacks and they so sweetly offered to mail me some products.. and when these showed up at my doorstep, I felt like I was Britney Spears winning my first VMA.

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First up, Almond Butter Muffins

More like Allgone Butter Muffins… luckily I snapped some photos first.

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At 120 calories per muffin this is the perfect afternoon sweet treat that is satisfyingly delish. Obviously I would imagine pairing mine with a cup of coffee but then again, I basically feel that anything goes well with a cup of coffee. They are the perfect combination of cake and chewy and did I say delcisou? because they are.

Next up:  Darl Chocolate Nuts and Raisins

What could be better about chocolate covered nuts that isn’t already out there? That’s what I thought too until I got these in the mail. if you will notice, about 1/4 (okay maybe a little more than 1/4) is gone… because I started eating them earlier this week and finally thought I better take pics before they are all gone. They have the perfect salty/sweet/crunch ratio of any chocolate covered nut I’ve had!

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Next Up… Pread from Primal Bakeshop

So most paleo people know that most starchy type of paleo treats need to be made from scratch… until now!  Enter… Pread (Paleo + Bread = Pread… get it?!)

While I haven’t had a minute to make these yet (coming to a blog near you (this blog) soon!) I was SO excited to find out about Primal Bakeshop right here in Cali which makes all kinds of Paleo breads and just released a whole bunch of mixes for muffins and cookies too! They so sweetly sent me these two to try so stay tuned because I think it’s going to be a yum fest up in my apartment.

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And Lastly… Limited Edition Almond Dream Pumpkin Spice with Cinnamon drink!

I saw this the other day when I was heading out the door of Whole Foods. Still half asleep with my giant coffee in hand… and I just had to get it.

They always get you at the checkout line don’t they?  Well this was impulse purchase I’m not upset about (a rarity)

I used to love pumpkin spice lattes from starbs- I’d look forward to its release every July! (because what says JULY like a hot pumpkin beverage?!)  And sure, I could make my own pumpkin drink but sometimes (every morning, ever) that just takes too much time and requires a few minutes less sleep– uh yeah, no thanks. But this Almond Dream drink gives you the pumpkin taste without all the dairy, and without the crazy sugar overload.

This does have sugar (8g per serving) and for me it was good on its own but still a bit too sweet… but once I added coffee it was perfection (because really adding coffee to anything makes it better) so I love having this option to add just a pumpkiny splash to my coffee!

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Any good finds you have this week to share?!

Hope you have a great weekend!
xoJ!

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WHOA THERE WEDNESDAY: OOEY GOOEY CHOCOLATE CHIP PUMPKIN BARS!

Is there anything better than a Pumpkin dessert?

Okay yes, yes there is, I must admit that being personally serenaded by the Backstreet Boys WHILE eating a pumpkin dessert would be infinitely better.

But since I don’t have the BSB on speed dial (working on it), last night I just had a pumpkin dessert and I wasn’t upset about it. Not even a little.

In fact, I was so wrapped up in my yummy pumpkin baking that I didn’t even play “I Want It That Way” on my ipod while cooking and I was STILL okay with it.

I guess I didn’t Want It That Way after all.

Why the late night foray into pumpkin baking? Not that it really needs a reason because well, read the first sentence BUT the other day, The Boy told me about a pumpkin pie he bought from Costco, picture evidence and everything and I had serious Pumpkin dessert envy. I spent wayyyy too much time googling all sorts of different paleo pumpkin pie recipes (as it turns out it’s an abyss of Paleo Pumpin recipes out there) but figured I would make them closer to Thanksgiving since they involve multiple steps. and well, I’m just not sure me and my baking skillz ready for that (I’d rather watch TV).

Then, yesterday at work, I saw PaleOMG’s ooey gooey chocolate chip pumpkin bars on my Instagram feed and I knew I had to make them… it was National Dessert Day after all! I would be SO unpatriotic if I didn’t whip up some sort of delish treat. And our forefathers didn’t fight for me to just sit here with a bag of celery or some store bought treat and NOT make (and eat) dessert on this day.

So in order to fill my patriotic duties and give National Dessert Day the respect it deserves, I fought traffic and a herd of juice drinking, lulu lemon donning ladies and picked up a can of pumpkin at the grocery store.

Shockingly these bars were incredibly easy to make. Sort of like the crock pot of baked goods (confession: not that I’ve ever used my crock pot, but this felt like what I would imagine crock pot cooking to be like), throw it all in a bowl, mix it up, dump it in a pan, throw it in the oven, walk away and wait for your house to smell like sweet sweet deliciousness and then eat said sweet sweet deliciousness….

So here is PaleOMG’s Ooey Gooey Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bars!

It all started with a few simple ingredients all thrown into one bowl (how easy is that?!):

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3/4 cup of Pumpkin:

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1 cup of Coconut Sugar:

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1/2 cup of melted Coconut Oil (it’s clear but it’s here! sorry for the messy cup… I had just used it for the pumpkin!):

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1 tsp of Vanilla Extract:

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1 Tbsp of Pumpkin Pie Spice (warning: don’t sniff too close… smells great… doesn’t feel great when you inhale it…)

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1 cup of Almond Flour and 1/4 cup of Tapioca Flour (this was my first time using it but it seems to good to have on hand if you’re cooking Paleo because a lot of recipes call for it)

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One Egg (whisked):

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And perhaps the most important part…. 1/2 cup of non-dairy chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life Chocolate Chunks also while linking to them I noticed they just released a darker chocolate chip morsel- has anyone tried these yet?!)

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It all looked like a mess (as did my kitchen):

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Then I stirred it on up like I was Bette Midler in Hocus Pocus… (what a classic!)

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Greased my baking dish with coconut oil:

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and poured it in:

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Then I put it in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes while I cleaned up.  When the timer went off, I was left with an amazingly good smelling apartment (who needs an artificial Pumpkin Spice candle when you’ve got pumpkiny baked goods filling up your apartment?!) and these:

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Look at those crispy edges! I waited the ten minutes I was supposed to before cutting… but I can’t lie, it was HARD.

At long last:

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The anticipation was killing me! Would they be deserving of their name? (ooey and gooey) and more importantly would they be delicious?!

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The LOOKED ooey!

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And they FELT gooey (in a good way of course):

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And they tasted… terrible. What a waste of time.

I kid. I kid. These pumpkin bars were Uh-maze-ing. They tasted just like you would imagine an ooey gooey chocolate chip pumpkin bar would taste… only this time without grains or gluten or dairy. Gone are all those times I would look longingly at the Starbucks window eyeing their pumpkin loaf or pumpkin muffin! They aint got nothing on this bar of deliciousness.

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Big fan of these. Huge.
(Take that Costco Pumpkin Pie!)

I feel I should mention that Enjoy Life does use cane sugar which means these aren’t strict strict paleo (but it’s minimal if you divide the 1/2 cup up over the whole pan) but to be totally honest with you, I don’t even think these need chocolate chips! That’s how good they are! Or I’m thinking you could use some cacao and a bit of honey to sweeten it if you wanted them to still be chocolatey while being strict paleo.

These were incredibly simple to make. 10 minutes of prep and 30 minutes of baking… easy peasy and most importantly, worth it!

And then there was waking up this morning and knowing I had these.

My Wednesday just got a whole lot sweeter, better and pumpkinyer

How did you celebrate National Dessert Day?

xoJ

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MADE IT MONDAY: A QUICK DINNER BECAUSE… MONDAY.

Okay so in my attempts to use my kitchen and be all domestic, I promised myself (and you!) that every monday I would bring you something homemade.

But this monday I was struggling.  HARD.

Ordinary Mondays are no picnic, folks.

Mondays after a week babysitting a three year old (who thinks she is Elsa) while your sister-in-law is in labor, starting a new job, having your parents in town AND standing up in your best friends wedding is not only no picnic, it’s an old habits die hard, for the love of god let me pick up some whole foods and crawl into bed type of night. It’s not usually the week you get all Paleo Betty Crocker and whip out your lemon zester and other fancy contraptions that you have no idea how to use…

So in effort to both keep my word and keep my sanity, I kept it simple. Like 5 minute dinner simple.

So for my Made It Monday… I bring you…Hot dogs! (this really feels like it should be a Throwback Thursday)

I have been craving hot dogs for a while… As a kid, I always loved having one every forth of July as a treat. As a high school waitress, I served up coney dogs (beef hot dogs with chili, cheese, and onions (and sometimes mustard depending on the customer) and would have one every now and again with my bestie, Suz. But I think the last time I had a hot dog, Instagram was not a thing, TRL was still on the air and Britney Spears had not yet had her melt down (those were the days).

With Paleo bringing beef back (Justin Timberlake has Sexy, Paleo has beef), I had been seeing tons of posts on my Insta feed and have suddenly had a craving.

So my last trip to the grocery store, I found these gems:

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Organic, Grass Fed, everything that is not usually in a hot dog… aka good quality ingredients you can feel good about eating. So I threw a bit of avocado oil in a skillet and grilled up one of these bad boys dogs.

I wrapped it in a “bun” (some romaine lettuce), threw on some dijon mustard and added a few plantain chips– because they are yummy. and salty. and just feel so right with a hot dog and on this Monday night (not that there is ever a time that salty goodness doesn’t feel right). I’ve noticed that most plantain chips are made with vegetable oils but the ones at Whole Foods use a palm oil which I think is a better choice. Maybe one of these days I should try making my own plantain chips… hmm.

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Okay so let’s discuss something muy important here… a lot of people say that putting ketchup on a hot dog is a crime. Where do you stand? I say ketchup makes EVERYTHING better, but then again, I was a kid who ate ketchup and mustard sandwiches (yes, that would be bread with ONLY ketchup and mustard on it… judge away if you must but condiments? Good. Carbs? Good. mix them together and you’ve got one good (and budget friendly) sando!)

So, In a last minute decision to get CRAZY on a Monday, I decided to throw a little Tessemae’s ketchup on this dog.

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And there you have it folks. A five minute “homemade” dinner!

What are your quick go-to dinners?!

xoJ

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THROWING IT TOGETHER THURSDAY: CHIA SEED PUDDING

Boys and Girls, gather round.

Let me tell you about the tale of the girl who was bored with egg whites but had no time to get all clever in the kitchen because she had a full DVR lot of productive things to do.

So she fired up The Google and found plenty of recipes for quick and easy breakfasts. But to her dismay a lot sounded… meh. A lot where unhealthy… and just before she gave up and resorted back to the same old EW’s (egg whites for those of you who haven’t caught on that I abbreviate a lot of things that don’t need abbreviating) for all of time, a fairy godmother came down she remembered she had once been told how easy it was to make a magical dish called…

Chia Seed Pudding.

Okay, for reals you guys paleo fairytale aside, even someone who has NO kitchen smarts can nail this recipe. It was a wham bam thank you ma’am recipe – easy to make, easy to clean and even easier to eat because it’s G double O D!

There are tons of ways to modify this recipe to suit your own taste buds. My taste buds like that of chocolate and cinnamon because well, chocolate. and cinnamon.

So my ingredients looked like this:

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I took 1/2 cup of chia seeds and combined them with two cups of organic light coconut milk. Most paleo recipes call for full fat but I’m still  (yes, still) on the whole getting used to upping the fat and knowing that consuming more fat won’t make me look like an oopma loompa.

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I mixed them together:

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(ACTION SHOT!)

And then I added in some cacao powder. I didn’t measure I just threw in a heaping spoonful. I also then added in a few shakes of cinnamon, a splash of vanilla and a bit less than a cap  full of coconut nectar. Again- no measuring necessary here just do what feels right!

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At this point, after mixing it all together, it will still be a milk like consistency. I taste tested it to make sure I liked the sweetness etc and then I was DONEZO (for the night!) After it was all mixed together, I thew this bowl into the fridge and got back to my DVR (The Goldbergs–sadly not as funny this week!)

I deserve it! I just “cooked”

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Then this morning, I opened up the fridge to this:

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Presto-Chango- this was like a crazy fancy magic trick– you stick in all soupy and you end up with a pudding! I mixed it together to get rid of the left over cacao clumps and poured it into a bowl:

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I decorated with some raspberries:

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And a bit of unsweetened shredded coconut:

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and had myself a quick, easy, different, but still protein packed breakfast that was delicious and in less than five minutes I made enough to last for a few days!

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Got any quick and easy breakfast recipes I should try? Share them with me!

xoJ

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Made It Monday: Curing A Case of The Mondays With Paleo Chocolate Cinnamon Banana Bread!

I have a confession, you guys:

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Truthfully, I always wanted to be a morning person, you know be the person who looooves to wake up early before the sun is up while I sat with a cup of coffee and some peace and quiet, meditating and taking in the calm before the crazy day and life’s demands get in the way. But then I realized… sleep = peace and quiet and coffee will be there at whatever time I wake up.

Soo started my life long love affair with the snooze button. It’s a really toxic relationship that the two of us have. I keep trying to say “We are DONE snooze button” but I just can’t help myself and keep coming back for more.

But today starts the day of a new job (yay!) and with that means it’s back to early morning wake up calls. And since mornings have always been and will always be rough… especially Monday mornings (learn how to work with your faults right?!) I decided I needed something for this Monday morning that would make me pop out of bed with my jazz hands ready to take on the world!

The answer: Cinnamon Chocolate Swirl Banana Bread for Breakfast (from The Paleo Kitchen)

It’s like when you were little and your mom let you have a special sugary breakfast on your birthday instead of the eggs or other no fun no sugar breakfasts she usually made you have because you would “pay better attention in school and  sugar rots your brain and blah blab blah” (and of course as it turns out moms… are always right.)

Well this is sort of like that, only without the sugar or the birthday but with all the deliciousness.

And also, no day that starts with chocolate can ever be a bad day.

So over the weekend I took it to the kitchen and whipped up this gem knowing that if it was waiting for me Monday morning I might be more apt to hit snooze 2 times intend of 12.

(I hit it 3 times)

Sooo with that let’s get this banana bread party started shall we?

First things first…Take the four ingredients and place them into a large bowl- Four bananas, 4 large eggs, 1/2 cup of almond butter and 1/4 cup of butter (I used Ghee) and mix it on up (I used hand mixer- I also danced around while I did this which I don’t really recommend because batter sort of spilled out of the bowl (that’s putting it lightly… things got messy folks).

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Then to the same bowl add 1/2 cup of coconut flour:

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1 tsp baking powder:

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1 tsp Baking Soda:

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1 tsp Vanilla:

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pinch of fine grain sea salt:

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and mix it all up with mixer and set aside.

Next step– the chocolatey cinnamony deliciousy swirl!

New Cook Confession– I was intimidated at first after reading that I needed to make this swirly sauce over a double boiler (uh, what now? A double boiler sounds like something that used to be on the Burger King Menu or something) and so I thought maybe I would just throw some chocolate chips in the existing batter and call it a day. But then… I heard the voice. You know the inner voice…  and it shouted at me  “will plain old boring banana bread get you up on a Monday morning?! Jill?! Will It?!” And I knew deep in my gut that it in fact would not. And we all know from Oprah and all of others life guru’s that you should always, always listen to your gut.

So I called for backup… My mom… (because she always seems to know the answers to everything) for further clarification on this whole double boiling business.

After she explained I could just take a pot of boiling water and hold a smaller pot over it with my ingredients until it melted AND after she told me that she knew I could do it (!!) I believed her and I set forth on the next step of my banana bread bonanza.

I took 1/2 cup non dairy chocolate chips (I mixed the Enjoy Life mini’s and the Enjoy Life Chocolate chunks because it’s all I had left in my pantry… chocolate is chocolate, right?)

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and one Tbsp of Raw Organic Honey:

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And 2 Tbsp’s of Cinnamon:

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And 2 tbsps of butter (I used Ghee once again):

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And put it all in a smaller pot and held it over a pot of boiling water on medium heat:

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And I kept stirring until it got all melty and yummy looking (LOOK MOM I’M DOUBLE BOILING! OR SOMETHING!)

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Once my chocolate all melted I set it aside and greased my 9 by 5 inch pan with coconut oil:

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I poured the banana batter into the pan:

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And then poured the chocolate cinnamon sauce on top:

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Next I took a knife and swirled the chocolate sauce all up in that batter back and forth and up and down. I probably did this longer than needed mainly because it was fun.

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And then I baked that bad boy at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. And my apartment smelled like heaven.

Or rather, like banana bread. Either way it smelled pretty great. Unlike when you cook broccoli. I mean seriously whyyyy does broccoli have to DO that?! Anyone?

Anywho after 45 minutes I pulled this beauty out of the oven:

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And I cleaned up stared at it admiring my efforts while it cooled…

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And now of course, the best part– I served it up:

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And tried it out… (mainly because I needed to know if it in fact would be worth getting up for this Monday morning)

The answer: YES. It was moist and sweet but not too sweet- just the way I like it… especially if it’s going to be eaten in the morning instead of as a dessert.

I should note that The Boy thought it was just okay… I’m thinking next time if I was making it for others, I would wait until the bananas were fully fully over ripe or maybe add a pinch more honey to the mix. But if it’s just for me then I would eat it as is!

So here’s the shot of me and my B bread (and my CBC… Cold brew coffee) this monday morning… I made it up and out early! Thanks to you, delicious slice of B bread. #itsthelittlethings.

Eye heart you, slice of yummy.

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What gets you out of bed on a Monday?!

Here’s to a great week!

xoJ

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Throwback (Thirsty) Thursday: Green Machine!

It’s Thursday! Which we all know by now is the day where we inundate our Instagram feeds with awkwardly adorbs pics of us from the days of yore. (Or if you’re like Kim K, you “throw it back” to twelve too many pics of yesterday’s red carpet outfit because it’s uhmazinggggg and you want the world to see it (and you!) from like 5,000 different angles. hashtag yesterday doesn’t count as a throwback, Kimmy)

Anywho, for this Throwback Thursday it all starts with the worlds best birthday gift. The Boy knocked it out of the park this past June by gifting me what any twenty-something year old would want.

Okay make that any twenty-something year old who is still thirteen in her head… I know there’s a lot of us out there. Teenyboppers unite!

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(Men of the world, take note. This is how you do a birthday gift!)

This little Throwback Thursday Tale continues to this past September when after waiting, and road tripping, and stressing out over what to wear and anticipating (much like The Brit song of the same name!) B Day in celebration of my bday had finally arrived (see what I did there?!)

And just like all B Spears songs… It. Was. AWESOME.

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(I HEART BRITNEY)

We danced like it was 1999 and got monster adult beverages solely because I wanted the souvenir cup (obviously):

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And after getting all “Toxic” (both with Britney and with beverages — I’m cracking myself up here folks) the next day left me feeling like I needed a little pick me up… and not in the Vegas Hair of the Dog Just Keep On Drinking  All Day Every Day way but in the Los Angeles Can I Get A Green Juice And Some Electrolytes and a Massage Would Be Great way.

And once again, the universe aligned because right on the main floor of our hotel right next to the slot machine was…

THE JUICE FARM. 

This, my friends is a true tale.

Overcome with joy at the very sight of a juice stand, The Boy and I shared a The Popeye Protein – a smoothie that was all sorts of heaven. It had cinnamon and spinach and a whole lot of other goodness and I wouldn’t stop talking about it for the next 24 hours. I didn’t want to leave Vegas because I wanted this smoothie on the regular. We found out there is a location in Pasadena but really am I going to drive an hour for this?

Okay, yeah, I probably would.

Then The Boy reminded me that I had a Vitamix at home and adorably suggested that I start using it to make my own. He got a copy of the menu for me so that I had the ingredients right there in front of me and nothing to hold me back from making this dream a reality.

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And so, this Throwback Thursday has been waiting to happen ever since and is proof that you really can make ANY dream come true. You just have to go for it.

So once again… Let’s TAKE IT TO THE BLENDER!

This greentastic drink modified version of The Popeye Protein all starts with a few simple ingredients (I did not have any hemp protein or any protein for that matter that would work in a smoothie so I left that out) I have NO idea how much of everything they used at The Juice Farm so I just guesstimated.

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Into my blender I threw in about 1/2 a frozen banana followed by 1/2 heaping teaspoon of cinnamon:

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a scoop of raw almond butter (less than a tablespoon– about a half to 3/4 tbsp):

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One date (pit removed!):

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A large handful of organic spinach:

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And about 1/2 of this bottle of Vita Coco:

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I blended on high for about a minute or so while I put all my ingredients away:

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And poured it into a cup:

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And was left with this beautifully green and cinnamony smelling smoothie (which I garnished with a little extra cinnamon)

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And now, for the taste test:

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Um, okay not to like pat myself on the back or anything but holy organic spinach this tastes like I added magical fairy dust and rainbows with huge pots of gold at the end of them into my blender.

(It’s probably just the date. But um, YUM.)

Just to make sure I wasn’t being crazy and one of those people who thinks it’s good because I made it myself thankyouverymuch I asked my BFF to taste it because BFFs tell you the truth:

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Her reaction? 1) she loved it 2) she said who needs the juice place when we’ve got this?!

Throwback Thirsty Thursday complete! I highly recommend this delish little pick me up that took a minute to make and a minute to clean up.

**Note, My BFFs wedding IS taking place in Pasadena next weekend so I still might (and by might I mean I will) go back to The Juice Farm to get their version… you know just to make sure my flavors are on point…

Happy Thursday!

Peace, Love, Green Drinks and Britney Spears 4 EVER

xoJ

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Wore It Wednesday: (Hot) Pink for October and Awkward Selfies to prove it!

It’s October!!

Which means T-31 days until you can get Halloween candy on SUPER sale.

It also means, it’s breast cancer awareness month. The month where pink isn’t reserved only for Wednesdays. #meangirlsreference #imissthatLiLo

Although today happens to be a Wednesday and I happen to be wearing a (neon) pink.

There are so many great things about breast cancer awareness month… raising money for a great cause and educating yourself on all things Your Boobs. Oh, and there is also the fact that this month you can do a whole lot of shopping… And feel absolutely no buyers remorse because 1) it’s all for a good cause and 2) you look so cute in pink! (It’s the universally flattering color and the color of loooove. Right?!)

One of my favorite things out there this October to add to your wardrobe AND help raise money for a good cause?

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This adorable neon pink Strength Bracelet from Stella & Dot… (It’s brighter in person than it looks!) Your arm party will never look better AND you’re helping to raise money for the Noreen Fraser Foundation. It’s a fashion/foundation win-win!

SO I may or may not (I did) plan my entire outfit today around this pink/elephant cuteness…

Today my sister-in-law went to labor (!!!) I’m about to become an Auntie for the fourth time… and I am on Best Aunt Ever duty meaning I will be spending today (and the next few days ) with a three year old. First stop is picking my niece up from school. I got some weird looks this A.M. when I dropped her off with my hair in a messy bun, smudged eyeliner down my face and two mis-matched shoes but hey judgey pre-school moms all cute in your Chanel espadrilles, I hadn’t had a chance to change since I got the call that my sister in law was going into labor at 3:45 AM!

Okayyyy, maybe I could’ve found five minutes to look semi put together but kids these days go to school reallllll early… (9 A.M.) #imallergictomornings

So for the pre-school pickup and the rest of my day, I am keeping it simple… but put together. Something that says less “homeless hot mess” and more “busy mom Aunt still finds time to put clothes on. How does she do it?!” Another reason for keeping it simple? The chances my niece will spill paint or chocolate on me are… 110%.

To start (aside from the bracelet, of course) I wanted another pop of pink and I’m pretty obsessed with these bralettes from LF:

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As someone who generally can’t wear bralette’s like these because well, I have boobs, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to pull it off as a bra but after seeing my bestie rock it and go on and on about how comfy it is I figured I should at least just try it on… and I was pleasantly surprised! It’s one size fits all (which normally means fits a size negative boobs)  but it was actually cute AND supportive!  Sooo I ended up buying it in three colors!

Threw it on with a white T so that the criss-cross shows- because what’s the point of a cute detailed bralette if it’s hidden?!

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And followed up with my personalized “Dream” necklace, arm party (all built around the elephant bracelet, of course!) and rings (all from Stella & Dot)

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Lastly, threw on my Paige faded jeans and my glittery sandals from Target ($5!) mainly because I know my three year old niece will really appreciate the sparkles.

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And lastly, here are some Awkward selfies of me trying to capture my outfit with the iPole Mini by Fastcap. Because unlike most bloggers of the interwebs, I don’t have a photographer boyfriend to capture endless photos of me walking through the street with an iced coffee in my hand and laughing while simultaneously holding a bouquet of perfect pink peonies. So sorry but a weird pole holding selfie in my apartment will have to do!

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Pretty sure the point of this pole is so that you get rid of the awkward arm in selfies… I think I just made it seventeen times more awk.

Anywayssss- What are your favorite items for breast cancer awareness month?! And what are you wearing this Wednesday?

And ps- if neon isn’t your thing (or you also love rose gold just as much as neon pink, like me check out this adorable option that also benefits the NFF too!)

xoJ

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Tried It Tuesday: My Paleo Happy Meal!

I don’t know who I am anymore. I think I’ve entered full on ICM (Identity Crisis Mode). You see, it was less than two weeks ago that I was either eating out or picking up prepared food from Whole Foods or Erewhon, heating it up and calling it “cooking” even though I knew I wasn’t really fooling anyone.

And now after a few days spent baking I’ve went straight past sticking produce/protein in the oven and got all FANCY. We are talking Iggy Azalea multiple steps and pre-thought out meal Fancy!

All for… Chicken Fingers.

Chicken Fingers were always a favorite kid food of mine… and though I didn’t eat them often as a child (thank you childhood high cholesterol and chubby cheeks), to me there was nothing better than the crispy deliciousness of a chicken tenders dipped in gobs of bbq, ketchup, honey mustard, and/or ranch (because in my world condiments rule all).

So when I came across Diane Sanfilippo’s Chicken Fingers in her 21 Day Sugar Detox Cookbook it was love at first sight. I got butterflies and pangs of excitement it was like the universe placed this soul mate of a recipe right in front of me on PURPOSE. I heard my inner voice (or was it GOD?!) telling me “You can make this Jill! You can do it! Besides you already have all of the cooking utensils you need!), Get it Girl!”

Pretty much, the universe was ordering me to make a Paleo version of my favorite throwback food.

And it’s not even Thursday!

So since this recipe came into my life as some sort of divine inspiration I knew I had to make this straight away (yes, I just wrote that like a British person and said it out loud with a terrible accent as I typed it.)

I gathered up all my ingredients (I surprisingly had just about everything except for the chicken and the arrowroot flour– nothing a trip to Whole Foods couldn’t fix) and laid them out for a picture… doesn’t everyone do that before they cook?

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And in one shallow bowl I dumped in 1 cup arrowroot flour and 1 cup of almond flour

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2 teaspoons black pepper, 4 teaspoons granulated garlic, 1.5 teaspoons of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of paprikaIMG_9844 IMG_9847  IMG_9845 IMG_9846

And mixed it all up so that it was well combined.

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Then in another shallow dish, 1/2 cup of coconut milk (the recipe calls for full fat but I used light because the full fat version still scares me a bit… I know, I know that is SO not a paleo thing to say but I’m still getting used to this whole more fat thing) and 2 tablespoons of Hot Sauce (I used Tessemae’s!)

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and mixed that up until it looked like this:

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Next, I rinsed my chicken breast strips (I bought them as pre-cut strips at Whole Foods) and patted them dry… and prepared myself for Chicken Finger Making Fest 2014…

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One by one I dipped each strip first into the coconut milk/hot sauce mixture and let the excess drip off:

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And then into the bowl with the dry ingredients and coated it heavily!

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Once coated, I placed on a parchment lined baking sheet and repeated with the rest of the strips until my pan looked like this:

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I threw these bad boys into the oven (preheated to 400 degrees) and let them bake for 20 minutes while I noshed on a salad while watching Revenge on my DVR. There are no photos of this because I’m sort of embarrassed to admit that I still watch that show. Although the broccoli slaw salad I made was pretty great (Trader Joe’s organic broccoli slaw, mixed with 1/4 avocado, lemon juice, chopped cucumber and chopped apple with a sprinkle of Paleochef’s Maple Mustard sauce)

After 20 minutes, I took the pan out and brushed the tops of each chicken strip with a pastry brush dipped in melted coconut oil. The recipe calls for 1/2 cup, I only used 1/4 cup and didn’t use all of it (and next time I would use even less)

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After brushing with coconut oil, I stuck the pan back in the oven for another 20 minutes and finished watching Revenge. Right as I was thinking how mad I was at myself for wasting 40 minutes of my life watching this show, the oven timer went off and you know what I wasn’t mad about?

Making these.

It looked like a fast food chain just upped and moved itself right into my kitchen!  A gourmet, organic, paleo, good for you fast food chain that isn’t all that fast, that is.

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I immediately did a happy dance plated these up with a bit of Paleochef Maple Mustard sauce and Nature’s Hollow Sugar-Free Sweetened ketchup – because what is a chicken finger without some dipping sauces? A boring old piece of meat with coating. We didn’t do all of that work for a boring piece of meat.

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They looked good, they smelled good but… but it all comes down to this moment… did I waste 40 minutes watching Revenge AND making these?!

A little dip…

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and a bite…

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I would be the first to tell you if these were not good. It’s not worth wasting time or calories on something that tastes sub par.

So trust me when I say– THESE ARE WORTH EVERY MINUTE OF YOUR LIFE.

They are crunchy, they are tender, they are seasoned well and absolutely delicious! The only thing I would change is using a tad bit less coconut oil so that you don’t taste it as much. But even still, I would make and bake these every day of my life. As someone who could barely scramble an egg not too long ago, they honestly didn’t take a lot of time, the recipe was super easy to follow and they tasted uh-mazing.

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All that’s missing from this Homemade Happy Meal is a free toy! hmm. I will work on that for next time.

Thanks Diane Sanfilippo! You officially rock my world.

If any of you try these out, let me know what you think!!

xoJ

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