Wednesday, January 4, 2012

French Bistro Salad & Gluten-Free Baked Garlic Chicken

Lately, I've been doing lots of shopping. School shopping. Grocery shopping. Etc.

As my seasoned readers know, we are strongly considering homeschooling for our soon-to-be Kindergartner. We have lots of reasons why we'd want to go that route. I've been slowly researching it over the past year or so, but somehow the finality of making the decision has crept up on me. Last week I received a flyer from the school district that Kindergarten tours are taking place this month and that if you want to be guaranteed your child gets in, you need to register them by the end of January! Whoa! I was not and still am not fully prepared to make that final decision. So, my husband and I registered for the MACHE Homeschool Conference in April, will take our tours of potential schools this month and hopefully have our final decision by the end of January. In the meantime, I've also been researching homeschool curriculums. If any of you are homeschoolers, I'd love to hear your feedback, in the comments section below, on the curriculums you currently use or have tried.


It's funny what happens when you go shopping with God. I've heard people say this before, that they've gone shopping with God and miraculously found great deals or discounts on things. I personally had never experienced that before, until yesterday...

As you all know, DH and I follow the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace University principals, which means we do a zero-balance budget the month before for the current month. So for example, we sat down at the end of December to put together January's budget. Every dime we have to spend gets accounted for and assigned to an expense. Anything leftover at the end of the month, goes toward what step you're on, which for us is step 2 - to pay off our debt as quickly as possible. (We're almost there! Yay!) For the first time in 10 months, we were unable to come up with a zero-balance budget. Our expenses exceeded our income by almost $400. We had scaled back absolutely everything we possibly could. There was nothing left. What were we going to do? We had 2 options. 1) We could take money from our emergency fund to cover the expenses. 2) Some of our bills simply wouldn't get paid this month. We didn't like either option, so we went with option 3) Trust in God to provide for us and cross the bridge when we get there of whether to do option 1 or 2.

Guess what? God showed up!

1) Yesterday, I went in for my monthly Kinesiology appointment. Since having a baby, my needs have changed as far as the care and issues that my body needs. My main priorities are managing the PCOS and Endometriosis. Also keeping my Depression and potential Kidney Stones in check. To my amazement, my Kinesiologist overhauled my entire plan. I ended up saving $330 in monthly supplements!

2) We ended up finding an online deal for our local Great Harvest Bread Company which was a buy 1 get 1 free, saving me $5!

3) I went to the counter to pay for my monthly protein powder and when the sales clerk rang it up she said, "Oh, this is actually $5 off!" then she asked if I was a rewards member, which I am and after looking it up, she said, "And you actually have a $5 voucher available!" Score another $10!

All of this is not to say that our God is a magical genie and he'll give you a car if you ask Him. But if you trust Him, I mean really trust Him to provide for you, He will! It may not be in the way you think or by getting money off of things, like I did yesterday, but He will provide, if you let Him.


A gem that I found while grocery shopping is the new-to-me La Croix Coconut-flavor of their Sparkling Water. It wasn't my favorite of the flavors, but it was still good. It reminded me of a pina colada and somewhere warm, which I'll take in anyway I can get it since it's winter here in MN. Although, it's been a really mild winter! I also tried, for the first time, the Perrier Citron Lemon Lime water. It was sooo good!!! However, though these are good occasional treats and a welcomed change from traditional water, after my last post on Healthy Drinking Water, it makes me wonder what's in them?!


Yesterday I made the most delicious French Bistro Salad and Dressing that I got off the Atkins website (you might have to sign up for the community to view the original recipe). Though I do love most of the recipes from this website, I personally don't follow the amounts of things that they recommend, so I use their recipes for inspiration and adjust my own quantities. Here's my version of the recipe:

French Bistro Salad
Yields: 1 serving 

1 serving French Bistro Dressing (recipe below)
1-2 cups organic mixed greens
1 oz Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 poached egg
1 slice bacon, cooked

Quick-and-Easy Egg Poaching: Take a microwave-safe bowl and fill it with water. Carefully break an egg into the water, making sure it's completely submerged. Place bowl in microwave, placing a microwave-safe saucer plate on top of the bowl. Microwave on high in 30 second intervals until egg is desired consistency. Remove egg carefully from the water using a slotted spoon and place on top of greens.

Slice bacon into 1"x0.5" pieces. Saute over medium-high heat until nicely browned & crisp. Approximately 3 minutes per side. Drain on a paper towel.

To assemble salad: place mixed greens on a plate, top w/freshly shredded Gruyere cheese, then egg & finally arrange bacon around egg. Top w/dressing or serve it on the side.

For a complete meal: serve with a glass of Milk and some Lefse (which is not French, lol).

My child doesn't like her food touching, so here was her "disassembled" salad.

French Bistro Dressing
Yields: 3/4-1 c dressing

3/4 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tsp dijon mustard
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
1/4-1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil

Combine all ingredients except olive oil and whisk until well blended. Slowly whisk in olive oil until desired consistency and flavor.

Tip: We like to serve our dressing on the side, as shown in the picture above and dip our fork-full of food into the dressing. We tend to use less dressing that way & still get the flavor of it with every bite!

Storing: We stored this in the fridge in an air-tight glass container. It starts to harden after a day or so, but all you need to do is give it a good whisking and it will be just like when you first made it!


DD got her very own digital camera for Christmas. I think I've created a monster! LOL (notice what she's taking pictures of - her food!)


Today for lunch I attempted to make a vegan and gluten-free version of this Baked Garlic Parmesan Chicken recipe. It actually turned out pretty good, except I think next time I'll try gluten-free breadcrumbs, because the almond meal didn't quite crisp up like the breadcrumbs would. Still, it was delicious!

Gluten-Free Baked Garlic Chicken
Yields: 3 servings (or more)

1 T extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c Trader Joe's almond meal (or gluten-free breadcrumbs)
1/2 tsp dried basil leaves
1/8 tsp ground black pepper
3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
grated parmesan cheese, to taste (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a small baking dish. In a bowl, blend the olive oil & garlic. In a separate bowl, mix the almond meal/breadcrumbs, basil & pepper. Dip each chicken breast in the oil mixture, then in the almond meal/breadcrumbs mixture. Arrange the coated chicken breasts in the prepared baking dish & top with any remaining almond meal/breadcrumb mixture. Bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.

Note: If you're vegan or don't eat dairy, leave the cheese out. Otherwise, sprinkle the cheese on just before baking or just before eating. Also, I thought that 30 minutes was too long in my oven. I think next time I'll check it at 25 minutes.

For a complete meal: serve it with a glass of Milk, Greens Beans drizzled with Olive Oil & Sea Salt, and Sweet Potatoes with a pat of Butter and Sea Salt.


Tonight I finally completed my "Week 2" of the Jillian Michael's Circuit Training program I've been on (it only took me 4 weeks to complete week 2, lol). Her circuits go in 2 week series, so this also means that I get to start a new series for the next 2 weeks! I love variety when it comes to working out. Watch tomorrow for my latest weekly before & after photos. I also have some yummy recipes coming tomorrow, including Homemade Chocolate Chips and Vegan Coconut Chocolate Chip Blondies!

Someone else in our house has really been getting her exercise, too. Baby A loves this Jump & Go! It's her favorite activity, besides belly laughing at her big sister.