Crispy-Tender Chicken Gizzards with Almond “Breadcrumbs” (Gluten-Free, Egg-Free)

Crispy Chicken Gizzards with Almond Breadcrumbs -

Organ meats are healing. (Don’t just take my word for it, read what Paleo Mom has to say about them.) So I eat organ meats as often as I can. I say “as often as I can”, because:

    1. sometimes I need to work up my courage and/or find a recipe that appeals to me (I’m looking at you beef tongue), and
    2. the hubby isn’t down with organ meats, unless it’s in the form of braunschweiger.

Finding a chance to cook a meal for just myself when I have both the time and energy is no easy thing in my busy life. Sound familiar? Well, when you have the time, make these! They will give you the energy, I promise.

I ordered my chicken gizzards from Slanker Grass-Fed Meats. They were HUGE! The gizzards that I have seen in the past, whether from the little tub at the grocery store or the giblets from a roasting chicken, were tiny in comparison. Maybe they were normal size, but I’m chalking their massiveness up to being pasture-raised and generally awesome. After removing the fat from the gizzards, which was quick work with kitchen scissors and some peeling, I cut each one into three pieces. I just followed the natural curve of the organ as my guide, because the gizzards each had three lobes. Is this the correct term? I don’t know, but it works for me. You don’t need to cut the gizzards like I did, they will shrink after being boiled, but I wanted to make mine bite-sized.

Some recipes call for adding vegetables – like celery and onions – and seasonings to your water when boiling the chicken gizzards. If I have them on hand, I do the same. It enhances the “broth” that is the leftover cooking liquid. Either way, I keep the reserved broth for using later in braises, crockpot recipes, etc. Waste not, want not.

How long you boil the gizzards is a matter of personal preference. I’ve seen folks boil them for over 2 hours, but I like mine to retain some of their chewiness. So boil them for at least 45 minutes and then test them to see if they are tender enough for you. If not, check them every 15-30 minutes for up to 2 1/2 hours total boiling time – adding additional water as needed – until they have reached your desired level of tenderness.

I use olive oil for frying my chicken gizzards. My recipe deviates from others, because I do not deep fry the gizzards. The bite-sized pieces brown easily on each side in a smaller amount of oil. In fact, I start out with only half the oil to brown the first side, then I add the oil after flipping to brown the other side. Not a fan of olive oil? You can substitute with the oil or cooking fat of your choice; I think either coconut oil or lard would be great.

Did you see the recent Food52 post this week on breadcrumbs as a condiment? I’ve been doing this forevs. But mostly because my “breadcrumbs” are almond meal, and I’m too cheap to just throw them out. (See “waste not” above.) Toasting the leftover seasoned almond meal gives it a nice crunch (and cooks out any of the leftover chicken yuck that can cause you to get sick.) Just make sure that you stir frequently to avoid burning and to make sure they are completely toasted. I then sprinkle the “breadcrumbs” over the top of the gizzards to add crunch and to overcome any missing breading that didn’t stick while cooking. If you aren’t avoiding eggs like I am, you can dip the chicken gizzards in an egg wash before tossing in the almond meal. Me, I just throw in a little extra almond meal, because I know that I will want the leftover “breadcrumbs” to toast. I also do not dry my gizzards after boiling and rinsing them, because the wet meat bonds a little better to the almond meal coating.

I love pairing the earthy taste of organ meats with a garnish of brightly-flavored fresh lemon juice and parsley. I didn’t have any fresh parsley when I took this photo, so I skipped it. You can, however, add a 1/2 teaspoon of dried parsley to your seasoned almond meal before cooking the chicken gizzards, if this is all you have on hand. I ate my gizzards next to a big green salad lightly-dressed with olive oil and apple cider vinegar, but I may go the comfort food route next time with mashed cauliflower and pan-dripping gravy.

Crispy Chicken Gizzards with Almond Breadcrumbs -

Crispy Chicken Gizzards with Almond “Breadcrumbs”

1 lb. chicken gizzards
1/4 – 1/2 c. almond meal
1/2 – 1 t. Cajun seasoning (I use gluten-free, MSG-free Konriko Creole Seasoning)
1/4 c. oil of your choice, plus more as needed (I use olive oil)
Lemon wedges, if desired
Chopped fresh parsley, if desired

Rinse the chicken gizzards and pat dry. Remove the fat and gristle from the gizzards and cut into thirds, if desired. Place the gizzards in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover them by about an inch. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium and continue boiling until tender, at least 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the almond meal with the Cajun seasoning in a shallow bowl or plastic bag. Set aside.

Drain the chicken gizzards, reserving the cooking liquid for another use, and rinse with cool water. When the gizzards are completely cool, toss them in the seasoned almond meal until completely covered.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, add the chicken gizzards and fry on both sides until brown – about 1-2 minutes for each side. Add more oil when turning the gizzards, if needed. Once both sides are brown, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Cook for another 10 minutes. Remove gizzards from the skillet with a slotted spoon, leaving the pan on medium-low heat, and drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Add the remaining almond meal mixture to the skillet and toast it in the remaining oil, stirring frequently, for 2-3 minutes.

To serve, place chicken gizzards on the plate and sprinkle with toasted almond “breadcrumbs”. Squeeze lemon wedge over the gizzards and sprinkle with fresh parsley.

Makes 4 servings.


Pinspiration: 80’s Jewelry Cabinet Rescue

I spent HOURS last night catching up on Sons of Anarchy episodes (it’s the sub-plot that I love) and pulling inspirational pins for my 1980’s jewelry cabinet rescue from various Pinterest boards.  I’ve been collecting these pins for years, but not necessarily with my jewelry cabinet in mind.

Yes.  I may have a Pinterest problem, and the first step is admitting it.

Now comes the difficult task of narrowing down my choices.  Ugh!  And fun!  Both, at the same time.

The options are limitless, and I need a limit.  What would you pick?

We Both Need a Fresh Start: 80’s Jewelry Cabinet Rescue & Blogiversary Recap

One year ago today (happy blogiversary to me), I started this blog with the best of intentions.  Little did I know how much WORK this blogging thing required.  Especially for a girl with a full-time job and full-time life.  Some weeks, especially when I was inspired by the holidays (Easter and Cinco de Mayo, woot woot!), I blogged daily.  Below are some of awesome highlights during these up moments.  I can’t even begin to describe the glee I felt every time another blogger or site featured one of my posts, and I give a big, fat ♥ every time I see one of my posts pinned on Pinterest.  GRINNING EAR-TO-EAR SMILEY FACE.

Hand-Painted Tribal Print Ottoman -- annumography.wordpress

Hand-Painted Tribal Print Ottoman

Take5 Layer Cake -- annumography.wordpress

Take 5 Layer Cake

Boozy Blueberry-Sage Sherbet -- annumography.wordpress

Boozy Blueberry-Sage Sherbet

Copycat Roslyn Spumoni Cake -- annumography.wordpress

Copycat Roslyn Spumoni Whip Cream Cake

Gluten-Free Enchilada Casserole -- annumography.wordpress

Gluten-Free Chorizo Enchilada Breakfast Casserole

Cookbook Bird House -- annumography.wordpress

Catalog Hack Cookbook Bird House

Hand-Painted Otomi Canvas Shoes

Hand-Painted Otomi Canvas Shoes

Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream -- annumography.wordpress

Mexican Hot Chocolate Brownie Ice Cream

Kate Spade-Inspired Painted Nightstands -- annumography.wordpress

Kate Spade-Inspired Painted Nightstands

Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce -- annumography.wordpress

Eggplant in Spicy Garlic Sauce

Bluth's Original Frozen Banana Cocktail -- annumography.wordpress

Bluth’s Original Frozen Banana Cocktail

Low Carb Mini German Apple Pancake - annumography

Low Carb Mini German Apple Pancakes

And then there were the weeks…and weeks…okay, maybe months…where it was radio silence around here.  Heck, I couldn’t even manage a daily Instagram post.  SAD FACE.

Let us look at the reasons, shall we?  Not that I’m making excuses.  But, dang it, if I don’t identify my problems, how am I going to fix them?

  1. Photography (i.e. the eye candy that keeps blog readers coming back for more) – I mentioned early on my photography shortcomings.  Then WordPress changed the interface to Instagram, and my blog’s whole concept took a nosedive.  Honestly, though, this turned out to be a good thing.  I am now re-learning photo editing, and the quality of my photos should dramatically improve (no more relying on Instagram filters).  And I’ve promised myself a new camera if I show more commitment to the blog this year.
  2. Not measuring up – Every influential blogger tells you not to compare your blog to others.  Well, I didn’t listen.  Or at least not consistently.  So I tried to Keep Up with The Bloggers, and I failed.  This isn’t my full-time job…or even full-time hobby…so I need to cut myself some slack.  I know that my blog quality will improve.  But if not, I’m happy that I’m back to blogging for me.
  3. And then…bam, boom, wham…major life change – With the news I received about my health this year, my diet has dramatically changed.  With my diet change,my after-work evenings have also changed.  Time formerly spent blogging is now spent in the kitchen planning, prepping, and cooking.  Sadly, I can no longer eat any of the recipes that I posted above.  It feels like I’m learning to cook all over again, and sometimes it feels like I have more failures than successes.

So.  It’s a new year with new opportunities.  I’m going to commit again to daily Instagram posts for my 365 Project.  But my blog content is going to be (even) more real, true-to-life Karen.  I’m going to be less concerned about themes and what the other bloggers are doing and more focused on my interests.  I hope this results in more interesting and dynamic reading, because my heart will be in every post.

Take this jewelry cabinet.  Yes, it is so 1980’s.  But I see potential.  In fact, I’ve been seeing its potential for about a decade now.  I just can’t seem to make a decision about how I want to rescue this baby.  Heck, the style may come back again, if I wait long enough.  Or not.

80s Jewelry Box Rescue Before1 -- annumography.wordpress

I found the perfect place for this curved-line, potential beauty between my two closet doors.  I hate the golden oak stain, but then again I don’t hate how it ties to the clock on the wall above.  And I totally dig the rose pink velvet lining.  Over the next couple of days, I will be mulling over my options.  But no more procrastinating and unfinished projects!  I promise both myself and this Material Girl that her makeover will be complete by the end of January.  Maybe before…CONFIDENT SMILEY.

80s Jewelry Box Rescue Before4 -- annumography.wordpress

What are your ideas?  How would you rescue this stuck-in-the-80’s babe?


Easy Weeknight Meals: Roasted Cauliflower with Dates & Capers

cauliflower with dates and capers -- annumography

When friends and family ask me what I’ve been up to lately, my response is typically “Chopping vegetables.”  Though I love my improved health and reduced symptoms (and weight loss…25 pounds so far) from foregoing gluten, sugar, and dairy, I do admit that cooking almost every meal at home is seriously taking away my free time.  My me time.  So this weekend my hubby grilled a plethora of meats, and I cleaned and prepped an entire refrigerator full fruits and vegetables, in an effort to save time and have (almost-) ready-made meals on hand throughout the week.

Advanced planning aside, though, some nights I dread the clean-up more than the meal preparation itself.  Last night was one of those nights.  Since this is my first week following the autoimmune protocol, I didn’t want to skimp on yummy food just to avoid doing the dishes.

Browsing through my saved recipes on Pinterest, I re-discovered this roasted cauliflower recipe from Running with Tweezers.  Dates?  Olives?  Rosemary?  Yes, yes, and yes.  With recipes like this, how could I miss tomatoes and peppers?  But I wondered if I could be lazy get creative and simplify the recipe.  Remember, the fewer dishes, the better.

easy weeknight cauliflower -- annumography

I plopped my bag of prepped (cleaned and chopped) cauliflower in a shallow pan and tossed it with olive oil.  Right in the pan.  While the cauliflower roasted, I combined more olive oil with chopped dates, fresh rosemary, and…wait for it…capers in a small bowl.  I decided to swap the capers with the olives, because it saved some chopping time.  And I love cauliflower with capers.  Using olive oil in place of butter allowed me to eliminate the need to melt the butter in a separate pan.

After roasting the cauliflower until the edges began to crisp up a yummy golden-brown, I took it out of the oven and pushed it all toward the center of the pan.  Then I dumped the date/caper mixture right on top of that roasted goodness.  Yup, right in the pan AGAIN.  A few quick tosses, and I popped it all back in the oven for another five minutes.

easy weeknight cauliflower with dates and capers -- annumography

Then the cauliflower went straight from the pan to my plate.  Above is what I’m calling the beauty shot.  You could add salt and pepper to taste before plating, but I found the capers seasoned the dish enough to more than please my palate.  And I’m avoiding pepper in this early phase of AIP.

This dish is definitely a do-over.  One bite hits all the right flavor notes: sweetness from the dates, salt + sour from the capers, and a slight bitterness from the rosemary.  And I especially love that I only had one pan, one bowl, and a silicone spatula to clean at the end of the night.

Sharing this recipe at Sift, Stir, and Savour, Mostly Homemade MondaysEasy Green MamaReal Food Forager, and The Gluten-Free Homemaker.

cauliflower with dates and capers -- annumography

Roasted Cauliflower with Dates & Capers
Adapted from Running with Tweezers

1/2 head of cauliflower florets, cleaned and sliced to approximately 1/2″ thickness
4 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
10 pitted dates, roughly chopped
3 T. capers, drained
1 T. fresh rosemary, roughly chopped
sea salt and black pepper, to taste if desired

Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit.  Combine 3 tablespoons of olive oil with the dates, capers, and rosemary in a small bowl and set aside. Toss the sliced cauliflower florets with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil in a roasting pan or rimmed baking sheet.  Place the pan in the oven and roast the cauliflower for 25 minutes, or until the edges begin to turn a golden brown.

Remove the pan from the oven and push the cauliflower together into the center of the pan.  Pour the date/caper mixture over the cauliflower and toss.  Return the pan to the oven and roast the mixture for another 5 minutes.  Remove from the oven and season with salt and pepper if desired.  Serve immediately.

Makes 2 large portion servings (or 4 servings if you put some other vegetables on that plate). 🙂

Goodbye Grain-Free Eggplant (No-)Parmesan, Hello AIP

eggplant no-parmesan on annumography

I know, right?  This grain-free eggplant parmesan recipe from Miss Dot’s is seriously something that needs to be in your gluten-free cooking repertoire.  I skipped the cheese and added sausage, Local Folks Foods pizza sauce, and crispy basil (basil quick-fried in olive oil), and I used olive oil in place of grape seed or coconut oil.  Just so you know, we didn’t miss the dairy AT ALL.  My hubby ate leftover eggplant the next day with his favorite spicy muffalata.  Yum!

It is with some sadness, however, that I post this culinary triumph.  You see, I am weaning myself off a host of foods on which I rely daily.  I’m going to give the Autoimmune Protocol (AIP) a try.  The answer to my friends’, family, and co-workers’ “So, what do you eat?” is going to be that much more challenging to address.  And I can’t help thinking that I have to re-learn everything that I’ve been so successful in learning over the last few months.  But I think it will be worth it in the end.

What is AIP?  Check out The Paleo Mom for a great, easy-to-understand resource about AIP (it’s where I started).  I’m a HUGE fan of her blog; an evidence-based approach to the paleo lifestyle and managing autoimmune disorder symptoms, whaaat?  The list below is from her post on AIP. 

      • Eggs (especially the whites)
      • Nuts
      • Seeds (including cocoa, coffee and seed-based spices)
      • Nightshades (potatoes, tomatoes, eggplants, sweet and hot peppers, cayenne, red pepper, tomatillos, goji berries etc. and spices derived from peppers, including paprika)
      • Potential Gluten Cross-Reactive Foods
      • Fructose consumption in excess of 20g per day
      • Alcohol
      • NSAIDS (like aspirin or ibuprofen)
      • Non-nutritive sweeteners (yes, all of them, even stevia)
      • Emulsifiers, thickeners, and other food additives

So this is what I won’t be eating for the next two weeks.  Or month.  Or forever.  I’m not ready to talk in much detail about why I am planning to “go AIP”, but I promise more information on the why’s and my results in future posts.   Why not now?  Because I am still waffling between the Contemplation and Planning stages of change (Transtheoretical Model, or TTM).



(source Wikimedia Commons)

Okay, stay with me.  What you may or may not know is that I have a master’s degree in social work, and this may be the closest I ever get to using it.  But as I have noticed my own transformation from first ignorance, then denial (pre-contemplation), then a desire to learn more and seek advice (contemplation), and now finally beginning to prepare in a VERY PUBLIC way, I recognize that this is a process.  I can’t quit cold turkey and succeed (i.e. know thyself).  And TTM isn’t as linear as it looks.  If I fail to move on to the action stage, it’s more likely because I have slipped back down into contemplation (or…Lord help me…pre-contemplation) stage where I need a little more time/work.  But what better way to avoid slipping than to be accountable through sharing my intent to change and my progress on this blog.

I like this diagram of TTM, because it reminds me of a hill (or mountain) to climb.  And in that image, I’m the little engine that could.  (Taking deep breaths.)

Sharing this post on Allergy Free Wednesday.