Take Away That Chill with Paleo White Chicken Chili!

Here in Alabama it is finally starting to get a slight nip in the air. Notice I said slight. It does not really get cool here until the November. I remember being a teacher and the students wearing shorts pretty much up until Thanksgiving. I am always up for soup, however. Something about a creamy chowder, spicy chili, or yummy veggie/veggie beef makes me want to snuggle under a blanket and read a book. It is a comfort food for me. I had never had the wonders of white chicken chili until last year at a friend’s house while watching an Auburn football game. I was a little concerned about the white beans that were in the soup and the flavor combinations as a whole. Have I mentioned how picky I am yet? Imagine my surprise when I find out how much I loved it, and the shock when I realized what I had been missing all these years. It was like a light bulb went off. I want to give a little shout out to my friend Linda for introducing me to this amazing soup and call her out for her wonderful cooking skills! You gave me inspiration to find a Paleo version that was going to be a Must Have for this winter! So for that, I thank you! As usual, I turned to my go-to, Pinterest. I looked through lots of different versions before I found The One. But let me explain how I got to this point.

This weekend I made my Chicken Pot Pie that you saw on my earlier blog post. At least, I hope you saw it. I like to think that maybe, just maybe someone out there is reading this. I did not use all the chicken I had cooked for the pot pie and still had two skinless, boneless chicken breasts that I had poached left over. I wanted to use them and not let them go to waste, so I searched for recipes that could use the items I had on hand. After much searching, I came across a white chicken chili recipe. I am going to post a link to the original recipe, but I am also going to post mine because, I made modifications due to various reasons that I will explain as I go along. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did making it and eating! It tasted just a yummy as it looks and sounds! Do not worry about not having the beans, I never even missed them.

White Chicken ChiliThis was the finished result last night once everything was cooked and finished. The recipe makes four servings, so if you want to make a larger pot of soup, or want to serve more people, you will have to adjust accordingly.

The recipe came from Health Starts in the Kitchen. This is where I found the basic outline of the recipe, but I adapted it for my own use, and I will give that version for you here my blog. If you are interested in the original recipe you will find it here. This is my version, however:

White Chicken Chili

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4 cups chicken broth

1/2 large onion, chopped

4 ribs (I did one bunch) of celery, chopped

1/2 green pepper, chopped

1/2 red pepper, chopped (I did one whole red pepper because I was out of green peppers)

1 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. cumin

1 pinch crushed red pepper

1 1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/2 tsp. white pepper

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. onion powder

2 Tbsp. potato starch

1 cup coconut milk (more to taste)

avocado (optional)

Since I had already poached the chicken, I did not have to take that step in the recipe where I cooked it along with all the spices. It also called for filtered water, but I used chicken broth. I took the broth, added it to a pot with the onion, peppers, celery, spices, and the chicken which I shredded.

It then called for you to simmer these ingredients for 1 hour. After 1 hour you add the potato starch with 1/4 cup of the soup mixture and then add the mixture back into the soup to combine. Let thicken for several minutes. Once you remove the soup from the heat, add in the coconut milk and serve. You may add avocado to the top if you wish.

** Note ~ When I made this soup, I am afraid I made several errors, but it turned out yummy in the end. First, I added the coconut milk to the soup before it was time. Second, I guess I simmered it a little too high because when I checked on it after 30 minutes almost all the liquid was cooked out. I added more coconut milk to the soup, that is why I said to taste… just in case you ran into the same issue. Overall, I probably put in about 3 cups of coconut milk.

I hope you enjoy this quick and easy white chicken chili recipe as much as I did. Not only did I have it for supper last night, but I brought it for lunch today as well. I can hardly wait to eat it!

Autumn

Good Eats, Paleo Style!

Well, this weekend passed by too quickly for me, as I am sure it did for you. Friday was spend taking a meal to friend who had just had a baby – on the menu was roast, potatoes, carrots, gravy, and Salted Caramel Bacon Brownies. Needless to say, my friend is not following the Paleo lifestyle. Her new baby boy was adorable and she looked beautiful. I am so happy for her, her husband, and their new addition. He is the tiniest baby I have ever seen, and I could have held him forever.

I did get to do some Paleo cooking this Friday and Sunday night! I know that is why you are all checking this out. I made a Chicken Pot Pie from Down South Paleo by Jennifer Robbins on Friday.

Down South PaleoThe recipe was easy to follow and simply delicious. I had made the chicken earlier in the week by poaching it until it was easily shredded. On Friday, I added the chicken broth, arrowroot powder and made a nice thick creamy broth for the base. Next time I will add more arrowroot powder in the beginning. Not a lot, but enough that it makes it thicker. I tried making a slurry later, but it did not turn out well. I next added the carrots and peas, onion, and I added celery even though the recipe did not call for it. I set that aside once it had been simmering for about 10 minutes. I worked on the crust and rolled it out until it was able to fit over my glass pie plate. I added the pot pie mixture to the plate and had plenty left over. Finally, I added the crust to the top. This recipe calls for you to create mini pot pies and not one big one. I had difficulty getting the crust over the pie and it came out more like a crumble than a smooth crust. I think it would have looked better had I done individual pot pies. I am going to post a picture, but it is difficult for me. I am used to having everything turning out right the first time, so for it to not turn out perfect on the first try is not easy for me. But, it tasted delicious, so I guess that is all that matters. If you have not read Down South Paleo, I cannot recommend it enough.

Here are the finished results:

Chicken Pot PieNot terrible, but not my best work either. But still so yummy!

I also cooked a delicious recipe that I am happy to share with you because I basically just made it up with the ingredients I had on hand. It is a Sausage, Pepper and Onions Recipe that tastes just as wonderful as it sounds. I cooked it in the crockpot, so it would be nice for a summer day when you do not want to get your kitchen hot from the oven or stove. I liked it because I could throw everything in the crockpot and let it cook for 5 hours and forget about it until it was finished cooking. Easy peasy. Here is what it looked like in the end:

Sausage, Peppers, and OnionsThe recipe is simple and most of the ingredients you will have in your pantry. I topped it off with some green beans and a piece of Jalapeno Bacon Bread from my Paleo bread cookbook.

Sausage, Peppers, and Onions

1 pkg. Sweet Italian Sausage

1 ~ 14.5 Can Diced Tomatoes, with Juice

1 Green Pepper, Seeded and Diced

1 Yellow Pepper, Seeded and Diced

1 Red Pepper, Seeded and Diced

1 Onion, Sliced

4 Cloves Garlic, Minced

1 1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano

1 1/2 tsp. Dried Parsley

I placed the Italian sausage, and all the other ingredients in the pot together and gave it a little stir to mix well. Then, I let everything cook for 5 hours on low. After 5 hours, the sausage, peppers and onions were cooked through and ready to serve. Next time, I may sauté the sausage before I place it in the crockpot, not sure, it was so good this way.

This was such an easy recipe and I plan on making it again soon. This will be my go to recipe on those days when I am not sure what to make for dinner and I need something quick on a Saturday or Sunday. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

~ A

Paleo Cookies? Can it be?

Last night I felt the creative juices flowing and decided to try out a new recipe. I was not craving a sweet, but I had a cookie recipe that was burning a hole in my pocket and I just had to give it a try! I found an easy Snickerdoodle recipe on the old trusty and true Pinterest that sounded simple and delicious. With fall in the air, the idea of this sweet cinnamon goodness sounded too good to be true. Paleo cookies? I heard that finding a recipe that was tasty could be difficult to do, so I approached this with a slight twinge of caution. But I forged ahead and boy am I glad that I did! The recipe came from Deliciously Organic and you can find a direct link to the recipe here. The process was simple in that you combined all the dry ingredients first along with the cashew butter and mixed together, then added the ghee, or butter, and honey until combined well. The resulting dough is slightly crumbly but sticks together well when you roll them into a ball. The recipe says it makes 12 cookies, but I guess I was being a little too stingy with my dough because I could have easily made 14 – 16 cookies. I went ahead and added more dough to the other cookies and still ended up with around 13. I then rolled the dough, as I made the balls, in the cinnamon and sugar mixture, and then placed on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Next time, I think I will flatten out the balls a little so they will not roll around the pan and will look a little more like the samples (even though the recipes does not call for this). I baked them in an oven at 350 degrees for 12 minutes like the recipe said, but next time I will take them out at 11 minutes. I did check them at 11, and I thought they looked a little light, and then when I took them out at 12 they looked a little dark. But overall they tasted delicious and did not taste burned at all. Here are the finished results:

Snickerdoodle Dough  Snickerdoodle Ready to Bake Finished Result

Hopefully as I grow more confident and learn these new ingredients such as almond flour, coconut flour, and various sweeteners I can venture out and eventually make my own recipes. I would love to do that since I come from a long line of home cooks and sweets are our specialties, although our main dishes and sides are nothing to turn your nose at either. Thank for checking out the recipes that I find and are able to bring to light that you may be missing out on. I hope I can be your guinea pig as I explore this new Paleo world.

Oh, and little update! It is the small victories! As of today I have lost another 2 lbs. and that makes it a total of 14 in about three weeks. Let me share a little with you. And this is difficult for me to write.

In September of 2015 I weighed the most I have ever weighed in my entire life. I went in July, when I actually weighed less, and checked on weight loss surgery. Unfortunately, because I weighed below the weight limit the past two years I did not qualify until 2017. Well, that did not sit well with me. I could handle waiting until 2016, but for another entire year? No, that was just not acceptable. Many people get into the Paleo lifestyle for different reasons. Autoimmune disorders is just one reason. For me it is weight loss. Plus the added benefits such as sleeping better and other side effects. I have a lot of trouble with depression, a sleep disorder, anxiety disorder just to name a few things going on. I am on a lot of medication just to make it through the day. I pretty much take something to wake up and something to go to sleep. I am lucky in the respect that my sugar is great, my blood pressure is great, my cholesterol is perfect (the good and the bad), all lab work is good… it is just my weight that is a problem. I think a lot of the issue comes not just from eating poorly but also side effects from medication over the years. But eating the wrong way has not helped. My therapist has been suggesting the Paleo lifestyle for over a year, but I just did not feel that I could commit to it just yet. I tried Atkins and loved it, but gave it up at Christmas. This time around, however, I am going to stick with this. I am going to make my OCD work for me as my doctor said. I am going to plan meals for the holidays that I can eat and the entire family can find tasty and enjoy as well. I am hoping that I can lose the weight on my own and not need surgery. This is probably going to be a longer road, but it will be totally worth it. I hope you can be along for the ride as I take it.

~ A

Weekend Full of Recipes… And Football

Wow, this weekend went by too quickly! Where did time go? Well, I know where time went… watching football games, reading, watching football games, cleaning my apartment, watching football games, returning a movie, watching football games… Do you get the feeling I am a college football fan? Like any good SEC girl, I am a huge fan of college football and Auburn athletics in particular. Auburn played on Thursday this week, War Eagle, and won (thank goodness), so this weekend was about pulling for teams playing against Alabama, against those who had ties to Alabama, or for those could prevent Alabama from getting into the college playoff. Do you get the feeling that I am a HUGE Auburn fan? Yeah, it is pretty bad. People who do not live in the state of Alabama do not get the relationship that is between Auburn and Alabama. We have the Iron Bowl which is one of sports biggest, if not the biggest (I am going by noted sports magazines, articles, writers, etc.), rivalries there is of all. This gives fans the right to brag for an entire year about their team to the other. It can make you experience the highest of highs or the lowest of lows. Most people do not understand because they do not live in the same state as their biggest rival. We have to eat, breathe, and sometimes live with the people who is pulling against us. At one time I was married and was in a “House Divided.” It was terrible. Never again I pray. I know God has a twisted sense of humor sometimes, so there is a possibility my future husband may be an Alabama fan, but I pray that he is not. Literally. Every single day.

This weekend, however, I did do a few things that were other than just sit around all day in my Auburn jammies and watch college football. I did two that I am quite proud of and one I am disappointed with, unfortunately. First, the disappointment. Have you read Gone Girl? Have you seen the movie? If you have, you read and watched a treat. You either loved, hated, or dealt with the ending. I personally loved it. For me, there was no twist, I am not one to be easily surprised in a book, so if you have one you think would do that, let me know! But the film was so beautifully written, directed, acted, just everything. So imagine my excitement when Dark Places was made into a movie as well. I had read the book and enjoyed it, so I was looking forward to seeing the film. The movie was not widely released, it did not even come out here in my small town of Auburn, AL, so I had to wait for the DVD. Luckily, it came out only two months later. Also, I should note that the reviews were not positive. But like any book fan, I forged ahead ready to see my book characters come to life. All I can say is… read the book. Do not waste your time watching the movie. Yes, it had big named actors. Yes, it followed the story pretty closely, but IT WAS NOT THE SAME. It was a huge let down. I am not sure how to describe it exactly, all I can say is that I was underwhelmed. I give it two stars.

One of the positive things I did this weekend was finish the book Outlander. I am a former elementary school teacher and elementary school librarian with a MLIS with a School Certification Add-On, so I am a librarian by degree. I LOVE books. I love buying them, reading them, collecting them. So you will hear me talk about them every so often. I am so proud that I finished this one because I listened on audio and that was over 33 hours of listening time. It was 896 pages of historical romance. I loved every single minute of it. I highly recommend it and give the book 5 shiny gold stars.

But the real highlight of the weekend… RECIPES!!! I made three Paleo recipes that I am pretty proud of that I would like to talk about. No, I did not create them myself, I am not that bold yet, but I found them in various locations and they turned out pretty amazing. I could not wait to share them with y’all.

First up… Paleo Pancakes. I read through several, and I mean Several, recipes for pancakes this past week. Some had too many ingredients, lots had way too many mixed reviews, or they contained ingredients that I simply did not have. But I was determined that I was going to make pancakes last weekend. I turned to the mighty Pinterest and found The Urban Poser. They had an amazing looking pancake recipe with pictures that could make you drool and great reviews. I knew I had found my recipe. I have included the recipe here. I also want to apologize in advance for my photos, because while my minor in college was Art/Photography… my apartment has terrible lighting and everything comes out yellow. So, sorry.

Here are the photos of the pancake batter, the pancakes a cookin, and one of the finished result. The end product does not look as beautiful as the website, but hey!!! It was my first try! These were so delicious, I will get plenty of practice in the future.

Pancakes BatterPancakes CookingPancakes

The next recipe I tried was a Cake in a Mug, also from Pinterest. I found it here, which when I went to the site to add it just now it said ebay, so that is strange, but stranger things have happened to me! I tried out the Chocolate Mug Cake. It was absolutely divine! I could not even wait for it to cool, I was already diggin in while it was still piping hot! It would have been even better with a dollop of coconut whip cream on top! Next time I just may have to try that! Here is the end result:

Cake in a MugPretty darn tasty I have to say! The chocolate around the top is from where it rose up past the top of the mug and then fell once it was removed from the heat. It was a little time consuming, as was the pancakes, but this was worth the effort! Plus, who does not love a dessert you can cook in the microwave?

The last thing I made was from the book Down South Paleo by Jennifer Robins.

Down South PaleoThis is a great cookbook full of wonderful Southern favorites. I already have about four recipes that I want to try in the coming week or week and a half, so look for those to appear. The first recipe I tried out of this cookbook was the Texas Slow Cooker Beef Chili. It was easy to make, the most time consuming part was cutting up the carrots, onions, and pepper. I got to use all my different seasonings to make the chili flavoring instead of some premade mix. And I got to try a new combination as I had never had 1.) chili without beans and 2.) chili with carrots before. I have to say this was delightful! This will be a recipe I will turn to during football season or in the cold months of winter (or what we consider cold in the South). The flavor was delicious, I did not even have to add any salt, and I was able to start it around lunch and have it in time for dinner. Here is the end result:

ChiliI have to admit that I was a little leery when I first tried it, but I liked it. The second night when I had it for dinner, I loved it so much that I went back for more! This one was a huge hit!

I am proud to announce that in two weeks I have been on Paleo and I have officially lost 12 lbs. It is a little in the big scheme of things, but it is a beginning and I am very proud. I do not find this lifestyle change to be too restricting, or crazy, or hard. I like the food, I like the limitations, and I like eating this way. I have enjoyed reading new cooks to get new ideas, checking out Pinterest for things that catch my eye, and trying new flavor combinations.

Thank you for following me on this exciting journey! I hope I do not let you down! Up next this week… zucchini! I have never tried it, so this should be interesting!

~ A

First Attempt at Paleo Bread

Last night I had an itch to cook something new. Since I have not been to the grocery store in a while and will be going tomorrow, I had to use what I had on hand. That is how I decided to make my first attempt at Paleo friendly bread. This try was Jalapeno Bacon Bread, yum! I had the flour, the eggs, baking soda, etc. so I was ready Freddy. I am sorry for not taking pictures as I went along, I thought about that as the batter was baking in the oven, but there is always next time!

I started out by preheating the oven and preparing the bacon and jalapenos on a baking sheet covered with foil. This just helped by containing the mess and making clean up much easier. The recipe called for fresh jalapenos, but all I had on hand was the ones in a jar, so I used those instead. I hope they do not have sugar or anything unPaleo in them…

Once I had the bacon and jalapenos in the oven and cooking (turning after 5 minutes and cooking for another 5), I turned my attention to making the batter. I am calling it batter because it was the consistency of cake batter, not really dough. I whisked the ghee, eggs, and water together until mixed thoroughly. Then I began to add coconut flour to make the batter thick and ooey gooey and was combined well.

Once the bacon and jalapenos had been removed from the oven and cooled, I diced them up. The recipe called for them to be placed in a food processor, but why dirty up another machine? I just simply cut them up with a pair of kitchen scissors. I folded those into the batter.

I then greased a baking dish with ghee, added the batter to the pan, smoothed it out, and baked at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

The result was a nice, brown and crispy bread. The bread was thin, it did not really rise, and actually shrunk a little in the pan while it was cooking. The texture was slightly eggy, since there were six in the batter, but it still turned out delicious. The taste was almost like cornbread to me. This would be a nice bread to have when you fix a big pot of Paleo friendly chili. I will be making this one again for sure! Below you will find a picture of the end result ~ my Jalapeno Bacon Bread! I call this a success.

Jalapeno Bacon Bread

Getting Started ~ Paleo? Are you sure?

So I have tried lots of diets. Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Atkins, counting calories, you name it and I have tried it. My most successful attempts were with counting calories and Atkins. Something about being strict and ridged was easy for me, and made sense. I could not cheat my way out and eat whatever I wanted. I had to have some kind of structure, and those diets provided it for me. Now I am trying something new. After talking with several doctors, I have decided to try the Paleo plan. I do not want to call it a diet, because I want this to be a lifestyle change. I can do without bread, that is not a problem, and I can do without some of the other things called for, but cheese. Oh, cheese. You will be sorely missed. So far, I have been doing the Paleo method for a little over a week and a half and have lost about 10 lbs. I weigh in on Friday, so I will find out how much I have lost exactly. Pretty exciting! So far I have lived off of tuna, salad, bacon, eggs, hamburger in some form or another along with fruits and veggies. As you can see… I need to hit the grocery store ASAP! I did get in the mail Friday almond flour, coconut flour, palm shortening, maple sugar, cacao powder, Herbes de Provence, and maybe something else. I cannot wait to get cooking! I hope to go to Sam’s this weekend and pick up some coconut oil and a few other staples. I got a few Paleo cookbooks in the mail and I cannot wait to get started on cooking from them. I will post a review once I have made a few of the recipes found in the pages. One is a Southern cuisine cookbook, so you know I am super excited about that one. On the menu for Friday are Mini Chicken Pot Pies. These look and sound delicious and I hope they become one of my new favorite comfort foods. The recipe does not sound difficult and the picture looks gorgeous. The instructions do call for small mini pie tins or small oven safe bowls, but I plan on using one large pie plate. Look forward to some pictures soon.

I know I said I could do without bread, but tonight I am going to try a new recipe. I am going to try Jalapeno Bacon Bread from Paleo Bread Cookbook. I ordered this simple book full of bread, muffin, pancake, and waffle recipes from amazon for $6.99. It has been a great resource and has given me lots of ideas. Later, I may try the Cinnamon Rolls recipe with the cinnamon and honey glaze. That would make a yummy Saturday morning treat!

I hope with this blog I will help you find new recipes to try, hear back things you have tried as well, and offer words of encouragement. Cannot wait to share this journey with you!