Monday, November 30, 2015

Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Bacon Chicken Bites

More party pleasers! This were a HUGE hit on Saturday this past weekend they were literally gone in 60 seconds from being placed out on the table and they were so easy to make but packed a nice flavor and not too much heat for those tender palettes at a party!

 Sweet and Spicy Sriracha Bacon Chicken Bites
What You Need
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast fillets 
  • ½ cup extra virgin oil
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice ~ freshly squeezed
  • 2 tablespoons Sriracha sauce
  • 1 lb bacon
  • Honey-Sriracha Glaze for basting while cooking if desired
What You Do
  • Whisk together canola oil, lime juice and Sriracha sauce and pour into a gallon sized Ziploc bag.
  • Cut the chicken into 1 inch cubes and add it to the bag. 
  • Seal bag and shake to coat the chicken with the marinade and place in the fridge for at least an 1 hour ~ we marinated ours overnight.
  • Take 1 pound of bacon and cut in half down the middle. Wrap the bacon around the chicken pieces and secure with a wooden toothpick seam side down on to a baking tray.
  • For extra heat, brush bacon with additional Honey-Sriracha glaze before place in the oven and than few more times while it cooks.
  • We prefer to BBQ ours on a tinfoil baking tray on 400F for about 30 minutes. Alternatively you can bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes rack in the middle position and than if needed 'broil' for the last few minutes to caramelize the sugar ~ watching closely that it does not burn.

These were so very tasty ~ I honestly enjoy making them just for dinner and served with a cauli-rice stir fry! They paired great with the bacon wrapped pineapple we brought as well!

Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sriracha-Honey Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple

Normally when one attends a potluck gathering they bring one item ~ the joy of having allergies and restricting dietary needs you end up bring a few options to make sure that if nothing else you can at least eat what you brought and still have variety ~ so this weekend we brought Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs as well as these delicious Sriracha-Honey Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple tidbits and tomorrow I will share the Sweet and Spicy Bacon Chicken Bite recipe we also brought ... so I had a lovely variety of option to share with everyone!

Sriracha-Honey Glazed Bacon-Wrapped Pineapple

What You Need

  • 1 fresh pineapple, cut into bite size chunks
  • 1 lb thick cut bacon cut in half so one slice will wrap 2 pieces of pineapple
  • 1/4 cup coconut palm sugar or brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 lime, juiced to make 2 tablespoons
  • 2-4 teaspoon sriracha sauce 
  • 2 teaspoon coconut aminos or if gluten free soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish if desired
What Do You Do
  • Preheat  BBQ to 400 degrees F or your oven if preferred.Lightly grease a baking sheet.
  •  Cut the bacon in half so you'll have twice as many strips to work with. 
  •  Wrap each pineapple chunk in a piece of bacon and place seam side down on the prepared baking sheet and adhere with a toothpick. 
  • In a small bowl, stir together sugar, honey, lime juice, sriracha, and coconut amino's. Spoon a little bit over each piece of bacon-wrapped pineapple to glaze or baste with a basting brush. Sprinkle cilantro stems over the top.
  • Grill on the BBQ for 30 minutes OR bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes until bacon is crispy. I prefer the BBQ only cause the bacon will splatter the sides and well a splattered BBQ adds 'flavor' according to my spouse where a splattered over sets off our fire alarms.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve to guests.

 BTW ... the glaze used to create these is also tasty on crockpot meatballs, pork tenderloin and shamefully admitting straight from the bowl with your finger!

Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs

This the Christmas season for the start of work and family potluck parties and the enjoyment of tasty appetizers with friends over great conversation ... we are heading to one this weekend with my other half's Civil War reenactment troop and this is one of the offerings we are bringing ... we are well known for our desire to spice up everyone's life so of course it is sometime that has a little heat.

Bacon Jalapeno Deviled Eggs 

What You Need
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1½ teaspoon vinegar ~ rice or apple cider
  • ¾ teaspoon ground mustard
  • 2 jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
  • 6 pieces bacon, cooked, crisp and crumbled
  • Smokey Paprika
What You Do
  • Hard boil the eggs and let cool. Peel
  • Slice the hard boiled eggs in half, lengthwise
  • Remove the yolks and put them in a mixing bowl
  • Mash the egg yolks with a spoon
  • Add the mayonnaise, vinegar, ground mustard to the mashed egg yolks and stir until well combined and minimal lumps
  • Mix in the jalapenos and bacon
  • Fill each egg hole with the mixture
  • Sprinkle with paprika
  • Chill until ready to serve
Cannot wait to share them with everyone this afternoon ~ like a good cook I sampled one to make sure they were serve-able and just a nice hint of heat to make them a unique alternative .... next time I might try this combo but with avocado in place of the mayo as an option but my other half is not an avocado lover and requested I make 'normal' style and well since this one is a 'his side' party I aim to please! 
Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

Friday, November 27, 2015

Impossible Lemon Coconut Pie

Nothing is more fun for me on a rainy day than baking with the kiddies to help pass the time and add some fun learning to our day! Baking is a great way to incorporate math and science lessons as well as working on those occasionally elusive toddler social skills naturally into your day! 

I love the impossible pies because they are typically nice and easy all t he stuff goes into one bowl and just mix and pour recipe plus this one is one that left the house smelling divine for a Friday .... lemony deliciousness!

Impossible Lemon Coconut Pie
Serves 8

What You Need
  • 2 cups of milk ~ we choose Almond Milk
  • 1 cup of unsweetened flaked coconut
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup of coconut flour
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted or a non-dairy alternative like Earth Balance
  • 1 cup of sugar or 1/2 cup of Truvia or other sweetener to taste
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
What You Do
  • Mix all ingredients in a bowl using a spoon.
  • Pour into a large 10"-12" greased pie plate or we prefer to do 'small shareable pies' 
  • Bake 350 F for 45 minutes ~ when cooking with children remember to SET THE TIMER cause its easy to get distracted! 
  • When done, the pie may be slightly wobbly in the center but it should firm up Remove from the oven and allow to cool, then refrigerate overnight if possible.
  • Serve on its own or with some homemade whip cream or ice-cream!

Nutritional Breakdown 

While made with healthy ingredients and a nice macro balance of carbs, fiber, protein and fats please remember that this is totally a TREAT SWAP to be enjoyed on occasion for those who are on a weight loss journey! 

Serving is based on 1/8 of the recipe and using 'Truvia' sweetener ~ the use of regular sugar or other sweeteners will increase the calories you can 'check' your calorie count using the Calorie Count app

We totally love this cause its a nice fresh light treat! 

Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Creamy Lemon Dilly Chicken with Bacon

Did someone say BACON everything is better with bacon ~ including this tasty combination of flavors created in a one dish skillet that can be served either with cream or coconut milk depending on your dairy needs! We use to use the heavy cream but with me attempting to limit dairy tried it last night with the coconut milk and it tasted awesome too!

Creamy Lemon Dilly Chicken with Bacon
Serves 4

What You Need 
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 4 x 4 oz servings chicken breasts - chopped to bite size
  • 4 strips bacon (chopped into small chunks) 
  • 1/2 sweet onion ~ finely diced measures 1/2 cup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup of homemade stock
  • 1 tablespoon Lemon Dilly Seasoning from Epicure or a pinch of fresh dill weed chopped finely
  • 5 thin lemon slices
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream or for a dairy free version use Coconut Milk or other alternative.
  • 1 cup of flash frozen peas
What You Do
  • Melt coconut oil in the skillet. Saute onions, bacon, garlic and pepper in the oil for a couple minutes to let it absorb their flavors and the bacon to crisp up.
  • Add chicken to the skillet and cook chicken a couple minutes on each side to sear the edges and flavor from the oils in. 
  • Once the chicken is seared add your stock, lemon dilly spices, and sliced lemon over the top of the chicken and cover and let simmer as the stock reduces 'down' and gets thicker. About 8-10 minutes over medium heat ~ check to make sure chicken is heated to 165 F with a meat thermometer or no pink is visible in the middle of chicken.
  • Remove lemon slices and disgard and either move chicken/bacon to the very 'edges' of your skillet for a minute so that the stock in the middle or if you do not mind a second dirty dish temporarily remove from chicken from the pan and slowly stir in the cream into the thickened stock to form your cream base. Bring sauce to a boil and than reduce heat and return chicken along with peas to your skillet.
  • Cover and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes to cook the peas in the cream sauce and ensure that the meat has reached the proper internal temperature. 
 Nutritional Breakdown

If you are doing the #21DayFix you would count 1/4 of this recipe as is ~  1.25 red for chicken and bacon, 1/2 a yellow for the peas, 1/4 green for the onion, 1 tsp for the coconut oil and if you use the coconut milk option than 1 blue. 

The following is the nutritional facts of just the above using heavy cream or coconut milk options does not really change the calories but the coconut milk option appears to change the 'high in cholesterol' warning to 'high in saturate fat'  ~ depending on what you serve it 'over' will change the totals below.

We had it served tossed with spaghetti squash for a grain free version as well as so that it used a 'green container' for myself ... it would taste lovely over a pasta or rice of your choice if you can par take in those options . 

Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Two ingredient jam ~ in minutes!

I was so excited when my friend Lisa told me that Epicure has come out with their own 'quick blend' Chai Jam seasoning ~ allowing for two ingredient jam ready to serve in minutes!

 Epicure Chai Jam

What You Need
  • 2 cups of chopped fruit. Fresh or frozen  (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, mango, apples you choose or mix them up)
  • 2 tablespoons Epicure Chai Seasoning blend
What You Do
  • Prepare your fruit ~ remove stems, pits, seeds and skin as needed. Chop into small pieces to speed cooking and make it easier to 'puree' later.
  •  Cook the fruit until it is able to be pureed with ease using a spoon. Either on the stove top 5-10 minutes or in the microwave ... only needed 3 minutes for the frozen option!
  • Mash with a spatula or fork or using a handheld immersion blender to get your desired 'fruit puree' ~ we like chunks in our berrie jam so just use the fork to mash but with mango/peach we puree with the handheld.
  • Add in 2 tablespoons of Chai seasoning blend stir until mixed. Let cool to room temperature and than transfer to a glass storage container ~ keeps 2 weeks in fridge if it hangs around that long! I made a batch today and served it to the crew over our two ingredient ice-cream so will need to make a second batch for the weekend!

Look how yummy it looks served over the homemade ice-cream we made with the daycare crew for a snack this afternoon!

If you are not fortunate enough to have an Epicure rep who can make your life easier and shave off time measuring and guessing in the kitchen ~ here is the 'traditional' from scratch method for Chai Jam ... it is awesome too but sometimes when chasing 5 kids around and trying to eat clean finding ways to shave off a few minutes in the kitchen is a godsend!

Regular Chai Jam

What You Need
  •  2 cups of chopped fruit ~ fresh or frozen (strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, peaches, mango, apples you choose or mix them up)
  • 1-2 tablesppons of lemon juice - to taste
  • 1-2 tablespoons of sweetener to taste (I prefer NONE but you can add honey, agave, maple syrup or regular sugar)
  • 2 tablespoons chai seeds ~ plus more if needed
What You Do
  •  Prepare your fruit ~ remove stems, pits, seeds and skin as needed. Chop into small pieces to speed cooking and make it easier to 'puree' later.
  •  Cook the fruit until it is able to be pureed with ease using a spoon. Either on the stove top 5-10 minutes or in the microwave 4-6 minutes
  • Mash with a spatula or wooden spoon or using a handheld immersion blender to get your desired 'fruit puree' ~ we like chunks in our berrie jam so just use the spoon but with mango/peach we puree with the handheld.
  • Stir in the lemon and sweetener ~ taste test to get the flavor you desire. Add more sweetener as desired
  • Stir in your chai seeds let stand 5 minutes on the counter. If you'd like 'thicker' jam add more chai seeds which might be needed with particularly 'juice' fruits. Add 1 teaspoon at a time until you get the desired consistency.
  • Transfer to a glass jar with air tight seal when cooled to room temperature and store in the fridge. It will last for about 2 weeks in fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
 Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much! 
Be Totallyawake4-life


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Paleo Inspired Pad Thai

We were in the mood for some Pad Thai ~ so playing with our old favorite and how to make it Paleo Inspired this week ... I have to say the stepson had two helpings so that was a sign that it turned out tasty. Myself I had to add some extra 'hot chilies' to mine at the table mostly because I am fighting a cold this week and think my taste buds were just shrouded by that so I needed the extra heat to clear my sinuses so I could actually taste the creamy delight that this actually was!

 Pad Thai Pork in the Crockpot
 Serves 6

What You Need
  • 1 lb. boneless pork loin
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • 1/2 cup prepared grain free Teriyaki sauce
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes - more of less to taste depending on how spicy you like
  • 2 cloves garlic - minced
  • 4 tablespoon nut butter (peanut, almonds, cashew)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
What You Do
  • Place pork, Teriyaki sauce garlic, and red pepper flakes in crockpot.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Stir nut butter into the liquid until evenly distributed.
  • Shred meat with two forks right in the sauce of the crockpot.
  • Add sliced peppers, and return meat to crockpot.
  • Cook approximately 30 minutes until peppers are slightly cooked, but still crisp.
  • Just before serving, stir in green onion and cilantro.
  • Can be served over spaghetti squash pad thai below, or with rice, in lettuce wraps, or on top of salad.
 Nutritional Breakdown 

So if you are fixing it would be 1 red for pork, 1/2 green for peppers/onions and 1 tsp for peanut butter ... for those who like the calories and other tidbits this is the breakdown from over at Calorie Count

Spaghetti Squash Pad Thai 
serves 4

 What You Need
  • 4  cups of Cooked Spaghetti Squash
  • 1/2 cup Shredded Carrots
  • 1/4 cup Green Onions
  • 2 Garlic Cloves ~ minsed
  • 1 tablespoon Minced Ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup  Bean sprouts
  • 2 tablespoons of prepared grain free Teriyaki Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of nut butter
  •  Cilantro and Almonds or Peanuts (optional for garnish)
What You Do
  • Melt coconut oil in a pan and saute onions, garlic, ginger and carrots for about 2 minutes.
  • Add egg scramble until cooked through. Then remove the mixture from the pan and set aside.
  • Mix together teriyaki sauce and peanut butter ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Warm spaghetti squash in the pan over low heat and stir in the peanut sauce. Then add in the onion/carrot mixture and bean sprouts.
  • Serve your “noodles” on a plate with pulled pork from above over top or as a 'solo lunch dish' or omit the egg add tofu to it to make it 'vegan'.
  •  Top with cilantro and nuts.
 Nutritional Breakdown  

So if you are fixing it would be 2 green for squash, carrots, onions and 2 tsp for peanut butter and coconut oil and 1/2 blue if you top with the nuts I personally would not count the egg cause its such a small amount mixed in ... for those who like the calories and other tidbits this is the breakdown from over at Calorie Count

Over all this was six thumbs up around the dinner table last night ~ I found mine so filling I did not even finish so have leftovers to have with my lunch today!

Have an amazing day!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much!


Monday, November 23, 2015

10 Kids Christmas Keepsakes

10+ Christmas Keepsake Ideas
It is that time of year when we start to think about what to make with the kiddies as 'offerings' to their loved ones for the holiday season ... here in the daycare because of their young age we have the tradition of making hand-print or foot-print related keepsakes and than they can carry on and explore the process of 'finger-painting' once after I have captured a 'keepsake' hand-print because in the early years creating is more about the process than capturing a keepsake ... unlike traditional 'creative art' these are totally all for the joy of later 'giving' a gift that is both from the adult helping to make them and the child and something that will be hopefully be treasured for years to come as it captures their little hand or footprint during the festive season! 

Here are some of our past treasures we've made to share

Ornament ideas of the Tree 

Shaker Glittler Globe with a photo
This ornmanet was made using now retired treat cups from Stampin' Up! You can check out a tutorial on how to do t hem here this one is definitely a craft idea that is more 'adult' made!
Photo Cube ornament
 The Photo Cube ornament was made using the Stampin' Up Box maker ~ the kids than sponged and stamped their box and helped to punch out photos to adore the sides. We hid some bells inside so it makes noise when it moves on the tree.

Handprint Santa's on a Glass Ornament ~ using acrylic paints
Foot Print or Hand-print penquin 
Depending on the age of your crew a 'foot' might not fit on the ornament ~ to make a handprint paint the hand and place with fingers CLOSED and pointing down to make penguin fit on the Ornament, This ornament was painted white inside with glitter added to the paint ~ here is link to a quick tutorial on how to paint the inside of ornaments

Snowman 'finger print' face with glitter in a glass ornament
This one the kids and I spray the inside of the ornament with hairspray and than added glitter mica flakes with a funnel into the ornament and shook it around ~ it sticks to the hairspray but leaves the ornament translucent to catch the lights off the glitter. Use finger prints to make the snowman's face!
Reindeer Hand-print Ornament
Similar glittering of the ornament inside as done above we than followed by painting with a hand fingers wide open when placing on the globe to make a neck out of the thumb and 4 legs from the fingers and then with some adult help the addition of glitter antlers and a red finger print nose and google eyes glued on for a Rudolph inspired ornament!

Hand-print Snowman Family on a glass ornament
This is another one I think would look great with the 'mica glitter' added to the inside of the ornament for a nice little POP! Depending on the age of your crew they can either paint their own 'snowman faces' using toothpicks and fine brushes or this is the part where the adult can 'help' transform the hand into the keepsake snowman!

Home Decor Keepsakes
Cookies for Santa plates 
We just used acrylic paints to make our plates and both of these ideas can be done on a 'ornament' as well if the plate is too cumbersome a keepsake. 

If you use acrylic paints on the cookie plates please just make sure that the receiver of these gifts realizes they are 'keepsakes' and should not really be 'eaten off of'. The paint is not food grade as is not really dishwasher safe. The plate should really not get dirty enough to need more than a light 'dusting' with a damp cloth each season! These treasures can last for years and years but the paint will chip off if not cared for gently. 
Christmas Angel Footprint Plate decor

You can also buy special paint that can be baked in the oven and sealed to allow it to have more staying power and be used in the dishwasher ~ however I tried this one year and our plates cracked in the oven which was disappointing so we returned to the 'fragile keepsake' that you do not really EAT off of and just keep as a home decor piece! 

These  can be painted on either a canva or a plate and than hung on the wall or stand free with the aid of a plate holder stand ... if your crew has the attention span they can also be adorned with a row of 'Christmas lights' around the edge of the canvas using different coloured 'finger prints' that are then joined together with a black marker to form 'lights' or just a fancy border of dots or what not or add glitter, ribbon bow, bells and more to make then fun!

So these are just a few of our favorites  ~ what is YOUR favorite Christmas keepsake you've done with your family?

Have an amazing day

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much

Chipotle Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon

We are working on getting more 'fish/seafood' into the menu rotation ~ a constant work in progress for myself cause it is not one of the foods that I would 'crave' so the key is to find ways to prepare it so that it tastes like something I would crave ... so for me that means how to make it have a KICK of spice! 

Chipotle Honey Mustard Glazed Salmon
 Serves 6

What You Need
  • 6 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 2-3 teaspoons of chipotle pepper puree
  • 2 small garlic cloves,minced
  • 3-6 ounces of salmon per person being served. My spouse always eats twice the amount of meat serving as I do so 3 oz is plenty of salmon for me and the teenager but he'd eat 6 oz for sure. 
What You Do
Chipolte Honey Mustard Glaze
  • Combine first 7 ingredients in a small bowl and stir. 
  • Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary ~ if you want it spicier add more chipolte pepper puree if you want it more sweet add more honey and so forth to your personal taste ... I always sprinkle red chili peppers on my and my spouses section so that the sauce is mild for rest of family or leftovers for the daycare crew but extra kick for myself and my other half. 
  • Marinate the salmon for 2-3 hours in the glaze before BBQ or baking ~ about 1 tablespoon of glaze per serving of salmon spread over the flesh side of the salmon
  • BBQ on a cedar plank skin side down over medium heat or bake in the oven at 350F aim for 4 to 6 minutes per half-inch of thickness ... so typically anywhere from 8-12 minutes until it is flaky with a fork.
  • Serve salmon with rice or quinoa or cauli-rice and veggie of choice ~ can use more glaze to drizzle on your side dishes to compliment the meal.
  • Unused glaze can be store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and used as salad dressing, veggie dip or on a sandwich. 
Cedar Planks
Cooking Tip

If you are using a cedar plank ~ make sure to soak it for a good 6-8 hours in some water BEFORE putting it on the BBQ this will reduce the chances of it charring while you are cooking and allow you to get several uses out of a plank before having to toss it for a new one! These ones shown here have been used twice already and cleaned afterward with just water and my Enjo kitchen glove.

Nutritional Information for the glaze only

 Nutritional Info for a 3 oz serving of Salmon 

What is your favorite way to prepare Salmon?

Have an amazing day
Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much