Chicken Cordon Bleu (Gluten Free)

Chicken Cordon Bleu

I’m sure you might have noticed that I haven’t written a recipe in a while. I have just been in a food funk. I’ve been training for the physical test I’ve mentioned in my previous posts. I’ve stuck with the same old same old. I could write some recipe reviews… But I’ve just needed something that was astounding. Something to knock the socks off my taste buds.

I went to the books I had on hand for inspiration. I had one book in particular that I hadn’t really looked at in a while… I’m not a fan of their recipes because they use a lot of “gut irritants” in their recipes even though they’re technically gluten free. They’re far from Paleo and AIP. But…I keep them on hand. You never know when they’ll inspire you. Anyone who has read a recipe of mine might know… I don’t follow recipes often. I’ve been doing this enough, I can look at a recipe and tweak it to our personal dietary needs.

Here we go…

Chicken Cordon Bleu (Gluten Free)

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Thinly Sliced Chicken Breast (You can pound it thin with a mallet.)
  • Thinly Sliced Ham
  • Provolone Cheese
  • Swiss Cheese
  • 2 eggs or A Flax Egg (For Egg Free Option: 6 Tbsp. Water, 3 Tbsp. Flax Seed)
  • Finely Ground Almond Flour (Blanched Almond Flour works best.)
  • Blanched Slivered Almonds
  1. Preheat oven to 350 Degrees F (175 C)
  2. Depending on whether you tolerate eggs or not, mix the eggs with some salt and pepper, or mix up your flax egg. Set it aside.
  3. Use a food processor to turn the blanched slivered almonds into bread crumb sized pieces. Don’t over process or it’ll turn to almond butter.
  4. Pound your chicken breasts thinly between two pieces of plastic wrap.
  5. Add the ham and two cheeses onto the chicken and roll them tightly.
  6. Place a toothpick so that it does not come open and place the roll seam side down.
  7. Dip each roll, carefully, in the almond flour.
  8. Dip into egg or flax egg mixture.
  9. Roll in the almond “crumbs.”
  10. Place in a deep casserole dish, spaced evenly.
  11. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the internal temperature reaches at least 165 degrees F (74 C). You can check this carefully by using a meat thermometer. If you don’t have one, don’t be afraid to just cut it open. Better safe than sorry with chicken.
  12. Serve with your favorite side dishes.

You can enjoy this recipe with a salad, like picture above, or you could add another of your favorite sides. I think asparagus or cauliflower mash would be very yummy. I remember what the conventional, frozen cordon bleu tasted like. It has that an enhanced flavor with half the over processed ingredients, and 10 times the satisfaction of a job well done.

I do hope if you try it that you enjoy. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments below. Feel free, also, to experiment! Try it without the breading. Try it using crumbed pumpkin seeds… Go crazy! You have my permission to make this awesome dish awesome, in whatever way that means for you.

I’m sending you an old family classic, remade, from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. Come back next time to see what this Paleo and AIP, Crossfitter, Professional Encourager, Common Sense Cook will come up with next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Goals, Goals, Goals

The title of this post has been my war cry for the last few weeks. Goals, goals, goals! Any time I’m in Crossfit and facing a tough challenge… I just say, “Goals, goals, goals.” If I think…Oh maybe I could get away with eating a little bit of gluten… Or even some gluten free cookies… Or something that’s just “not the best” when you’re training for a goal… Goals, goals, goals.

I have started to realize that this has helped me keep my goals in mind. Any time I’m sore and want to quit… Goals, goals, goals. And so on…so forth…

So.. Would you guys like to see my progress? Hear some stats? I’m a little excited to share. Can you tell?

Update

I shared this with my family and friends a few days ago. But…What I failed to say was, I know that in the picture in December… I was still happy with that progress. A few months before when I received this shirt from a family member…It didn’t fit right or look right. I was happy in December that the shirt looked much better. I had been walking almost daily for about a month before the first picture was taking.

Now…For the current picture… I was a bit shocked. I haven’t lost weight since starting Crossfit. I haven’t gotten to a smaller pants size but I’m thinking I’m nearly there. (Will probably pull out the next size smaller jeans I have and check soon.) My shoulders look like they’re in better proportion. “The girls” look like they’re happier (thank you new bra). Although…That new bra I mentioned was a cup size smaller and I nearly went down in the band too. Also…For the first time in a long time, I look like I actually have a neck.

What you can’t really see in this picture is my legs. They’ve slimmed down and most of my jeans do not fit in the legs anymore and look quite baggy. My arms have also slimmed up too. I’m also told that my behind looks better…Thank you to my sweet husband for that info.

I’ve been doing Crossfit about a month now and I’ve seen those amazing “beginner gains” that you may have heard of. My first back squat on week 2 was maxed at 75 pounds. Last week I maxed at 125 pounds and probably could have gone up if I would have had more time. I’ve gone from a 35 pound thruster and falling on my rear to doing 75 pounds in time and 95 pounds after time was up. I kept trying for that 95 in time, but I needed a little encouragement just to get under the dang bar. I was able to run this morning (in the rain, mind you) down the road and back, around 400 meters in about 2 minutes and 50 seconds. A great improvement over a month ago. Squats are most definitely my favorite but I was able to do dead lifts on Tuesday of this week for the first time and loved those as well. I pulled 75 pounds for sure. I think I could’ve done more if I wasn’t using the same bar for 10 rounds of other movements too. We’ll see if I get a max on it sometime soon, I hope. Oh, and I did a 500 m row in 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Which is not something I think I was capable of a month ago and at the end of a pretty tough workout. I’ve even managed to be able to get my knees up while hanging on the bar (in practicing toes to bar). At first…Any work with the bars (or using the rings) and hanging scared me to death. I can even do jump ropes pretty well. There’s plenty of amazing things I’m probably forgetting that I’m good at too. I still have plenty of new things to learn, I’m sure… But, it makes me feel so good every time I’m able to complete a movement, emom, or amrap.

Am I perfect? No. I definitely have a lot of learning to do on my journey. I think that’s why I like Crossfit so much. I am learning in every class. Questions are never discouraged. Everyone cheers everyone on. We all look out for one another to make sure we don’t get injured. I think the environment is just a healthy for me as the workout.

I think having goals in the gym have been helpful too. Not just my personal goal of passing this physical test. When I went in for back squats the last time, I was determined to get over 10o pounds. I knew I was good enough on form. I just had to get the strength. Mentally and physically. I could’ve stopped at 95. But, I was so determined to get over 100 that I went to 125. Was I sore? Sure was… But I jumped up in the air, and high fived my coach and I knew, right then and there… I AM a strong *bleep* lady! I can hit my goals.

So this mantra of mine… I say it to myself often. It’s just a simple repetition of one word. If I find myself wanting to stray from my path…It’s my song that carries me back to the road. It’s my battle cry.

Even if I don’t pass this physical test on Sunday…I know I hit my goals. I know I’m better in the end. I know there’s next time. I know I invested, time, money, and energy into being my best self. I can have the confidence that I am a truly amazing person.

I want to encourage everyone who reads this to come up with their own little mantra for their goals. What is your goal? What is your short mantra? That one word that could get you back on track. (Do feel free to share in the comments!) How can you keep steering yourself in the right direction? A simple phrase. Goals, goals, goals!

I thank all of you for being on this journey with me. Know that there is a lot of love and appreciation going out to you. None of this would be possible without the love and understanding of my amazing husband, our parents, and a few good friends.

I look forward to updating you guys after Sunday. I can’t wait to see where this journey will take me. I hope you’ll come back and go with me. I also promise…I will try to get up a recipe by then too! Don’t forget you can subscribe and get a notification when I post. Or you can follow me over on Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, or Twitter (links on the About Page and side bar) so that you can follow all of the other shenanigans I post.

Keep Going My Friends,

-Ami M. Lee, Dead Lifting, Back Squatting, Crossfitter, Common Sense Cook

P.S. I seriously, now, want a shirt like Viv (@MissVFit on Instagram) that says, “I Can Dead Lift You.” For real… Check it out. This is a great company… http://thick-to-thin.com/product/i-can-deadlift-you/ (Not sponsored..Just a fan.)

Olive Tapenade (Paleo/AIP/Vegan)

Angel's

Angel’s in Hot Springs, AR

My husband and I were married in March of 2013 and while we couldn’t afford a honeymoon, we could afford to go down to Hot Springs for the day. We had a beautiful day with beautiful weather and happened upon Angel’s for lunch. We returned last year on our second anniversary and even though it was rainy, it was a beautiful lunch looking out the large windows. The food is amazing. It’s not really aip paleo friendly, but I happened to pick out a salad that was really great with grilled salmon.

My fondest memory of food at Angel’s is their olive dip. I’ve done a few different recreations of it and have found a great version that works for my AIP journey. If you’re not paleo you could totally throw this on some crusty bread. We enjoy it on some cucumbers and the kids have enjoyed it with carrot chips.

12512803_10153892227022386_3136856466495014740_n

Olive Tapenade

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: Very Easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 Jar of Kalamata or Black Olives (Try both! Already pitted olives makes this recipe a little easier. Check the ingredients for junk. Keep it as clean as you can.)
  • 1 Clove of Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Green Onions (Or to your taste. I’ve been obsessed with green onion lately.)
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup Olive Oil (Best quality you can afford.)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt and Cracked Pepper, To Taste (Omit pepper for AIP.)

Instructions:

  1. Drain the olives in a fine strainer and rinse with cool water. This can help reduce the chances of finding fragments of pits in your tapenade.
  2. Dry them off with some paper towel.
  3. Use a sharp knife to cut up the olives. You may need to do this a hand full at a time. Take your time and do it how you like. You could puree this, but I’m not a fan of the texture when it’s pureed.
  4. Mince your clove of garlic and your green onions. Add it to a bowel with the olives.
  5. Add enough olive oil to coat the ingredients and stir.
  6. You can eat it now, or throw it in the fridge for a bit.
  7. When you’re ready to eat, pile it on your favorite snack delivery device be it cucumbers, costini, or otherwise. You can also top it with sliced almonds for some added texture and crunch.

It may seem cheesy, but this recipe warms my heart because it takes me back to some really great memories with my husband. He’s the love of my life and this recipe will always take me back to the best moments we’ve shared. Rain or shine, we have each other.

I hope you enjoy this recipe! Feel free to add things to this! A traditional tapenade has capers and anchovies and I’m considering trying to come up with something like that soon. I’ll be sure to share if I figure it out. Do you have a recipe that brings back good memories? Share with us in the comment section below!

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Guacamole (Nightshade Free/Paleo/AIP)

Last night was Taco Night here in the Lee Household. Our kids were excited but I was feeling it was becoming a little over done. I am not the kind of person who can eat the same thing every week. Ironically…I used to be, but now my taste buds crave some adventure. I happened to have an avocado in the fridge so I said…Let’s video some guacamole…The rest, is history…

Here’s what you’ll need for this epic guacamole:

  • 1 Avocado (You can use more if you have more than 1 adult and 3 littles.)
  • 3 Small Green Onions (Or 1-2 Large)
  • Salt and Pepper (Omit Pepper for AIP)
  • The Juice of One Small Lemon (Or half of a large)
  • A Couple Dashes of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 Teaspoon of Dried Cilantro (Add to your liking.)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Crushed Mint

This is so easy I feel like giggling. All you have to do is throw all of this into a food processor and blend till creamy. The hard part is trying to share equally with everyone!

I hope you enjoy this super fast recipe. If you’d like to see the video, I’ll link it below. If you don’t believe that my kids could ever like something like avocado…check it out so you can see, kids can love real food too! (No, they weren’t paid for their opinions with jelly beans…I promise!)

I’m sending tangy, yummy goodness from my Common Sense Kitchen to yours. I hope you’ll come back next time and see what this recipe make’er up’er can do next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Lemon Pepper Roasted Salmon with Asparagus

DSCN3633

I tell you guys… I’m actually having a bit of fun. I had been craving salmon for a while, but wasn’t sure where to start. I know a lot of times I see where chefs won’t flip the salmon. Well…I like crispy fish. Why? Not sure. Maybe it’s just how I’ve experienced it and liked it. Watery, baked fish just isn’t that flavorful to me. So here’s what I made up. All by myself. With my brain.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Salmon (You could use other fish. I bought a whole filet for my family of 5.)
  • 1 Lemon
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper (Omit for AIP)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Olive Oil
  • 4 ounces Grassfed Butter (I use Kerrygold. For AIP try using Ghee instead.)
  • Fresh Asparagus (If you can’t find fresh, just choose something else. -Julia Child)
  • Balsamic Vinegar (or other tasty vinegar of choice)

Start by prepping the asparagus. It is always a good idea to remove the ends. Simply bend the end and let it naturally snap where it will. Then, use a vegetable peeler to remove the top layer of the asparagus, but not removing the point tops.

Lay out your salmon on an aluminum foil covered cookie sheet. If you don’t want to use foil make sure to grease the pan very well. Do the same for the asparagus and spread them out.

Season your salmon and asparagus. For the salmon, place skin side down and add a drizzle of olive oil then salt, pepper, lemon juice and a few small pieces of butter. You can do the exact same for the asparagus, but I love to add balsamic vinegar. Just a little drizzle so that it doesn’t over power the lovely flavor of the asparagus.

Turn your broiler on to high. Place the asparagus in for 7-10 minutes. This will really depend on the amount and thickness. Never walk away from food under the broiler. Keep a close eye on it. Half way through, consider flipping the asparagus and turning the pan.

When the asparagus is done, take it out and put in the salmon. Broil for 3 minutes. Take it out of the oven and ever so carefully, flip the salmon. This may take a couple of spatulas and tongs to accomplish this, but have no fear. You can do it! The salmon should be skin side up. Put it back in to broil another 3 minutes. Then once again, flip it back over (skin side down) and broil for another 3 minutes. Depending on the thickness of your salmon you may need to add a minute or two. Make sure to check it and don’t be afraid to try a piece. It should flake nicely when done.

This recipe might seem like a fancy, adult meal, but truthfully it can be easily accomplished as a mid-week treat that will please the whole family. My kids actually liked the salmon! So go ahead. Treat yourself my friends!

I hope you enjoy the recipe. I will be including a link below for the YouTube video if you would like to see how I do this. (We all learn different. Some people are great with recipes, others learn visually. I hope this helps!) I’m sending you a lovely, fancy treat without the fancy, long cooking times. Be sure to come back next time to see what this broiler loving, Common Sense Cook will throw under the fire next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Here’s the video:

Presto Pesto (Paleo and Vegan Friendly)

Prosciutto Pesto Chicken Roulade

It’s the changing of the seasons and many people are getting that under the weather crud that goes around. The stuffy nose that isn’t quite a cold but still makes you feel that bad. I needed something that would pack a lot of flavor, but not take up several hours in the kitchen. I had picked up some organic basil on clearance and knew exactly what to do.

Here’s what you’ll need for this amazingly quick sauce:

  • 8 Ounces of Fresh Basil (A very large hand full.)
  • 1 Piece of Garlic
  • 1/4 Cup of Raw Pepitas (Pumpkin Seeds)
  • Pink Himalayan Salt to taste (Or throw in some Parmesiano Reggiano.)
  • Olive Oil (This can depend on the thickness you like. Can be up to 1 cup, but go slow!)

Add the basil, garlic, and pepitas into a food processor and blitz until finely minced. Add a good swirl of olive oil to the food processor and process for a few seconds. Scrape down the sides as you go. Now, I always just wing the olive oil. Add it in batches until it’s the consistency you like. I think you could easily use 1/2 to 1 cup of olive oil. Salt to taste or add some parmesan if you tolerate it and it’s part of your diet.

What can you do with this amazing sauce? I love it with chicken like in the proscuitto and basil chicken roulad above. You can use pasta of your choice (I use sweet potato starch). You can even just lick it off the spoon. It’s just that delicious. If it needs a little extra zing, try squeezing in a little lemon juice. I just happened to be out of fresh lemons for today.

I am including in my YouTube video that goes along with this recipe just in case you would like to see it done. While you’re over there, please hit that subscribe button for more.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. When you have a case of the Monday’s or aren’t feeling well, there’s no need to resort to processed or fast food. Whip this up and kick back knowing that you’re feeding health, not illness.

-Ami M. Lee, Basil Fanatic, Common Sense Cook

Sweet Potato and Pear Beef Stew (AIP/Paleo Friendly)

Sweet Potato and Pear Beef Stew

If you guys haven’t heard yet, I started a YouTube channel to share some of my recipes! I started off with an introduction and a little bit about myself, and a little bit about Back to School lunches for my 3 paleo kids. For my very first recipe video, I wanted to just do what I do best. Make…Stuff….Up. So I started with a template from a recipe with Mickey Trescott.

This soup not only turned out amazing! It turned into the best soup I’ve ever had in my life…Rivaling even that of my Epic Noodle Soup! I even got all three of my “not soup fans” to eat it up.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Pound of Beef Stew Meat
  • 1 Large Sweet Potato, peeled and Diced
  • 1 Small Onion
  • 4 Medium Carrots
  • 2 Medium Pears
  • 6 Cups of Homemade Chicken Bone Brother (Or veggie broth…Or whatever you like.)
  • Olive Oil
  • 2 Medium Cloves of Garlic
  • 4 or 5 Basil Leaves
  • A Pinch of Dried Thyme
  • A Few Fresh Parsley Leaves
  • Pink Himalayan Salt
  • Fresh Cracked Black Pepper (Omit for AIP)
  • 1 Splash Apple Cider Vinegar

Turn your pressure cooker onto the brown or saute setting. Heat up some olive oil. Add the beef and let it brown. When it is browned, but not cooked through add the garlic till fragrant. Once that’s done, throw in all those amazing vegetables and pears. Stir it around to evenly distribute everything.

Add all the rest of the ingredients into the pressure cooker. Again, stir everything around to evenly distribute all of those amazing ingredients. Lock your pressure cooker lid and follow the instructions to your machine.

Set the timer for 30 minutes under high pressure.

***PLEASE! Read your owners manual and know how to safely open your pressure cooker!***

Carefully release the pressure valve, or let it release naturally. You choose here, friend. All that’s left after this is to patiently wait for it to cool off…Yes.. That’s the hard part!

I’m going to leave a link below to the YouTube video that goes along with this recipe. I hope you enjoy! If you give it a try leave me a comment wherever comment sections are found. 😉 Make sure you come back to see what this soup loving, paleo mom will make up next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Common Sense Philsophies – Food Religion

The Best People, Julia Child

Oh yes… One of my favorite quotes by Julia.

One thing you might not know about me, is that I am a seeker of knowledge. I just love understanding things and people. I AM that weirdo who can talk religion, politics, food, Team Edward or Team Jacob (Edward…in case anyone was wondering…) and basically anything and everything. Even if I don’t agree, or have the same beliefs, I just love to know how people tick. It ignites that child like curiosity within me when I meet someone or something new. Same thing goes for “food religion.”

Now…You may be like…What in the world are you talking about?! I’ve come to this interesting conclusion lately that the way you eat is so very similar to religion. You have a set way of doing things and you put your whole heart into it. Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, paleo, or just Standard American Diet but using mostly organic foods. You have your reasons, and they’re usually always good reasons to eat better, whole foods, and support local farmers. There is a lot of common ground! However, it seems like more and more these days, people get stuck in the Dogma of Food Religion and forget that we’re all just eating… And let me quote her again… People who love to eat are the best people.

There are some extreme diets out there! I’ve heard of everything from a completely meat diet to a completely raw plant based (vegan) diet. There’s the Standard American Diet, Paleo, Paleo Autoimmune Protocol, Wahl’s Protocol, Low-Histamine… The list goes on and on and on… But, when did we start saying that MY DIET is the ONLY RIGHT kind of diet for a person to have?

Even though I’m paleo…This is something I’ve seen in our large paleo group. If someone mentions being able to eat something not typically described as “paleo” then people get all bent out of shape. We even have hashtags for #TeamWhiteRice! I see things like, grains are evil! Soy is poison. Dairy is the devil. And while….That may make sense for that person… Is there a one size fits all human diet?

I’ve been paying a lot of attention to the vegans lately. It’s just something I find interesting, and I love that more people are advocating against animal suffering. But, even in the vegan community…They fight and bicker about who is the most vegan… Who does the most hashtags to get out the vegan message. Vegans are truly passionate to deny the primal instinct within to go completely without eating meat. I admit, I eat vegan meals on occasion. Especially vegan treats. If I’m going on that rare occasional treat, I would rather use whole, raw foods than to have to bake, and have a million weird ingredients… (Doesn’t help…Paleo baking is hard.)

Then we have our friends (and family) who are Standard American Diet. I mentioned to one family member who was looking at the possibility of having cancer that they have seen great things with a vegan diet and cancer patients… Needless to say…This was my daddy and love him as I do he replied, “I’ll die with a steak in one hand, and a beer in the other.” I’m sure some people just fell over…But that’s my dad. A lot of us probably know these folks. Heck, some of you might be reading my blog like…Yep..She’s talking about me. What do I have to say about this? Well. You can’t make choices for these people. They’ve eaten this way their whole lives and think there’s nothing wrong with it. Does it annoy the heck out of me when people complain that my kids are starved because they don’t get treats or can’t have soda? Oh you bet…This momma bear is happy to inform any and all that I am trying to give them good healthy options. But, again I come to the question… Is this diet right for everyone?

The answer to these questions are……NO! No way! Never! Nope.

No one diet will ever work for all 7 billion of us. We all have different backgrounds and genetics. We may have different life experiences and handle food differently. I often hear stories about people like me who are severely allergic to food in the U.S.A. going away on holiday to another country and being fine! Why are there skinny people who eat junk food all day? Why are there people who are still fat on paleo? I think it is simply because…

We are all unique.

I think the most important thing that I would like anyone who reads this to take from it is….

(Say it with me.) People who love to eat, are the best people. So yes, that means you. If you love food, you’re awesome in my book. No matter what you believe is best. If you’re vegan and you feel great and are full of life and energy and can help the planet and reduce animal suffering…You have my kudos and encouragement. If you’re a single mom just trying to make it and all you can afford is spaghetti noodles, pasta sauce, and a pound of ground beef…You still have all my kudos! If you’re some form of Paleo like me and you are all about nutrient density, snout to tail, and buying local…You have just as many kudos as the rest!

Why?

Because we’re all awesome people who love food. We can learn awesome things from each other regardless of our diet. I definitely don’t let paleo stop me from figuring out how to make or recreate amazing dishes from all sorts of amazing people. And, I am committing to be able to serve not just my paleo friend, but everyone! So don’t freak out if you see a Standard American Diet with pasta in it, my paleo friend… Don’t freak out my Standard American Diet friends if you see a vegan recipe…

So whether you’re passing the spaghetti…the lentil…or the bacon….I hope we can all share a dish together and just enjoy food. I hope you’ll come back next time and see what opinions this hippie momma, Common Sense Cook can lay down next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Manic Monday – Shrimp Noodle Bowl (AIP-Friendly)

Shrimp Noodle Bowl AIP Friendly

It happened one day. Yes… Even this far into my paleo journey, I still get cravings. I think learning how to deal with these cravings responsibly is key! This recipe was inspired by an old favorite Rachel Ray recipe. A spicy shrimp noodle bowl. With AIP and Paleo we can’t do normal glutenous noodles, and AIP can’t do nightshade spices to make it spicy… But, I think I still made a lovely, flavorful alternative that satisfied this craving without jumping head first off the bandwagon.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Sweet Potato Starch Noodles (You can find these in an Asian Grocery Store.)
  • Bok Choy (I used baby bok choy chopped into bite size pieces.)
  • Green Onion
  • Ginger
  • Garlic
  • Fish Sauce (A couple splashes.)
  • Coconut Aminos (About a tablespoon.You can use soy sauce, tamari, or other alternatives if you like.)
  • 1 pound of frozen, raw, deveined shrimp (If you have access to fresh, go for it! Then send me some! )
  • 8 to 10 cups of Chicken or Vegetable Stock (I bet seafood stock would be great too.)
  • Lemongrass
  • Optional: Chili Flakes are great if you aren’t AIP or sensitive to nightshade based spices.

This might seem like a long ingredient list, but I had most of these in the house already. Throw your stock and seasonings into a large soup pot. Bring it to a boil. Add your sweet potato starch noodles. You may have to cut them in half. Throw in your bok choy and boil according to the package on the noodles. Mine call for 6-7 minutes.

Clean your shrimp, remove the tails if they’re still on. Make sure they are clean and the vein has been removed. You can run them under cool water to help them defrost. I usually do this in a strainer.

You want to add your shrimp carefully. Always keep in mind that you are dealing with boiling water. Be safe! After you’ve dropped the shrimp in, lightly stir the soup. Shrimp cooks extremely fast, so you only want to cook it a couple of minutes until they turn pink. You don’t want to over cook them because they’ll be sitting in the hot liquid and will continue to cook further.

Ladle this noodle’ee goodness into a bowl. Slurp up some broth and noodles, and enjoy. I kind of surprised myself with this one because it turned out so delicious. Keep in mind with these ingredients that you can add as much or as little as you like. I think that is one reason why I love soup so much!

If you give it a try, be sure to come show me over on the Facebook or tag me on Instagram @thecommonsensecook. I’d love to see your pictures! As always, don’t forget to come back next time to see what this seafood loving, recipe revamping, Common Sense Cook will reinvent next.

-Ami M. Lee, The Common Sense Cook

Common Sense Philosophies – School Lunches

Kiddo Lunches

Today was a wonderful learning day. I have two kiddos going to kindergarten this year. My oldest fell under birthday rule, while my middle kiddo did not. I am all about being prepared way in advance. So here we are, getting prepared for school lunches!

I bought these great little containers last year for a picnic. I thought they’d be great to hang on to for when they kids go to school. They’re silicone with a plastic lid. They can fold up, or expand when food is in it. They are dishwasher safe. I’m still trying to figure out how to get them in a cooled lunch box because of the shape…But we’ll get there eventually.

So what did I put in my kids’ lunch box? Well…It started off like this.

Kiddos Grocery Shopping

I let these three cutie patooties push their own mini-cart around the store and pick out what they wanted to eat for lunch. We picked up things like almond butter, dried fruit, and more. It was a little crazy because I had to constantly remind them to watch where they were going, but they had a blast and most people just smiled from ear to ear.

So….back to what I put in it. As a paleo (AIP) mom, I know that in the media there have been many parents come under heavy fire for what they send in their kids’ lunch boxes. I am not half as strict on my kiddos as I am on myself, for one. I leave occasional wheat based products (usually of higher quality) in their diet so that if they do slip up, they are not as gravely affected as I am. I did have a time where I was very strict, and my kiddos ended up getting very sick if they were anywhere but eating at home. In some paleo circles, this is just unacceptable, but for me…80/20 paleo is important to us for our kids and leaving in a little gluten allows them to have those occasional conventional treats with other family members.

For these lunch boxes I packed a pretty well rounded meal (in my opinion only). There are some carrots with ranch (not shown) because my kiddos can devour some carrots. We have some amazing dried strawberries with some walnuts. Finally, we have two sandwich halves that are oatnut bread and almond butter.

I look for a few things when compiling this lunch box. I’m looking for protein, vegetables, a healthy source of fruit or sugar, and healthy fats. Almond butter (as many nut butters do) have a good amount of protein. My kiddos love carrots and they keep well, so that is a great veggie to be able to send. The fruit is small, dried, and stable to be refrigerated or not. Then, the healthy fats are in the extra walnuts with the dried strawberries. I don’t look (or care) about the “whole grains” part because it is not a staple of our diet (another philosophy for another time).

You may be asking…Where is the dairy at? My youngest kiddo is severely lactose/casein intolerant. We do coconut and almond milk from time to time. I occasionally do high quality, raw, local cheese for the family. However, I am just not comfortable with having it under light refrigeration (via a cooling pack) over the course of many hours. I am wanting to look at the ability of a thermos that could help keep liquids cold for an extended period of time…But that’s still in the works.

This was an amazingly fun project to do with the kids. I think they really enjoyed picking out their lunch foods, and they’ll be really surprised this afternoon when they get to have all of the amazing things that they picked. Here’s the jist of what I learned from this experience:

  • Get your kiddos involved. Make sure to ask them what they would like, and if it’s available to you, let the kids do the shopping.
  • Pick your containers in advanced so that your kids can practice how to use it, and the general “rules” of eating at school. Such as, eat your sandwich and carrots before you eat your fruit treat.
  • Know what is most important to you on their plate while considering what the conventional guidelines are.
  • Look for the basics such as protein, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. (If you’re family does dairy and/or whole grains, know what the good/healthy ways to send these are.)
  • Keep experimenting.

I hope you enjoy this post. I had so much fun doing it and can’t wait till I can figure out some more lunch combos as we get closer to the big day. If you have kiddos, what are their favorite things to take to school for lunch? I’ll be sure to share more as we experiment.

-Ami M. Lee, Lunchtime Experimenter, Whole Food Lunch Giver, Common Sense Cook