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Sunday, February 19, 2017

Easy Snacks for All Week!

When I have time on the weekend, I like to make a lot of stuff so it's ready for the week.  Work weeks are too busy for me to have time to think of much cooking beyond just getting supper on the table!  This weekend, in addition to Chili-Maple Pepitas, I made three! - count 'em - three! kinds of date bars. If you've had Lara Bars, you know how great these are.  Plus, I find that they are a very filling snack that keeps me satisfied a long time.


INGREDIENTS OPTIONS:

Chocolate Fudge Brownie

1-1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates
1 tsp vanilla
Dash of sea salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
2/3 cup raw pecans


Coconut Samoas

1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
1/8 tsp vanilla
Dash of sea salt
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

PB Cup

1/2 cup roasted salted peanuts
Heaping cup of Medjool dates, pitted
1/4 tsp vanilla


INSTRUCTIONS

Choose your list of ingredients from the options above, or come up with some of your own!

Mix all ingredients together in a food processor until it sticks together.  If your dates are a little dry, you may have to add a little water at a time until you can pinch it together and it sticks.

Turn mixture out on a piece of parchment paper and fold the paper over the top.  Flatten and the press in the sides to make a square or rectangle about 1/4" or so thick (depends on how thick you want your bars).  Refrigerate at least 30 minutes.  Cut into bars.  Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.

Or you can form into balls for a quick bit size snack!

What are you snacking on this week? Whatever it is, Keep it Clean!!

If you would like many of my recipes in one handy place, check out my Clean Eating Lifestyle Recipe Book available for Kindle or in paperback on Amazon!




Remember to subscribe by clicking on the link on the right.  That way you will get my weekly posts.  (No more than once a week with a rare exception when I find something so amazing I can't wait to share it, so let's say maybe 54 times a year rather than weekly... how does that sound?  but I won't fill up your email because I hate that!)  I'm just here to help you on the path to Clean Eating!













Tuesday, February 14, 2017

My Kitchen is a Melting Pot

One of the great things about the USA is that we live in a melting pot of cultures.  I don't really think about it day to day, since it's been that way as long as I have been around.  My heritage is from various parts of Europe.  I have friends with very diverse heritages too, although few of us have been to the countries of our ancestors.  When I cook, it's often just like that.  Just a melting pot of things that go well together, even though they're considered from different cultures.

Tonight I paired slow cooker Korean beef with gougères (French cheese puffs) and a side of sugar peas, and we were all set!  MR didn't seem to mind, and I know I didn't!  I've already put together a leftover to take for lunch tomorrow.  Check it out and see what you think...

Gougères

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
8 TBSP unsalted butter (1 stick), cubed
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup whole wheat flour, sifted
4 eggs
6 ounces Gruyère cheese, grated
Herbs de Provence, optional

Heat oven to 425F.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Bring milk, butter, salt, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add flour and stir until dough forms.  Reduce heat to medium.  Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until slightly dried, about 2 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a bowl.  Using a hand mixer beat in eggs, 1 at a time, until smooth.  Stir in cheese.

Drop balls of dough (a heaping tablespoon at a time) onto prepared baking sheets.  (Optional step, sprinkle lightly with herbs de Provence.)  Place in oven ad reduce temperature to 375F.  Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.


Slow Cooker Korean Beef

1 cup beef broth
1/2 cup soy sauce1/2 cup coconut sugar4 cloves garlic, minced1 TBSP toasted sesame oil1 TBSP rice wine vinegar1 tsp powdered ginger1 tsp Sriracha1/2 tsp onion powder1/2 tsp white pepper3 pound boneless beef chuck roast2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 cup water1 teaspoon sesame seeds, optional


In a large bowl, whisk together beef broth, soy sauce, coconut sugar, garlic, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, ginger, Sriracha, onion powder and white pepper.
Place roast into a 6-quart slow cooker. Stir in beef broth mixture until well combined.
Cover and cook on low heat for 6-8 hours or high heat for 3-4 hours.
In a small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water. Stir in mixture into the slow cooker. Cover and cook on high heat for an additional 30 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.
Serve immediately, garnish with sesame seeds, if desired.



Remember to subscribe by clicking on the link on the right.  That way you will get my weekly posts.  (No more than once a week with a rare exception when I find something so amazing I can't wait to share it, so let's say maybe 54 times a year rather than weekly... how does that sound?  but I won't fill up your email because I hate that!)  I'm just here to help you on the path to Clean Eating!

Monday, January 23, 2017

Not a Food Post....

An open letter to journalists across the USA:

It seems a lot of you have either never known or have forgotten what your job is.

Your job is not to continually tell us POTUS said this, and then said that, and then blamed the media for getting it wrong.  In those cases, my journalistic friends, you are being played.  While you’re busy reporting and re-reporting the same stuff that frankly doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, a lot is going on that you aren’t focusing on.  It doesn’t really matter if there were 2 people or 2,000,000 at the inauguration.  Let me say again, it doesn’t matter.  It doesn’t matter if POTUS thinks Alec Baldwin is a no talent hack or that Meryl Streep is overrated.  Truly, it doesn’t matter. Stop reporting and rehashing these stories.  It doesn’t matter. 

What matters is the things that affect those of us who live in this country.  What matters is what our healthcare will look like, whether we’re safe in our own homes and neighborhoods, whether we have a job so we can afford our mortgage and send our kids to school where they have a chance to get a good education.  What matters is life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. 

Your job, in case you missed this class in school, is to report the facts.  Not the facts with a left spin, and not the facts with a right spin.  Just the facts.  Let me be the judge of what it means.  That’s my job.  You tell me the who, what, when, where, and how.  That’s all.  That’s your job!  Your job is not… truly not… to copy and paste Twitter tweets and call that a story. Frankly, that’s about the laziest thing I have ever seen in the journalism world. 


It’s time to get back to real journalism! Stop following Twitter and do some real work.  Don’t use Facebook live as a way to be first, even though you have nothing to say.  Stop using click bait headlines that have nothing to do with the story… just misinformation at its worst.  Find out what’s really in the various bills and Executive Orders and then report it accurately.  Slice it, dice it, find out what it means and what the impact is, and then fill us in.  That is your job.  Follow the paper trails to uncover who really stands to win if certain laws and regulations are repealed, overturned, or passed.  That is your job. Dig, investigate, get the real and complete story and then report.  That is your job.  And, for the love of all that is newsworthy, stop focusing on being first, with incomplete facts, just to have a sound bite before another news outlet.  That is your job.  There is no prize for being first, only for being the best.  To be the best you have to actually do your job!

Saturday, January 7, 2017

To Grain or Not to Grain...

Let's get right to it!  Do clean eating and bread go together?  I get this question a lot, and I question it myself a lot.  From what I can find it seems to depend... on you.  If you can tolerate wheat, you can have it.  Just like treats, even when they're clean it doesn't mean your diet should consist solely of them.  But if you can find bread with minimal ingredients and made with whole wheat flour, go for it!  Just make sure it doesn't have any added sugar.

A lot of the store bought breads are loaded with preservatives and other really hard to pronounce words, making it hard to find a clean eating alternative.  So just do the best you can.  One of the things about clean eating is it has to work for you.  And being hyper-restrictive doesn't work for me!  Sometimes I want toast, that's all there is to it!  And better to eat some that is at least not as bad, right?

I eat bread.  I like bread, and I don't have a medical reason to not eat it.  I'd rather eat it occasionally and not feel deprived.  I just try to make good choices about it.  But if you can... and I do occasionally...make your own! You can use just about any bread recipe by substituting whole wheat for white flour and honey for sugar!  I made clean eating cinnamon rolls yesterday morning with coconut sugar.  These babies are awesome!

I love my Kitchen-Aid when it comes to making bread, but you don't have to have one.  (But it really helps!!)


I also know some people can't eat, or don't want to eat bread, for whatever reason.  And it's great to have some grain free options!

For pizza crust:  This recipe recipe is hard to beat!

And here is a no-grain bread recipe I really want to try!

For a great treat, this almond joy cake is my favorite!

So do what works for you... just do it in moderation!  What are you eating this week?  Whatever it is Keep it Clean!

Remember to check out my new recipe book!  I put together some of my favorites in one easy location!

The Clean Eating Lifestyle Recipe Book
If you prefer a paperback version, you can order that here.




Remember to subscribe by clicking on the link on the right.  That way you will get my weekly posts.  (No more than once a week with a rare exception when I find something so amazing I can't wait to share it, so let's say maybe 54 times a year rather than weekly... how does that sound?  but I won't fill up your email because I hate that!)  I'm just here to help you on the path to Clean Eating!







Saturday, December 31, 2016

Get it While It's H-O-T!

I'm just going to get right to it!  I published a recipe book!  I put together some of my "go to" favorites and organized them all in one place for you.  And for me, to be honest.  (I have trouble keeping track of things that aren't organized so this will help me too!)

The Clean Eating Lifestyle Recipe Book
If you prefer a paperback version, you can order that here.


I am pretty excited about doing this because it gives me another avenue to share what I've learned.  I know a lot of us want to eat better, feel better, and maybe even lose some weight along the way.  But trying to figure out all the do's and don'ts is hard!  So I took years of my own research and boiled it down into a book for you... along with some fabulous recipes.  I tell everyone up front, I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or chef.  I'm just someone who figured out what works for me.  It may work for you too.  

One of the nicest things anyone has said about my cooking lately is that I got her to eat clean and she didn't even know it!  And this came from someone whose favorite food group is pizza. But that's the thing about clean eating...  it's just real food that tastes good!  For me, it hearkens back to when I was a little girl and my mom cooked everything from scratch. Everything!  Even before we knew that table sugar and white flour probably should be limited in our diet, my mom was using whole wheat flour and cutting back on sugar in recipes. 

It may be a different way of eating than the highly-processed quick serve foods many of us have gotten used to, but I try to keep it as simple as possible by using readily available ingredients and keeping the prep time to a minimum.   I work outside the home and have a crazy long commute into the city.  But with a little planning, we can usually pull off a great supper every night in our house.  We do eat a lot of leftovers for our lunches, but you don't have to.  Snacks and the occasional treat are important too!  I have lots of dessert recipes in the book!!  So check out the recipe book and join me on my clean eating journey!

I can't let a week go by, though, without sharing a recipe.  So today, how about something for my pizza loving friend....  Zucchini Pizza Boats!  The pepperoni aren't really clean, but the occasional item is okay... all things in moderation, you know.  And just think of all the benefit of eating a whole zucchini!  It cancels out the pepperoni, don't you think??


ZUCCHINI PIZZA BOATS!

Zucchini Pizza Boats

Makes 4

2 medium zucchini
1/2 cup pizza sauce (recipe below)
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
1 TBSP Parmesan
1 TBSP Italian seasoning plus a little sprinkle
1 tsp garlic salt
12 pepperoni slices, quartered  (or use mini pepperonis)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

SCORE THE INSIDE OF THE ZUCCHINI AND SCOOP OUT
Cut zucchini in half long ways.  Score and core the zucchini.  (See picture.)
Lay cored zucchini cut side up on prepared baking sheet.
Put pieces into a small bowl.  
Mix 1 TBSP of the pizza sauce, 1 TBSP of Italian seasoning, and the garlic salt with the zucchini chunks.
Scoop the zucchini mixture back into the zucchini shells.
Spoon the rest of the pizza sauce over the zucchinis.
Layer with 1/2 the pepperoni, then the mozzarella, the rest of the pepperoni and then the Parmesan.

Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.

Pizza Sauce

Makes about 3 cups

1 - 26 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
1 TBSP dried oregano

Mix together in a medium bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before using.  This freezes well!

 This is what we had for supper last night, and it was great!  What are you eating today?  Whatever it is, Keep it Clean!




    Remember to subscribe by clicking on the link on the right.  That way you will get my weekly posts.  (No more than once a week with a rare exception when I find something so amazing I can't wait to share it, so let's say maybe 54 times a year rather than weekly... how does that sound?  but I won't fill up your email because I hate that!)  I'm just here to help you on the path to Clean Eating!


    Sunday, December 18, 2016

    Cinnamon Roll? Biscotti? Crackers!

    I hope you saw my posts and tweets earlier this week about this because I have been beyond excited to share it with you!  And because I try really really hard (sometimes without success) to only blog once a week, and not fill up your email, I have been waiting all week to post this!

    I was a little anxious at first as to whether these would turn out as planned.  I had made the original biscotti recipe previously so I knew that was all good, but trying to turn it into a cracker may or may not have worked.  Well... spoiler alert... it worked!  Sometimes I just want a few crackers or something small to nibble on.  This suits perfectly, and I'm feeling pretty confident that I can sub other things for the cinnamon mixture (thinking cocoa and dark chocolate chips!) to make a similar texture with a whole different taste.  (Hmmm.... I might go make those cocoa ones when I'm done writing the recipe up for you!)

    So, very simple, I just followed the original biscotti recipe but rather than follow the directions on how to put the biscotti together... well... just check out the recipe, and I'll spell it all out there.....


    Cinnamon Roll Biscotti Crackers
    (This recipe is adapted from this one by Carolyn at All Day I Dream About Food)

    Ingredients

    Filling:
    2 TBSP coconut sugar
    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    Crackers:
    2 cup almond flour
    Scant 1/3 cup coconut sugar
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 cup melted butter
    1 large egg
    1 tsp vanilla

    Make the filling by combining the coconut sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Set aside.

    Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

    In a large bowl, whisk together, almond flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.  Stir in melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract until dough comes together.

    Turn dough out onto prepared baking sheet and roll out to about 1/4" thickness.  Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar filling, covering completely and all the way to the edges.

    Roll up jelly roll style.  The dough may crack a little, but that's okay because now you're going to roll it all out again to about 1/8".  Score horizontally and vertically making squares.  Cut off the ragged edges to make crackers more symmetrical. Then cut each square in half diagonally.  (You can really cut it in any shape you want, but this is what I did).  With the extra dough you cut off the edges, roll that out again and make more crackers. Repeat until you've used all the dough.

    Bake 15 minutes until lightly browned and firm to the touch.  Break at the scored lines and flip them over.  Turn off the oven and let sit another 10 minutes or so until almost crisp.

    Remove from oven and move them to a cooling rack.  Let sit until completely cooled.

    Crackers!!!!

    NOTES:  I am told that almond meal may make these too fragile, so stick with almond flour.  Trader Joe's carries it now!  Also, about xanthan gum: try to find a friend to buy this with because it's expensive and you only ever use a tiny bit at a time... so we buy one and split it into jars to share with other like-minded bakers.

    What are you eating this week?  Whatever it is, Keep it Clean!

    Remember to subscribe by clicking on the link on the right.  That way you will get my weekly posts.  (No more than once a week with a rare exception when I find something so amazing I can't wait to share it, so let's say maybe 54 times a year rather than weekly... how does that sound?  but I won't fill up your email because I hate that!)  I'm just here to help you on the path to Clean Eating!



    Monday, December 12, 2016

    Favorite Thing I Made All Week!

    I always think I know what I'm going to write about.  But my plans often don't go the way I think they will... so instead of a meal plan this week, you are in for a wonderful delight!  I think if you go through some of my older posts you can get the gist of this clean eating thing: 1) no processed food, 2) no refined sugars, 3) no white flour, and 4) pair a protein with a complex carb at every snack and meal.  Now you can make your own meal plan.... So there you go!

    I got all the clean eating rules down, but for me the hard part is resisting treats!  Just one cookie, right?  Just one nibble of brownie, right?  Well, fortunately, I have found recipes that beat all those highly processed, over-sugared treats all to pieces.  And this week was a real winner.  I was going to try my hand at making whole wheat tortillas from scratch to go with slow cooker pineapple chicken verde.  And then I ran across a recipe for apple pie tacos!  The recipe wasn't clean, but since the only UNclean ingredients were white flour tortillas and white sugar in the apples, I knew I could fix that in a hurry!  So now I have to buy a tortilla press because I love this recipe so much and trying to roll this dough into circles is not easy (but I'll provide a tip on that too)!

    So here you go....  And you're welcome!

    Apple Pie Tacos  
    adapted from Cooking Panda 

    4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
    1/2 cup water
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    1/2 cup coconut sugar
    10 or 12 six-inch tortillas (see tortilla recipe below)
    2 cups vegetable oil for frying
    1/4 cup coconut sugar (divided)
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 cup whipping cream

    First make tortillas! - When I rolled these out, I couldn't get pretty little circles, so just roll them out to just a little bigger than you want and use something to cut in circle.  I used the lid to a small saucepan.  It's just the right size and has a bit of an edge on it where it sits down in the pan!  Perfect! (Of course, if you have a tortilla press, then that issue is solved.)
    Set the tortillas aside.

    Lay out some paper towels on your counter or other surface.

    Mix together 2 TBSP coconut sugar and the cinnamon.

    In a medium pan over medium heat, mix together apples, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar.  Mix well until apples are coated.  Cover and continue cooking on medium, stirring frequently, until apples are soft.  About 8 minutes.  Set aside.

    Heat oil in a small saucepan or skillet (or use your fryer if you have one).  Cooking one at a time, fold the tortilla in half, using tongs to keep it folded (you fold it in half and hold the two edges together with tongs).  Dip the bottom of the tortilla in the hot oil for 10-15 seconds.  Lay the tortilla on its side and fry until golden brown.  Flip over if needed.  Drain on paper towels.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.

    Sprinkle shells with coconut sugar-cinnamon mixture.

    Whip the whipping cream adding remaining 2 TBSP (more or less to taste) slowly until stiff peaks are formed.

    Spoon the apple mixture into the prepared taco shells and add a spoonful of whipped cream on top.

    Serve!!  What are you eating this week?  Whatever it is, Keep it Clean!


    Also, bonus recipe:  These clean eating cinnamon rolls are really good too! And easy!  (Especially if you have  a Kitchen-Aid or similar type mixer with a dough hook!  And I highly recommend you do!)




      Remember to subscribe by clicking on the link on the right.  That way you will get my weekly posts.  (No more than once a week with a rare exception when I find something so amazing I can't wait to share it, so let's say maybe 54 times a year rather than weekly... how does that sound?  but I won't fill up your email because I hate that!)  I'm just here to help you on the path to Clean Eating!