Do you ever feel totally and utterly misunderstood?

It’s like announcing you’re going to major in Chemical Engineering (who DOES that?)  and being asked by your aunt’s bff, “So you’re gonna drive a train and give perms?”

Or like when someone says, “What about running?” blank stare “Wait, you really don’t run?” blank stare “No, really, how many marathons have you run?” in response to, “I stay in shape by lifting weights.”

“Yes, really.”

And when friends ask, “Cara! Please give me all your 20-minutes-or-less recipes that even my picky husband and 2-year-old will eat. I know you’re hoarding them somewhere.”

Sorry to say, I’m not. (But I thank you for thinking I’m so capable!) I make no false claims that the recipes I create are perfect for every busy family with a variety of taste buds. I cook the things me and my husband like to eat – and I know I have a lot of luxury given the fact that I’m only cooking for two. Two non-picky people who go ga-ga over brussels sprouts almost as much as we do fro-yo.

Someday, that will have to change and as nice as it is to hope that our little ones will eat exactly what we do and that I’ll have all the time in the world to cook, that’s probably not the case. It’s a challenge I’ll rise to when the time is right.

In the meantime, I’m pretty proud of this recipe. I have no idea if your toddler or husband will eat it, but we happen to really like it. And, in my opinion, it’s easier and quicker than most of my recipes. Less than 20 minutes? Nope, not there yet. But quick-er than others. And it since you get your protein and veggie all cooked together in one dish, it makes less of a mess.

Perfect for my non-picky dish-washing husband.

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Orange-Soy Chicken and Brussels Sprouts Skillet

Yield: 2 large servings

Tender, juicy chicken thighs are roasted with brussels sprouts in ginger, garlic, orange juice and soy sauce for an incredibly easy and flavorful one-dish meal.


1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 large shallot, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 orange, juice (1/4 cup orange juice)
1/4 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon reduced sodium soy sauce or wheat-free tamari
1 teaspoon coconut sugar*
12oz brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered lengthwise

*Coconut sugar, also known as palm sugar, is an unrefined, all-natural sweetener that retains a lot more nutrients than other alternatives. It tastes similar to brown sugar, and can be substituted cup-for-cup for sugar in almost any cooking or baking application. If you'd like to buy it online, look for coconut sugar in my shop. You can also substitute an equal amount of another sweetener, such as brown sugar, sucanat, or honey.


Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken thighs with salt and pepper. Place in the skillet and cook for about 3 minutes per side, until lightly browned. Remove the thighs and transfer to a clean

Reduce heat to low. Add remaining ½ teaspoon olive oil to the same skillet. Cook shallots for about 3 minutes, until golden, stirring occasionally. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 more minute.

Increase heat to high. Add orange juice,chicken broth, soy sauce or tamari, and coconut sugar. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 3 minutes.

Turn off heat. Return the chicken to the skillet, spooning the sauce mixture over the chicken. Scatter the brussels sprouts over the chicken. Transfer the skillet to the oven, and bake for 20 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and the roasted brussels sprouts are crisp-tender.

Nutrition Facts:

Calories 392.5
Total Fat 16.0 g
Saturated Fat 4.3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2.8 g
Monounsaturated Fat 8.5 g
Cholesterol 135.0 mg
Sodium 735.2 mg
Potassium 834.2 mg
Total Carbohydrate 25.9 g
Dietary Fiber 6.7 g
Sugars 8.1 g
Protein 39.0 g

Cara Lyons, Inspired by Clementine-Soy Chicken Thighs at Healthy Delicious.

Now can we get back to that misunderstood thing for a moment? There’s another misconception out there. This notion among certain friends and family members that I’m completely put together and confident and have no crazy cravings that throw me off the wagon.

Sorry to disappoint you, but that’s not the case. Or maybe you’re not disappointed. Maybe you’re happy to hear I’m a normal person just like you?

Or maybe you’re wondering what exactly “normal” is. I know I often wonder. I wonder whether my lack of ability to focus is somehow related to the food I’m eating. I wonder if the extent to which I beat myself up after overindulging in sugar is just like what other people do, or whether it’s causing harm in other areas of my life. I wonder if other people feel like it’s completely out of the question to go to bed without something sweet even if it’s a healthier treat (I gotta have it, no matter what.)

This is where a course like Sweet Victory might really help me out. Sweet Victory: Your Ultimate Sugar Detox is an online course taught by Andrea Nakayama, a nutritionist and holistic health counselor, and Ricki Heller (yes, the one I always talk about!), a holistic chef and health educator.

Over the course of a 2-week period, you will take an in-depth look at sugar cravings, what causes them physiologically (body and brain chemistry) and the emotional aspects.  You will participate in a kick-off phone call, then 2 weeks of a cleanse including full menu plan and 24/7 online support, and finish with a 1-hour phone call at the end of the course. In this time, you will discover:

  • Why sugar creates a cyclic craving in our bodies and wreaks havoc on our emotions
  • All the things you can eat, including dessert recipes made from all-natural alternative sweeteners
  • Which nutrients you should eat to conquer sugar cravings
  • how to “just say no” to dessert because you’re already full, even when it’s right in front of you
  • how to stop feeling like food rules your thoughts

Your meal plan will include recipes like Apple Pie Smoothie, Lemon Almond Pancakes, Chickpea & Veggie Quiche, Quinoa Salad with Blueberries and Kale, and Caramel Ice Cream!

As a bonus, you will likely lose some weight, and feel more energetic and happy! The best part? It’s only 2 weeks.

Please visit Sweet Victory to learn more about the course and read testimonials!

And if you’d rather listen and not read, check out this podcast, and you’ll hear it all from Ricki herself! Fast forward to minute 27 🙂

The next session begins on March 24th, and if I wasn’t going to be out of town for a while, I’d totally jump in (excuses, excuses, I know!) But if YOU feel like this might be the boost you need to start eating healthy for good, stop binging, and feel GOOD about yourself, you’re in luck.

Ricki and Andrea have graciously offered a FREE SPOT to one of my readers. Because I know that so many of you are interested in living a more healthful, wholesome life and taking control of your cravings, I have a feeling you’ll want to join in. (And I hope you’ll report back to me on how it went!)

If you would like to enter to win a free spot in the Sweet Victory course beginning on March 24th, simply leave a comment telling me why. That’s it! I will randomly choose a winner and notify you on Thursday, March 22nd. Good luck!

If you REALLY want to win this giveaway, improve your chances by entering a second and third time at The MommyBowl and DailyBites!

(And if the course is not for you but you want to leave a comment on the chicken recipe or anything else you feel like chatting about, please simply tell me that you don’t intend to enter. Thanks!)