Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken

Why not serve something special tonight. This Spinach and Feta stuffed Chicken is so flavorful that they will be asking for it again and again. Serve with steamed rice and/or salad.

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 cups packed chopped fresh spinach
2 tbsp Sun Dried Tomatoes, chopped
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons Becel margarine
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 teaspoon dried oregano (divided)
4 boneless and skinless chicken breasts
1 Package (200 grams) Feta cheese

Heat the oven to 425°F.

In a large frying pan, heat the olive oil to medium high. Turn the heat to low and fry the shallots and garlic for 2 – 3 minutes. Add the chopped spinach and Sun Dried Tomatoes, stir until it’s all wilted. Remove from the heat and stir in the pepper and 1 tsp oregano. Place the spinach in a medium sized bowl, and let it sit until warm to the touch, then add the feta, mix well. Melt the Becel in a small pan; remove from the heat to add the Panko crumbs and the remaining 1 tsp oregano. Toss together, set aside.

Slice the chicken breast along three sides and fold open. Stuff with the spinach and feta mixture, and fold the open side back over. Place the chicken into a baking pan that has been sprayed with Pam and top with the Panko crumbs. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes.


Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Orange Butter Sauce

Enjoy these Roasted Brussels Sprouts with an orange flavored butter sauce as the perfect side dish to bring to the next family gathering.

4 cups small Brussels Sprouts, trimmed and halved lengthwise
2 tbsp extra—virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp pure maple syrup (for sugar free use Lakanto sweetener with Monk Fruit)
1 tbsp fresh orange juice
1/2 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet pan with a piece of parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss the Brussels sprouts with the olive oil and salt. Arrange the sprouts in one layer, cut side down, on the parchment.

Roast until brown and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. (The tops of the sprouts should be dark brown and crispy, and feel tender when pierced with a knife.) Transfer the sprouts to a serving bowl.

Combine the balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, orange juice, and orange zest in a small saucepan. Heat the mixture over medium heat just until it’s hot, but not simmering. Remove from the heat and add the cold butter, whisking constantly until the mixture is smooth and creamy. (Do not reheat the mixture or the sauce won’t be creamy.) Pour the sauce over the sprouts and stir thoroughly but gently until most of the sauce has been absorbed.   Serves 4

Adapted from “Fast, Fresh & Green,” by Susie Middleton

The Vibrant Colors of Fall

A walk down the nature trail on a warm fall day is soothing to the mind, and listening to the birds seems to have a calming effect when you take the time to enjoy it.

The vibrant colors of fall are a sight to behold. The yellows, oranges and the little bits of red against the autumn sky are truly inspiring to the amateur photographer in me.

Here is a collections of photos that depict the changing of the season.

The beavers are even busy preparing for the winter ahead by taking down some trees.

Spinach & Mushroom Stuffed Ground Beef Roll

This very easy to assemble ground beef roll is stuffed with spinach and mushrooms.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup mushrooms, finely chopped
1/4 cup onions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
5 ounces (142 grams) baby spinach, chopped
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
1/4 cup roasted red pepper, diced
2 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped

1 lb lean ground beef
1 egg
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tsp parsley
2 tsp oregano
2 tsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp onion powder
pinch cayenne pepper
1/2 package of bacon (7 or 8 slices)

Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add the mushrooms, onions, and garlic; cook for 2 minutes at medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and stir in the spinach, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, Italian seasoning, roasted red pepper, and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the ground beef, egg, garlic, parsley, oregano, basil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, onion powder, and cayenne pepper in a large bowl. Mix together until fully incorporated.

Press the ground beef mixture into a rectangle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Spread the spinach/mushroom mixture on top of the ground beef.

Roll up jelly-roll style, pressing together tightly as you roll.

Wrap the roll in slices of bacon and place on a broiler pan on top of a baking sheet. I just placed mine on parchment paper.

Bake at 375 degrees for 60 – 75 minutes, or until fully cooked. Let sit 5 minutes before slicing. Serves 4 to 6

A Forgiving Heart

Be the one who nurtures and builds. Be the one who has an understanding and a forgiving heart one who looks for the best in people. Leave people better than you found them.

~Marvin J. Ashton

Almond Crusted Chicken

If you miss breaded chicken, then this is the recipe for you. These chicken breasts are coated in seasoned ground almonds and nutritional yeast.

3 skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup ground almonds
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a baking dish.

Combine ground almonds and nutritional yeast in the food processor and pulse for 20 – 30 seconds to mix together. Remove the almond/nutritional yeast mixture to a medium bowl and add the Italian seasoning and garlic powder, mix well.

Season the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.

Coat the chicken on both sides with the egg, and dredge in the almond mixture.

Heat a skillet over medium heat with 2 Tablespoons of olive oil, brown the chicken on both sides. Move the chicken to the prepared pan and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until done.

Serves 3

Diets to Consider With Digestive Issues

There are a number of diets out there that could partially alleviate your symptoms. Who knows, you may even be lucky enough to find a diet that will alleviate all of your symptoms!

When one specific diet does not work though, you just may need to tweak one of these diets:

1. The Low-FODMAP Diet
– FODMAP stands for Fermentable Oligosaccharides, Disaccharides, Monosaccharides, and Polyols, which are short chain carbohydrates and sugar alcohols that are poorly absorbed by the body, resulting in abdominal pain and bloating.
– FODMAP’S occur in some foods naturally or as additives
– More info here: https://www.dietvsdisease.org/low-fodmaps-food-list/

You can also check out this book: The Complete Low-FODMAP Diet: A Revolutionary Plan for Managing IBS and Other Digestive Disorders   (not an affiliate link)

2. The Specific Carbohydrate Diet
– The Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) is a restrictive diet made for individuals with Crohn’s Disease, Celiac Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, Cystic Fibrosis, Chronic Diarrhea, or Diverticulitis.
– To find out more information about SCD, check out the web site ‘Breaking The Vicious Cycle’ at: http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.info/home/

3. The GAPS Protocol
– The gut and psychology syndrome protocol comes from the idea that an unhealthy gut may lead to mental health issues.
– The GAPS Diet removes foods that can be difficult to digest and damaging to gut flora by replacing them with nutrient-dense foods to give the intestinal lining a chance to heal.
– To find out more information about the Gaps Diet, check out this web site. http://www.gapsdiet.com/

4. The Gluten-free Diet
– If you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, this diet is the best place to start.
– To find out more information, check out The Celiac Disease Foundation. https://celiac.org/

5. The Grain-free Diet
– When the gluten-free diet isn’t enough the next step may just be grain-free.
– For more information see this article: https://draxe.com/grain-free-diet/

6. The Paleo Diet
– The Paleo diet includes foods a cavemen would of ate, such as grass-fed meat, seafood, fruits, and vegetables.
– For more information see this article: https://draxe.com/paleo-diet-plan/

7. The Autoimmune Paleo Protocol
– The autoimmune paleo diet is similar to the paleo diet but more restrictive by removing eggs, nuts, seeds, nightshades, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners.
– This diet may be for you if your gut symptoms come from an autoimmune disease like Crohn’s, Celiac’s, or Ulcerative Colitis.
– To find out more information about the autoimmune protocol and diet check out Autoimmune Wellness at: https://autoimmunewellness.com/

Everyone’s journey to better health needs to start somewhere, and any of the above philosophies are a good starting point and will open a wealth of information to you. Try not to get overwhelmed and take one day at a time. Put your ideas to pen and paper so you can keep track of your progress. If you slip up and eat something that you shouldn’t have, whether it be accidentally or intentionally, do not beat yourself up or dwell on it. Just commit to doing your best each day. Make sure you are patient with your body and the process, and understand that this process can take some time. Keep a detailed food diary of what you eat and how it makes you feel (physically and emotionally as well) Once you have identified foods/additives that affect you negatively, do your very best to avoid them, at least in the short term.

Good luck!

Ginger-Garlic Roasted Parsnips

These delicious, slightly sweet and spicy parsnips are so easy to make and are a good replacement for oven-baked potatoes or french fries.

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 lb parsnips, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 to 1 tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 clove garlic, minced
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking dish with parchment paper and set aside.

Add the parsnips, ginger, garlic, and olive oil to a large bowl and toss to coat. Spread the parsnips evenly in the bottom of the prepared baking dish and season with salt and pepper.

Bake for 40 minutes or until the parsnips are tender. Serve immediately.

Advice From A Tree

Stand up tall and proud.
Sink your roots into the earth.
Be content with your natural beauty.
Go out on a limb.
Drink plenty of water.
Remember your roots.
Enjoy the view!

~Ilan Shamir

To read the full poem “Advice From A Tree” visit the Spirit of Trees at http://spiritoftrees.org/poetry/advice-from-a-tree