Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Easy Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Potatoes & Royal Raisins

This post is sponsored by Nuts.com. As always, thank you for supporting CNC! 

We’re all about healthy and EASY recipes in our house, especially when it comes to dinner. Most nights, we’re rushing home after a workout or straight to daycare to pick-up Qman, so dinner needs to prepped ahead of time or a simple meal that comes together quickly with minimal ingredients and directions. And, of course, the fewer dishes and things I have to clean up, the better! 🙂

This Easy Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Potatoes & Royal Raisins is the easiest recipe ever and always turns out well. The entire meal is cooked in just one pan (hooray!), so everything finishes cooking at the same time and there’s not a ton of clean up afterward.

The combination of chicken breast with roasted potatoes and Royal Raisins is hearty, satisfying, and, ohhh, so tasty. We especially love how the savory and sweet flavors compliment each other so well. Holy yum! We sometimes pair this recipe with a green veggie side, like asparagus or green beans, but it’s totally a meal that you can eat alone. It also makes delicious leftovers for lunch the next day, so it’s definitely a go-to recipe for the Hauperts. I hope your family loves it as much as we do!


  • 1 – 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 28 ounces potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces (I used a medley of red, purple, and white)
  • 1/3 cup Royal Raisins
  • 1.5 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 heaping teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • salt + pepper to taste

Did you happen to notice the Royal Raisins in the ingredients above? Never heard of ’em? Well, you are in for a real treat! They’re basically the biggest (in fact, they’re the largest variety of raisin on Earth) and plumpest raisins you’ve ever seen. Royal Raisins are a variety of black grape raisins from California that have a gorgeous deep purple hue and a subtly spicy, yet sweet, caramel-like taste. The texture is soft and chewy with a pleasantly firm texture. I’m telling ya, they’re quite amazing in recipes, but especially eaten solo by themselves, which is how Quinn and I like to eat them. Seriously, our little guy is obsessed with them and asks for “ray-ZINS” all the time! 🙂 FYI: A BIG (1-pound) bag only costs $5.99, so they’re priced right, too! 🙂


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Place chicken breasts in a mixing bowl and then season with salt and pepper. Then, add balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, minced garlic, and kosher salt. Allow chicken to marinate while you cut up the potatoes or marinade overnight. The longer, the better!


Add potatoes and Royal Raisins to a rectangular baking dish and then toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

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Place chicken breasts on top of potatoes and raisins along with any additional marinade. Tightly cover pan with tin foil and then bake for 50-55 minutes until chicken is cooked all the way through and potatoes are soft. Serve immediately.


Makes 4 servings

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9 Trends of Primal Interest

Magnifying glass over trends to watch textI get a lot of industry news. I eat out a fair bit. I talk to people whose job it is to spot and track health trends. I’m privy to some of the greatest, most innovative minds in the alternative health community—my readers. And you guys are always sending me interesting links. Today, I’m going to discuss some trends of Primal interest. I might poke fun at some of them, and others might be relatively small-scale, but even the silly or minor ones point to interesting movements in the health and fitness zeitgeist.

So, what are the 9 I’m highlighting today?

Experiences over Things

In 2015, I wrote about the dichotomy of value between experiences and things, pointing to research suggesting that buying experiences brings more joy and meaning to a person’s life than buying material objects. I explained how our hunter-gatherer evolution probably wired us to get more out of experiences, and I dug a bit into my own opinion on the matter.

People appear to be agreeing with me. Millennials in particular are choosing things like travel and dining out over gear and gadgets. And the material objects people are consuming enable experiential living—smartphones, fitness trackers, and such. Even media consumption is shifting away from ownership of music and movies to on-demand services like Spotify and Netflix.

Eating Root-to-Leaf

Nose-to-tail eating has taken off. Previously arcane bits like sweetbreads, liver, tripe, marrow, and kidney are on menus everywhere, and few people bat an eye anymore. It’s normal.

Eating root-to-leaf means considering the edibility of the entire plant. More often than not, we’re throwing away a large amount of digestible, nutrient-dense flora.

Broccoli crowns are amazing, but did you know you can eat the leaves? Broccoli leaves are some of my favorite. This also works for Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and celery.

It means eating roots and their greens, whether it’s a carrot, a beet, a rutabaga, or a turnip. When the guy at the farmer’s market asks if you want him to “twist off the leaves,” say “absolutely not.”

Even things like lemon, orange, or grapefruit rinds can be grated, pickled, or processed to extract the flavonoids.

Artisanal Wilderness Retreats

Outfits are taking young professionals on carefully curated excursions into the wild. Check out this video from Wilderness Collective documenting their maiden trip. Yes, it’s overwrought. Yes, it’s a bit silly and a little too perfect. But it’s satisfying a real need people have: spending unbroken days immersed in natural settings.

Walking the dog in the park before work is better than nothing. Putting up a Yosemite wallpaper on your laptop is nice (and may even have an effect). Actually spending 5 nights camping out and trekking through Yosemite is nicer and far more real, even if you’ve got a Michelin-starred chef flambéing flat iron steaks for you at dinnertime.

Movement, Not Just Exercise

There’s growing awareness of the importance and primacy of frequent—constant, if you can—low-level movement. Developments like fitness trackers, walking clubs at the workplace, the rise of standing workstations (pun intended), the bi-monthly article railing against the dangers of sitting too much, the concept of “exercise snacks,” (mini workouts done throughout the day) and the constant recommendations that people walk at least 10,000 steps a day suggest that the word has gotten out. Folks like Katy Bowman (of Don’t Just Sit There fame) have played a huge role in furthering, explicating, and refining the message.

Formal, dedicated training isn’t going anywhere. Nor should it. The stuff plain works. But it works better atop a foundation of constant low-level movement.

Health and Wellness Tourism

I’m not talking about jetting off to Costa Rica for dental work, or Thailand for a sex change operation. I’m talking about hiking the Pacific Coast Trail, or maybe the Appalachian Trail, or even flying to Spain to hike the Camino de Santiago, or to Turkey to do the Lycian Way. Kickboxing camps in Chiang Mai, Inca Trail maintenance at Machu Picchu, WWOOFing.


Right now, we know a few things about the interactions between specific genetic variants and certain foods, activities, and environmental inputs. But biology is probably the most complex system in the universe. We’re missing a ton.

It’s also getting better. Scientists continue to unmask, identify, and catalogue new variants and their effects—and how what you eat and how you train affects them. A product I used and enjoyed, DNA Fit, and similar ones will only get better, more accurate, and more comprehensive.

Monetization of Recovery Days

With all the CrossFitting, Tough Muddering, Olympic lifting, and other training people are doing, they’re finally beginning to wise up to the role recovery days play in fitness. But rather than only rely on time off and sleep, they’re spending big bucks on the best recovery money can buy. Float tanks (rich in magnesium sulfate epsom salts; the sensory deprivation activates but ultimately helps you tame the monkey mind), cryotherapy chambers (ultra-cold therapy), mobility tools that help you stretch and perform self-myofascial release.

Yes, this can get expensive. This isn’t a bad thing. I’ve always argued for more rest and relaxation and recovery, and the consensual exchange of money for services indicates that consumers of cryotherapy, float tanks, mobility/self-myofascial-release products are clearly getting something out of the exchange.

The Rise of Purple Food

Used to be you could only get a big whack of the all-important purple anthocyanins from a cup of blueberries. That’s changing. There’s purple carrots, purple cauliflower, purple sweet potatoes, purple regular potato, purple asparagus, purple corn, black rice. These aren’t recent creations. Purple/black varieties of produce have been around for decades. They’re becoming more prominent though. All that purple doesn’t make up for the loss of Prince, but it’s probably good for our insulin sensitivity and cognitive function.

Cellular Agriculture

Tech companies’ recent forays into food haven’t gone very well, but cellular agriculture could be a game changer. To grow a piece of beef in the lab, they culture stem cells taken from a piece of beef off an actual living cow. Tender cuts (filets) are harvested earlier, tougher cuts (chuck) are harvested later.

The most prominent cellular agriculture company, Memphis Meats, hopes to have its stem cell-grown “clean” chicken and pork on store shelves by 2021. They’ve already got a working meatball for people to taste.

Will it save us?

That remains to be seen. The “cultured meat” evangelists who decry the climactic impact of ruminants always overlook the vital role holistically-grazed livestock play in maintaining soil health, re-greening land, and building carbon sinks. What other “alternative” benefits of eating and raising traditional will they miss? If they try to “optimize” the fatty acid content of a stem-cell ribeye by excising the saturated fat and bumping up the linoleic acid, I will be very upset (but not very surprised).

If the technology gets cheap enough, we’ll probably be able to grow our own at home to whichever specifications we like. Bump up the vitamin K2, omega-3, collagen, zinc, and so on. That could be cool. Whatever the supposed benefits, if it doesn’t taste and behave just like good meat I’m not interested.

That’s it for me, folks. What about you? What are the trends you’re watching for? Which are the trends you’ve adopted? Let me know down below, and thanks for reading!


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Monday In Meals + My Philosophy On Counting Macros

Good morning! I hope your week is off to a wonderful start!

Since it’s Tuesday, it’s time for another edition of Monday In Meals where I share what I ate throughout the day on Monday. I love sharing my eats, especially at the beginning of the week, because it’s motivation for me to stay on track and it often sets the tone for the days following. With that, here’s a recap of my meals and snacks yesterday!

  • Breakfast: Scrambled eggs with shredded hash browns (365 brand), baby spinach, and Trader Joe’s Everything but the Bagel Sesame Seasoning Blend, which is PHENOMENAL and, if y ou don’t live near a Trader Joe’s, you can Amazon Prime it right to your front door!
  • Snack: Half of a waffle with Justin’s Maple Almond Butter + red grapes
  • Lunch: Trader Joe’s Giant Bake Beans in Tomato Sauce (liked, didn’t love) mixed with shredded chicken, cauliflower rice, and broccoli + a Beauty Burst
  • Pre-workout Snack: Brownie Crunch Think Thin Bar <— I freakin’ love this bar! It’s tasty and a legit snack… not the usual bar that leaves you hungry 30 seconds later!
  • Workout: Treadmill workout on CNC Instagram
  • Post-workout Snack: Handful of Royal Raisins
  • Dinner: Crazy-Easy Balsamic Chicken with Roasted Potatoes & Royal Raisins (recipe on CNC tomorrow)
  • Dessert: Banana chocolate protein muffin with chocolate chips <— I actually tried some coffee flour from Trader Joe’s in this recipe, but it didn’t turn out quite right. It was edible for sure, but I think I used too much coffee flour (a little goes a long way). I definitely want to try again soon though!

Monday In Meals_April 3

And… I “hit my macros” yesterday, which is a big deal for me! Haha! Truthfully, I don’t hit them on the dot all that much—maybe a couple of times per week. I enjoy tracking macros because it makes me think twice about how I’m fueling my body, but I’m not someone who is obsessed with the numbers, which is why I love our plans at Designed to Fit Nutrition so much.

At DTFN, we’re not totoally obsessed with the numbers. Yes, they’re important if you want to achieve your goals, but we’re all about teaching our clients healthy habits and lifestyle changes that work for them and stick with them for the long-term.

Our DTFN plans (DTFN + Premium options) do all of the work for you, so you don’t have to think about the numbers. We tell you exactly what to eat and then give you easy recipes and shopping lists, so all you have to do is prep the food and eat it. We have so many clients that love this style of meal plan and have achieved GREAT results! On the flip side, we have a number of clients, who want more flexibility in their diets, which I totally get. Personally, my diet is much more dialed in when I can piece together a day that works for me (i.e. happy hour, Donut Friday).

Our Macros + Meals Plan (8- and 12-week options) is perfect for someone who already has a good handle on their diet and already counts macronutrients (via tracking app, like MyFitnessPal), but is looking for meal/snack ideas and accountability to reach their goals. Each week, you receive up to six new, macro-friendly recipes to use as the foundation of your meal plan. With your personalized macronutrient calculations in mind, you will design a day of eating (via tracking app) to fit your personal needs and food preferences. This plan includes one-on-one coaching, a supportive client Facebook group, and weekly check-ins to keep you motivated on track. It’s a pretty awesome plan, and I love that it came from client feedback! 🙂

Related: Speaking of client feedback, we recently brought back our Foundations plan, which is a one-time macronutrient calculation!

Question of the Day

Do you count macros?

What’s your food philosophy? 

P.S. One of my favorite ways to boost my breakfast is adding a hearty serving of nutritious (and delicious) veggies, so I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity to contribute to this piece for NBC News: 5 Delicious Ways to Eat More Veggies at Breakfast!

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Bald Head Day 1: From Storms To Sunset

We had such a nice time on Bald Head! It’s Mazen’s favorite place ever, and it was Thomas’s first visit. Our drive down was quite scary with torrential rain and storms, but once we arrived the skies cleared and we had such great weather the whole weekend.

Check out our greeting party waving wildly from the dock!

As we usually do in the off-season, we stayed at the Marsh Harbor Inn.

Mazen is on spring break this week, but we still did some writing in the sand!

My cubes all unpacked :mrgreen:

We freshened up and joined my parents for cocktail hour, enjoying the sunset on the deck.

Stella & Dot represent x3 🙂

Studmuffin. Love his little Sperry shoes that I got on sale last fall!

We all piled into the golf cart to head to dinner at the Club. Wheee!

I had fish tacos, sweet potato fries, and a beer!

We spent Saturday at the beach – tell you all about it soon!

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Clean Eating Almond And Fennel Muffins Recipe

Clean Eating Almond And Fennel Muffins Recipe

In looking back over my clean eating holiday recipes, I realized I don’t have many for the spring holidays. I mean, there are many of my recipes that can be used for the holidays this time of year, but few of them are specifically for that. So I started thinking about what I’ll be making this Easter for the family, and even for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. We’ll be spending Easter in the East Bay with Mini Chef’s grandparents, and I just can’t go empty handed!

Clean Eating Almond And Fennel Muffins Recipe

I love these because they are easy to make and easy to transport. That’s important when you have to drive a long distance with food in the car!

These muffins are right on the verge of becoming popovers, but the whole grain flour keeps them muffin-shaped. So if you love popovers, these goodies are flavored just right for the upcoming spring holidays. Slightly sweet with almond and fennel added, these are sure to please. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, add in a few golden raisins! Yum!

These are, as with many types of bread, best served warm out of the oven with a little pat of butter. But you can easily reheat these in the oven for about 10 minutes at 325 F. To serve, simply wrap them warm in a towel and place that in a basket that can be passed around the family table.



Copyright Information For The Gracious Pantry

Clean Eating Almond And Fennel Muffins



Yield: 15 standard size "muffin" popovers


  • 3 Tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1½ cups whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1½ cups milk (any kind)
  • 4 whole large eggs
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 tsp. ground fennel seed
  • ¼ tsp. pure liquid stevia OR 2 tbsp. unprocessed sugar such as Sucanat or coconut sugar


  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place a clean and dry muffin tin in the oven to warm up with the oven.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl,whisk all ingredients together just until they are combined. Do not over mix. Small clumps are okay in this batter.
  4. Take the tin out of the heated oven and grease the muffin wells.
  5. Fill each muffin well with batter ¾ of the way full.
  6. Bake for approximately 35 minutes or until golden brown.
  8. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.
  9. Store in refrigerator for up to a week or two.


Clean Eating Almond And Fennel Muffins Recipe

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Episode 361 – Dr. Izabella Wentz – Hashimoto’s Protocol

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This week on the podcast we have Dr. Izabella Wentz. She’s a NYT Bestselling author, and one of the most highly regarded thyroid specialists in the world. Listen in as we talk all about thyroid disease, causes, and treatments.

Download Episode Here (MP3)


Website: http://ift.tt/2o4EhdM

Book: Hashimoto’s Protocol


30 Day Guide to the Paleo Diet

Want some extra help? Have you been trying Paleo for a while but have questions or aren’t sure what the right exercise program is for you? Or maybe you just want a 30-day meal plan and shopping list to make things easier? We’ve created a getting started guide to help you through your first 30 days.

Buy the book


Wired-to-Eat-RenderDon’t forget, Wired to Eat is now available!

Amazon, Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, iBooks

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