About SLOH

I am 30 years old, married to a wonderful man, and finally working my way to wellness after an entire lifetime of misdiagnoses, epic diet failures, depression, and general malaise. It's a daily choice, but one I'm happy to finally be able to make, with help from a few key people in my life.


Catching Up - a week of onions

Hey folks!  Sorry to leave you hanging!  I've been crazy busy the past couple weeks starting school, getting our baby registry finished and cooking up a storm!  Some successes, some not so much, but I'm here to catch you all up on the results :)

First off, as promised to all of my lovely Facebook friends, the skillet chicken chili pasta!

I swore I took a picture of this meal before Matt & I devoured the whole thing, but clearly I forgot (pregnancy brain).  So the above picture from the inspirational recipe (although I altered it significantly).

My final version, which Matt and I both enjoyed hot, but preferred cold:

  • 1 16oz bag of brown rice pasta (I used spirals)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 chopped mayan sweet onion
  • 1 chopped red bell pepper
  • 1 diced jalapeno pepper (don't forget to wear gloves when seeding/dicing it!)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 cups cooked ground chicken *see note
  • 1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes (I used both grape & on-the-vine)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 can green chiles 
  • 1/2 cup corn (I used frozen, but you could use fresh or canned as well)
  • 1/2 cup chickpeas (I used dried that I had soaked and cooked the week before)
  • 1 Tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
  • gluten-free Ranch seasoning mix (1 packet equivalent)
  • 1/2 tsp dried cilantro
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and run under cool water to stop cooking. Set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a deep saucepan or skillet. Add onions and peppers, cook stirring until softened about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook stirring for 1 minute. Add chicken, tomatoes, broth, green chiles, corn, chickpeas, pasta, chili powder, cumin, Ranch seasoning and cilantro. Stir until well combined. Reduce heat to low and simmer until ready to serve, or after simmering about 20 minutes, chill and serve cold.
*note: We had some left over ground chicken that Matt had browned and seasoned with 2 small cans of tomato juice, cumin and crushed red pepper, so we used that, but you could use any cooked chicken - grilled, rotisserie, baked... whatever you have on hand.

Aside from cutting up the veggies, this was SUPER fast and easy, and because I used the whole bag of pasta instead of just 8oz as the original recipe called for, it lasted us forever, which was good because we were both really busy last week!

I also made Pumpkin Pie Granola, but due to a crockpot death in the family, this had a bit of an issue.

I used this recipe from crockpot365.blogspot.com (I only used the 1/2 c honey, and I used all raisins - no dried cranberries) - but after 2.5 hours (of the 4 required for cooking), the crockpot breathed its last & turned off, never to turn on again.  Matt ate about 1/3 of the granola before I finished it in the oven (325* for 15 minutes, stirring once and adding raisins half way through).  I haven't tried it since I finished it, and honestly, I wasn't super happy with the burning of the oats that happened in the crockpot, so I might try to adjust this recipe for just the oven (especially now that we have no crockpot).   If you don't use honey, I'm sure coconut nectar would work just as well (and honestly would probably mix better than the raw honey I used).  I'll keep you posted on the updates to this recipe as I go.

For breakfast, I made a casserole:

I was super excited about this because even though it took a long-ish time to put together, once it was done, it was crazy simple to just take out an individual slice in the morning and microwave it for 1 min on high.  I'm normally not the biggest fan of the microwave, but I've been pretty tired this week, so it was nice to not have to work hard for breakfast.

I used this recipe from thekitchn.com - but I subbed turkey bacon for the regular bacon (we're not big pork people in our house), cooked with olive oil.  I also used 3 mostly-baked white potatoes, diced with skins on, instead of the frozen ones because they put all kinds of weird additives in frozen potatoes at the grocery store.  I try to stick as close to real food as I can.  (I thought afterwards that red skinned or yukon gold potatoes probably would have been even better).  Also, I've never been a big fan of sun-dried tomatoes, so I diced 2 on-the-vine tomatoes and threw those in instead.  It was a really tasty breakfast, and like the skillet chicken pasta, was convenient for our nuts-o week.  You could easily modify this recipe to use up whatever vegetables/meats you happen to have lying around.  I feel like all of the ingredients in this were completely optional.  You could just as easily use spinach instead of potatoes, artichokes instead of peppers, leave out the bacon entirely....  Be creative and let me know what you try!

Honorable mentions this week go to:

We also enjoyed:
  • TheKitchen farmer's lunch sandwiches with onion-thyme jam - I liked this, but I bought mild cheddar for Matt, who isn't the biggest sharp fan, and I probably would have enjoyed it more with sharp.  Plus, the jam gave me heartburn. #pregnancyproblems
  • Bon Appetit curried egg salad (on rice bread instead of pitas - messy!!) - This was also fun as an experiment (especially since I used Greek yogurt instead of mayo), but I am still a bigger fan of plain ol' egg salad.  This one was yummy, but it was a little more tangy than I like normally.
  • Laylita.com baked ripe plantains with cheese - we waited a little too long to make this and our plantains were a little too ripe, which yielded bites with a bit of fermented flavor.  Probably would have been better if we'd made them sooner.  Oops.
 Up next:
  • "Use up what we have lying around the house" challenge - we're going to try to buy only eggs, milk, yogurt, butter and a few snacks this week (partially to make up for the fact that I spent twice our food budget last week in my ambition, and partially because we've had a bunch of dry/frozen ingredients sitting in our kitchen for months that need to get used!)
  • TheKitchn DIY applesauce (as part one of DIY apple butter!)
  • Healthful Pursuit frozen banana raspberry "muffins"
  • Anne-Marie Cain cinnamon apple crisps
  • TheKitchn sweet potato hash & eggs (sausage, probably not)
  • TheKitchn kale & apple soup (which Matt already made, but we haven't tried yet)
  • Glucose challenge - yes, I realize this is a medical test and not a recipe, but it's weighing heavily on my mind as a reactive hypoglycemic who is also pregnant and concerned about holistic wellness.  While I can 99% guarantee I don't have gestational diabetes (given that I've still had several blood sugar crashes recently), I still am *strongly encouraged* by my midwives to take this stupid test.  I'm not drinking Glucola - they're letting me sub fruit juice - but I'm still really nervous about the effect all of this sugar is going to have on my body and on Squirt.  I'll be sure to keep you posted about it!  My plan right now is to drink the juice (equivalent to 50g sugar!!) and if I'm feeling the sugar crash coming on within 30 mins, I'm going to just eat some protein and tell them I'm refusing the test.  If I don't feel the crash, I'll go to my appointment, have my blood drawn the hour after I drank the juice and then immediately stuff my face with enough cheese to feed a small country.  I've gotten very little support on this issue from my medical professionals, including my holistic doctor who's been treating me for the adrenal fatigue, so I'm frustrated.  But Thursday will bring an end to it all one way or another.  

To be continued....


A Three-fer

I feel terrible, my dear readers!  It's been a bit hectic around here and I haven't posted anything in quite some time.  So to make up for it, I'll give you not one, not two, but THREE meal updates for the price of one - FREE! :)

First up, breakfast, since it is breakfast time right now after all.  I made this amazing omelet this morning and it is sure to stay in my repertoire for years to come!  I started with this recipe from simplylivinghealthy.org - didn't tweak much.  I made Matt's with almond butter, but I'm having an almond aversion, so I put peanut butter on mine.  We only had about 3 salvageable strawberries, so that was the topping (it ended up being plenty for both omelets!) and I only had packets of stevia in the raw, so I used half a packet in each omelet in place of the liquid stevia, and we left out the whipped cream (I've never been a fan).  You could certainly, as the original post says, substitute whatever you want in the fillings/toppings.  If you can't do bananas, I'm sure berries would be great with the nutbutter or sunbutter of your choice inside.  Or mix it up tropical style and add some mango mixed with coconut nectar on the top, and fill with berries and unsweetened flaked coconut on the inside.  Your imagination is the limit!

Of course after breakfast comes two snacks lunch! Actually, I made these for dinner first, but forgot to take a picture, so you get the photo of my lunch from hanging out with my sister doing my closet reorganization

This was super easy and delicious (both times!) - the salad is just a bagged spring mix, topped with cucumbers, green beans, carrots and fresh red bell peppers, drizzled with a little olive oil.  The meaty goodness in the middle is a Spring Leek and Lemon Chicken Patty from healthfulpursuit.com - so tasty!  I only modified two-ish things in this recipe: 1) I used 2 whole large eggs instead of 1 egg + 1/4c egg whites - I was too lazy to separate them, even with the cool trick I posted a while back.  It worked out perfectly.  2) I rarely measure spices in cooking - my husband taught me that you can't really mess up cooking like you can baking, so being super exact doesn't matter.  That said I zested an entire lemon (and a little bit of one finger - oops!), and just threw in something that looked good to me for the other spices.  That recipe yielded me 7 patties, which lasted us through several days.  It was a huge hit all around, including as leftovers - I definitely recommend trying this (and anything else Leanne posts at Healthful Pursuit - she's a genius)!

And now for my most creative endeavor since last we met - Chicken Enchiladas!!

My parents were in Aruba last week, so my sister and I split dog-sitting duties for the westies.  I went down to have dinner with my sister & brother-in-law on Wednesday night and we abused borrowed my mom's kitchen to cook these Mexican dreams, which were a special request from my brother-in-law, since the siblings' kitchen is currently being massively renovated.  Although we probably should have planned better (I didn't arrive to start cooking until 730pm, and we didn't eat until 9, even with my sister's help!), these babies were well worth the wait, especially for my sister, who added dairy back into her diet (she's been slowly adding potentially allergenic/sensitive foods back in since her elimination diet started earlier this year) just for the occasion.  

This was a HUGE experiment on a variety of levels, so I was glad it turned out so well.  I'll start with the recipe and then give you my thoughts on the first attempt, with suggestions for how to learn from my mistakes :)

Chicken Enchiladas
  • 1/4 lb queso blanco, cubed *see anecdote!
  • 1-2 cups half & half
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup salsa (I used Green Mountain Gringo, medium, but I'm sure freshly made would be awesome) *see note
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken (I was lazy and bought mine at the prepared foods bar at Whole Foods!)
  • 1 cup shredded mexican cheese blend
  • 7 brown rice tortillas (I used Food for Life brand)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil, divided
  1. Preheat oven to 350* and lightly grease a 9x13 baking pan (I used olive oil).
  2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine queso blanco and half & half, stirring frequently, until queso is melted and well mixed.
  3. In another saucepan over medium heat, combine cream cheese, sour cream & salsa.  Cook, stirring until melted and well mixed.  Stir in chicken and mexican cheese and set aside.
  4. In a large skillet, heat 1tbsp oil and cook each tortilla about 20 seconds on each side, until pliable.  Add remaining oil if it gets too depleted.
  5. Spread half of queso mixture on the bottom of the greased pan.  Fill each tortilla with a portion of the chicken mixture and roll up.  Place on top of queso in pan.  Top tortillas with remaining queso mixture.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until tortillas just begin to lightly brown.  Serve immediately, preferably with guacamole.
*anecdote: I had never used queso blanco before.  I tried to find a "dip" version of this pre-made because it was already so late when I was shopping, but every brand I looked at had something in it my sister and/or I couldn't eat.  So I bought a pound of queso blanco in the ethnic aisle at Wegmans and figured I'd make my own.  I cubed it to help it melt more easily (ha!) and it still took almost 90 minutes to melt enough to work!  If you try queso blanco, which is a solid cheese but delicious, I would definitely shred it finely first rather than just cubing.  You might want to sub shredded monterey jack or crumbled queso fresco (which is softer) instead, though, since I still don't know how long it would take to melt the shredded queso blanco, and I'd hate to see you wait 90 minutes for your cheese to melt!

*note: My sister has not yet added tomatoes back into her diet, so I actually took a third of the ingredients and made her her own pot of filling without the salsa.  We just added garlic and some red onion to hers with a little cumin, which she loved.  I also used a little half and half in hers to thin it out like the watery salsa did to ours.

Those are my sister's enchiladas - the BIL's and mine were a little pinker inside from the salsa.  Everyone loved them, and they were SO filling!!  We only made about 7 enchiladas, which I worried wouldn't be enough, but we even had leftovers for the next day!  I had a little extra filling of my sister's variety, so I made her a quesadilla (brown rice tortilla filled with chicken mixture, folded in half and baked at 350* for 10 minutes) to save for the next day's lunch, since she couldn't have the leftover enchiladas with salsa.  I am happy to report that my sister's dairy-trial-by-fire was a rousing success - no bad reaction whatsoever!  Hooray for her health!

My sister made the guac, and I can't remember exactly what she put in it, so I can't give you the recipe right now, but for my version, I usually use 1 avocado, juice of 1/2 a lime, cumin, 1-2 crushed garlic cloves, salt & pepper.  I know my sister used some red onion, which was a nice addition - surprising to me, because I normally hate red onion.  Maybe it's the pregnancy taste buds...  If I can find out her basic recipe, I'll post it later.

(Thanks to my sister, too, for the photos of the enchiladas!  She took them with her actual camera, as opposed to me using my phone + Instagram to make things look remotely presentable.)

The husband and I made quesadillas (no queso sauce!) later that week with the leftover ingredients.  It was WAY faster, and just as tasty.  Feel free to adapt to whatever you like/suits your time frame.

There you have it, friends.  I hope that makes up for the dreadful span of time I left you all hanging!  Happy healthy eating! :)