Monday, May 23, 2016

Clean Recipe Roundup

For the past few weeks, I've been doing the 21 Day Fix.  Let me tell you, those workouts are no joke, and they work. Along with the workouts is a clean eating plan. I personally found the portion controlling to be a little restrictive (I'm going to eat as many fruits and vegetables as I want), but I liked that it was a reminder to eat clean and avoid processed food.  I always love the opportunity to try new recipes, and everything we've been eating lately is going into our regular rotation.  I put together a little round-up of some of my favorites, because I assure you that my easy variation on tuna nicoise is far better than cold grilled cheese crusts for lunch.


Veggie Scramble - This has become one of my favorite dishes. I cook zucchini, kale, and tomatoes in olive oil. Mix with a scrambled egg and top with pesto.

Avocado Toast - So simple, so filling, and so good.  A slice of Ezekial or other sprouted bread, topped with mashed avocado, an egg and sea salt.

Egg Muffins - I like to make these on Sunday night for us to eat throughout the week.  Use any combination of veggies or meat you like and put in a greased muffin tin.  Whisk together 6 eggs and 1/2 cup milk.  Season with salt and pepper.  Pour egg mixture over filling and bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes until set.

Chocolate Smoothie - This is one of my favorite snacks, anytime of day.  Frozen banana, cocoa powder, milk, a splash of vanilla and as much spinach as you can pack in the blender.  It's like a super frosty!

Green Tea with Honey and Turmeric - I was soooore the first week of workouts. Turmeric is an excellent anti-inflammatory, among many other health benefits, so I've been mixing it into my green tea with honey.


Lazy Girl Tuna Nicoise - Roast chopped potatoes and green beans (you can even use frozen!) in a 425 degree oven for 30-40 minutes (less for the beans).  In a bowl, mix together vegetables, one can of Italian tuna in olive oil, juice of one lemon and salt and pepper.  Serve with greens.  Add in hard boiled eggs and olives, if you like.

Egg and Avocado Salad - Mix together two chopped hard boiled eggs, half an avocado, a Tablespoon or two of Greek Yogurt, and a teaspoon of mustard. Season with dill, salt and pepper.

Chickpea Avocado Salad- Mix together one can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed, one chopped avocado, chopped feta cheese and toss with a drizzle of olive oil and the juice of a lime.


Salmon with Greek Yogurt Sauce - I love salmon because it cooks so quickly.  Grilled, sauteed or broiled, it only takes a few minutes.  The sauce is greek yogurt, lemon juice and dill.

Taco Bowls - When in doubt, make tacos.  I like to clean mine up by serving the meat (or beans) on lettuce and topping with avocado, greek yogurt, cilatro, and hot sauce. 

White Chicken Chili - This is one of my new favorite meals! Recipe here.

Burgers on a Lettuce Wrap - Our standard burger recipe is to mix grass fed beef with worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper.  I skipped the bun and topped it with avocado, goat cheese, pesto and tomatoes, and wrapped the whole thing in lettuce leaves.

Tropical Chicken Salad - Romaine topped with pineapple, oranges, bell peppers, scallions and grilled chicken.   Dressed with honey mustard: 1/2 cup yogurt, 3 T dijon mustard, 3T honey, 3T apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, pepper, and water to thin to desired consistency.

Salmon Cakes - My go-to dinner. You're probably sick of hearing about these, so just make them already!

Italian Chicken with Zoodles - In a saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add 1/2 cupped onion, 2 cloves chopped garlic and cook for a few minutes.  Add in 1 teaspoon oregano and 1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes in juice.  Cook for 5 minutes.  Turn off heat and mix in 1 cup ricotta cheese, 1 cup spinach leaves and 1 lb. cooked chicken.  Sprinkle with grated parmesan and serve over zucchini noodles. 

Cauliflower Crust Pizza - I used this recipe for my crust.  They key to getting it crust-like as opposed to soggy cauliflower is to remove as much liquid as possible. I wrap mine in a clean dishtowel and wring it as hard as I can.  I recommend being generous with your herbs and spices for seasoning, because cauliflower can be bland.  

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

A few weeks ago we went into Boston for the day. After chasing little people up, down, and around the Children's Museum, watching Colin climb up three stories on a jungle gym and James' excitement at a room filled with golf balls, we went to Flour Bakery for lunch.  I had the Roasted Sweet Potato sandwich, and it was amazing. I just checked the menu, and it looks like they don't offer it right now, but lucky for you I made a salad that's just as good.  The original sandwich was roasted sweet potato, apple, walnut pesto, blue cheese and kale on wheat bread.  I took some liberties, changed up some ingredients, and made it into a salad.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad

Romaine and Kale, shredded
Olive oil
Sweet potato rounds, roasted
Apple, sliced
Roasted tomatoes
Goat cheese
Balsamic Vinegar

Drizzle kale and romaine with olive oil
Sweet potatoes - coat slices or cubes with olive oil and roast at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.
Tomatoes - toss with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and sprinkle with salt. Roast at 425 for 30-45 minutes.
Mix all ingredients together and top with balsamic vinegar.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Turkey Sloppy Joes

This version of Sloppy Joes is lightened up with ground turkey, and packs a bunch of vegetables into the mix.  My brother-in-law, who might be my most loyal reader, lived with us a few years ago, and probably remembers the Sloppy Jane. It used lentils instead of meat and was even healthier than this version.  After the lentil taco incident, which some of you may recall, I've stayed away from those particular legumes for the time being.

Turkey Sloppy Joes

1 lb. ground turkey
1 zucchini, shredded
1-2 carrots, shredded
1 onion, shredded or chopped
1 garlic clove, shredded or chopped
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
8 oz. tomato sauce
1/4-1/2 cup barbecue sauce
Rolls, for serving

In a medium saucepan, saute zucchini, carrots, onion and garlic until soft. I shredded everything in the food processor, but you could also use a box grater or just chop finely.
When vegetables are cooked through, move them to the side of the pan and add the ground turkey.  Cook until browned.
Season with salt and pepper.
Add Worcestershire sauce, tomato sauce, and barbecue sauce.
Simmer on medium-low for 10 minutes.
Serve on rolls.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Zucchini Lasagna Rolls

It's been pointed out to me by more than one person that I haven't been posting much lately.  I'm here to remedy that with an easy and healthy meal your whole family will enjoy, as long as you don't have a finicky 4-year-old.

Truth be told, instead of writing down recipes and photographing meals, life is moving pretty quickly around here.  Many afternoons I make dinner in 5 minute increments running into the kitchen while I leave Colin "in charge" outside in the back yard. Someday this will likely result in James running Colin over with the mini John Deere (again...), or someone getting stuck in a tree.

If you follow me on Facebook (please do! I share mini-recipes and awkward comments - link is on the sidebar), you know I have a serious addiction to my spiralizer.  There are zucchini noodles all over the place here.  Today, I set my beloved kitchen gadget aside for a y-shaped peeler to make these noodles.  This has all the cheesy, saucy goodness of your favorite Italian pasta dish, without the empty carbs.

Zucchini Lasagna Rolls

2 medium zucchini, peeled into thin strips
1 16 oz. container cottage cheese or ricotta
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 cup marinara sauce
Optional: garlic powder, chopped spinach, Italian herbs, pesto

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a bowl, combine cottage cheese, 1/2 cup mozzarella, egg, parmesan, salt and any additional seasonings.
Spread a thin layer of marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9x9 baking dish.
Lay three strips of zucchini overlapping, as shown below.
Scoop a couple tablespoons of cottage cheese mixture on and roll up.
Arrange in the baking dish.
Top with marinara and additional 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese.
Bake for 30 minutes until heated through.




Wednesday, March 2, 2016

White Chicken Chili

This has quickly become one of my new favorite meals.  Quick, easy, healthy, and the kids (usually) enjoy it, too.  That's pretty much all I ask for these days.  It's also great because you can stock all the ingredients in your pantry/freezer to have at the ready.  Long gone are the evenings of leisurely stirring risotto for forty minutes while sipping on a few glasses of wine.  Yesterday I put all the ingredients in the crock pot after lunch and dinner was ready to go at our early bird time of 5pm when we came in from playing a highly competitive game of outdoors Chutes and Ladders.  If you're wondering what that is, it's basically Colin directing me around the yard to most of the "chutes" and him winning the game.  The champion always seems to win ice cream.

White Chicken Chili

1 lb. chicken breasts (fresh or frozen)
2 cans white beans, drained and rinsed
1 8 oz. jar salsa verde (I like the Trader Joe's brand)
2 teaspoons cumin
2-4 cups chicken broth
Optional toppings: avocado, cilantro, hot sauce, chips, cheese, sour cream

Add all ingredients to a slow cooker and cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4-5 hours on high.
Shred chicken with two forks and serve with your favorite toppings.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Pesto Baked Chicken

This was such an easy dinner, perfect for weeknights.  I turned on the oven at 4 and we were ready to eat at 5.  The early bird special works for the kids, otherwise they are demolishing snacks and getting sleepy at the table later.  Last weekend Jon and I went out to dinner for the first time in, oh, 8 months. We put the kids to bed first so we didn't eat until 9.  I was demolishing snacks and getting sleepy at the table, because apparently I'm 4.  Or 94.

I made my own pesto, because bunches of basil were half the price of tiny containers of pesto, but either works here.

Pesto Baked Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (depending on the thickness you may want to slice them horizontally or pound them)
1 14 oz. can diced tomatoes (or use fresh)
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour diced tomatoes into the bottom of a baking dish.
Arrange chicken breasts on top.
Spread with pesto.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake for 30-40 minutes until chicken is cooked through.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Cherry Pie

The only regret I have about our wedding is that I didn't agree to Jon's request that instead of wedding cake we have wedding pie.  Everyone loves pie, but instead I insisted on a lovely tiered lemon cake that we had to cut immediately because it was a million degrees and the buttercream was melting.  This would not have happened with wedding pie.  

Pie is surprisingly easy to make.  The longest part is rolling the crust.  Then all that's left is to fill it up with sweetened fruit, pop it in the oven, and get ready with the ice cream.  My crimping skills are rustic at best, so cutting the top crust into cute hearts was not only seasonal, it was functional.  

Cherry Pie

1 recipe pate brisee pie crust (from the master herself, Martha Stewart)
2 pounds cherries (I used frozen)
1/2 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons cornstarch or flour
1/2 lemon juiced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Make pie crust recipe in advance. I prefer to make it the day before, but at a minimum let it chill in the fridge for 3 hours.
In a large bowl, combine cherries, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.  
Roll out bottom crust and fit into pie plate.
Pour fruit mixture into crust.
Top with second crust. 
Brush with an egg wash (optional).
Place pie on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour.
Allow to cool before serving.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Carrot Cake Cookies

Friday we had our first real snowstorm of the season. About a foot of heavy, wet snow came down, taking down trees and branches all over the place.  We lost power for the day, it came back for an exciting 45 minutes, and then I woke up at 2AM with the hall light blinding me.  We've certainly seen worse.  But then, this morning, another storm.  High winds and frigid temperatures make sledding and snow ball fights impossible, so we're inside for the day.  Again.  Fortunately, it's toasty warm and we have the wonder of the internet to keep us busy when pillow piles, couch forts, knee hockey and car races stop entertaining the crew. No snow day is complete without baking, of course, so we whipped up these carrot cake cookies.  Good thing they are full of healthy ingredients, because I'm pretty sure Colin just polished off the last one.

Carrot Cake Cookies
1 cup rolled oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I use whole wheat pastry flour)
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp salt
2 Tablespoons coconut oil or butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup maple syrup or honey
3/4 cup grated carrots

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
In a medium bowl, whisk together oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
In a separate bowl (I use a 2c. measure), whisk together coconut oil, egg, vanilla, and maple syrup.
Pour wet ingredients into dry and stir with a rubber spatula until just combined.
Fold in carrots.
Chill for 30 minutes.
Drop tablespoon sized balls onto a prepared baking sheet (lined with silpat or parchment).
Bake for 13 minutes.  Cool for 5 minutes before eating.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Hawaiian Sweet Potato Pizzas

Or maybe Sweet Potato Nachos.  In any case, these were a nice little change of pace.  I know better than to pass off alternate pizza crusts to Colin.  He is neither fooled nor amused.  Zucchini, eggplant and cauliflower pizzas have all been met with disapproval.  So, for the younger set, I made sweet potato, ham, and pineapple tasting plates.  The verdict was that round sweet potatoes don't taste as good as long sweet potatoes.  Live and learn.

The grownups layered roasted sweet potato rounds with barbecue sauce or tomato sauce, pineapple, ham, and mozzarella.  Popped under the broiler for a few minutes to melt the cheese, and they were delicious. I'd even make them as an appetizer.  They were the perfect combination of sweet, savory, and salty.  

Hawaiian Sweet Potato Pizzas

sweet potato, cut into rounds and roasted 
ham, diced
pineapple, chopped
barbecue or tomato sauce
mozzarella cheese

Layer all ingredients on sweet potatoes and broil until melted.

Monday, January 25, 2016

Frosted Vanilla Blondies

Last week we were invited to a birthday party play date for a friend.  Not one to arrive empty handed, and always one to use any excuse to make a sweet treat, it was the perfect reason to make blondies.  These are so quick and easy, a one dish treat that comes together in no time.  They have a whole lot of butter and sugar, so best to share them with friends as opposed to eating them all yourself.  I tortured my poor, deprived children by refusing to let them eat more than the ugly corner piece beforehand, so I think Colin had 4 at the party.
These are delicious as-is, with or without frosting, and amazing with the addition of chocolate chips.

From Smitten Kitchen

8 Tablespoons butter (1 stick), melted
1 cup light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare an 8x8 pan by lining with parchment or buttering.
Beat melted butter and brown sugar until smooth.  Add egg and vanilla.
Mix in flour and salt until just combined.
Pour into pan and bake for 20-25 minutes, until set.
Allow to cool before slicing.

Vanilla Buttercream

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat butter until fluffy and smooth.
Add in sugar and beat well.
Add vanilla and mix until smooth and spreadable. If necessary, add a splash of milk to thin.
Spread frosting over cooled blondies.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Lunch for the Kids

If I'm prepared for lunch, it's ready at the precise moment when the kids realize they are absolutely starving.  It's a healthy and delicious mix of foods that they eat in their entirety and give them energy for the rest of the day.

Other days, we walk in late.  They both start rummaging through the pantry for snacks while I'm trying to get lunch ready.  James is hungry and tired and clings to me like a baby monkey, so I'm trying to do everything with one hand.  Lunch is a random assortment of things I pull out of the fridge and pantry.  We're all usually back in the kitchen hungry a few hours later.

Not this week, though.  This week I'm on top of things.  Nothing groundbreaking, but we're trying a few things we haven't had in a while to avoid the boredom of getting into a rut, and I'm armed with plenty of fresh fruit to round it out.

Mini Pizzas
Whole wheat sandwich thins
Tomato Sauce
Mozzarella cheese

Heat under the broiler until cheese is melted and edges are crispy.

Pumpkin Muffins 
Recipe from 100 Days of Real Food (which has great lunch ideas).

Peanut Butter with Cinnamon Apples and Pretzels
This was after a birthday party, so no one was very hungry because they'd filled up on treats and snacks.

We can't go a week without this one - Grilled Cheese.
On James' plate, you can see that I offered him some of my greek yogurt with spinach and artichokes.  He was not impressed.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Lemon Garlic Baked Salmon

Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and ate all the cookies.  I'm not big on New Year's resolutions, but all the treats I've been eating for the past month have been making me feel a little sluggish.  When I saw a one day "cleanse" I thought I'd give it a try.  Loosely, it called for drinking hot lemon water first thing in the morning, a Glowing Green Smoothie for breakfast, Ginger Lemon Cayenne Detox tea and vegetables for lunch and dinner.

My day went like this:
First thing after my run: Hot Lemon water - This is a nice way to warm up.  I do this all the time.
Breakfast: Glowing Green Smoothie - I liked it a lot.  Very refreshing and hydrating.  Wished I hadn't baked donuts the night before as they were staring me down on the kitchen counter.
Lunch: Spicy Mulligatawny Soup - I'm pretty sure that's not what they meant by "salad," but I went with it.
Snack: Ginger Lemon Cayenne Detox tea - Zingy and invigorating. It helped with my lingering cough from the epic preschool cold that won't quit.  I gave some of the aforementioned donuts away to my brother in law and told everyone how great my one day cleanse was going.
4PM: Snuggled with the boys for a New Year's Eve movie on the couch.  I'm starving.  James literally pushes a pretzel into my mouth.  I eat several more, cursing the stupid cleanse.
Dinner: Roasted vegetables with tahini sauce.  And the last Godiva.

I think the takeaway here is that I need food, and plenty of it.  However, I loved the Glowing Green Smoothie, and had another one for breakfast today.  Although today I drank it alongside a bagel with cream cheese and lox.  So, instead of starving yourself, eat this delicious salmon.

Lemon Garlic Baked Salmon

1 lb. wild salmon
4 Tablespoons softened butter
Zest of one lemon
One garlic clove, grated or finely chopped
Juice of one lemon

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Prepare a baking sheet with parchment or foil.
In a small bowl, combine butter, lemon zest and garlic.  Spread on salmon.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until salmon flakes easily with a fork.
Pour lemon juice over salmon after cooking and top with parsley.

And, lest you think that picture above depicts a calm meal while leisurely enjoying this salmon along with a nice glass of wine, here's what dinner actually looks like at our house.

photo 1-1 photo 1-2