Monthly Archives: June, 2013

Mango Banana Spinach Smoothie

In my efforts to incorporate more green smoothies into our diet, I keep experimenting and came up with a good combination. It was filling and delicious, chock full of great nutrients! I drank the whole batch but it was definitely big enough for two people… I just hoarded it for myself instead… ūüôā

Mango Banana Spinach Smoothie

Mango Banana Spinach Smoothie

1 medium mango, peeled and chopped
1 banana, frozen and sliced
2 c. fresh baby spinach
1 scoop vanilla protein powder
1/2 c. plain organic whole milk yogurt
1 c. almond milk
2 Tbsp. hemp seeds

Combine all the ingredients in a blender. Combine until smooth. Enjoy!

Avocado Egg Salad

I needed to use up some hard boiled eggs at lunch today but didn’t want to just have the egg. I also am trying to stay away from mayonnaise as much as possible. So, I found several sources that had a version of egg salad that used avocado. Let’s just say – delish! I tried to keep it to myself but my husband kept stealing it from. It could be great on some toast but I ate it on some gluten-free crackers and was definitely full afterwards. It was super easy and would be great for picnics, which we seem to be doing most every day for lunch right now. I will be making this again – as soon as I get to the store to buy more avocados! ūüôā

Avocado Egg Salad

Avocado Egg Salad

Recipe adapted from www.twopeasandtheirpod.com

3 hard boiled eggs
1 ripe avocado
1 Tbsp. plain whole fat Greek yogurt
1/2 – 1 tsp. Dijon mustard (depending on your flavor preferences… be sure to check the label to make sure it is g/f)
a squirt of lemon juice
sea salt/pepper to taste

Peel hard boiled eggs and chop. Remove pit and peel of avocado and mash. Combine in a bowl with remaining ingredients. Eat immediately, or refrigerate until you are read to enjoy.

No “Grain”ola

Looking for another great breakfast option for the husband… I found several posts that had grain-free granolas. These are great because they are packed with protein, healthy fats, and not too much sugar. This was easy to toss together (as is any granola, really) and keeps nicely in a sealed jar in our cupboard (though you could easily keep it in a Ziploc bag too. I did that until we got these cute containers.) It’s an easy recipe to adjust to what you have in the house or prefer to eat. Switch up the nuts and the fruits for your personal preferences. Try to keep proportions the same and you are good to go!

By the way, this has been everyone’s favorite granola we have made and it only lasted three days before I needed to make another batch!

No “Grain”ola

Recipe adapted from http://www.paleoparents.com

1 1/2 c. sliced raw almonds
1 1/2 c. unsweeted coconut flakes
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
1/2 c. sunflower seeds
1 c. finely chopped or pureed walnuts
1/2 c. chopped dates
1 c. dried cranberries
1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
1/3 c. pure maple syrup
1 Tbsp. cinnamon

Combine nuts, coconut flakes, and dried fruit in a bowl and toss to combine. In a small bowl, whisk together cococnut oil, syrup, and cinnamon. Pour over nut mixture and stir to coat. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out mixture in a single layer. Bake at 275 for one hour, stirring every fifteen minutes. Enjoy plain or with milk or yogurt!

Husband Rating:

Spinach Blueberry Almond Smoothie

Here is the recipe for the green smoothie we had with our dinner tonight. This also rates as a 10 out of 10 on the husband rating scale. We are trying to work more green smoothies into our diet… a great way to get some spinach, kale, etc. into the boys without them protesting! I highly recommend this one!

*I didn’t get a picture – didn’t realize this smoothie would be a 10 until we had finished it all!¬† So, next time I will snap a shot of it.¬† ūüôā

Recipe adapted from The Musician, Who Cooks

1 c. almond milk (unsweetened)
2 Tbsp. creamy almond butter, preferably raw
1 medium banana, frozen and cut into slices
1 c. frozen blueberries
3 c. spinach (tightly packed)

Put all ingredients in order listed into a blender. Blend on high speed until ingredients are smooth and to your desired consistency. Enjoy!

Husband Rating: 10 out of 10

Food for thought: I saw a great idea for prepping smoothies ahead of time for quicker blending in the morning.  Place all of the fruit and veggie ingredients into a freezer bag.  On the front of the bag, label the name of the smoothie and how much almond milk and almond butter to add (or whatever wet ingredients need to be added).  Stick the bags in the freezer for quick, ready-to-go smoothie packets!

Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad

Tonight, a rare occurrence… TWO 10 out of 10 husband ratings for our meal!!!¬† I made this delicious salad but knew that there was a pretty good chance that the little guys in my house would probably not eat much of it.¬† So, I decided to make a nutritious green smoothie to go with the meal. Both the smoothie and the salad were AMAZING and in my humble opinion you need to make both!!!¬† ūüôā¬†¬†They are¬†so good for you.

I also love that the vegetables in this meal were all raw.  Did you know that raw vegetables provide more nutrients, will keep you fuller longer, and will provide you with more energy?  It takes 30% of our energy to digest a raw food meal but 60% of our energy to digest a cooked meal!  A meal like this will provide all kinds of great energy, protein, nutrients, and keep you full!  Awesome!

Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad

Asian Chicken and Cabbage Salad

Recipe adapted from Maximized Living Nutrition Plans, available through Maximized Living (I am not affiliated with them, just like the  book!)

4 Tbsp. gluten-free organic soy sauce or tamari, divided
3 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
3 Tbsp. dark sesame oil, divided
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, grated
1 Napa cabbage, cut into thin slices
1 yellow bell pepper, cut into thin slices
1 c. shredded carrot (or about 1-2 large carrots, shredded)
2 chicken breasts
3-4 Tbsp. hulled hemp seeds

In a small bowl, combine 2 Tbsp. soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, 2 Tbsp. sesame oil, and fresh ginger. Whisk to combine and set aside.

Cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces. Pour remaining 2 Tbsp. soy sauce on top and let sit for about 15 minutes. In a medium skillet, heat remaining 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Do not let the pan get to hot or the oil will smoke and become rancid. Place chicken in pan and cook until no longer pink. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together cabbage, bell pepper, and carrots. Add chicken, dressing, and hemp seeds. Toss well to combine and enjoy cold!

(I put all of mine together minus the chicken at nap time today and didn’t cook/toss the chicken in until right before dinner so the salad sat for probably 3-4 hours before we ate it and it tasted great. I am sure it would be tasty freshly tossed as well but it is nice to have something you can make ahead of time.)

Husband Rating: 10 out of 10

Food for thought: Some nice additions to this might be some red cabbage or some raw almond slivers.¬† But, that is my musings… my husband thought I was crazy to suggest changing any part of it when I told him my thoughts.¬† ūüôā

This could easily stand alone as a vegetarian dish if you were looking for a nice side salad for a picnic.  Just leave out the chicken!  It would be yummy either way!

Homemade Chocolate LaraBars

My husband always does breakfast in the car on the way to work so I am trying to come up with some new healthy ideas for him. I have wanted for a while to try making my own granola bars, protein bars, or larabars. I found this recipe on www.ohsheglows.com and followed it pretty closely. We all think they turned out delicious!!! My husband feels they are a little too sweet for him first thing in the morning.¬† So, it looks like the little guys and I will have to use them for our morning snacks instead! Bummer! ūüôā But that also means I will have to continue my search for the perfect breakfast-to-go for my husband.¬† (BTW, I don’t know what happened but I did not get a good photo of these.¬† They really are delicious… much better than presented in the picture!¬† I promise!)

Homemade Chocolate Larabars

Homemade Chocolate Larabars

1 1/2 c. raw cashews
1/2 tsp. fine grain sea salt
1 c. pitted medjool dates
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 oz. extra dark chocolate (I used half of an organic 85% dark chocolate bar from Trader Joe’s – though next time I plan to try unsweetened dark chocolate as even this was a bit too sweet.)

Instructions:

In a food processor, place cashews and sea salt. Grind for 30 seconds or until the cashews are finely ground – pea size pieces or smaller.

Chop dates into small pieces (makes for easier blending). Add the dates and vanilla and continue processing until the ingredients begin to stick together. Remove to a bowl.

Break chocolate into smaller chunks and place into food processor. Grind until finely ground. Mix chocolate into cashew/date mixture.

Line an 8×8 glass baking dish with parchment paper.¬† Press mixture firmly into the pan.¬† The more firmly you press it together, the better it will hold together.¬† I found it helpful to put a piece of parchment paper over the top so I could press down without it all sticking to my fingers.

Place in the freezer for about 15-30 minutes.  Remove and cut into squares of your desired preference.  I made 8 from this batch.  Wrap each bar individually in plastic wrap for easy grab-n-go snacks.  Store in the fridge or freezer (will last longer in the freezer but can be a bit hard to chew right away from the freezer.)

Food for thought: There are so many variations on the flavors in these.  We do have plans to try a few others and I promise to share them.  If you have any other combinations/ideas, I would love to hear them!!!

Pesto Chicken with Havarti and Caramelized Onions

This was originally a recipe for a sandwich. But, I am really not eating much bread now that I am g/f and have found this recipe is still DELICIOUS just as a chicken breast and not on the bread! So, I decided to repost the recipe for all of you to enjoy with us! It’s super easy as well. We had it with a caprese salad and some grilled broccolini (grilled with butter, sea salt, and pepper in tinfoil packets).

*The only ingredient you really need to check out is the prepared pesto – just read the label to make sure the ingredients are all ‘safe’. Not all have desirable ingredients in them. Or, to be really safe, make it yourself. I never have but I understand it is not too hard to do.

Pesto Chicken with Havarti and Caramelized Onions

Pesto Chicken with Havarti and Caramelized Onions

4 chicken breasts
4-6 Tbsp. basil pesto
2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp. grapeseed or coconut oil
sliced sliced havarti cheese

Instructions:

Place chicken breasts in a large freezer bag and seal.¬† Pound with a kitchen mallet (or in my case because I don’t have one, I use my rolling pin) until thin.¬†¬†Add the¬†pesto to your bag and¬†marinate for 4-6 hours.

In a small skillet, heat oil over medium high heat.  Add the onions and a little bit of salt and saute for about 15 minutes or until caramelized.

Heat a grill to medium high heat. Remove chicken breasts from the bag and grill for about 4 minutes per side or until cooked through.  Serve chicken topped with a slice of Havarti and some caramelized onions.

Husband Rating: 9 out of 10

Grain-Free Pizza Crust

Last night, I had the pleasure of hearing a speaker, Dr. Natalie Gianforte of Maximized Living in Minnetonka, speak with a small group of women about nutritious eating for our families today.¬† (I am not at all affiliated with that clinic, just am really impressed with Dr. Natalie as a speaker and nutrition expert!)She shared so many interesting and enlightening facts about the importance of a whole food diet, reducing/eliminating sugars, increasing healthy fats, and focusing on food made by God, not food made by man.¬† If I wasn’t already before, I now¬†am even more on fire for healthy eating!!!¬† I went through my pantry again today¬†and tossed a bunch of things that now that I have learned more about and do not plan to cook with again. (This included such items as a bottle of canola oil, some old candy that was hiding in a drawer, brown and powdered sugar, among other things.)¬† It felt so good to purge!!!¬† FYI, in¬†that same theme, I am going to be going back through old posts over the next few days and weeding out the ones that are not up to the standard I feel is¬†good for my family now.¬†

Today’s recipe is one that I actually made a few days ago… I wanted to make pizza. My one recipe for g/f pizza crust requires two eggs… out of eggs. The other crust I love to use is¬†my cauliflower pizza crust… no cauliflower. This is when I love google – I searched out gluten-free egg-free pizza crusts and came up with a great recipe. I added some seasonings to it and loved how it turned out. It was a delightful, flaky, thin-crust pizza. We made a traditional pepperoni pizza (using Applegate¬†Natural pepperoni)¬†for the boys and on the other pizza¬†I added some tomatoes, fresh arugula, and fresh basil to the top. (Add the arugula and basil after baking just before serving.)¬†

The crust recipe I adapted came from a blog that I have found to have good recipes.  I have used it a few times and from what I have read/cooked from her blog, would recommend it to you.  It is www.realsustenance.com.  Check it out. 

IMG_1280

Grain-Free Pizza Crust

3 c. almond flour (I ran out and substituted about 1 c. of hazelnut flour – works fine as long as it is another nut flour)
7 Tbsp. arrowroot powder (or another starch – tapioca or corn)
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1/4 tsp. celtic sea salt
2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 c. flaxseed meal
1 c. warm water
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted

In a large bowl, combine flour, arrowroot powder, spices, and baking powder. Mix well.

In a small bowl, mix flaxseed meal, water, and coconut oil. Mix until it starts to thicken. Pour into the flour mixture and stir until well mixed.

Cover two pizza pans with parchment paper. Divide dough into two balls and spread thinly over each pizza pan. Because the dough is a bit sticky, I found that if I used a piece of wax paper on top of the dough and pressed it flat, it didn’t get stuck to me or the spatula. Press until the dough is about 1/16th of an inch thick.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake crusts for 22-25 minutes or until the edges are golden and they are cooked through. Add your favorite toppings. Increase oven heat to 400 degrees and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until toppings are hot.

Food for Thought: This is another pizza recipe where it is easy to make one pizza and freeze the other. Simply bake the crust. Allow it to cool and then wrap it in plastic wrap tightly. Freeze flat. When you are ready to use it, simply unwrap it and place it on the baking sheet. Top and bake at 400 degrees or until everything is hot throughout.

A different kind of recipe – Homemade Dishwasher Pellets

I don’t know about you but I am finding that now that we are on this natural food kick, the whole concept of natural around our house has snowballed.¬† I want to reduce the number of toxic things in our house as much as possible!¬† So, I have been doing a lot of dabbling lately with natural, homemade recipes for cleaning products.

What initially inspired the desire to make dishwasher detergent specifically¬†is the yucky film that was being left on our dishes no matter what I tried to do.¬† Seeing that film, made me a) want to wash the dishes again by hand, and¬†b) wonder what was touching our food when I didn’t wash the film off.¬† I was concerned that the dishwashing detergent we were using was leaving something on our dishes that could be harmful and then put into our bodies via the food we eat!¬† Yuck!

So, I did many searches on various methods of making dishwasher detergent and came to the recipe below.  There are some people who are concerned about Borax being a natural ingredient. I did a bunch of research on it and found that for me, I am comfortable using it. One helpful article that gives information both ways is here.

It was very easy to make Рtaking less than 20 minutes.  It costs so little Рfar cheaper than buying dishwasher pellets.  I bought several of the ingredients in bulk and used very little.  My batch made 48 pellets.

We have used them a few times so far and I am definitely noticing that my dishes look great and am not seeing the film that previous was on our dishes.

IMG_1297

Homemade Dishwasher Pellets

2 c. Borax (natural cleaner and disinfectant)
2 c. baking soda or washing soda (cuts grease, great all-purpose cleaner)
1/2 c. Epsom salts (reduces effects of hard water)
1/2 c. white vinegar (added cleaning power, binds ingredients together)
1/4 c. lemon juice (antibacterial properties, great smell! – lemon essential oil would be more powerful as an antibacterial but I didn’t have any on hand. If you do, use 15-20 drops.)

Stir ingredients together in a bowl.  The lemon juice and vinegar will make the soda bubble a bit but it will subside quickly.  Once well combined, press into ice-cube trays.

Allow to dry for a full¬†48 hours before popping out of the tray.¬† (If you pop them out too soon, you will have dishwasher detergent chunks instead of pellets… trust me.¬† I speak from experience!!!)¬† Store in an air-tight container.

To use, place one pellet in your dishwasher where you would normally put the detergent (or if they don’t fit, just simply toss in the bottom of the dishwasher.)¬† One little tip I have learned is that instead of using a rinse agent (i.e. Jet Dry), you can simply fill that compartment with white vinegar.¬† It works great and I have never had any residual vinegar-y smell on my dishes.

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