Spicy Chicken with Mango Salad and Coconut Rice

Spicy Chicken with Mango and Rice

I have a new favorite dish!  I found this one here and modified it to remove migraine triggers.  I also turned down the heat so that each family member would be satisfied.  Anyone wanting more spice can simply add more cayenne pepper to the chicken.  My favorite part of the recipe is how all three parts work together like it is all one dish.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do:)

Spicy Chicken with Mango Salad and Coconut Rice

Spicy Chicken with Mango and Rice

Marinade
2 chicken breasts|
¼ cup olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper (or more as desired)
1 tsp. basil
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. garam masala
2 Tbsp. brown sugar

Rice
1 cup brown or wild rice
2 cups coconut milk
¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut

Salad
1 large mango, peeled and chopped
¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 cup corn|
¼ tsp. cilantro
¼ tsp. garlic powder
1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes

  1. Combine salad ingredients and cool in the refrigerator.
  2. Combine marinade ingredients and pour over thawed chicken breasts in a glass baking dish.  Cover and allow to sit in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours.
  3. Bake chicken until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees (about 1 hour).
  4. Cook rice and coconut in the coconut milk until liquid has been absorbed (30 to 45 minutes).

Zucchini Patties

Zucchini Quinoa Patties

It’s that time of year when zucchini is plentiful, and I have several recipes to share which will use it all.  This first one is a twist on a traditional recipe.  The twist is that quinoa is included to add a protein boost.  This recipe is best with fresh zucchini, but the others are great with fresh or frozen zucchini.  I will explain how I freeze it with the next zucchini post.

The original inspiration for these patties included several migraine triggers which I have removed/replaced.  We like these patties best when served as a side dish.

UPDATE:  When I posted this on Friday, I included the wrong amounts for the quinoa and water.  It is now correct.  I hope this didn’t create a problem for anyone trying the recipe!

Zucchini Patties

Zucchini Quinoa Patties

1/4c. quinoa, rinsed
1/2 c. water
1 1/2 c. grated zucchini
1/4 c. rice flour
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 t. oregano
1/8 t. garlic powder
black pepper
2 to 4 Tbsp. coconut oil

  1. Cook quinoa in the water.
  2. Squeeze the zucchini to remove excess water.
  3. Stir all ingredients (except for the coconut oil) together in a bowl.
  4. Mold a spoonful of mix into a ball and flatten into a patty.
  5. Fry in a skillet with heated coconut oil until each side is browned.  I use 1 to 2 Tbsp. oil at a time and add as necessary.
  6. Serve warm.

Migraine Control: Fragrances

Several weeks ago, I had one of my worst migraines following a visit to a doctor’s office.  A Glade Plug-in was running in the waiting room, and I smelled it the instant I entered.  I requested to be taken back to a different waiting room with the hope that I could avoid the pain that these little tormentors have caused in the past.  This fast escape wasn’t fast enough or far enough though.  Even though I spent less than 5 minutes in the waiting room, I had a migraine that lasted for the next 5 days.  Evidently, people had smoked in the waiting room since I had last been there, and the doctor didn’t want the room to smell like smoke.  This thought just blows my mind!  Isn’t smoking inside a public place prohibited?  Why not deal with the root cause of the problem rather than just cover it up with neurotoxins and carcinogens.

Seriously, air fresheners contain formaldehyde (which is a known carcinogen), xylene (a neurotoxin), toluene (known to cause kidney and liver damage), etc.  In this article, manufacturers claim that the levels of chemicals that are emitted by air fresheners, laundry detergent, fabric softener are “not known to cause any problems.”  Well, let me testify – it’s a problem for me!  Other migraineurs also have this problem as reported on migraine.com.

Lavender growing in my garden

Lavender growing in my garden

Lavender wands

Lavender wands

There doesn’t seem to be much I can do about the world outside of my house with regard to fragrances, but here are 3 things that I do at my house.  First, I enjoy natural scents such as lavender.  I enjoy growing it in my garden and using it to make lavender wands to bring inside my house.

Secondly, I use shampoo, conditioner, and cream from National Allergy Supply.  These products have no fragrance or masking fragrance and have the double advantage of not causing allergic reactions or migraines for me.

Lastly, I make my own laundry detergent so that I’m not carrying a migraine-inducing fragrance around with me all day long.  The recipe for the laundry detergent included below does include borax which is noted to cause skin and respiratory irritation for some people, but I haven’t had these problems.  The amount used is so minimal per load, and it is washed out by the washing machine.  I also try to minimize the amount of time it is heated on the stove by making sure that the water is already simmering before I add it.  And – there’s rarely a perfect solution to a problem.  We just do the best we can.  Here’s the plus side:

In the same way that water tastes like nothing, my clothes smell like nothing:)

It Smells Like Nothing Laundry Detergent

1 cup water
1/4 bar grated Kirk’s Fragrance Free Castille soap
1/4 cup Arm and Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1/8 cup 20 Mule Team Borax

  1. Fill a 2.75 qt. (or so) container (like a pitcher) 3/4 full with hot water.
  2. Heat the water in a small saucepan until simmering.
  3. Add the castille soap and stir until completely dissolved.
  4. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until completely dissolved.
  5. Remove from the heat and add to the pitcher.
  6. Fill the container the rest of the way with tap water and allow to cool.
  7. Note that the detergent will thicken over the next few days, but not completely turn to get as with other similar recipes.  This is already thinned so that I pour from my pitcher into the machine.  I use 1 to 2 Tbsp. per load depending on the load size.
  8. When your clothes are finished, smell NOTHING:)

Pesto Stuffed Chicken

Spinach Stuffed Chicken 1I really wanted to post this week, but I have been struggling to get through and recover from a migraine.  July 4th was definitely not the day to have a migraine in the United States.  However,  that was the day that a storm moved through.  Explosions were going off in my head as they went off throughout the city.  The storm didn’t slow down the fireworks, but it slowed me down!

This post was almost ready to go, but I had hoped to get a better picture before publishing it.  So, please forgive the picture and trust that this is a good one.  My whole family enjoys it.

I used to love making a dish similar to this with loads of Parmesan cheese.  My cravings for cheese are actually starting to diminish since I haven’t been able to eat it for several months now.  However, I wasn’t initially sure about how to modify my original recipe to replace the flavor of Parmesan.  It really didn’t end up being that hard to simply substitute some other tasty herbs and add a little salt to create a dish that is just as good as the original.  I hope you enjoy it:)

Pesto Stuffed Chicken

Spinach Stuffed Chicken 1

2 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 Tbsp. oregano
1 Tbsp. basil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

  1. In a small bowl, stir olive oil and spices together.
  2. Add spinach and red bell pepper and stir.
  3. Slice chicken breasts in half lengthwise to create pockets.
  4. Place spice and vegetable mix in the pockets and place breasts in a baking dish.
  5. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until no pink remains.
  6. Slice and serve warm.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup light

I used to only have 3 soup recipes.  This new adventure of figuring out what to eat on a migraine diet has opened my eyes to so many more options.  My sister-in-law sent the original idea for this soup to me, but I have made several changes to accommodate our dietary needs.  We love this served as a side dish with chicken recipes.

The garlic scape that I have used for garnish in the picture is a delightful replacement for onions or mushrooms.  The difficulty is finding scapes, which are the stalks for the flower buds of the garlic plant (see one of mine here).  They are usually removed from a garlic plant to allow the bulbs to grow larger.  However, I usually let a few scapes grow so that the flowering buds develop for planting the next year.  I used to compost the others, but have recently begun using them in dishes such as this one.  This year, my plan is to freeze them for use all year long.  If garlic growing is something you would like me to include in a future post, please comment below.

Note that this recipe fits nicely in a blender.  However, if you want to make a larger batch using the entire cauliflower head, you could use a stick blender right in the stockpot.

Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Cauliflower Soup light

1/2 of a large cauliflower head (or 1 very small head), chopped
1 medium white or yellow potato, peeled and diced
2 cups broth
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/16 tsp. cayenne pepper
dash cumin
diced and sauteed garlic scapes for garnish (optional)

  1. Place the cauliflower, potato, and broth in a small stockpot and simmer until the vegetables are soft.
  2. Place vegetables, broth, and spices (except garlic scapes) into a blender and blend until creamy.
  3. Serve warm as a side dish with sauteed garlic scapes for garnish as desired.

I Absolutely Know

I absolutely know how many of you feel.  You may think that because my focus is posting recipes and encouraging messages about how well my migraine diet has worked that I don’t still experience migraines.  Sometimes some of them are still pretty bad.  The past couple of weeks have been particularly challenging for me.  Many things besides foods still trigger my pain.  Many of them I cannot control.  That is why I am so glad that I am able to control my diet, which has reduced the severity of most of my migraines.  However, there isn’t much else I can do that really makes the pain go away.  Many of you experience exactly the same thing.  We’ve been to many doctors and tried many treatments to no avail.

I’m writing this post in the midst of much pain, because I want to testify for you how I make it through.  This pain (and the dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and the superpowers of severe sensitivity to sounds, smells, lights, touch, and some tastes) bring me to a point of utter helplessness – in myself.  The fact that there isn’t much that I can do to relieve the pain is very humbling.  This is exactly where God wants us to be so that we realize that we need something bigger than ourselves.  Sometimes, I feel that I need a parent’s lap to crawl into like I did when I was a child.  I need that lap and the enfolding arms to just make it all better.  This is what God provides through faith in Jesus Christ.  He just wants us to accept this gift He offers.

God absolutely knows how we feel.  He does not take delight in our physical or emotional pain, but He does use it for something good.  He promises that He will do this.  It’s just that His definition of good is very often different from our definition of good.  This is similar to a child who might think that eating 30 cookies would be good for him, but the parent knows better.  I’ve wondered what good could possibly come from feeling so much physical pain.  While I now trust that I don’t need to know, it is still helpful to me to reflect on how I have seen Him work and consider what He might still have in store.  I admit that this reflection is probably not something that I would have done if I wasn’t going through this trial.  He knows that, so He allowed the trial.  Awareness of God’s care and His promises to do so in the future is what helps me persevere.

Here are some of the ways that I have seen good come from this trial.  There are probably 10,000 other good things of which I am unaware.

  • My pain helps me to understand the pain of others.  If I wasn’t going through it myself, my testimony above would be harder for you to accept.  Also, the depth of pain and the relative relief I have found through diet changes is what inspired me to start this blog with the hope that something might be helpful to others.
  • Feeling so physically awful has caused me to think about death and trusting God to care for my family whenever my day comes.  I’m learning to accept that I can’t hold onto my kids forever.  I have loved being with them so much that I didn’t think that I could bear to let them become independent.  However, as I have become less able to do things, I am learning to be glad that they are increasingly able to do so.
  • These physical ailments are like little tastes of Hell that make me appreciate that I will some day go to Heaven instead.  I absolutely know this because of my faith in Jesus Christ.  The suffering makes me increasingly aware of the value of Christ’s sacrifice which is exactly what God wants me to focus on.  The glorified body that I will have for all eternity far outweighs the painful body that I have now.  I can wait for this comparatively short time to experience what is yet to come.

Ginger Chicken with Carrot Noodles and Broccoli

Ginger Chicken with Spiralized Carrots and Broccoli

I am learning to embrace new herbs and spices since I can no longer add onions for flavoring.  It does seem that so many recipes include onions, but they don’t have to.  I have found that garlic fills much of this gap.  However, I don’t want garlic to be the primary flavor in everything.  So, I am learning to cook more with other spices such as ginger.  The last time that I had leftover Honey Mustard Salad Dressing, I wondered what it would taste like baked on chicken.  The flavor that seemed to be missing in my first try was what I sense when I smell ginger, so I tried it!

Ginger is reported to have benefits for migraineurs.  I have no idea if it is playing a role in my reduced pain or not, but it isn’t hurting either.  I had not used it much previously except as an ingredient in gingerbread cookies.  Initially, I started adding 1/4 tsp. to a glass of water 2 times a day.  Since then, I have also ventured into an increased use of it in other recipes, including this one.  I recognize that it may appear as if there is too much ginger called for in this recipe.  However, I have tried 1/2 to 3 teaspoons as I have worked out this recipe.  Since the chicken is turned over part way through the baking time, the sauce acts like a marinade.  In the end, the amount of ginger included in the recipe is just right to flavor the dish without an overwhelming ginger taste.  It is so good, that we even take the juices at the bottom of the pan and ladle them over the carrots!

Note that I did end up adding garlic to the dish, but ginger is the primary flavor.  The diced garlic scapes that are included in the picture and as an optional ingredient in the recipe do work nicely with this dish, but are primarily included for visual appeal.  I also have fun using scapes since I grow garlic in my garden.  I cannot find the scapes in a grocery store, so it is a treat to have them as my garlic grows.  If you are interested in having me post about how to grow garlic (and the scapes), please comment below and I will work on a post as this year’s garden develops.

Garlic Scape

Garlic Scape

Ginger Chicken with Carrot Noodles and Broccoli

Ginger Chicken with Spiralized Carrots and Broccoli

2 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
1 Tbsp. honey
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. ginger
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
6 large carrots, spiralized
1 bunch broccoli florets
garlic scapes, diced (optional)

  1. In a small bowl, stir the mustard, honey, olive oil, ginger, and garlic powder together.
  2. Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish, and pour the sauce over each.
  3. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour or until no pink remains.  Turn the breasts over at least once during the baking time to allow spices to bake into the chicken evenly.  Turning will also prevent a crust from forming.
  4. Serve over spiralized carrots with broccoli florets.
  5. Spoon remaining baking juices over the carrots.