At the end of December, I caught the cold that was going around. I wasn’t the only one though, as almost every single member of my family and all my friends were down with it as well. When I was sick, the one thing that I was craving was soup. There’s something about a hot soup that just makes any cold or cough a little bit better. I’ll admit that I’m a big soup fan year-round and am constantly making soups to have on hand. While I often opt for pureed vegetable soups, when I was sick I was craving chicken noodle soup. Not only is it proven to make colds better but it’s a classic. Of course, being gluten-free makes things a little difficult as I couldn’t run to Whole Foods to pick some up, and the canned gluten-free stuff just isn’t very good. So I decided to make my favorite recipe for chicken zoodle soup, using spiralized zucchini as the noodles. It’s one that I’ve perfected over the years and thought it was finally time to share it with you. I promise that you won’t miss the wheat noodles and even my Grandma, who’s often dubious of gluten-free/paleo foods, loves it! The best part is that the recipe only takes around 30 minutes so you won’t have to be sniffling and stirring at the same time.
Paleo Chicken Zoodle Soup
Gluten-free, dairy-free, grain-free
- 1 Large Yellow Onion, chopped
- 10 Small Carrots, chopped (approx. 3 cups)
- 3 Stalks Celery, finely chopped (approx. 1 cup)
- 7 Small (Or 4 Large) Zucchini, spiralized
- 3 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 2 Chicken Breasts, shredded
- 8 Cups Vegetable or Chicken Broth
- 1/2 T + 1 t. Dried Oregano
- 1/2 T + 1 t. Dried Basil
- 1 t. Dried Thyme
- 1 1/2 t. Sea Salt
- 1 t. Pepper
- 1 T. Olive Oil
- Chop both ends from a zucchini and spiralize, using the blade with the small triangle holes. Continue until you have spiralized all your zucchini and set aside.
- Chop onion, celery and carrots and mince garlic and set aside.
- Heat 1 T. olive oil on high heat in stock pot.
- Add onions and sauté until they become slightly golden and soft.
- Add 3 cloves minced garlic and sauté together for 1 minute.
- On medium heat, add carrots, celery and vegetable broth. Heat together for 5 minutes.
- Add your zucchini noodles to your pot on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring to combine every 5 minutes which will get easier as your noodles cook down.*
- Add in chicken and spices and let cook together for 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft.
*When you first put the zucchini noodles into the soup it will look like you have way too much. Don’t worry though because as zucchini are 95% water, they reduce in size dramatically and will become soft and easy to eat in the soup.
-What do you crave when you have a cold/flu?
For some people, the early winter months mean football season. They have snacks and settle in front of the television, talking to the tv as if they can be heard and have a hard time looking away. Well, that’s how I feel about award season. I too, love to sit and watch the whole event, including the red carpet pre-show. On occasion, I might find myself talking to the tv, guessing who I think should win the award that’s up for grabs. Oh, and when the boys are checking out the plays they just watched on their phones, I’m scrolling through E!’s red carpet pictures so I can get a closer look. This year, the majority of the women walking the red carpet were on point. Of course, there will always be some who manage to pull away from the pack and those who fall behind, so let’s get to it.
These three women look absolutely flawless and can you believe that they are all over 40? Of course, Kate Beckinsale tops my list in her Elie Saab dress. Now Elie Saab is one of my favorite designers so it’s no surprise I loved this dress, but it’s absolutely perfection. I love that it has the right amount of sparkle, paired with the gorgeously draped, neutral skirt. I think her styling was spot on too with her neutral bag, double wrist cuffs and dark manicure. Beckinsale is one of those stars though, who consistently hits it right on the red carpet, and I’ll admit that I know her more for her red carpet looks than her movies. Amy Adams has been on a winning streak for the past few years, both on the award show stage and the red carpet. Her pale blue Versace dress, perfectly brought out her blue eyes. It was a simple style with classic styling but what made this a winner in my book was that it fit her like a dream. Now I’m not usually one for feathers on a dress, but Julianne Moore’s Givenchy Couture look worked beautifully. I absolutely loved the ombre effect and how the trailing sequins just melted into the feathers. I’m so glad that she let this very embellished dress do the talking too and opted for simple diamonds to complete the look.
I’d call it a very successful award show with only two stars on my worst dressed list. The first is Rosamund Pike in Vera Wang and I’m disappointed that both the actress and designer are on the list! This dress just doesn’t work as the bodice lays awkwardly in part due to the straps and the cutouts look a little odd. If you are going to go this bare, I’d suggest looking in the direction of Kate Hudson who rocked her very revealing Versace dress due to a perfect fit. For such a gorgeous, talented actress, I hope her next red carpet dresses are better. On the other end of the spectrum is Keira Knightley, wearing a very conservative dress. I’m sad to say that this dress is actually Chanel! I recognize that Kiera does tend to go for more offbeat dresses and is a Chanel spokesperson but this dress is just too much with the top and bottom made from a material resembling curtains. And I think you know how I feel about the matching butterfly on her wrist. I know that both Chanel and Keira can do much better and have high hopes for the future.
Of course, as award shows go, they can’t all be winners. But tell me, who topped your best and worst dressed lists?
My usual spotlights are centered around the Bay Area, but I thought it would be fun to tell you about great gluten-free spots in other cities I’ve visited. When I went to Dallas for Thanksgiving, I found some wonderful, safe places to eat, but the best was Unrefined Bakery. When I heard about Unrefined, I knew I had to check it out as they are not only certified gluten-free but they are also soy-free, all-natural and organic! As a rule I generally only eat all-natural, whole foods, so I loved that they specialize in this, making it safe food that you can feel good about. Fellow friends with other allergies, this is the place for you too, as they are 99% corn and dairy-free, as well as 80% egg-free. Basically this is a dream come true for those with food allergies. What really surprised me though, was how paleo friendly they were as well! That was something that I was so impressed with in Dallas in general, and found the city to have many more paleo offerings than the Bay Area!
As I try to eat mostly paleo, those are the items that I really wanted to try. I’ve had paleo offerings from other places before but they are often very egg-y, due to a high number of eggs and low ratio of coconut flour. As someone who isn’t a fan of eggs, that’s not what I like when it comes to my baked goods! Unrefined got it completely right though. Their paleo pumpkin muffins were absolutely delicious! They were hearty without being dense and had the perfect amount of spice to them. I’d like to say that my family enjoyed them as well, but I didn’t share these. They were just that good! These come frozen, in a 4-pack which is ideal because preservative-free foods don’t tend to last long, so it’s nice to be able to heat them one at a time.
As it was Thanksgiving, the other items I tried were holiday specials. They offered traditional cornbread stuffing and to my delight, paleo stuffing. The paleo stuffing was absolutely delicious and perfectly flavored. It was so good that my family didn’t even realize that it wasn’t the more traditional, cornbread one! Success! Off to a great start with the muffins and stuffing, I was excited to see how their pies would fare. I tasted their dark chocolate paleo pie in-store and it was absolutely amazing, with a rich chocolately flavor and a flaky crust. If there had been room for 2 pies at my celebration, I definitely would have purchased this. Instead, I went for the paleo pumpkin pie and it was one of the best pies I have ever tasted. So good in fact, that I may have had another slice the next day before I went to the airport. And by may, I mean definitely. If you live in Dallas and are gluten-free (or just enjoy really great baked goods) run to one of their three locations. Oh, and please tell me all about it because I’m wishing I lived closer!
As we close out 2014 and enter a new year, everyone’s minds jump to New Year’s resolutions. There are things that we all want or wish for 2015 to bring and parts of 2014 that we may be ready to leave behind. But what about the best moments of 2014? That ordinary day that you spent the evening laughing with friends. Or the day that you had a great phone date with a loved one. Or the day that the killer migraine you’d been fighting finally went away. In our assessment of the year, these aren’t times that we reflect on. Instead we focus on the bigger moments. The day that you graduated or got a promotion at work or the day he first said I love you. But when we breeze through the year and only look at these moments, we miss the small, wonderful ones in between.
For about a year now, at the end of every day, I spend a minute or two and write down five things that I am grateful for that day. Some days, it’s easy to think of the five and some days, it’s a little bit harder. And then there are the days that can only be classified as “bad” and it feels difficult at all to see the good. But no matter what, I find things to write about. Because in the end, you have something to be grateful for, regardless of what is going on in your life. You have a warm place to sleep or you have food in your pantry or you have clean water to drink. And on the really bad days, those are still really great blessings.
I’ve found that by writing these things down at the end of the day, I’ve learned to approach the day with an attitude of gratitude. Focusing on the good things not only makes you a more positive person, but it brings a lightness to you and takes the stress away a bit, even if it’s just for a moment. In fact, it’s scientifically proven that grateful people are happier, get sick less often, sleep better and have more energy. And aren’t those all things that you’d like to have in 2015? So I encourage you this coming year, to take the minute or two before you go to sleep and write down your list. Not only will it be fun to look back on in the future, but it could very well change your attitude, and in turn, your life.
-Have you ever done a gratitude journal?