Morning Cookin’

I’m a morning person, meaning the daylight doesn’t send me flying back under my sheets as if I were Nosferatu (except when I’m royally hung over, in which case a total eclipse would be most appreciated.) However, I like to really blend into my mornings. I hate being rushed. It’s not that I’m the high maintenance type of girl that needs hours to apply layers of makeup—mascara, maybe, and I’m out the door—or finagle her hair into a fun do—clearly, I don’t have a lot to work with—but I like to spend my mornings mentally preparing myself for the day, which means ample time for oil pulling, a shower that isn’t hurried, time to make 3 outfit changes incase I’m feeling a little chaotic, and moments to listen to a few dubstep beats that are owning my wobbly soul at the time.

An original player in the Dubstep genre 🙂

Can I have her legs, please?

 

Sometimes inspiration poor planning means I have to get extra beauty sleep in order to wake up and concoct some meal. Plus, I totally dig the morning sunlight for photos. Here is a lunch/dinner I found that will hold me over for 4 meals! It all starts with salmon. During my pesco days I adored this pink fish. I just couldn’t get enough of it. And then I was kind of over it after trying haddock that wasn’t breaded, battered, and fried into oblivion. Salmon took a back seat. I find salmon to be a finicky fish to cook, despite protests that it’s so easy to work with. Mind you it isn’t difficult, per say, but if you walk away for a hot second to long you’ll come back to a pink slab of tough-mess. Edible, but not savory. I’ve charred more than my fair share of salmon, and I admit it’s still a fish I’m working on. Questionable-ness aside, this is hands down the most delicious salmon meal I’ve ever had.  The glaze was perfect: not too sticky and not too sweet. Unlike the partners on Dancing With the Stars, the glaze and salmon meld together, taking care to work in harmony and not outshine the other one.

Fiscal Flash:  don’t be financially intimidated by this meal. I’ll be honest and say I don’t have the money to buy wild Alaskan salmon which is well managed, full of all the good stuff, and yada, yada, yada. If you are eating salmon on a regular basis then farmed might not be the way to go, but for the occasional meal a little bit of farmed salmon is not going to kill you, just like the occasional Big Mac won’t send a healthy person into cardiac arrest. It may seem tempting and easy to buy frozen filets, which I’ve done before, but don’t be afraid  to venture on over to the fish counter. Look for salmon per pound. Those perfect portion filets might seem the good way to go, but I was able to get 1.20 Lb of salmon for $7.50, whereas each 6oz salmon filet would have cost me $4; you do the math per pound and per serving.  Finally, to skin or not to skin? I’m personally a huge fan of the skin. It tastes great and is absolutely gorgeous to look at, like marbling on a perfectly aged steak (which I haven’t actually seen in real life, but it looks amazing on T.V.)  If you are frying or grilling salmon keep the skin on to make flipping it easy. If you are oven baking it you can go skinless. As with all cook, it’s really up to you, but you’ll likely only find skinless on the pre-portioned selection.

To accompany the fish I used rice noodles, which are very rapidly becoming a key player in my shopping cart. For gluten-free ladies and gents these are a god send. Even better, you don’t have to stand over a hot pot making sure they don’t stick together.  Just place them in a bowl, pour boiling water on top, and let them sit for 5-8 minutes (or whatever the package says.) Drain and give them a quick rinse with cold water. They are a little bland on their own, but great covered in whatever sauce and glaze you are making.

Okay, enough of the nitty gritty. Savor these pictures and check out the recipe.

Gorgeous!

 

Noodles soaking up the sauce. I let them rest for about 20 minutes and drained the excess.

Lunch!

What happens after “the talent” is done getting pics taken.

A mix-and-match breakfast! I used the “runt” piece as a taste tester. Boy, I was soooo amped for lunch

 

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

 

 

Pad Thai Oh My!

When I go out to a restaurant the last thing I order is something I can already make at home; you’d be hard-pressed to see me ordering some basic salmon or grilled chicken. Why pay a premium mark up when it’s something I can make for a fraction of the cost? Nope, I tend to frequent restaurants that make time consuming dishes that I don’t have the ingredients, patience, or cultural prowess to whip up. Case in point: Thai food. I was introduced to Pad Thai sometime in high school. I dabbled around on Thai menus—some drunken noodles here, some yellow curry there—but I always found myself returning to the “spaghetti and meat balls” of Thailand.  Thankfully, Pad Thai isn’t expensive (I don’t think I ever have paid more than $12 for a heaping dish), but I always wanted to try it out in the kitchen. You could imagine my discontent when I pulled up a recipe and was greeted with an ingredient list that rivaled the one I would put together for Santa Clause. Jeeze Louis. Not to mention many of the spices you need for Thai food aren’t necessarily going to be found in a bulk bin or be very cheap.

For months I thought I could only get my Pad Thai fix at the local restaurant…and then I met Pinterest. I was doing my daily peruse of the platform, pinning DIY projects I know I’ll never get around to, when I spotted an easy (and apparently more “authentic”) version of my favorite, noodle dish. If only I had a fainting chaise. I didn’t need to buy any bean sprouts, I could easily leave out the peanuts, and I finally could snub my nose at the long parts of scallions that I always picked out and unceremoniously wiped on my napkin. But would it taste good or be a subpar version of those “DIY Pad Thai Kits” you can get in the International aisle of the grocery store?—do yourself a favor and never, ever get those.

I won’t leave you with baited breath through the pictures and ingredient list, wondering if this recipe made me swoon. I’ll be upfront: it did. I’m officially in love. True, it tastes very little like the Pad Thai of restaurants, but the new flavors were refreshing, muted, and a welcome change. Not to mention it was so easy to pull everything together. Major plus: it reheats far better than the restaurant kind, which is great because they always give you such massive portions, and  I’m always stuck with deciding if I should bring it home and try to reincarnate it the next day, or shovel it all in and accept the inevitable food baby. So many problems are now solved!

Pad Thai

Serves 4 (more like a meager 4 or a hearty 3)

8 ounces dried, wide and flat rice noodles
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus wedges for serving
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 squirt (about 1/8 teaspoon) Sriracha (optional)
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
3 scallions (green onions), white and green parts, separated and thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 large eggs, light beaten (optional)
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped roasted, salted peanuts

  1. Soak noodles according to package instructions. Drain.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, lime juice, soy sauce, and Sriracha.
  3. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add scallion whites and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant (about 30 seconds). Add eggs and cook, scraping skillet with spatula until eggs are almost set (about 30 seconds). Transfer eggs to a plate.
  5. Add noodles, scallion greens, and sauce to skillet. Cook, tossing constantly, until noodles are soft (about 1 minute). Add egg mixture and toss to coat, breaking eggs up gently.
  6. Serve noodles with lime wedges, topped with cilantro and peanuts.

I happened to have some fish sauce that I’d just bought for another recipe this week, so I did 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and a little less than 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. Leave it as is or add some chicken or shrimp.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

What Can I say? I’m the Miami Heat of Cooking!

Yesterday I cooked. Furiously. I came back from 8 hours of multitasking on 2 photocopy machines—I could live without ever seeing the button “properties” again—and needed to calm down. For the most part, the kitchen is generally my safe haven. The sun was still out, so as someone who’s working on their food photography skills, I jumped into action. I managed to take most of my photos before it got dark, and I tinkered around with the poor man’s photo shop (Picasa) to get some editing ideas. A fun and delicious evening. Hints and tips are welcome!

We’ll start at the end. Yesterday I felt like eating dessert first. I found a really awesome recipe on Pinterest a few weeks back for raw vegan chocolate mousse (there are so many floating around with varying ingredients) and decided that just had to happen. If you haven’t ever had raw vegan chocolate mousse…you just have to. That’s it. End of  story. It’s so decadent and not that bad for you, which are all good things in my book. Technically this particular mix isn’t 100% raw vegan (it’s more like 98%) because we use honey, which some vegans do not eat because it may harm bees, but it’s pretty darn close. If you want to go the full monty, soak some Medjool dates (or any dates, I suppose, but you can find those at a local co-op) in water for at least 2 hours and that will be your sweetener. At the last moment, sprinkle some berries on top and enjoy. I took the pictures in a pretty cup, but I’ll be honest and let you in on a secret. I actually ate some of it out of the food processor. Blade and all. My justification: it saves on dishes!

I won’t lie. The banana is mildly suggestive. PG-13.

My personal favorite!

 

I then decided my night needed a more visceral angle. My response was to grill up some red meat. Now when I take the time out to buy steak, which only happens once or twice a month, I go all out on the prep. Maybe it’s a rub, or a glaze, or both, but I very rarely slap it onto the grill and say “there.” My delicious mousse needed an equally delicious mate. I married my love off all things balsamic and coffee rubbed (although I don’t actually like to drink coffee) and found this delicious recipe. I only had plain balsamic and olive oil, but I used the other spices. Trust me, I don’t have flank steak money (a close cousin to McDonalds money), but I was able to turn this okay cut of meat into something delicious. For a side I made something I call: lazy man (or woman) “guac”. Slice up ½ an avocado, ½ a Roma tomato, and sprinkle with garlic sea salt flakes. No need to mash (unless you want to.) Bon appe-yum-yum. Note: I took this photo so you could have an idea of what I was eating. It got a little dark out by the time it was all said and done.

 

And finally, to tie everything together, I decided I needed a stiff drink. During my last week at Goodwill I bought a Cocktail book, which has proved to be most useful—or perhaps most wallet breaking, as time goes on.

My SAT reading comprehension skills are really coming in handy.

I guess we shall see. I found a recipe for a frozen daiquiri, so I made one from scratch and not that bottled stuff! I admit, it was a little strong, but prepared drinks aren’t necessarily something you should guzzle down. Nope, they need to be savored. Raw vegan chocolate mousse? Well, that’s another story. A very messy story.

 

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Groggy Mornings and Tasty Evenings

Last night I went out hard. No, I went out extremely hard. So hard that I woke up at 10:30 still plastered. Ugh, went my stomach. Grr, went my head. How did I use to live this way freshman year? I dialed Chris from the living room (yup, I was that pathetic) and offered him $1 to make me something to eat. He didn’t seem to keen on the idea, so I had to take matters into my own drunken hands: happy drunk at night is a delight. Still drunk in the morning? Everyone take warning. I rolled out of bed, got some toast in the belly, some Advil in as well, and went back to sleep in a mad attempt to sober up enough to make it to the beach. If a hangover isn’t the most perfect metaphor for Newton’s Third Law then I don’t know what is.

After some sun, fresh air, and ample amounts of water, I finally started to feel hungry, which is a good thing as I haven’t had much of an appetite these past few days. Tonight I took some south of the border inspiration and had a Mexican version of breakfast for dinner: re-fried beans, ½ an avocado, some steak slices cooked in balsamic, scrambled eggs, and homemade salsa. I’m still patting my belly and smiling in gastro-satisfaction.

The salsa was really easy to make, fresh, and light. Salsa, much like gazpacho, is one of those recipes you can really tinker with to suit your taste buds.  I cut up a roma tomato, a little bit of red onion, a glove of garlic, tossed it all in a little bit of olive oil, splash of red wine vinegar, and finally I sprinkled a spoonful of chia seeds on top. I made this first and let it sit in the fridge for awhile to let the flavors mix. In fact, I just took a brief writing break to try some, since it has had even more time to mix and mingle, and it’s absolutely divine.

Where the magic happens.

Hold up! Once you cut open an avocado it starts to turn brown and unappealing looking. What does one do with the leftover avocado half? Simple: you make yourself a delicious smoothie.

Berry-cado Smoothie

½ an avocado

1 banana

Milk or milk substitute

1-2 handfuls of frozen berries (I used raspberries)

Cut up the avocado, banana, and add to the blender. Then add in your milk. Right now I’m trying out Lactaid milk. Feel free to use any other dairy substitute as well. I admit I don’t measure out my milk. I’ve been making smoothies for a long time and know how much liquid to add so that I have a small mason jar sized drink. I know, me writing out recipes is mildly funny since I’m not much for measuring. But eyeball it. Do you want it thicker? Do you want it a little runnier? Start out small and keep adding (you can giveth, but you cannot taketh away—only God can do that!) until you reach a desired amount.

If you have a cheap blender, give the mixture a few pulses before adding in the berries, especially if you are using the frozen variety. If you’ve never used avocado in your smoothies before, you’ll be surprised by how thick just ½ of one will make your drink. Pour it into a glass and enjoy!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Mango Soup

Sleep quality has improved ten-fold since getting my new bed. I love it. I feel rejuvenated in the morning. Heck, I’m bright eyed and busy tailed at 6:45, which is quite the feat! This morning was no exception, and I was a busy bee in the kitchen making kale chips for my yoga comrades (Saturday is teacher training day) and some raw soup to take to class. My last foray with raw soup—the carrot recipe—was not the greatest, but I have made a few variations of this one, so I knew I wouldn’t be terribly let down.  If you love mango, you must try this.

Cold Mango Soup

Ingredients:

  • 1 large mango, peeled and destoned
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 1-2 small chilli peppers, minced (or to taste)
  • juice from 1 lime
  • 1/2 tsp grated or minced ginger

Preparation:

Process all ingredients together in a blender until smooth and creamy, adding a bit more or less water as needed. Chill before serving. Makes two servings.

You’re in and out in 15 minutes max, and if you put your onion in the refrigerator the night before you’ll cut down on the teary-eye factor. If you don’t have whole chili peppers, approximately ½ a tsp of pepper flakes is equal to one pepper. Adjust accordingly. I’m a wussy and should have done a few less flakes, but it was still darn tasty.

Don’t Mind Me, Neighbors, I’m Just Shooting Some Food Porn on the Porch.

The best part of eating healthy the majority of the time means that when you do decide to splurge you generally have a lot less guilt. You’ll also find yourself returning to the same indulgent, greasy, stick to your inside’s foods, which is nice. My favorite “naughty meal”, aside from Amy’s (yes Amy’s, not Annie’s) Gluten-Free Mac & Cheese, is a nice rack of ribs. This week I decide to go with some boneless pork ribs. I hands down like the rack of ribs way better—the boneless version wasn’t quite as juicy—but they were still pretty good, and I used the same rub recipe I got from The Pioneer Woman.

This craving for rib couldn’t have come at a better time, because I had just bought this really cool plate set to do some more shooting on. From looking at other food blogs, I can tell one method is to get out all the ingredients used to make the dish, line up the boxes, jars, and canisters, and take a picture. Alas, my kitchen is rarely clean enough to do this, so I’ve latched onto the other “photo-of-thought” where you take a small amount of spices used and “haphazardly” arrange them on a chopping board. Lemme tell you, there was no haphazard. I was in there with my basting brush trying to wrangle everything into neat little piles.

Spices

Paprika

Garlic Salt (a must have in the kitchen! Throw that on some homemade Mac and Cheese and you’re in business, baby)

Salt

Pepper

Brown Sugar (don’t forget to add a heel of bread to wherever you’re storing it so it doesn’t harden up)

Dijon Mustard (to rub on the meat before sprinkling with the spices)

Summertime and the livin’s easy

^^ See this movie!

Summer break is here! I’ve sufficiently caught up on some much needed rest, thus it’s time for me to do what I assume many a blogger is doing and write the “my summer” post!

Read like a fiend

I have absolutely no excuse not to. Summer is great for reading and hobbies. Even if you are putting in mad hours at a job, you don’t have all that pesky paper work known as homework to consume your life when you’ve finished for the night. As you can see, I have a few books to preoccupy myself with. I have this habit during my breaks at The Goodwill of buying books that look interesting and then I never getting around to reading them. No longer! I’m really excited to take a peek at the two Carl Hiaasen books. I love his work! I even studied him Fall Semester during Literature Seminar. He never lets me down. Middlesex is a book I read in high school, but it was so good I’d love to read it again, which means a lot because I rarely give books a second go-around. I also have some cool yoga books in there (no, not EAT-PRAY-LOVE), and I hope to start reading bits and pieces of the Gita. It’s kind of a heavy read, so maybe I’ll chew on it like a sweet  bovine might munch on a clump of grass—slowly and deliberately. Sorry, the writer inside me likes to be silly, but really, I’ll probably do 2 pages a day and reflect back when all is finished. I also have a guilty read in there, you know, the kind of thing you bring to the beach. Bet you can figure out which one it is!  I also plan on keeping up with my poetry and writing a piece a week and submitting to a few places every month. Oh the toil’s of us writer folk.

Hone my food photography skills

This summer I’m buying a new camera and lens, but I swear I’m going to learn how to use it properly. I’m going to be sticking with the Canon family, so I’m very excited to get that security deposit check back so I can go shopping. Until then, I’ve been playing around with my little guy and seeing how I can tinker with lighting, aperture, and the “f” function.  I’m not sure what the “f” function means, but I know when I fiddle with it things get either lighter or darker in a very cool way. My user manual is AWOL so I’m kind of figuring stuff out for myself, which is honestly the best because its keeping me from becoming technologically overwhelmed.  So, I’m more of less ditzy-dancing my way into the world of photography! This blog post was SUPER helpful, and anyone else looking into food photography should go there. Taking some sage advice from the blogger, the first thing I did was go out and buy some white plates to shoot my food on. It really does look a lot cleaner. When I move into my new place I’m going to buy a little end table that is for my food photography and food photography only and plant it right in front of the window. I’m starting to realize I need to start making my fun meals for lunch so I can utilize the natural light #foodbloggerproblems.

Some shots I’ve been playing around with

 

Write a book

Yup, I’m writing a yoga book for my Capstone project, which isn’t due till next spring, but it obviously takes a few months to write, edit, and photograph a book. I’m thinking ahead! It’s going to be about arm balances and inversions, because I like living life on the edge and upside down (can you sense a possible title brewing?) Next week I start figuring out what poses I want to feature, and I’m sure you readers will all be my guinea pigs!

Besides devoting more time to the blog, those are my three biggest priorities, and I imagine keeping the list short and sweet will make these hopes more obtainable. Plus, I honestly want the chance to kind of relax this summer. I’ve been busting butt for a year, and a little chill time would be much appreciated.

I’d love to hear everyone’s plans for the summer!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Beat the Bloat

Today we’re going to focus on healthy drinks.

So you have coconut water, water kefir, dairy kefir, kombucha, pure acai juice, fresh pressed vegetable juice, green smoothies, etcetera, etc. I’m not going to lie, I love the occasional kombucha, and I’m having a love affair with my juicer (sorry blender), but the real “super drink” you should be swallowing is much cheaper and easier to find. Yup, it’s good old water.

Water is absolutely amazing. It detoxes the body, makes your hair, nails and skin look fabulous, and nourishes cells. I mean, there is a reason you can go without food for weeks, but you cannot go without water for more than a few days. But, allow me to get off my soap box.  I admit drinking water can take some getting used to. Compared to all the fun flavored drinks we are surrounded by, water can seem a little ho-hum. So, I’m going to give everyone—ladies and gents—a purely vanity based reason to start chugging the clear stuff, because sometimes it’s the fear of looking bad that lights said fire under one’s cheekies.

Sick and tired of feeling bloated and paunchy? Ladies, want to see a defined waist that you are proud to swivel around at the beach in your itty-bitty, insanely overpriced bikini? Drink. Your. Water!

Okay, so bloating sucks, and before I started eating healthier I feel like I was in a constant state of bloat, carrying around a food baby that never seemed to go away. True, I think some of it had to do with the inflammation from eating all that wheat my body so greatly detested, but a lot of it had to do with eating really salty foods. Your body loves to retain salt. When you eat too much salt and not enough water you throw off a crucial balance. So, if you don’t drink enough water, when you do your body is going to grab onto it and not let it go! To counter that, despite seeming counterintuitive, drink more water! You’ll start flushing out toxins and sodium (hit the road bloat!) and your body won’t be so fearful (source).

Want proof? Okay, I have no photo evidence, so you’re just going to have to take my word for it: these past three days I’ve been drinking a lot of water and have slowly noticed my waist line moving in to create a mini-hour glass shape. This is good, because I have an insane aversion to sit-ups! Isn’t it amazing how simply drinking a little more water can cause such immediate effects?! The way you treat your insides will reflect on your outside. Lemme be blunt: eat like crap and you’re going to look like crap.

A refreshing morning pick-me-up

How does one take drinking water from being a healthy chore to a delicious, healthy chore? Easy, add some flavor! And I’m not taking about Crystal Light flavoring or that Mio junk. Think citrus. Go out and buy some lemons. Make four slices and pop it into a mason jar. The one I use is 24 ounces, so adjust accordingly. Add some filtered water and let it sit for about 10 minutes. By then you’ll have some lightly infused water that tastes great. Sip mindfully throughout the day. (I also know people who use limes or cucumbers, so try out different things!)

Check out this link for the amazing benefits of lemon water; I was truly shocked!

Things to watch out for:

Lemon water is acidic and can soften the enamel on your teeth. If this is something you think you’ll be doing on a regular basis, plunk down $2 on 100 straws and save your pearly whites. Also, don’t brush your teeth immediately afterward, because your teeth haven’t harden again. I think the benefits of drinking water this way far outweigh the cons, so just take the cheap, preventative measures.

It can be really tempting to jump on the food-rage bandwagon, and a lot of the drinks mentioned above do have great benefits. But sometimes we need to look for simplicity as we strive towards a healthier lifestyle!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Food Porn: The Best Kind of Porn

Lately I’ve been playing around with my camera. In my Food Gone Wild section I didn’t really give it enough credit. And then I started looking at reviews of it online, and I found out that for the size and price it’s a pretty impressive camera. I’ve been playing around with all the different aperture settings and making the best of the morning light. Here are some recent pictures that have been minimally edited.  I pray the kitchen in my next apartment has amazing lighting as well! I call this series, A Typical Morning– hehe

 

Recently I’ve been photographing a lot of citrus, because it looks so delicious with the right lightening. Well, eggs are also yellow (and delicious), so I thought I’d try my hand at shooting them as well. Look at that yolk! Shout out to Shadow Farms eggs for making me super happy every morning.

 

Greek Yogurt & Blueberries

As you can see, I go pretty heavy on the protein in the morning. Typically I have two eggs and a little cup of Greek yogurt with berries. For the weeks I buy my Udis gluten free toast, I would do eggs, a slice of bread, and a piece of fruit. Last night for dinner I wasn’t feeling very hungry, so I had a berry cup and a glass of red wine (pump up the antioxidants!) I couldn’t get through all the berries, so these were the leftovers. As you know, I’m a huge proponent of plain yogurt, be it Greek or regular, with fresh or frozen berries. That way you aren’t consuming the 20g-29g of sugar you would be getting with the fruit flavored kinds. Your waistline (or wherever you pack on the pounds) will thank you!

 

Breakfast of Champs!

 

Full Fridge.

For the first time since we signed our lease, Chris and I starved. Okay, I use the term starve lightly, of course (I’m not that first world insensitive…), but for someone who eats many mini meals a day, the one day of scrounging around for food was torture. Not to mention, I spent a lot of money buying three meals out. I was so excited to have a full fridge again! The lower section has essential been turned into my greens-for-juicing shelf! Those three kiwis are a little overripe, so I plan on making some kiwi sorbet. The smaller Mason jar is my green tea and lemon toner, which has been working phenomenally! The six pack of beer is actually cider. If you are gluten free (or a hater of beer, which everyone should be—yuck), cider is your best friend. As a Vermonter I was all about the locally made Woodchuck, but recently I’ve branched out to Angry Orchard. We like to stock the fridge with lots of produce!

 

Take some pictures of your food! If you are interested, leave a comment here or in my Food Gone Wild section and I’ll feature your pics with a link back to your blog!

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get in my belly!

I go through phases when it comes to my meat consumption. Some weeks I eat it often and with gusto; Some months I hardly touch it; Some nights I crave a nice bleeding steak; Some afternoons I desire the simplicity of squeezing fresh lemon juice over chicken and garnishing it with some pepper. Instead of feeling like I need to eat X-amount of meat meals a week (or limit myself) I simply listen to what my body needs. This past week my body needed something nourishing– and a tad bit sweet, I admit.  I knew exactly what to make: lemon and brown sugar chicken.  As someone who has fiddled around (usually unsuccessfully) with brown sugar and garlic chicken—can you say sticky, icky pans?—I enjoy the pre-determined amounts this recipe has to offer. And since it’s baked in the oven I don’t have to open all my windows and brandish a dish towel at a wall of smoke creeping its way toward the smoke alarm. I found that when I first started cooking, I thoroughly enjoyed the allure of sautéing items on the stove and dancing around the kitchen with flourish and ease, bouncing back and forth between four pots and pan. Perhaps this summer I will be drawn back to my multitasking roots. But it is the end of the semester and motivation and energy is running on fumes. Learn to love the timer on the oven. A bonus, oven baked chicken is always juicy and cooked to perfection.

 

30 Minute Lemon Brown Sugar Chicken- Recipe found on the blog: Eat, Live, Run

serves 4

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts

juice of two large lemons

1 T lemon zest

1 cup flour

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp sea salt

1.5 T canola oil

2 T brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350.

Using a meat mallet (or ice cream scoop), pound the chicken breasts thin. Set aside.

Combine the flour, paprika and sea salt in a cake or pie pan. Drop each chicken breast in the mixture and toss to coat completely.

Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet. Drop each chicken breast in the oil and brown on both sides (should take only about four minutes). Remove chicken breasts and keep warm on a plate.

Pour the lemon juice in the pan and stir to deglaze. Put chicken breasts in a casserole dish and pour juice on top. Sprinkle with brown sugar and lemon zest.

In they go!

Bake for thirty minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165.”

Don’t get freaked out by this recipe in case you are missing a few items. Feel free to use olive oil or coconut oil in place of canola. If you don’t have any paprika lying around then use chili powder (I had to the other night, and couldn’t tell the difference from the other times I’d made the recipe.) If you don’t have some of these spices, and aren’t entirely jazzed about having to buy a big jar of it, find the cheap spice section in your store. There is a Latin brand called Badia Spices and you can generally find it in the international section. This is a great option if you don’t live by a store with a bulk section. They sell packets of spices for under a dollar. These are great in a pinch if you want to try a recipe but don’t think you’ll need an entire jar of a particular ingredient. Of course, these aren’t the highest quality (source), but they aren’t terrible either. I bought some paprika for 88 cents and was able to use it for three different recipes.

If there is anything you absolutely need for this recipe it is a zester. I don’t know how I lived without one. You’re able to easily take the peel off without getting all the bitter pith, which will happen if you try to use a vegetable peeler. A cheap lemon juicer will also save you time. No longer will you have to pick out those pesky seeds! Oh yeah, use more lemon than you think! Once it hits the pan you need to deglaze Mario Super-Speedy Andretti style or the juice will evaporate. #beentheredonethat

Gluten free: If you cannot eat flour, have no fear. Just use an all purpose gluten free flour. Sadly, these mixes are kind of pricey. If the recipe calls for 2 cups of flour use a little less than 1 cup. Honestly, you don’t need to use it all. Waste not, want not.  I suppose this trick can be applied to regular flour users as well!

Test drive this recipe! Maybe it’ll be something you add to your dinner rotation.

Peel Away ❤

Jocellyn