LUNCH | DINNER: Gluten-free bread-less “breaded” Chicken Strips & Sweet-Potato Fries

My Kindergartner has been a trouper coming off of gluten, sugar, dairy, and corn. I didn’t realize how much he relied on foods that had a higher insulin response until I changed what we ate. So I made tonight’s dinner with my littles in mind. As I stared at my chicken thawing out on the counter I wondered, “What should I do with this chicken tonight?” And then I thought, something “breaded” but not breaded as a treat for the kids.

Tip: When I make almond milk, I take the left over almond bits and dry them on a sheet rack on a piece of parchment paper for several days. When the almond bits are good and dry, I run them thru my Cuisanart to make “flour” out of my almonds and then I store it in an airtight container for such an occasion as this. I share all that, not to burden you with more tasks, but to help you realize how when you make almond milk, you can also use the bits that are not utilized in almond milk for other things — like this great lunch or dinner! If you are short on time, a package of almond flour works perfectly fine, too!

Gluten-Free Chicken Strips

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I like to cut the chicken into strips when it is still slightly frozen in the center. It holds it shape and you just slice right thru it easy peasy. Try and cut your chicken fingers into equally-sized strips so they will cook uniformly. The sweet potato fries were from the freezer section at our grocery store and took about the same time it took to cook the chicken strips. If you don’t want your chicken strips a yellow-tinge, just skip the tumeric in your coating mix. I added it, because I like to sneak in beneficial herbs, spices (and even some iodine with the kelp) where possible. Every little bit helps as you change your life for the better, one bite at a time.

— Erin

PS: Here’s my son’s seal of approval …

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Gluten Free Breaded-but-without-bread Chicken Strips

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Difficulty: easy
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PCOSbites
Gluten-Free Chicken Strips

INGREDIENTS:
Coating Mix:
• 2 c almond flour
• 1 c. grated Parmesan Cheese
• 1 TBSP garlic powder
• 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
• 1 tsp pepper
• 1 tsp salt
• 1 TBSP kelp granules
• 1 tsp thyme
• 1/2 tsp turmeric (optional)
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 TBSP ground flax
• 2 TBSP freshly chopped parsley


 

Note: If you want to make this dairy-free, just skip the parmesan cheese and add a 1/2 cup of almond flour.


 

Main Ingredient:
• 7 pcs Chicken breasts, skinless (frozen)

Egg Bath:
• 2 Eggs

Other kitchen tools:
• Bowl for egg bath
• Larger bowl for coating mix
• Cookie sheet
• Parchment baking paper
• Tongs

DIRECTIONS:
1. You’ll want to cut your chicken into strips when it is thawed on the outside and still slightly frozen (not rock solid but partly thawed) in the center. It will cut easily and clean thru. Try and keep pieces uniform in size so that they cook at equal rates.

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2. Take 2 eggs and whip them in a bowl and set aside.

3. In another larger bowl, combine all the ingredients for the coating mix and combine well with a whisk until everything looks incorporated.

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4. Finally, take your cooking sheet and line it with parchment paper.

5. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

6. Create an assembly line order, left to right, with your chicken strips near your egg bath. Your coating mix next to the egg bath. And finally, your cookie sheet lined with parchment paper next to the coating mix.

7. Using a set on tongs, pick up several strips of cut raw chicken and put them into the egg bath. One-by-one, coat each piece of raw chicken with raw egg and transfer into the coating mix. Coat entire strip of chicken and using the tongs, transfer the coated chicken to the cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Continue process, leaving space between each chicken finger until cookie sheet is full.
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8. Place in heated oven and set timer for 20-25 minutes or until fully cooked.

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9. Remove from heat and serve with your choice of sides (like sweet potato fries).

 

This recipe is refined-sugar free, gluten-free, and corn-free.

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Lunch: Taco Salad with Quinoa and Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Today’s lunch is Taco Salad!!! 👏

Tale extra 90/10 lean ground beef from hamburgers the night before, chop into bite-size pieces and tossed with some cumin, chili pepper and paprika (spices 2:1:1 ratio). Take kale/spinach/chard/carrot medley mix (Sams Club) and chop up and toss with a spicy ranch dressing along with feta and red and yellow bell peppers.

Tip #1: Always make extra when you are grilling meat. It makes it easy for lunch the next day to pull out and reheat.

Tip #2: You don’t use as much dressing if you toss your salad.

 

Place some left over quinoa and red pepper hummus (Sams Club) in two sides of your bowl and take bites along with salad as a mix in. It makes the salad more enjoyable to introduce new flavors between bites. Don’t forget to rinse your palate with your lemon and organic apple cider vinegar water! The citric acid in the water not only has health benefits, but will enhance the taste of what you’re eating!

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So filling and tasty!

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This recipe is refined-sugar free, gluten-free, corn-free, and low in lactose.

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#salad #tacosalad #paleo #thm #pcosbites #pcos #pcosdiet #pcostips #pcoslunches #quinoa #hummus #healthyeating #healthylife #eatingclean #eatinghealthy #pcosdiva #cysters #keto #ketogenic #ketogenicdiet

Snack: Life Changing Gluten-Free Crackers and Blueberry Goat Cheese

Adding some seeds to what you eat daily is a great way to get good natural fats into your diet to aid in going into ketosis (fat burning). Limit yourself to 2-3 of these a day at most, but you’ll enjoy the bread-like texture without all the gluten.

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In your grocery store cheese case, many carry a blueberry wrapped goat cheese option. If not, be sure to ask your grocer to carry. Blueberries are a rich source of nutrition and they are great at decreasing the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease while helping the body maintain healthy complexion and hair, increased energy, and overall lower weight. Every tiny bit helps, right! Add a side bowl of frozen blueberries to your snack and you’ll feel happy, happy, happy!

Also, going dairy-free is part of the PCOS way and mainly this is because of lactose and the way lactose creates an insulin response in the body. Goat Cheese is lower in lactose and is something a Blood Type O person can eat as a healthy option as well.

Life Changing Gluten Free Crackers with Blueberry Goat Cheese

If my kids will eat this, that means, you can eat it, right?! 🙂 Remember, one change a day, making better choices one bite at a time.

— Erin

This recipe is refined-sugar free, gluten-free, corn-free, and low in lactose.

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EAT THIS INSTEAD OF THIS: See why you should say no to the one on the right…

I grew up eating spoon full of peanut butter out of the jar as a quick after school snack. Check out the following graphic to see why you should replace almond butter in your pantry. One change a day, one bite at a time makes a difference!

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DINNER: Italian Chicken, Roasted Beets, & Kale-Spinach-Swiss Chard Salad Medley

Today I did a Sam’s run and was thrilled to find that they were carrying a great Kale-Spinach-Swiss Chard-Carrot Medley Salad Mix. It made it a snap to toss this with some of the Pomegranate Chia Seed Dressing I purchased from Sams on my last trip along with some Pine Nuts and Feta cheese.

I also purchased a big ol’ bag of pretty yellow lemons and was itching to use them. So, decided to pair them with some chicken I had taken out earlier in the day to thaw out.

Tip: Fresh lemons are a great staple to have on hand. Not only do they make your copper shine, but squeeze a section of lemon into your ice water and you’ll help your liver flush out toxins and aid your body in digestion (not to mention get some Vitamin C.)

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To keep the chicken from sticking to the skillet, I added some bacon grease to the pan as I turned on the heat and before I started to add any seasonings. From there, I added some fresh rosemary from the garden (this smells heavenly I might add y’all), and about 5-6 spoon full of minced garlic, freshly ground Himalayan salt, pepper, and squeezed lemon juice on top and added a slice of lemon to rest on the chicken while it cooked in the skillet under a aluminum foil canopy. I allowed this to cook at medium heat until the chicken breasts reached 165 degrees – 175 degrees internal temp.

A money-saving tip on buying chicken: Check out the freezer section at Sams or Costco and you’ll find it cheaper.

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While the chicken was cooking away on the stop top, I added my sliced beets to the oven, lightly drizzled with some canola oil and salted it. I had some rosemary left over from the chicken so threw some on the beets, too. Why not?! 😉 The beets cooked at 350 degrees F. for about the same length of time as the chicken.

Did you know? Buy your beets with their leaves on them. Beet leaves are chock full of nutrients that you can chop up and add to your salad mix. As for the actual beetroot — it has a glycemic load of only 5, which is very low. Studies have shown that beetroots, or beetroot juice, can reduce blood pressure by up to 3-10 mm/Hg over a period of a few hours (21232425).

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The plating went fast. Just scooped up each chicken breast after checking that all were cooked completely, scooped up some beets, and some salad and — BOOM! Dinner served. My teenage boys ate it all up. They must have been hungry, because they raved at how good it was. My six year old ate everything, too except for the beets. And my three year old daughter only went for the chicken and a little bit of salad. She didn’t want to touch those beets.

Tip: Make extra beets and you can eat your broiled beets the next day on top of your salad. Yum!

Insert recipe here.

Italian Chicken

  • Servings: 5-7
  • Difficulty: easy
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INGREDIENTS:
• 5-7 skinless Chicken Breasts
• bacon fat (for skillet)
• 5-7 TBSP Garlic, minced
• 4-5 sprigs of Rosemary Leaves
• freshly ground Pink Himalayan Salt
• freshly ground Pepper
• Lemon Juice (enough to squeeze over each chicken breast)
• sliced Lemons (enough for each chicken breast)

Other things you will need:
• Aluminum Foil
• Large black skillet
• Tongs to remove from skillet
• Heat-resistant spoon to scoop seasonings from pan onto top of chicken as it cooks
• Meat thermometer to test internal temp of chicken for doneness

INSRUCTIONS:
1. Heat your skillet up on medium heat. Add bacon fat to the bottom of the skillet.
2. Add rosemary leaves (fresh), garlic (I use minced garlic from a jar and just store it in the fridge)
3. Add your chicken breasts.
4. Squeeze lemon juice over top of chicken and salt all chicken breasts. Place a lemon slice on top of each chicken breast.
5. Using aluminum foil, create a tent to allow the chicken to cook and to retain moisture in chicken.
6. Every so often, check the chicken for doneness and scoop up some of the seasonings and drizzle on top of each chicken breast. Replace aluminum foil tent until the internal temp reaches 165 -175 degrees.
7. Serve with roasted beets and salad medley or your choice of sides.

This recipe is refined-sugar free, gluten-free, corn-free, and lactose-free.

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How I got off gluten with the help of “Life Changing Crackers”

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I had read on many a PCOS group that gluten was not beneficial to those who struggled with PCOS. I would read that and say to myself, “Sure — that might be the case for you, but not me. I’m just fine eating gluten.” Why would I say this knowing that others with the same struggles were nearly screaming the need to get off of gluten?

Y’all, I come from a looooooooong line of wheat farmers. I even own land that produces WHEAT! Every summer, my family would help bring in the wheat harvest. Some of my favorite memories of those hot summers included riding in the dusty cab with my mom in the wheat truck and the times where she would let me crawl into the back of the wheat truck and play in the wheat with my brother while we waited for a wheat combine harvester to be full. (In fact, if you want to learn more about how wheat is harvested, you can check out this video which some might find interesting…) So, you can imagine why I was in denial thinking that even though my PCOS was flaring with cystic breakouts, weight gain, and hair loss, I thought that I only needed to get off of dairy and that would help. Can you say denial? That was me. Fully, 100 percent denial.

A little bit about my struggle with PCOS

I had come to the point where my joints hurt so bad, it was excruciatingly painful to walk the 15 paces from my bed to my bathroom each morning. I would grip the end of my bed frame, using it as a sort of crutch to help stabilize me and aid me in walking four paces as the pain shot up throughout my body. It got so bad, that my feet even began to hurt. I would comment to my husband about the pain and he wondered if I might have broken something in my feet – perhaps fissures. (Looking back, it was a major flare up for gout — I learned of this after reviewing my blood test results.)  So, every morning, after I fought thru the initial getting-out-of-bed pain, I would grab some Ibuprofen (thinking this would help my inflammation and reduce the pain). I would pop three of these pain pills in my mouth (not realizing this was hard on my liver and adding harmful metals to my body) along with two allergy pills and all my daily vitamins. Then, I would make my way to my chair where I would sit until the pain subsided as I sipped on tea (I use to sit and sip coffee before I got off caffeine) at least enough for me to get up and do a few things. I would avoid stairs. I would avoid getting up and ask for my kids to run and get me things. This. Was. Not. Living.

I felt horrible. And it just wasn’t a week or so of this, it was month after month. (And I write this not for you to have pity, but simply as a reminder to myself just how far I’ve come.) After fighting off three bad rounds of illness and feeling like I was constantly getting sick from November to February and tired of the pain, my frustration level with my health hit an all time high and I finally made an appointment with a naturopathic doctor my friend and recommended and it took her testing me and me seeing the results for me to come to terms that I was not only lactose intolerant, but intolerant to gluten, corn, and even rice. My doctor put me on the Blood Type Diet and gave me a list of foods that were beneficial and those to avoid based on how the lectins in each food interacted in my body based on blood type. She also adjusted my vitamins and helped me with a plan on when to take these nutrients throughout the day.

How I came across this recipe

I remember coming home that day and knowing that in order to make this transition and survive, I needed something that would resemble bread to me. I needed something to replace what I was taking away. I knew if I could find at least one thing, I could make it work in the short term. So I hopped onto Pinterest and began to deep dive into research mode, hoping to find something that would work for me. By the grace of God, I came across a post that featured a recipe that intrigued me on mynewroots.org and when I began poking around on her web site and looking at her recipes, my eye was drawn to her “Life Changing Cracker” recipe.  My eyes quickly scanned the ingredients. For the most part, I could have everything in it! Eureka! I found my bread replacement! I needed only to swap out the sunflower seeds (I chose to chop up some pecans) and instead of dividing the dough into two different kinds of crackers like she recommends, I added a mix of the two different cracker ingredients and loved the outcome.

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Did my tribe go for these “Life Changing Crackers”?

My husband, who is diabetic, really likes these Life Changing Crackers as a snack. We take some goat cheese and/or some sun-dried tomato spread and 2-3 crackers would hold us over until meal time and it truly does satisfy. They are tasty with a dried fig on the side, too if we are craving something sweet. What’s more, my kids like them. This is huge! My kids are some of the biggest food critics out there and if they eat it, that says something to y’all! We even like smoothing some almond butter on it if we were missing peanut butter (yes, that was on the avoid list as well.)

Great for on “the go” or as a snack

I make a batch once a week (sometimes a double-batch because I have a crew of seven to feed). I keep them in a Zip-lock gallon size bag in the fridge and the kids know they can go to this as a snack resource (and that they should only eat a few). These also are a great grab and go item if you know you’ll be out and about running errands. They will be a life-saver if you find your blood sugar levels crashing (you often feel nausea if you’re pre-diabetic or diabetic when this happens.) I sent a bag of these with my hubby when he took the boys out fishing and it (along with a few other healthy snacks) helped him manage his blood sugar levels throughout the day until they had a meal.

Here’s how I made them (a few changes from her recipe):

Life Changing Crackers Recipe created by Sarah Britton BFA, CNP and of mynewroots.org

  • Servings: 2 baking sheets of crispbread
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:
• 1 cup pecans, diced into small bits
• ½ cup flax seeds
• 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
• ¼ cup sesame seeds
• 1 ½ cups rolled oats
• 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
• 4 Tbsp. psyllium seed husks powder
• 1 ½ tsp. fine grain sea salt
• 1 Tbsp. maple syrup (for sugar-free diets, use a pinch of stevia)
• 3 Tbsp. melted ghee
• 1 ½ cups water
• 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
• ¼ tsp. garlic powder (depending on how strong you like it)
• 6 large dried figs (approx. 140g), diced
• 1 tsp. anise seed
• 1 tsp. cracked black pepper

Directions:
1. In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients, stirring well. Whisk maple syrup, oil and water together in a measuring cup. Add this to the dry ingredients and mix very well until everything is completely soaked and dough becomes very thick (if the dough is too thick to stir, add one or two teaspoons of water until the dough is manageable). Divide the dough roughly in half, and set aside one half.

2. Place one half of the dough back into the bowl and add any flavouring you like. Gather into a ball and place it between two sheets of baking paper. Using a rolling pin, firmly roll out into a thin sheet. Remove top layer of baking paper and using the tip of a knife, score the dough into shapes you like (I chose large rectangles but it’s up to you). Repeat with remaining half of dough. Let sit out on the counter for at least 2 hours, or all day or overnight.

3. She recommends setting your oven to 350°F and and baking for 20 minutes and flipping the dough on the cookie sheet (peel the baking paper off of the back and remove before placing back into the oven) and baking for another 10 minutes. Mine always came out a little chewy this way, so I found to make it more crisp (without burning them) if I set my oven to 270°F, and baked for 30 minutes one side, then remove cookie sheet from oven, flip the whole cracker over and return to oven to bake for another 20 minutes, until fully dry, crisp, and golden around the edges.

4. Let cool completely, then break crackers along their scored lines and store in an airtight container for up to 3 weeks.

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Coming across this recipe was truly a boost in my faith and gave me the tools I needed to take a monumental step in saying goodbye to gluten as I sought to change my life. She did not stretch the truth when she named these crackers.

— Erin
PS: The wheat farmer’s granddaughter (that would be me) is gluten-free. And as a wheat grower, I may be looking into growing canola instead. Stay tuned on that one. 😉

How Kelp can Help

When I read that kelp was highly beneficial for my body as a great source of iodine, I was a bit dumbstruck. How on earth was I going to get kelp into my diet? Sushi was off the list because of rice, and I knew that I did NOT want to take another pill. So online I went in search of an easy win. And this is what I came up with …

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I have found it’s easy to add to scrambled eggs, on top of a salad – you name it! You can’t notice the flavor at all which is a win for me after I had tried one of those kelp “snacks” which was just a flavored sheet of kelp.

I’m following the Blood Type eating plan, but many of these foods can be beneficial for those looking to eat better. The Blood Type eating plan focuses on limiting foods where the lectins in the foods react like poison, if you will, within your body. All plants have lectins in them to help protect them against predators. It’s not just insects, birds, and animals that can be influenced by these lectins in plants, but also our bodies. And, research has shown that each blood type reacts differently to different lectins in foods. The lectins can do several harmful things within your body. It can settle in an area and act like a glue. It can also act like the hormone, insulin and let in glucose to fuel the cell, but unlike the insulin, it won’t release and so the cell just continues to fill. If you want to learn more, you can watch this short video that helped me to understand what happens within our bodies with lectins. I was really skeptical when I first started eliminating foods that were on my “do not eat” list because of how the lectins in them reacted with my blood, but I can tell you that after only two weeks of eating according to this food plan, MY JOINT PAIN WAS GONE!  I’m now thinking there is something to this after personally experiencing more energy and no more chronic pain. So, if you have O+ blood type you’ll definitely want to add kelp to your diet as it is highly beneficial (it will help your body heal).

Update: I also found this dropper of kelp that you can add to your water or other liquids while cooking. I just add a dropper to my morning and afternoon water and I don’t even taste it! Awesome!

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