Monday, March 24, 2014

Happy Hour at home with Parmesan Chicken Bites

I enjoy dining out.  In fact, it is one of my all time favorite things to do.  The problem is that I'm not always good about my food choices at restaurants.  Quite often, the next day my joints are swollen and I am miserable.  Now, I cannot see myself ever giving up my love of restaurants, but I also enjoy cooking and have gotten to the point where I really appreciate a good meal at home in a comfy pair of yoga pants, with no regrets of making bad food choices.

Here is a confession.....we love happy hour!  There is a relaxed atmosphere generally and we also enjoy the reduced food prices on the menu. Let's be honest, the choices are usually not great for fighting inflammation and in fact, typically cause inflammation. So....we have mostly given up on happy hour.  I say 'mostly' because we have a favorite place that actually offers healthy choices, such as a hummus platter and satay's.

Even though we do not go out much for happy hour anymore, I love this great recipe that makes happy hour at home (once again in yoga pants) a fun relaxing time to unwind and visit with my husband.  Parmesan Chicken Bites are made out of real chicken breast meat and I choose to use the whole wheat bread crumbs instead of white.  They are baked in the oven to eliminate the deep fried greasy finish.  You can also make it a meal by putting them over pasta and topping with the marinara sauce, with a Caesar Salad on the side.  Give them a try and let me know what you think :)

Parmesan Chicken Bites

2 chicken breasts (cut into bite-sized pieces)
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 teaspoons of  Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup of whole wheat bread crumbs
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a medium bowl whisk together the egg and mustard.  Add the chicken pieces.  Stir to coat thoroughly and then place the chicken on a rack to drain.

In a large zip-lock bag, add the remaining dry ingredients.  Seal the bag and shake to mix.  Then open the bag and add the chicken pieces.  Seal the bag again and shake until chicken pieces are coated.

Place coated chicken pieces on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.

Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Delicious and Healthy Snacking with Hummus!

Don't you just love to snack?  I know we sure do.  Thankfully my husband is on board with healthy anti-inflammatory eating (well....most of the time).  After church today he was ready to turn on some football and start snacking.  I looked around for something quick, delicious and easy to whip up.

If you are like me and want to be careful with the food you eat, then this is a great idea for you.  Hummus! Yep....I said hummus.  It's not the old school plain hummus that I am talking about, it is sun dried tomato super flavorful hummus.  I'm  not into blah and boring eating.  It has got to be awesome!

Mild mini peppers are wonderful dipped into hummus. Since I wash and cut up my fresh veggies each week after grocery shopping, they were already prepared and waiting in the fridge.  My husband also likes to use multi-grain tortilla chips for dipping.  I have posted this recipe before, but, made with yogurt instead of Tahini Paste.  Both are quite tasty. Enjoy :)

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus with Tahini

1 15.5 oz can of chick peas, drained and rinsed
1 teaspoon minced garlic
6 tablespoons lemon juice 
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes, diced
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons Tahini Paste
Salt/pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth.  If it seems too thick add more olive oil a teaspoon at a time.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Resolutions of an RA Warrior!

As long as life continues and the calendar moves from one year to the next, I will feel like I'm getting a fresh start.  A second chance. Leaving one year behind to move forward into the next is a time of deep contemplation. A time of reflecting on what was done well the previous year and what can be done better in the new year.

2013 was a year of realizing how destructive and serious my disease is.  I am still recovering from an extensive foot surgery.  Recovery has been tough. Even tougher though, is realizing this foot surgery could have been avoided if I had been true to myself more often when making food choices. Since I choose to treat my disease with nutrition rather than drugs, food is serious business for me.

My resolutions/goals for 2014 :

I will continue on the healthy path I started on several years ago.  
I will continue educating myself with the best nutritional and holistic approaches to fight auto-immune disease. I will become more disciplined and not slip into poor food choices. 
I will exercise on a regular basis including stretching/yoga, strength training, and cardio.  

I thank God for leading me down this natural path of healing.  This year I will honor Him by doing my very best to stay on that path and will also stay true to myself in the choices I make.

Happy New Year and may there be many blessings to you in 2014!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Refreshing and Anti-inflammatory Berry Smoothie!

Each and every morning I start my day with a cup of French Press coffee.  It is truly one of lifes simple pleasures that I enjoy and have no desire to give up or cut out of my diet. Immediately following coffee, I make a fruit smoothie that is full of all things anti-inflammatory to get me going on the right track.  I have had many requests for my recipe, so I finally measured the ingredients and included it at the bottom of this post.

First off, I use my Magic Bullet which is the most incredible invention of all times.  I found one last summer at a yard sale for 50 cents and couldn't resist.  I gave it a try and I have been hooked ever since.  By the way, right now Costco has an amazing special on these with all kinds of extra cups and blades.

Into a blending cup, I add Flaxseed Meal which is a great source of Omega 3's, vital to good health and fighting excess inflammation.  I also add Greek Yogurt for calcium and to get the necessary probiotics needed for intestinal health. Greek Yogurt is also high in protein.  POM juice is pomegranate which is completely calming for inflammation.  Last of all, I add minced ginger.  Ginger is such an anti-inflammatory that, for me, it works better than ibuprofen for minor inflammation.  I purchase the ginger in a tube for easy use. Not pictured are the frozen berries that I use for fiber and vitamins.  Using frozen berries rather than fresh allows for a cold smoothie without watering it down with ice.  After blending I just take the blade off of the blending mug and add a straw.  Perfection :)

Anti-Inflammatory Berry Smoothie

3/4 cup frozen berries
3/4 cup POM
1 tablespoon flax meal *
1 teaspoon minced ginger
2 heaping tablespoons of non-fat Greek yogurt

Place all ingredients in blender or Magic Bullet cup and blend until smooth.  Enjoy :) 
*If you are not ingesting flax on a regular basis I recommend starting with a teaspoon and gradually and more so your body accepts it better.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013


As  I mentioned in a previous post, I wanted to avoid having surgery.  Well, it didn't work out that way.  My foot was so damaged that no amount of healthy eating would have healed it.  Fortunately, I was able to enjoy summer and wait until last Friday to have the surgery done.

Now I am home recovering and must keep off of my foot for the next 4 weeks.  I just received a text from a dear friend wondering if I am bored yet.  Nope....not yet.  I love to read and this has been a fabulous excuse to do nothing but lay around and read.  I have also had great friends visit.  Best of all, my wonderful hubby is here taking care of me and keeping me company.

One thing my husband was worried about was what to cook for our meals.  Maybe I should emphasize WORRIED, because he was actually freaked out about it.  The first few days we had lasagna.  I truly mean for the first few days.  My friend Savannah made us a few lasagna's to put in the freezer.  And my husband did put them in the freezer. Then pulled them out of the freezer.  Every day for three days it was a running joke because I would text Savannah and say "Guess what we are having for dinner?"  "Guess what we are having for lunch?"  Thank the Lord for her wonderful lasagna.  It allowed us time to get into a routine and gave Ed time to work up his cooking courage.

Today, I am so proud of him.  He actually found a recipe on my blog for Avocado, Cheese, and Egg Stacks and made them for lunch.  He did AMAZING.  See the picture:) They were delicious and beautiful. Great job honey!

His confidence is built and I can't wait for dinner.  He is making Spaghetti Salad and Grilled Salmon.  I am so thankful for such an amazing husband.  God has truly blessed me with him. All in all, I think this will be a great month recovering.  Reading, visits from friends, and great food.  Not so bad for a surgery that I dreaded all year :)