Friday, April 11, 2014

Laura's Carolina Baked Chicken

I'm always looking for new ways to cook chicken. Why? Well frankly, chicken is cheap, and when feeding a family of four, cheap is good!

A little while ago, I ate lunch at the Whole Foods café. This is something I rarely do because so much from their deli uses canola oil, and it's expensive, but when I'm out shopping & need a quick lunch it's a great option for me. Last time I went they had some "Carolina Grilled Chicken." It was really delicious, but I thought it needed a few changes, so I set to work.

Mine is baked-- hence the name-- because I can't grill at my apartment. Sad face. However, you could totally grill this if you wanted. Also, I used chicken breasts, but you can use this sauce and method for any cut of chicken-- think rich meaty thighs. Mmmmm...The mix of flavors for this chicken are fantastic. My children scarfed it down! I had to stop myself at one breast or I would've just kept eating.

I hope you enjoy this chicken as much as my family did!

Laura's Carolina Baked Chicken


4-6 chicken breasts (or whatever cut of chicken you prefer)
1 cup olive oil
1/3 cup dijon mustard
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (packed in oil)
2 Tbs fresh thyme + more for sprinkling
1 head garlic peeled
Salt & Pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 375*F. Place olive oil, dijon, tomatoes, thyme, & garlic into a food processor or blender. Blend until puréed into a sauce. Add salt & pepper to desired taste. Place chicken onto a baking pan or cookie sheet. Coat both sides with sauce. Sprinkle the tops with a little more thyme. Bake for approximately 30 min, give or take, until the internal temperature reaches 160*F (always check the thickest part of the chicken breast). The sauce will brown a bit, but don't worry-- it's not burning. Remove and let the chicken rest for 10 minutes.

Serve with your favorite veggie side and ENJOY!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Liebster Awards!

This picture says it all. Haha! But, seriously...A Liebster?? I'm so honored!!

A huge thanks to both Meg at The Recipe For Healing and Linz of @healthyhues on Instagram for nominating me! Both of these ladies are extraordinary clean eating, food making powerhouses. I highly recommend you follow them both.

It's really humbling to be nominated, especially since I just do this little blog for kicks and giggles. I don't have time to commit to it much more than I am already, so I'm thankful for the recognition. Every time someone says they've enjoyed a recipe, or have found inspiration in my story I'm grateful. That's the best way to say it! So, THANK YOU to all of you my readers & followers!

I'll answer Meg & Linz's questions below, but first....MY NOMINEES!

1. Candace at BeYOUtifully Delicious. She was one of the first gals I connected with on Instagram when I started following fellow clean eaters, and I am so glad our paths crossed! She has a phenomenal story. She is real. And to top it all off, her food is DIVINE and she lifts like a boss. Bold, and not afraid to take risks, her recipes will add all sorts of spice to your life! And, if it's inspiration you're after, look no further! She is truly beYOUtiful, inside and out! And, how can I not love a girl who loves OMghee?!

2. Laura at Mangia Paleo (Eat Paleo). Not only is she awesome because she's named Laura (sorry, but it's true), but she's fighting her Ulcerative Colitis through Paleo. Her story is so inspiring. Also, being Italian, you know that girl can cook! Her recipes are phenomenal, and her blog also includes lots of informational posts as well, which the food nerd in me LOVES!

3. Jody at Paleo'ish On A Dime. This mom of a million kids (ok, I'm exaggerating, but she has a lot of kids), knocks Paleo'ish cooking out of the park. She is fighting Mitochondrial Disease with food, and she feeds her 7 kids gluten free, dairy free, and a bunch of other allergy culprit free, meals! Talk about Super Mom! She honestly inspires me EVERY SINGLE DAY. She's real, balanced, and funny-- winning combination. 

4. Jess at Paleo Jess. This Aussie mom of 4 is one of my favorites to follow. We share a common faith (christianity), and a love for Whole9/Whole 30 eating. Not only is she rocking the fitmom life, but she uses her blog to bring exposure to a topic that is dear to my own heart-- human trafficking, modern day slavery. To top it all off, SHE RUNS A BUSINESS. Hello Wonder Woman! Her business-- Primal Life Marketplace-- provides healthy foods in bulk at affordable prices. WOW!!

All of these women inspire me everyday, and make me want to be a healthier stronger woman in every area of my life.

Now, ladies, should you choose to accept this Liebster award, your questions are the following:

1. What is your favorite Paleo meal?

2. What is your favorite NON Paleo meal?

3. Who inspires you to live healthier?

4. What is your goal in having a blog?

5. What is your favorite pastime/hobby besides cooking?

My Answers to Meg's Questions:

1. How did you eat before you decided to change your diet?
    I was a rollercoaster dieter! I tried everything under the sun. It usually involved severe calorie restriction which resulted in binge eating 1-2x a week. I have a past of eating disorders, so I was always fighting the temptation to slip into that bondage (that's exactly what it is) again.

2. What are your favorite foods too eat, cook, and bake? Have you always enjoyed being in the kitchen?

     My favorite Paleo foods to cook & eat are lamb, duck, and steak. Unfortunately, I gain the most pleasure from standard baking-- YIKES!! I still get to do it weekly for church events, so I get my urges out without temptation. I have always loved baking-- it's in my blood, but I grew to love cooking as I had a family and started cooking more often to save money. Now, I can spend all day in my kitchen with my favorite apron on, the windows open, and my favorite tunes!

3. What made you want to start a blog? What do you wish to accomplish with it?

    I started the blog because I constantly had people telling me I should start a blog. Peer pressure!! I realized that it would be a good way to get all my favorite recipes in one place. It just made sense. I hope to inspire people to cook real food that nourishes them body and soul! I want people to realize that they don't have to be afraid of the kitchen. Paleo can be intimidating for people who aren't used to cooking 3 meals a day, and I hope that my recipes can help them realize there's no reason to be afraid!

4. If you could do/be anything what would it be? There are no limits.

   Honestly, I would run an eat in/carry out bakery, focusing mostly pies. Yes, a standard american bakery (GASP), with a few Paleo goodies in there as well, of course. There is nothing I love more than seeing the look on someone's face when they bite into a dessert I've lovingly made. Pie making is my strongest skill that has taken a while to perfect. I'm pretty passionate about pie.

5. Who are some of the people that inspire you to eat clean?

    My children and husband. Eating clean helps me have the energy and focus to take the best care of them possible. As a homeschool mom, I can't do my job without the proper fuel. They are my whole life-- and I hope to have a healthy life with them!

My Answers to Linz's Questions:

1. What is the best consequence for you by eating a healthy diet?

    Emotional freedom from yo-yo dieting & eating disorders. Yeah, I've lost a bunch of weight. Yeah, I have loads of energy. Yeah, I sleep better. Yeah, I did away with sinus issues. But, the best was FREEDOM from the idea that I had to starve myself to be healthy.

2. What healthy food do you find yourself craving?

    Veggies. Veggies, veggies, veggies. It sounds weird, but sometimes I will just make myself a big bowl or plate of them.

3. What do you do with your time when you aren't in the kitchen?

    Well, most of my day is spent homeschooling our boys. But, I love to hike, read, and go to museums. Right now it's softball season, so that keeps me busy also. This is technically the kitchen, but I do help with our weekly church dinner as well-- usually dessert duty-- which means baking dessert for 40-50 people once a week.

4. What is one thing you love about yourself?

    I'm pretty fearless. I love a good challenge. I'll face anything, head on.

5. What has been your biggest accomplishment?

    My children. Yeah, it sounds so cliché, but it's true. I look at them and nothing I've ever done or will ever do compares to the responsibility I take on each day in raising & teaching them. I just hope I don't screw them up ;)