Chicken Basil Meatloaf & Roasted Cauliflower

Next up on our trying out some new recipes was Chicken Basil Meatloaf.  I went to my new favorite go-to recipe source PaleOMG.  The recipe can be found here.  I did make some changes.  It calls for fresh parsley, but I had this amazing basil that my niece had grown in her garden, dried, and given me for Christmas.  So I used 1/3 of the amount that it called for.

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Recently dried basil

It also calls for parsley.  I didn’t have any….what?!  How is that possible?  I don’t know either, but that was the fact.  I looked around for what you can substitute.  Everything said parsley doesn’t add much taste, but didn’t give me an alternative.  So I did what I do best, I improvised.  I made an executive decision and added 1/2 tsp. of tarragon and 1/2 tsp of dill weed.  I think this was a good decision because while we all liked it fine, something still seemed lacking.  Now that may have been because I didn’t use fresh basil, but honestly I can’t imagine it having a heavier basil taste.  It also may have been because it was ground chicken and we all have this mindset of ground beef in a meatloaf. It did throw the boys off a little. The recipe does say that you can choose to use different meats instead.  I would probably make it again, but will tweak the recipe even more and then decide if it stays in our rotation.



I made roasted cauliflower with the meatloaf.  I had a partial head, probably 1/3 of one.  I put about 2 tbsp. of extra virgin olive oil into a bowl and put the cauliflower on top.  I sprinkled it liberally with salt and tossed.  I knew that I wanted something else for some flavor.  I looked through my spices and decided on sage.  I ended up using an 1/8 tsp of sage and the dark green color made me feel like that would be trouble and nobody would eat it.  I decided to add an 1/8 tsp of tumeric.  I try to add tumeric anywhere that I can sneak it in since the curcumin in it is an anti-inflammatory and so many western diseases are caused by inflammation.  I was still a little nervous about how it would go over.  I put it in the oven with the meatloaf at 375 F for about 25 minutes, watching for browning.  If I was cooking it alone, I would have done 400 F for 20 minutes.  Next time, I will mix the spices with the oil before tossing the cauliflower into it. Everybody loved it and I will make again.  I was so excited that my little experiment turned out so successfully. DSC_0950

Do you have a favorite place to find recipes or any recipes that have turned out better than expected?  I’d love to know!

Let your light shine!


Sweet Potato Meatloaf

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Sweet Potato Meatloaf

I’ve decided that maybe I’ll be Paleo-ish.  Yes, I like this term better.  You might remember that when I decided to go wheat-free, my husband decided to jump on my healthy bandwagon, but he prefers the paleo version of life.  Well, I cook the meals and while I am mostly trying to accommodate (sorry, but beans and rice and chili are my go-to easy meals in this house, and don’t qualify as paleo).  Tonight, I decided to once again try a PaleOMG recipe, savory sweet potato meatloaf.  The recipe can be found here.  I was a little nervous because it is a recipe that calls for raisins (yes, you read that right, raisins).

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Cooking up the bacon.  Oops!  I cooked it all instead of half.
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This is a bloated raisin.  Check out the recipe and you’ll know what I mean.

At first I thought I might leave them out, then I thought I’d put them in only 1 of the 2 loaves.  In the end, I just put it in both loaves (mostly because I was too lazy to separate them out!). I did mess up the recipe (I do that sometimes when I’m not sure on my first go round).  I cooked all the bacon and mixed it into the loaf, instead of half cooked and the other half layering the top.  Maybe it would have been prettier that way, but I don’t think it affected the overall recipe.  I served it with some spinach that I sauteed in the cast iron skillet that was still a little coated in bacon grease ( I am loving using my cast iron pan.  It was a wedding gift….so we’ve had it forever and I’ve used it more in the past year than in the 16 prior).

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Sauteed spinach

Everybody in the house loved it.  I eat mine with mustard, everyone else is a ketchup fan.  My daughter even had seconds. Which if you knew how limited her food selections were, you’d know that it was a rave review for this new recipe.

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Yum!  Definitely a hit!

Let your light shine!


Paleo…Round 2


Last night I made buffalo chicken casserole.  If you are looking for some good recipes you should check out Juli Bauer at Paleomg

This is what spaghetti squash looks like… spaghetti


She gives the recipe there in a sneak peek at her cookbook.  I’ll be honest, even though I’d heard of a spaghetti squash, I had no idea what one was before this meal.   The meal ended up with mixed reviews in the house.  My daughter didn’t try it (which I planned for ahead of time) because it was too spicy for her taste.  One son ate it because it was dinner and the other son liked it.  My boys did eat it as more of a dip style using Frito’s corn chips.  I tried it with the corn chips and it did change the taste, mostly by reducing the amount of heat in my mouth. My husband loved it, eating to his heart’s content.  It was definitely a meal that I would make again.

Real life at its finest.  I don’t have a shiny oven.

I had some of the leftovers for lunch today.  I melted shredded sharp cheddar cheese on the top.  Why? Because I’m total cheese addict!  But it was so good!

We are getting prepared for a big snow here in the Blue Ridge mountains.  School has already been cancelled for tomorrow so I will be practicing my yogic deep breathing to maintain my sanity!

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Oh, and this will help too!

Let your light shine!


Breakfast smoothie on the go

amy cold
My day started early taking my son to his mountain biking trail.  It was 14 degrees!!  I’m glad there was sunshine!

Most days for breakfast I am an eggs and bacon kind of girl.  Then there are the days that I have somewhere to be and need something quick.  I have a ninja blender and just throw the following ingredients into one of the single cups and blend away:

  • Ice
  • Almond milk (I use unsweetened vanilla)
  • 1 banana (I like to eat them with a little green on top, so this is a perfect use for them when they start to turn)
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed meal
  • 1 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 Tbsp almond butter
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Smoothie with ingredients
About 1 cup of ice, but they are mini cubes

I don’t actually measure the ice and almond milk, but it’s about 1 cup of the small ice cubes my fridge produces and 1/2-3/4 cup of almond milk, depending on how you like the consistency.  I add them in the order listed so that they don’t stick to the bottom.  The smoothie has some grainy texture due to the flaxseed and chia seed, but this doesn’t bother me and I think it tastes great!

I had to put my glasses to use somewhere now that I don’t drink beer!

Let your light shine!


To Paleo or not to Paleo, THAT is the question

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Looking forward to spring

When I moved out of Florida a little over 2 years ago, I had a hard time adjusting. It was a hard time adjusting on numerous fronts. I moved away from family, my father-in-law had recently passed away, my grandmother was dying, and it was cold. Like “my toes are turning blue, what is wrong with me” cold. There were some actual health issues, but looking back there was also a healthy dose of depression. The library has always been my solace, so I spent lots of time reading. I decided that I wanted to try going gluten-free. I spent 9 months of not eating gluten, mostly with a focus on cutting out wheat. Then, as sometimes happens, I started eating wheat again. I ate wheat for the next 10 months. I saw a jump in my triglycerides and vLDL and then decided getting rid of wheat was something I wanted to do as part of my healthy changes. I have been wheat free since October.

Our first winter in Virginia.  Quite different than Florida!

My husband has seen the changes that going wheat free has made in my life. He started researching some diets and decided that going Paleo would be the best for him. This creates a dilemma for me. I make the dinners in the house. I have to decide if I want to be Paleo. I’ve done some reading on it and can agree with the clean eating concept. The place that I struggle is no grains, beans, legumes and dairy. I like these things, all except milk. I don’t do well with milk and hate the taste of it so that one is not a problem. I do, however, love cheese. Some of our go-to meals include beans. I like to eat peanut butter. Am I willing to give these up? I’m not sure.

Wasn’t it enough that I gave up beer?!

The fact that my husband wants to focus on his health makes me want to accommodate. I checked out a ton of recipe books from the library. I like that some of them talk about the fact that they eat cheese, or drink wine, or eat chocolate. I never want to be on a “diet”. I don’t like measuring what I eat. I don’t want to put my own body image issues onto my children. They have enough of that in the constant barrage from the media. That is not to say that measuring, etc. doesn’t work for some people. It just isn’t my thing. I’ve tried it and I don’t like it.

Library visit!  Deliciously Ella is a plant based gluten free recipe book; the others are paleo.

Friday night, I made my first official Paleo meal. I made the recipe for super simple oven chicken fajitas, tortillas, and cauliflower rice. I served my kids on regular flour tortillas since I am slowly shifting them to healthier choices. It was a bigger hit than I expected. Everyone liked it. If you have more than one kid, then you might know that this is a next to impossible occurrence. Next up is trying the buffalo chicken casserole. So while I’m not completely sold on Paleo, I will be continuing to research it and try out new recipes.

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Before it went in the oven.  No after pictures because my timeline was behind and everyone was starving!

Let your light shine!