Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce

Wow, it has been a while! But then again, I told you that it would be. I have been busy trying to get my side business off the ground – so busy, in fact, that I am taking a little break from it to try to clear my head. It has been very great and very rewarding so far!

Luckily, throughout all the craziness, my Paleo lifestyle has remained intact. I always say that this is the easiest “diet” to stick to! It does have its moments, though. I went to my conference last month and did pretty well, except for lunch. I made the best choices that I could – the best choice probably would have been to bring something to have, but I decided not to go that far. It affected me a little bit, and before I was even over the effects of that, I made a couple of really poor choices at Red Robin when I was there for my teenager’s cast party for their production of Romeo and Juliet. I have just in the last 12 hours gotten over that, and that was two weeks ago! I should really know better – I have been an emotional wreck for these last three weeks (when you count the aftermath of the conference). I seriously think that if I ever stopped eating Paleo, the people around me would have something to say about it, simply because I am so crazy when I make the wrong choices.

My teenager seems to agree with me on that front. While she was doing the play, she had a hard time staying Paleo. She told me that she couldn’t wait until the play was over so that she could start eating better. She said that she felt less stressed and less emotional when she was eating Paleo, and she always seemed to be happy. Who would have thought that bread and grains, which are said to release serotonin when you eat them, could have such a negative effect on your mood?

She turned her grandparents on to Paleo when she stayed with them over the summer, and her grandmother went to Costco and bought me a huge supply of extra virgin, organic coconut oil. It has definitely been a change from the cheap stuff that I have been getting because it has a more coconut-y  aroma and flavor. It has taken some getting used to, but it is heavenly. I may have to get a membership to Costco to get some more, because I haven’t seen anything like that at Sam’s.

One of the reasons why I bring up the coconut oil is because it is a key element of this recipe. If you are using the cheap stuff, then you have nothing to worry about. Usually mushroom cream sauce is made with butter and heavy cream, and I have made it many, many times. My fiance loves the stuff. I thought I was out of luck until a lightbulb went off in my head this past week and I realized that I could use coconut oil and coconut milk. However, since I am using really good coconut oil, the mushroom cream sauce comes out tasting a little coconut-y. Not a problem for me, the coconut freak. But some people may be turned off by it. So keep that in mind.

Another thing to keep in mind: I do not know how long to tell you to cook the sauce. When cooking it, the oil and milk will start to meld, and then it will condense and get a little thicker. Beyond that point, the oil and the milk begin to separate again and it actually starts to look quite nasty. I have kind of figured out where that line is, but I can’t give you a set amount of time before that happens. I had to learn about that as I went.

Chicken with Mushroom Cream Sauce

4 or 6 chicken breasts

1/4 cup coconut oil

2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms

1/2 cup coconut milk

 

Melt the coconut oil over medium heat and then cook the chicken breasts in the oil until they are tender and there is no longer any pink. Make sure you turn them occasionally so that they will brown on both sides.

When the chicken is done cooking, take them out of the pan and add the mushrooms to the remaining oil. Cook and stir them for a few minutes (the longer you cook them, the more mushroom flavor your sauce will have). After the mushrooms are soft, stir in the coconut milk and boil, stirring to mix the brown bits off of the bottom of the skillet. Boil for about three minutes, until thickened. Spoon (or pour!) the sauce and mushrooms over the chicken and enjoy!

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Coconut Heaven

Coconut (halved)

Coconut (halved) (Photo credit: SingChan)

I must confess – this last month has seen me become very obsessed with coconut. I don’t just mean coconuts themselves (although I’m sure they are great – just a little hard to crack into!), but everything that has to do with coconut.

It started out simply enough. When I began my Paleo journey, I realized that the easiest and most economical oil for me to cook with was going to be coconut oil. Ever since that realization, I have only used coconut oil to fry or saute, and olive oil for other things.

Then I met coconut butter, and I began my obsession with that. I made a few batches of that to eat when I get hungry at work, but I got sick of it pretty quickly.

Now my latest obsession is coconut milk. When I first began Paleo, I tried to drink my coffee with the So Delicious unsweetened coconut milk, but I couldn’t stand the stuff. I had thought that anything was better than drinking my coffee black, but I was wrong. I drink it black every day now with no problem whatsoever. I also made a realization about coconut milk: if it doesn’t have the fat in it, it just isn’t as good. I get the canned coconut milk now, which I usually find in the international food section of the grocery store. I try to get the brand that has the least amount of ingredients in it. I have taken to making all kinds of smoothies with coconut milk. My favorite right now is strawberry and almond butter. I just pour a can of coconut milk into the blender, add plenty of strawberries, a few tablespoons of almond butter, and some unsweetened coconut flakes (coconut flakes work as a thickener, I have found). I got very excited today when I realized that peach season is right around the corner. I have been waiting rather impatiently for peach season for about a month now, but I forgot all about it recently with everything that I have going on. I can’t wait to make my first peach smoothie! I have also made a rather delicious smoothie with coconut milk, coffee, hazelnut flour, and coconut flakes. The first one of these that I made was really good, but I made one last week that wasn’t as great. I don’t think I used enough coffee.

Oddly enough, the only coconut product that I haven’t really cared for is coconut water. I bought a single-serving pack of coconut water at EarthFare when I went to buy some coconut one time, and I found it to be quite nasty. However, I am probably going to give it another shot sometime soon because I hadn’t refrigerated it first. I have heard, through my dabbling in CrossFit, that coconut water is supposed to be an awesome after-workout drink. That would be great for me right now. I went to the gym last Tuesday and did my workout, including my squats, and I was so worn out on Wednesday that I refused to go to the gym on Thursday because I didn’t want to be worn out on Friday. I wonder if drinking coconut water after my workout will help with that. I will have to conduct an experiment based on that question soon.

Yes, I’m Still Alive!

And I’m still eating Paleo, too. My life has totally exploded in stressfulness in the last month, which is why I have not posted. I felt like I needed to tonight, though, because my stress is close to over and I want to get back to the stuff that makes me happy.

One of those things is the Paleo lifestyle. I have done so much experimenting throughout the month with different things, from only eating when I am hungry (something that has fallen apart in the past two weeks as my stress level has gotten really high) to making coconut milk shakes to get some fat in my diet. I made a shake the other day with coconut milk, coffee, ground hazelnuts, and shredded coconut. OMG YUM! The coffee really brought out the coconut flavor of the milk and it was the best shake I have made. My other favorite is strawberries and almond butter in coconut milk with shredded coconut. Put all that in the blender and drink it. Makes my day every time. I usually add the coconut because it tends to make the shake thicker.

I have found myself talking about the Paleo lifestyle to everyone! Just today I was at the house of a couple who has a daughter the same age as my youngest; they had invited us to take part in an Easter egg hunt. They also invited a few other families, and right before I left I found myself in a conversation with a woman who I think has seriously tried every diet pill out there. I’ve never been into all that because those things can mess you up – and she even talked about experiencing heart palpitations with some pills that she had used to lose a lot of weight. Of course, she’s gained it back now, and she said that she would look into it. The hostess made a comment about how diets seem too good to be true and most people gain the weight back after they go off of the diet. I took that opportunity to let them know about all of the benefits that I have seen: great energy level, awesome sleep at night, yummy food, and of course the weight loss doesn’t hurt anything.

Whether or not these people, or anyone at work that I’ve raved about the diet to, or anyone else, does anything about the information that I give them is irrelevant to me for the most part. I think one of the reasons for that is because just about everyone says, “But I can’t do that! I can’t give up bread or pasta!” And every time I hear that I know that the time isn’t right for them. But every time I talk to someone I marvel at my own excitement about what I am doing for my health, and I think about how wonderful it is going to be when I finally finish out this semester and have some time to start working out again, too. And these people will see what is going on with me and will remember what I said, and maybe it will start them on their own journey to good health.

So tonight I revamped the 5-spice rib recipe. I didn’t like the ribs cooked in the slow cooker, but I love them when they are cooked, covered, in the oven. So I put the rub on the ribs just like last time, put them in a baking dish, added the coconut aminos and rice vinegar, covered them with foil, and cooked them at 350 for two hours. Then I made up some cauliflower asian fried rice and served them, with baited breath, to my fiance. He loved them. Last time I made the ribs, they weren’t all that impressive – even now I’m wondering how to get the spice flavor to come out a little more – but he really wasn’t all that thrilled about the bok choy that I fixed to go with it. He went on and on about how much he liked these ribs and the cauliflower fried rice. Great for me, because I was a little worried about how the fried rice would be received. He even said that we need to make it a regular dish!

So that’s where we’re at for now. If I don’t show up for a while, don’t fret – I have about a month left of school and then I can focus my energy on things that matter, like this blog! I am still here and still going strong – I’m even down another size! I appreciate everyone who has been liking the posts and have left supportive comments – you guys make my day! Thank you!