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Creamy Artichoke Basil Chicken Spaghetti (Squash)

5 Oct

Necessity is the mother of creation, isn’t that what they say? Chefs often say their favorite meals are the ones they whip up after a long shift from whatever ingredients are left in the kitchen. I’d like to pretend I’m always prepared– I try to keep a well-stocked pantry, I’m always flagging recipes in magazines or on Pinterest, and I go to the grocery store way too often. But sometimes I’m caught without a plan. More often than not I get into the kitchen and I improvise.

A few weeks later my boyfriend will say something like “Can you make those lamb chops again?” and I’ll have to admit that I really can’t because I only kinda sorta remember what I put on that lamb that one time.

So I’m very proud of myself this time. I created a recipe…and I wrote it down! Granted, this recipe had a little more brainstorming behind it. You see, on Monday I took advantage of the Whole Foods $6 rotisserie chicken special and bought two chickens. I figured my boyfriend could pretty much eat an entire one on his own (he really almost did!), but that still left plenty of chicken behind. What to do with all that chicken?

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I crafted this recipe in my head throughout the day as I ran around town doing errands. Most of the ingredients were things I already had on hand in my pantry. There were just a couple things I wanted and I swung by the store on my way home to pick up the last few essentials to what I hope would be a delicious dinner.

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Sometimes I get a little nervous serving meals like this to boyfriend. He always devours and praises the food I cook for him, but he recently admitted that his favorite food is pasta…which I obviously never cook for him! So when I present him with a plate of spaghetti squash with a dairy-free “cream” sauce, I worry a bit.

There was no need this time. This Creamy Artichoke Basil Chicken Spaghetti Squash was a bowl of warm, comforting, hearty and delicious food that we both gobbled up. Good thing I wrote down that recipe, because I’ll be wanting to make this again soon!

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Harvest Spice Apple Squash Muffins

2 Oct

Fall hit us with full force here in Portland. We were caught off-guard, blissfully sedated by the endless days of hot, cloudless weather we’d had for the past few months. One day it was 90°, our windows were thrown open and we had the fans going, then WHAM, it dropped down to 55°, the clouds barreled in and threw a stormy surprise in our faces. We quickly slammed our windows shut, threw the heavy comforters back on our beds, and put pants on for the first time since July.

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Welcome to fall!

“Don’t you love fall, though?” my hairdresser asked as she colored my locks an autumn-appropriate auburn red. “Yes, I do.” She knows me better than I thought. I love the crisp air, the smell of all the leaves on the ground, the excuse to bake and drink copious amounts of tea and cocoa. I love scarves and cozy sweaters and earth tones. I love boots.

I’ve created a plethora of fall-inspired treats over the years, chock full of pumpkin and pears, apples and cinnamon. But they’re not paleo! This needs to change, and change fast, as fall is most certainly upon us!

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The original version of these Harvest Spice Apple Squash Muffins appeared on my old blog exactly 2 years ago. I loved those spiced muffins so much, I actually developed this paleo version last year, but never shared it with the world. I gifted my mom with the recipe in her birthday card, however, and she adores them (right Mom?). I’m pretty sure she usually substitutes pumpkin for the butternut squash, so that’s definitely an option if pumpkin is what you have on hand. Try to find butternut if you can, though! Give the other squashes a chance!

These little muffins are a perfect taste of fall. Warm spices, tart apple, tender squash. And what a pretty orange hue!

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Nut Butter Cups with Fleur de Sel

5 Aug

Last week was a little rough. I went into work after the weekend and the cravings hit hard. I’m usually good at saying no, but when my boss crafted a new cupcake stuffed with pecans and coconut, the whole thing dipped in glistening chocolate glaze…oh man was I struggling. Usually I come to work armed with an arsenal of alternative treats for myself. I’ve even been known to check out our daily menu to bring, say, coconut chips if we’re making coconut cupcakes, or maybe lavender dark chocolate if we’re making lavender cupcakes. Even so, sometimes you just want something naughty, and I may have snuck one taste of the aforementioned cupcake.

And life will go on. But I’m coming to work this week with a truly decadent treat that will make it easy to say no to any temptation.

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These adorable Nut Butter Cups were fun to make, albeit messy. No one should ever complain about having to lick chocolate off their fingers though, right? Or off the spoon…the bowl…and those drips on the counter. These little cups are easy to put together, though they take a little patience as you wait for the chocolate to set. It’s worth every minute. Rich chocolate, creamy filling, and just a hint of salt make these the perfect two-bite treat to satisfy any craving.

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I used Nikki’s Coconut Butter in the Macadamia Nut Cookie flavor for these cups. I bought the sampler pack awhile back and needed another way to use these delicious nut butters other than eating them straight from the jar! You can use any nutter butter you have on hand, though I recommend ordering from Nikki’s and trying out one (or all) of the decadent flavors (Midnight Mocha and Honey Pecan Pie are my favorites). I also love Justin’s almond butters, and I think the chocolate almond would be especially good! I have a feeling this batch won’t last long and I’ll be making more of these cups with all the nut butters in my stockpile soon.

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Toasted Sesame Coconut Cookies

29 Jul

Did you read my intro post? Good. Then you know I spend my days working in a bakery, making absolutely scrumptious pastries that I do my best to avoid eating. When a broken cookie or a slightly-smashed cupcake is staring at me from the end of the counter, it’s hard to look it in the eye and say “NO!”, but I’ve spent the last year strengthening my willpower. However, some treats are harder to resist than others. I have my favorites that give me a particularly devilish stare. One of those is the cupcake we recently developed based on those sesame seed balls stuffed with sweetened coconut found at Asian restaurants. Something about the pop and crunch of those little sesame seeds…the buttery nuttiness of toasting them…oh my!

When this delectable sesame cupcake appeared on the menu a couple weeks back, and I didn’t sneak one single bite, I knew I had to reward myself with a sesame-laden paleo treat when I got home.

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These Toasted Sesame Coconut Cookies are wonderfully chewy, delightfully nutty, and perfectly sweet. I brought them along to girls night with my coworkers and this honest group of taste-testers loved them. The leftovers were apparently eaten for breakfast…

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