Chick-Fil-A Copycat

Believe it or not, I do still cook food! I know it seems like all I have been doing is couponing and home improvement. But seriously, we have to eat!

I got the Chick-Fil-A Copycat recipe from FoodBabe and couldn’t wait to try it out. While Chick-Fil-A might not share all the same views that I do, they do share delicious food with me. But after reading there are almost 100 ingredients in one Chick-Fil-A sandwich, you might want to politely break-up with Chick-Fil-A.

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Image Courtesy of FoodBabe

I mean it’s just a chicken sandwich right? What more could be needed than breading, chicken, seasoning, and a bun? (no pickles for me please!) Well apparently they thought it could also use high fructose corn syrup, artificial coloring, chemical preservatives (one of them is TBHQ or Tertiary Butylhydroquinone, made from butane!) and MSG, just to name a few.

It saddens me to know that I have been eating something so bad, after really thinking going to Chick-Fil-A was a healthier choice versus a greasy burger. (Not a healthy choice, but healthier.)

So I decided to try out FoodBabe’s recipe because I couldn’t imagine never tasting that chicken sandwich again. (Maybe one of the hundred ingredients causes addiction!)

http://foodbabe.com/2011/07/09/chick-fil-a-or-chemical-fil-a/
http://foodbabe.com/2011/07/24/chick-fil-a-now-open-on-sunday/

Food Babe’s Open on Sunday Sandwich

Prep time 15 mins
Cook time 40 mins
Total time 55 mins

Serves: 4
Ingredients
2 chicken breasts equaling about 1 pound
1 large egg
½ cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup pickle juice
12 pickle slices
3 tbsp white or apple cider vinegar
1 ½ tsp paprika
1 cup flour of your choice (I used spelt)
1 tbsp powdered sugar
¼ tsp dry mustard
¼ tsp baking soda
4 sprouted whole wheat hamburger buns or buns of your choice
1 tbsp butter

Instructions
1. Marinating:

2. About 4 hours before or the day before – Cut chicken breasts in half making 4 similar size pieces
3. With a meat tenderizer or small hammer pound the chicken to ½ inch thick
4. Sprinkle salt, pepper and ½ tsp paprika to both sides of chicken
5. Place chicken in 1 cup pickle juice and let marinate for at least 4 hours to one day prior to baking
6. Baking:
7. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
8. Place pickle slices in vinegar and let marinate while you prep the chicken
9. In a bowl, combine and stir flours, sugar, baking soda, 1 tsp paprika, dry mustard and set aside
10. In another bowl, whisk egg and almond milk together
11. Remove chicken from marinade and dredge one piece of chicken at a time in egg bath, ensuring each side is wet and dredge in flour mixture coating each sidePlace each flour coated chicken piece on a wire rack with pan on bottom
12. Spray each piece liberally with olive oil covering both sides
13. Place tray of chicken in oven
14. After 12 mins, turn each piece of chicken over mid way through baking
15. After about 25 mins – 30 mins, chicken should be completely cooked and crispy
16. Take out of the oven and let rest at least 5 mins
17. While chicken is resting, butter buns and place in oven for 3-5 mins
18. Take buns out of oven, place 3 pickles on bottom bun and chicken on top and ENJOY!
Notes
Serve with a nice large cabbage salad or steamed broccoli (If you really want fries, I suggest baked sweet potato fries) Try to use all organic ingredients

Okay so I am not sure I can really give this a fair review just yet and let me tell you why. Picture this: It’s 7pm, people are starving, and your husband has to leave for work in about 2 hours. You look up this recipe that you had planned on making. You even remembered to defrost the chicken! Then you read the words marinate for at least 4 hours Well crap! You are going to make this anyways and just let it marinate for 30 minutes while you prepare other things.

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I am not saying this tasted bad, it was just a little dry. So I want to try it again after really marinating it so that juice really soaks in to the chicken! But compared to Chick-Fil-A, the breading had that same sweet, delicious flavor you love! Also, don’t try to use a pizza pan like I did because you don’t have a cooling rack. The breading stuck when I tried to flip the chicken breast and when I took them off, boo! hence the not so great looking end product, missing breading But if you judge everything you eat off of how it looks, you are going to miss out on some great food!

Bottom Line: You should definitely try this out, just make sure you plan ahead!

Happy Eating!
-Ellie

Recipe and Ingredient Picture courtesy of FoodBabe. Website listed above. All opinions are my own.

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How Do You Like Them Apples?

Bountiful Baskets Day!
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Can you say YUM! Here is a picture of my latest haul from my co-op. 

Breakdown: 12 bananas, 2 pomegranates, 7 bell peppers, 4 limes, ginger root, 1 cucumber, 1 butter lettuce, 6 tomatoes, biggest yam I have ever seen, 1 onion, 1 cantaloupe, 2 apples, 4 beets w/ greens, carrots about 3-4lbs, strawberries, bunch of Kale, bunch of Parsley, bunch of Celery, romaine lettuce, 1 pineapple, and 3 oranges (hiding behind the romaine) all for $25!

Then I swung by my local market and picked up some interesting finds: sunflower sprouts and sorrel. (oh and local corn on the cob!)
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Then I finally found some farm fresh eggs! (not that they never had them, I just never thought to look there) I really love how unique each egg is. They all have unique colors and sizes, not just all brown or white large eggs. Something about that is really creepy to me now!
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Also snagged a slice lemon strawberry banana bread from a local vegan co-op and some homemade pumpkin chocolate chip bread from another baker! Not to mention all the great people I met and free knowledge I acquired.

Local makes me happy!
-Ellie

P.S.
I picked up some wool dryer balls from a local crafter, I am excited to use them and will review them ASAP!

All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for any of these local reviews. I encourage you to find local markets in your community! Featured image courtesy of antpkr | freedigitalphotos.net

Cat Meowtain

Before anyone gets all upset, I know I know this blog is about eating….but….

After two years of living in our apartment, and an unforeseeable amount of time we will live here (at least another 1-2 years), I am really tired of living in white walls and fear of personalizing my space because of fees. So I also want to share my small projects with you all. (It also helps that I am not really working for the first time in years and focusing on college, so much free time ha) So please don’t hate me! =D

One day on Pinterest I came across this cool picture of stairs/shelves going all around an apartment as a cat walkway.

http://kittyloft.blogspot.com
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This was our inspiration to do something really awesome for our pets. I have two cats and one of them is a little chunky monkey, so my guy really thought this would be a great thing to get him moving and help him exercise along with his new diet.

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We live in this two-story loft style apartment, so we wanted to make this unused, high window accessible to our kitties. So we took a trip to Ikea and bought some floating shelves. We have a crazy, eclectic style. So we were really looking for something with a pop of color and something we could really customize, so we went with the LACK shelves in pretty much every size and color.

Then we also bought a microfiber rug (at Ikea) to cover the large top shelf where they would hopefully lay the most and look out the window. We went to Target and bought some placemats to cover the 3 smaller shelves because they weren’t high gloss like the other shelves and it seems backwards, but actually felt slicker than the high gloss shelves. Since they aren’t as long, we didn’t want little kitty paws slipping off!

Now it is time to put it all together!

Materials

Shelves
Ladder (thanks to a friend for letting me borrow one!)
Drill/Hardware (screws/anchors [if not using studs])
Hammer (if using anchors)
Level
Stud Finder
Painters Tape
Pencil

Step One:
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Use your stud finder to locate and mark the studs on your wall.

Step Two:
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Use painters tape to lay out a design before drilling. We also used Painters tape vertically to mark the studs so we could see exactly were we should place the brackets.

Step Three:
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Have a brave guy climb up on a ladder and drill in the floating shelf brackets. (Technically before this he used a laser level to mark a light straight line, held up the brackets and marked X in each hole where he needed to drill, and drilled pilot holes and hammered in anchors all while I was in class so it was not captured on film =p)
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Coming together nicely.

If you are covering shelves:
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Lay out the shelf on top of fabric and cut out rectangles for the corners.

Note: This is totally a beach towel and not really an American Flag! We had a good laugh as my guy was taking pictures and realized it totally looked like I was a terrible person and everyone was going to yell at me for working on an American flag (which it’s not!)
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I used spray adhesive glue on the fabric and shelf (make sure you are spraying the top and side you want down on the fabric)

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Then obviously, cover it!

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Step Four:
Finish installing according to shelf directions

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Step 5:
Let the cats enjoy!Stella and Diablo really loved them, it was hard to get pictures because they wouldn’t stop moving!

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Side Note:
We have an open loft window in our bedroom that lines up nicely with our new open window. So just for privacy we ran out to Target and bought some curtains and a tension rod. Easy peezy!
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My future holds filling up the gap to the right of Cat Meowtain (hopefully with more shelves, just need a taller ladder!) and filling up the walls around our new “window” outside of our bedroom. =D Oh and fixing the trashy looking curtain downstairs that we quickly hung up with command hooks on day ha!

Happy Eating and Decorating!
-Ellie

P.S. Sorry for the picture quality! Just used my iPhone because I didn’t want to juggle a DSLR and power tools!

Breaking My Co-op Cherry

lovetoeat

How great is that sign? I saw it on Pinterest, and now I know I need MUST make one for my kitchen!

When I first started my journey to eating healthy, I convinced myself I would become a juicer and go on a juice feast and lose tons of weight. Looking back, I can see how laughable that was, knowing myself and how much I love food. So instead of juicing, I started mega food restriction and ate maybe once or twice a day. How bleak life was. Even my guy was becoming depressed with our eating habits, even though we were technically losing weight.

One day it hit me, that it was time to fall back in love with food, except this time I would date the good foods and not be tempted by those “bad” foods as so many other girls (and guys) do!

This is still probably one of the most important things I have learned. For me eating is now about the love of preparing my own dishes (whether they end up good or yucky) from the freshest, natural ingredients whether that be breakfast, lunch, dinner, or desert!

Sometimes when something tastes “blah” I have to remind myself that I am just used to the greasy, salt covered version and it will take time for my tastebuds to love the natural flavors!

I didn’t know that Co-ops even existed, which might sound crazy to some people. But when you live off frozen food mutations and restaurants, did you really expect me to? So when I stumbled upon I was excited and leery. I spent weeks “filling” up my online basket with extras and goodies, only to never submit them before the deadline. After picking up my basket this morning, at the awful time of 7am on a Saturday mind you, I wonder what took me so long to hit submit!

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First things first, what I received (keep in mind these change):

Fruit/Veggie Basket ($15) (All organic option also available for $25): Pineapple, mini watermelon, cantaloupe, 6 bananas, 2 avocados, 1 pomegranate, 1 celery bunch, 2 onions, 2 heads of butter lettuce, green beans, 5 tomatoes, and a package of whole mushrooms. (you always receive 6 fruit and 6 vegetable items, but as you can see one item like bananas or tomatoes will contain multiples but still count as 1 fruit item.)

Mexican Veggie Lover Pack ($8.50): 1 bunch of cilantro, green onions, 3 onions, garlic, 4-5 jalapeños, 4 Anaheim peppers, 5 limes, and 12-13 tomatillos

Bread Pack ($10): 2 loaves 9-Grain bread, 2 loaves of english muffin bread, and 1 baguette.

A $3 basket fee, that is one time only (your first time)
A $1.50 processing fee for payment (always pay because they only accept credit/debt)

Total $38.00

So by going through my local weekly ads and some estimation along with weighing some things at home I estimate this would have all cost a little more than $50 at the grocery store. Subtracting my fees and counting just food, I saved 33% on my food. The best part is the bread will more than like last us all month since its 4 loaves. But for me this isn’t all about the savings per say. It is also about eating local, fresh ingredients.

Note: On their website they estimate the fruit/veggie baskets are worth about $50 grocery quality food, so either I’m under estimating, or they are over estimating. Either way, in the end it is cheaper!

They also offer a variety of extras every week/season. Things like coconut oils, bulk (around 25lb) fruits/veggies, bread packs, tortillas, italian packs, mexicans, and many more!

Literally the only downside is that you never know exactly what you are going to get. Like this week I received fruits and veggies I would never buy/eat. But I am taking the opportunity to try new things and cook new recipes. Or you can always donate the items to another family or local homeless shelter!

Okay, maybe waking up SUPER early on a Saturday is another downside, but I could drive like 30 mins to another city to pick up a basket at noon, or save the gas and time and suck it up!

Next I want to check out another local co-op called Earthwise Gardens. They have (what I think to be) a slightly high monthly membership fee of $100 for only 8-9 produce items a week. But I hear they have a store so I might have to check it out. I am still looking for a great place to find fresh eggs to use my super cute dishes.

Here is a picture of the “space wasters” as my guy likes to call them. I picked them up at World Market for $6 each! They are ceramic and come in white and yellow (that I could find!) and hold 12 eggs. (These are just organic, cage-free eggs from my local natural food store).

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I then later reorganized my fridge (and still working on the pantry) so the eggs “wasted” less space. But the first picture shows them better!

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And speaking of eggs….

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It’s not that most beautiful omelet but I did run straight home and use some of my mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, garlic, cilantro and spinach (that I already had) to make us a nice fresh breakfast! Later we had grilled peanut butter and honey sandwiches from the 9-grain bread and local Texas honey and organic 1 ingredient [crunchy] peanut butter, yum!

Happy Eating!
-Ellie

Target Savings

It’s Fall Y’all!

I love fall and Glade scents, so when I saw that Target had some on sale, I had to go pick some Pumpkin Spice things up!

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I also bought a 24oz Dove body wash and 3 (64oz) Cranberry juices. My over all total savings without tax was $23.41 or 49.9% off retail price. Let me break it down.

Total Retail: $46.70
Total Spent: $23.41
MF/Target Paper Coupons: $13.74
Cartwheel:$0.80
Employee Discount:$2.84
Red Card: $1.24
In store Sale: $4.67

It’s not as free as my last trip, but I only planned like 30 minutes for this one and stocked up on expensive Glade items! Not too shabby for 8 plug-in refills, 1 pkg wax melts, 1 can aerosol spray, 1 double spray starter kit, 24oz Dove soap with a tiny sample, and 3 (64oz) cranberry juices!

Not to mention we will actually use all of the stuff, so it’s not really wasting money!

-Ellie

Note: all prices are before tax!