Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes & Artichokes

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2013-12-30 19.54.01Alright. First off I’d like to thank the Academy.  Ok. Not really, but I would like to thank my mother for always making things from scratch.  After years of peering over the counter watching her chop veggies and try new recipes, I can officially say that I’ve inherited the kitchen bug.

I found a recipe similar to this one last night on Pinterest and totally forgot to actually pin it…what does this mean?  Well it means I’ll never find it again. It’s now lost in an abyss of recipes and handicrafts.  Thankfully, I read the recipe well a couple of times and had already done the shopping for it.  Now, it’s time to put my own twist on it.

The original recipe only called for around 5 ingredients:  Roma Tomatoes, Jarred Artichokes, Flour, Sugar and Chicken.  That’s it. yup.  It was a Clean Eating Recipe and well, I guess they didn’t realize that white flour and white granulated sugar are both no-no’s in the Clean Eating world.

I also am a HUGE fan of Fresh Herbs and food with a bit of a tang to it:  Insert Balsamic Vinegar.  Oh B-Vin you ol’ dog you!  You always know how to make a girl feel sophisticated.

I also forgot the temp on the oven and how long to cook it…so we winged it…and well..it worked!

My husband gladly ate his over angel hair pasta and said he liked it enough for me to make it again, but not enough to eat leftovers.  I still consider this a victory since my husbands idea of pantry staples are Manwich, Suddenly Salad, Frozen Pizza and Pierogies.

You can use any 9×13 cake pan or roaster…I have a Le Creuset 3qt Au Gratin that I used for this recipe.

If you are super new to cooking..don’t be afraid this is NOT a difficult recipe 🙂

Materials I used:

So I started out by cutting each Roma Tomato into 4, then coring them, then chopping them up from there.  I drained a small jar of Artichoke hearts and added them to the bowl.  This is where I start to get creative because the original recipe only called for two more ingredients, white flour and sugar. Nope Not using those.  So instead I add Balsamic Vinegar, Honey, Chopped Fresh Italian Flat Leaf Parsley, Chopped Fresh Basil, minced garlic, salt & pepper, grated Parmesan and whole wheat flour.  I generously Salted & Peppered my Chicken breasts and then popped it in the oven! BOOM that easy!

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I baked it, covered in tin foil, at 350 degrees until the chicken was almost done, then took off the foil, stirred it up a bit, basted the chicken, sprinkled on some Parm/Asiago mix and fresh parsley and popped it back into the oven until bubbly and the chicken/cheese mix was slightly browned.

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Served it over Quinoa for me and Angel hair pasta for my husband. it was delish 🙂

2013-12-30 20.12.06Chicken with Balsamic Tomatoes & Artichokes

Easy / Serves 4-6 depending on portions

      • 2.5 lb pack of boneless skinless chicken breasts (thawed/fresh)
      • 6-8 Ripe Roma Tomatoes
      • 1 small jar of Artichoke Hearts
      • 1 heaping TBL of Whole Wheat Flour
      • 1 clove garlic minced
      • 2 Tbl grated Parmesan Cheese
      • 2 Tbl to 1/4 c Shredded Parmesan, Asiago or blend Cheese
      • 1 tsp honey
      • 1-2 Tbl Balsamic Vinegar
      • 1/2 cup chopped fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (reserve 1/4c for end of baking & garnish)
      • 2-3 large Basil Leaves Chopped
      • Kosher Salt
      • Pepper
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
    2. Wash then Quarter, core and chop up Roma Tomatoes and put them in a large mixing bowl
    3. Drain and add Artichoke hearts to the bowl
    4. Add Garlic, 1/4 cup of the Parsley, Basil, Honey, Balsamic Vinegar, Grated parmesan cheese, Whole Wheat Flour and mix together.
    5. Pour into a greased baking dish
    6. wash and pat dry the Chicken breasts, then generously salt and pepper them.
    7. Arrange the chicken pieces on top of the tomato mixtures
    8. Cover with Foil and back until chicken is almost finished, approx 50 mins.
    9. Take the foil off, stir it up, baste the chicken and sprinkle shredded cheese onto chicken.
    10. Place back in oven and bake until bubbly and the chicken/cheese turns a golden brown.
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Resolving to Not Resolve (plus Lemon Mint Cucumber Water)

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So, it’s be come obvious to me that I have to make things an obsession if it’s going to work.  What does this mean?  Well, it means that I have to keep up on the Social Media side of things to keep myself in check.  I’m not starting a New Year’s Resolution this year, but I am starting my new journey to babyville.

There. I said it. My husband and I are ready to have another, but I refuse to put my body through that again until it’s healthy..again.  I lost 75+ lbs to get ready for baby number one and then lived the life of a dairy queen who loved cheese, milk, ice cream and tacos.  What?. nevermind, but seriously.  I ate tacos probably 2x/week and ice cream almost daily.  Oh and my friend Mr. Exercise.  I broke up with him.

Let’s just say that Mama was nesting more than in a nursery.  My waistline turned into a large eagles nest and I’ve hung onto it like it’s on the endangered species items of necessity list.

So, I told my husband that we’ll try again once we’re through with our ACM Award / Las Vegas Trip this April with the Radio Station.  So I’m counting down the days til my health deadline, he’s counting down the days til…well, you do the math.

Needless to say, we’re both motivated. ha!

Last night we arrived home after a full week in North Dakota visiting family.  The fridge? Empty.  The Cupboards? Empty.  My Blood Sugar?  Drastically falling like a bad day on Wall Street since I’m officially 8 hours off the “High Fructose Family” diet.  I will admit that my eating was FAR SUPERIOR to most holidays where I graze like a Guernsey on Chocolate, Chex, Meat, Potatoes, Bread, more bread and well anything that resembles anything edible.  This time I watched that I mostly only ate at dinner times and portioned out things if I snacked. Not great, but better than before.

I did a quick Pinterest Search or two and made a list for restocking. This time, with Clean Eating in mind and items that wouldn’t break my bank.

I kinda became addicted to MIO.  In the end, it was just artificial sugar and flavor, not doing much for me.  I still love it, but opted for something new.  Here is one of the water recipes (if you can call it a recipe) that I will drink this week.  I will try to post/try a new one each week!

Detox WaterLemon Mint Cucumber Water (Detox)

  • 1/2 Lemon Sliced
  • Mint Leaves (torn)
  • 1 small/med cucumber sliced

Wash everything, slice em up and add them to a pitcher of water.  let them meld overnight. Then enjoy.  I will continue to refill the pitcher for a day or two til I need to change out the Lemon/Cucumber/Mint.  tada! it’s that easy!

**Note**  the acid in the lemon kinda ate away at my plastic container (i suppose it depends on the container), but I use a glass pitcher now just in case. 🙂
Thanks to FitSugar.com, here’s why you want to add these to your water:

  • Lemon: Lemon water makes for a powerful detox drink; lemon juice helps to cleanse and alkalize the body. Add one thinly sliced lemon to a large pitcher, or squeeze fresh lemon juice into your glass.

  • Mint: Mint adds a touch of sweetness without the sugar to your water, and it also helps settle your stomach and aids in digestion as well.

  • Cucumber: Cucumber water isn’t just for spas. Adding a few slices of cucumber to your water makes for excellent rehydration, and cucumber contains anti-inflammatory properties, as well.

Hockey & Nuts..two of my favorite things (Chile Lime Almond Recipe included)

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Just outside the Ralph Englestad Arena in Grand Forks, ND.

Just outside the Ralph Englestad Arena in Grand Forks, ND.

So it was another balmy weekend in Grand Forks, ND.  Known as Home of the Fighting Sioux and constant potato ass smell from the Simplot Factory.   Sorry, that was offensive.  The NCAA says I have to say “North Dakota Athletics”.  I digress.

My husband and I are proud supporters of UND especially the hockey program. We, along with my Mother and Father In-Law and Brother In-law and his wife, have season tickets to Men’s hockey at the Ralph Engelstad Arena.  It’s a great way to get me home to see my mom and family back in North Dakota that I wouldn’t see half as much and we absolutely love hockey.  So it’s a win-win.  Then there’s weekend’s like this last one.  -16 Degrees TEMP.  Icicles have icicles at this point.  balls.

As much as I dread the “Tundra Shuffle”, the shuffling of feet while you pull all other appendages into your body like a turtle with your freezing breath barreling out of you like a factory on overtime, once you step in to the wonder of “The Ralph” you forget about the rest of the world.  You are standing a midst legends in the College Hockey World.  From the memorabilia on the walls, to the smell of Bavarian Roasted Almonds and Prime Rib Sandwiches, you are here.  This isn’t just a hockey game, it’s like a family reunion with 11,000 of your closest friends.  You fork over your 50/50 ticket cash, take your seat and it’s on!  I wouldn’t change it for the world.  However, when you’re trying to eat clean and lose weight, prime rib sandwiches, Dippin’ Dots, beer, beer and more beer don’t help matters.

BLOG_HOCKEY 2I settled for a Diet Coke that night while my husband partook in the customary silver bullet.  It was the first sweep at home for the Sioux this season and we were so happy to be there.

All weekend long it was holiday baking, eating out, late nights and luckily a few naps.  This is great, but again eating clean and fitness were nowhere to be found.  I’m getting ready to be spending a full week out at the lake and I’m going to have to get a gameplan together to keep my goals on track.  Let’s be honest, staying on a clean eating and fitness track when everyone is singing songs about figgy pudding isn’t easy.  I don’t even know what figgy pudding is, but if it’s Christmas, I’ll eat it.  herein lies the problem.  I’m like the 100 lb Labrador that thinks it’s a Chihuahua, only instead of sitting on people’s laps, I will eat just about anything in sight at such speed I myself might even question it’s happening.

oy.

So, I’ve started putting together a few projects like the Arm-Knitting Scarf Pin, Zippered-Wristlet Tutorial, PJ Pants for Timothy, and even finish my Strip Quilt I started.  There will inevitably be a few culinary adventures as well.  I really want to try this Hearty Roasted Vegetable Recipe 🙂

Last night I made a bunch of Oreo Cookie Balls…you know the Crushed Oreos mixed with Cream Cheese then dipped in chocolate confectionery balls of heaven.  Yeah..about that.  I’m not going to lie, I ate a few whilst creating my masterpieces, but I decided to also partake in a Pin I saw a week or so ago.  Chile Lime Roasted Almonds. BOOM!  I like them alot, but I shouldn’t have tried to eat them right after the Oreo balls…nothing tastes as good as skinny fee….shut up. Oreo balls taste amazing.

So I spent my night making balls and nuts. (insert laughter and random joke here)

Now you can too…enjoy!

Chile Lime Roasted Almonds

Note: I think I was short a few almonds..so I wound up with a little too much mixture on them…I may look to decrease in the future.  I also maybe could have roasted them longer!

Ritz Sandwich Crackers, Tow Trucks and 50 Shades of Menards.

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I don’t really know why certain things happen to me, they just do.  Maybe it’s because my quirky sense of humor can handle it so God sends these situations my way, and maybe it’s because I’m just as whacked as everyone else, who knows.

My weekend consisted of a little bit of work, lots of family time (aka drill sargeant husband and his list of cleaning duties will had to get done) and a good amount of shopping.

First off, Saturday I end up getting the bill for my unpaid parking tickets.  Yeah Bout that.  Not a good starter to 48 hours straight in the house with your husband.

Next came the task of dinner.  I had been planning this dinner for 3 days at this point.  Rosemary Citrus Roast Chicken with Parmesan Roasted Potatoes.  Oh the joy of the smell of potatoes and Chicken roasting.  They looked amazing.  So, after approx an hour, I checked and the juices were clear.  Took the bird from the oven, covered it and let it rest while the potatoes finished.

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Rosemary Citrus Roast Chicken

Now at this point, the baby was in bed.  We were having a late dinner and a movie at the house.  I’m all excited to get this Beautiful and CLEAN meal out to us and it happens.  Once slice near the thigh and BAM there is was. Uncooked Chicken.  Lord Save the Queen.  Of course, like any normal human being we panic like we’ve just poisoned the waterhole and start scrambling to save any and all livestock.  I start looking around the kitchen.  Right then left.  Left then Right. Then it dawns on me.  The oven is STILL on.  The Bird is STILL hot.  Just put it back in.  Ok.  The birds in the oven (disaster averted…kinda)

This is the point where the potatoes need to come out of the oven.  They look amazing. Then I realize that it will be quite awhile for the chicken still.  ugh.  so they go back in the oven as well.  We did finally eat.  45 mins later.  It still tasted good, nothing was burnt, but my pride was a bit bruised.

So the next morning, as I’m watching the final minutes of “Pitch Perfect” on HBO, we start making the list of things to do.  I get the kitchen organized and clean, then we take to the laundry and the Christmas Decorations.  So of course, I’m scanning Pinterest for ideas for the outdoor decorations for the house.  I am also in the process of slowly re-fabbing (aka Re-FABULOUS’ing) my downstairs bathroom and master bedroom.  So I take off for a night of shopping and crafting! yay!

BLOG_HOME_Jute LampOne of my stops is at Menards.  You know, the Midwests version of a Lowe’s Meets Home Depot meets Fleet Farm!  I need Jute Rope.  Thick Stuff so I can Wrap a pair of lamps I have so they look similar to this lamp I found on Pinterest.

I hop in the “6 Items or Less” line with my Jute Rope and Diet Coke and here comes this man and his cart with 6 Coleman Camp Stoves Propane Tanks, two large bags of ice melt and a gallon jug of Tampico.  He looks at me and straight faced says, “So ya gonna tie your man up tonight?”

Out of sheer shock, I blurt out the only thing that will come out of my mouth, “It’s for a lamp”.  I didn’t just say this, I shouted this.  The Cashier Jumped. Lord.

Fast forward to this morning.  My car is a pit.  Between carseat in, carseat out, trips here, trips there, you can find remnants of each trip.  It’s so bad.  So as I’m driving on this -7 degree day, I realise that my car is no longer accelerating.  OMG.  I push the gas and nothing. I can’t even hear a rev.  I’m Freaking out.  It looks as though my car is shut off.  ah!  I have a push start Altima and so I step on the brake and restart it…nothing.  So as I’m dialing a tow truck, since my husband at the time was on a plane to Houston, I come to a startling realization.  Hanging up  the phone as fast as I can to avoid a pickup followed by me faking a wrong number, I look down and there is a box of Ritz Cheese Sandwich Crackers jamming my gearshift into Neutral.

So if you ask how my weekend was, It was interesting.  I had a 70 year old man get all 50 shades of Jute rope on me at Menards and a box of Ritz almost cost me a $100 Tow Truck call and a ton of embarassment.

And…it’s only 2pm.

Bracing for Impact.

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blog_SELFIE_BRACING FOR IMPACTThis is me.  Bracing for Impact.

Just got a lovely call from my husband that the bill for my parking tickets arrived. The parking tickets that I didn’t pay on time so they are 1.5 times more expensive.

Granted it’s only $30 total, but “That’s a 1/2 tank of gas”, as you can imagine, I was eloquently told just now.

Standard Husband cooldown time is like 30mins to an hour right?

This is where I pray the way to a man’s heart really is through his stomach, this parking ticket mama is making Citrus Rosemary Chicken tonight for dinner. It’s been marinating since last night. I’m pretty excited for it!

Now everyone join hands and pray for a Christmas Miracle known as, Brook never gets another parking ticket for the rest of her life and that she doesn’t self-sabotage by carb loading the rest of the day…..If you know me, this is one of those Unanswered Prayers even Garth sings about.

Burpees or Boogers….I’ll take the boogers.

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I hate boogers. phlem. spit..gack!  They will make me barf in an instant.  But Burpees?  LOATHE them.  Once I had my son Timothy, it’s like ‘mama mode’ kicked in and developed a superhero like suit between the boogers and I.  On more than one occasion I have caught myself “grabbin’ a boogie”.  No kleenex. No nothing. Just my bare hand and a boogie. This is barbaric.  It’s almost like I can hear Braveheart screaming in the background “FREEEEEEDOM!” when I actually catch my son long enough to nab it.  THEN I grab a kleenex, because obviously I’m health code dyslexic, and dispose of the evil boogie.  I stand tall, hair flowing in the wind and think to myself, “Super Mom! Fighting Grime One Boogie at a Time!” then you almost hear a record scratch as Timothy puts my entire iPhone in his mouth and starts running with scissors. joy.

The moral of this long, dysfunctional tale, is that I overcame my gag reflex with boogies.  It was like a Christmas Miracle without annoying carolers and cocoa.  But Burpees? I hate them as much as Jumping Jacks.  You know the exercise that every fat person in the 80’s did in terrible grey sweatsuits where you could see every last ounce of their fat doing the cha-cha?   I know they make our cores tight and fantastic.  I know they help our Cardiovascular endurance.  I know that more than 15 in a row will make me barf.  But I don’t think that 10 Christmas Miracles in a row will make me like or even tolerate them.  So, I will go on, cursing my trainer (outloud) whilst hoisting my arse up and down doing these satanic exercises because I know that someday, I’ll hit my goal and I’ll never have to do them again.  Instead, I’ll smuggle wine into the gym and sip it while I watch another victim of the burpee have their will to live tested.

Introduction to shopping for Clean Eating & Paleo Diet

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BLOG_REJUV COUPON_$25 Grocery TourRejuv Medical’s Ben, along with other trainers and nutritionists, will conduct Grocery Store Tours Bi-weekly. These are fantastic for clean eaters and even Paleo dieters.  You’ll walk through the entire store learning the difference between clean and non-clean products, you’ll get the best advice for shopping for a cleaner pantry of goodies for the whole family.

Plus, they’ll help you learn to REALLY read a label and show you what products/ingredients to watch out for and which ones you want to make sure are present!  It’s great!  I’m going to be attending the next session on Wednesday, Dec 11th at 7pm and if you want to join me, print the photo/coupon that I’ve got attached here and get signed up! You’ll get the tour for only $25 instead of the normal $75!

if you can’t get into the gym to sign up (it’s a small class, spots fill fast) you can express sign up by calling (320) 281-5100 and giving them the code “Brook’s Blog” to receive the discount.

This discount is for NEW CLIENTS only, if you are an active client of Rejuv, you most likely have the class included in your package already 🙂

Hope to see you next week!! 🙂