Monday, July 29, 2013

The Recipe that Started it All!

When I first started toying with clean eating, I spent a lot of time talking to two of my nieces who I had noticed ate really healthy.  Then I looked at different web sites, trying to find information.  One of the first web sites I found, and have stuck with over the last year and a half, is The Naked Kitchen.  They have so many easy but fabulous recipes!  One day I was looking through their recipes and found Cinnamon Raisin Braids.  My mom used to make a bread type recipe that we called braid and, while this wasn't exactly the same, it made me think of her and how much I loved her braid.  So I tried this recipe.  It was pretty easy, didn't require a lot of weird ingredients, and very tasty!  It was when I first tasted the Cinnamon Raisin Braids I realized, "I can do this clean eating thing!"  If you could eat clean and still enjoy something like this from time to time, well, what's not to like!?

Since then I have made this recipe many times.  Once, I was a little lazy so decided to make it into two bread loaves instead of braids.  It turned out really well!  Plus, you can slice it off, toast it and butter it for a nice warm treat.  Today, I did that again.  Whether you choose to make this as braids or as bread, I know you will like it!

NOTE:  To make bread, when you get to step 7 in the recipe (below), divide dough into two equal portions, roll out into a rectangle about the size of a sheet of notebook paper.  Double the recipe for the cinnamon-honey drizzle, and spread it over the top of the dough.  Then roll up from the long side, seal the seams by pinching together, and then put in two well oiled loaf pans.  Allow to raise slightly while you preheat the oven. Bake at 325 for about 45 minutes.
EDIT: The site where I got this recipe has a malware issue.  You can sub the bread from this recipe instead.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Grocery-Free Week! (almost)

I am really finding this hard to believe, but I just finished my menu for the week and I need to get two things at the grocery store!  A potato and a container of feta cheese.  Except when I lived alone, I don't think a week of my adult life has gone by that I didn't have to drop some serious cash at the grocery store.  This is so cool!

When we were first grocery shopping together... a very long time ago... MR and I would spend about $60 a week at the grocery store.  We also ate out every Friday night, and sometimes had Sunday dinner with my family.  Then the kids came along so of course the grocery bill got exponentially higher, and higher, and higher as they grew.  Baby girl went away to college and #1 son has been living with us lately, so our bill has been right around $100 a week, not including an approximately once a month (or so) trip to Trader Joe's and a less frequent stop at Whole Foods, plus whatever we picked up at the farmer's market on Friday nights.  And of course, not counting beef, since we buy that once a year.  So I would say we don't spend a lot on groceries, compared to some families, but having a week where I should be able to spend less than $10 just totally blows me away.  Since we are getting the beef for the year this week, I need as much room as possible in the freezer so my menu is based entirely on what's in the freezer.

Grilled Delmonico steaks and Greek salad

Pasta with meatballs/sauce
The meatballs were leftover from a previous menu as was the sauce

Grilled chicken
I found some chicken buried in the freezer!  YAY!

Sundried tomato and mushroom meatloaf and vegetables

Shepherd's Pie

I also plan to make smoothies (lots of frozen fruit in that freezer!), spinach/egg cups, and granola.  Lunches will be leftovers for the most part.  And snacks will be Greek yogurt with honey and either fruit or granola, or an apple with some peanut butter.  I am hopeful that I can actually get through the week without buying any additional groceries!  Hope you have a clean week!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Famous Peach Cobbler recipe... Cleaned up!

Not kidding, MR has actually won prizes for his peach cobbler.  It is absolutely amazing!  And my family often requests... requires it!... for get-togethers.  So, what to do now that we are eating clean?  Clean it up!  We tried a similar recipe that used almond flour, and it was good, but it definitely didn't compare to his original.  So tonight he tried again.  This time he used wheat flour and coconut sugar.  WIN!!!!

EDIT 8/9/2013 - MR really wanted some cobble again but I hadn't gotten any more coconut sugar.  He subbed blackstrap molasses this time and, I can't believe it, but it was another WIN!  May have something to do with all that butter!  HA!  A different flavor, of course, but definitely a twist on a favorite recipe that we will try again!

Check it out with all those sweet peaches coming into season!


1 stick butter (8 oz.)
3/4 cup coconut sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking powder
pinch of salt
3/4 cup milk
2 cups slices peaches

Preheat oven to 350.  Melt butter in 9" square baking dish.  Mix coconut sugar, flour, baking powder, salt, and milk.  Pour over the melted butter.  DO NOT STIR.
Slices peaches onto batter.  DO NOT STIR.  Bake at 350 for 45-50 minutes.

You are going to love this.  The corner pieces are the BEST!!!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Menu Planning Day!

It's Friday night and I am home alone!  That so rarely happens.  But I am taking advantage of it and have already planned out my menu for the week.  I will hit the grocery store and Trader Joe's sometime this weekend and do some prep cooking on Monday... because I have the day off from work!  Yay me!

Because I have a bad habit of losing track of recipes, I now post my menu and all the required recipes here.  That way, you get the benefit of them if you are interested, and I can keep track of what I'm supposed to be doing.  I have mentioned before that we are fortunate enough to get grass fed beef from a local farmer, and that slaughtering time is coming.  I expect to get another half of a beef around the end of the month, so we are eating a LOT of red meat trying to clean out the freezer.  This week is no exception!  I will say though that I don't usually eat beef for lunch or breakfast unless I am having leftovers.  I love it, but even I can't eat it with every meal!

NOTE:  None of these recipes are my creation.  I am not that creative.  I have linked directly to the original recipes so you will go to another site.

So here goes!  This week's menu plan:

Greek meatballs and marinara sauce with brown rice pasta
I have not made these meatballs before but they sound awesome!  Feta cheese is great in anything (almost).  I have made this marinara sauce recipe several times.  Sometimes I don't always have every ingredient so I kind of fake it, but as long as I pour a little red wine in there (and probably drink a glass while cooking) it turns out GREAT!
EDIT:  I made these but didn't have enough mint.  I think they really need the mint!  Don't try to skip it!

Crap.  Tuesday is still blank.  I need to think of something for Tuesday....

Mexican style steaks and avocado salsa
Caesar salad
I have made this steak and salsa recipe before.  It was a HUGE HIT!  Highly recommend!

Moroccan meatballs with citrus glazed carrots
Another one I haven't tried but it sounds yummy and fairly easy.  I am all about easy.

EDIT:  These are really good!  I had them for lunch the next day too!

Stuffed zucchini
Last time I made this I subbed quinoa for the TVP.  I don't eat soy, so couldn't have that (plus I'm not sure what it is).  Even MR thought it turned out awesome.  I drizzled some of the marinara (that I will make on Monday) over the top.  Dee-lish!

Sundried tomato meatloaf
Green vegetable
If you follow me on Facebook you know this meatloaf is what I ate most of the week.  I made it sound like I was too lazy to cook anything else but the truth is I have been home alone this week and made this meatloaf on Sunday with the intention of eating it all week.  If you don't like mushrooms, don't worry about it because you really don't taste them.  I think this recipe turned out really good and now I am going to spring it on my family!

I will also make a batch of granola.   It doesn't matter how many different granola recipes I try, this is the one I keep coming back to.  We also add raisins before baking because we like it like that!  MR likes to put it in his yogurt, and I just like to eat it plain or warmed with almond milk.  For my lunches when there are no leftovers, I will probably make black bean quinoa salad.  I love that stuff and it is super easy to make!

I hope you have a plan, but if you don't, you can borrow mine.  These recipes are not difficult, although a couple do require a little more time.  Just plan accordingly!  Have a clean week!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Cheesecake! Cheesecake! Cheesecake!

I was really annoyed with myself last week when I bought all the ingredients to make this cheesecake and then couldn't find the recipe.  Since I pin everything I find online, I couldn't figure out what happened to it.  So, yesterday I was flipping through Wheat Belly again and I FOUND IT!  Right there in the back where it had been all along.  I hate it when I do that, but at least it's now found, and now I am putting it in my blog so I can find it forever more!  (Please note that I use coconut crystals as a sweetener.  Since this is not my recipe, I chose not to edit their instructions, but it does work well with coconut crystals.)

NOTE:  This calls for a 10" pie pan.  I used a Longaberger deep dish pie plate and it really filled it.  Not sure why they don't use a 10" springform, as that's how I always used to make cheesecake.  I think you could use the springform pan, especially if you don't have a large, deep dish pie plate.

Today is #1 son's birthday.  I hope he likes cheesecake, because I sure do!

Classic Cheesecake with Wheatless Crust - from Wheat Belly by William Davis, MD

1-1/2 cups ground pecans
Sweetener, such as Truvia, stevia extract, or Splenda equivalent to 1/2 cup sucrose*
1-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
6 TBPS unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract

16 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
Sweetener, such as Truvia, stevia extract, or Splenda equivalent to 1/2 cup sucrose*
Dash of fine sea salt
3 large eggs
Juice of 1 small lemon and 1 TBSP grated lemon zest
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 325 F.
To make the crust, combine ground pecans, sweetener, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Stir in the melted butter, egg, and vanilla, and mix thoroughly.

Press the crumb mixture into the bottom and 1-1/2 to 2 inches up the sides of a 10-inch pie pan.

To make the filling, combine the cream cheese, sour cream, sweetener, and salt in a bowl.  Using an electric mixer, beat at low speed to blend.  Beat in the eggs, lemon juice, lemon zest, and vanilla.  Beat at medium speed for 1 minute.

Pour the filling into the crust.  Bake until nearly firm in the center, about 50 minutes.  Cool the cheesecake on a rack.  Refrigerate to chill before serving.

Variations:  The filling can be modified in dozens of ways.  Try adding 1/2 cup cocoa powder and topping with shaved dark chocolate; or substitute lime juice and zest for the lemons; or top with berries, mint leaves, and whipped cream.

*I personally prefer coconut crystals for my sweetener, but since this isn't my recipe I am not comfortable making the edit to the recipe.  You should use whatever sweetener is best for you.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Sum-sum-summertime Picnic Ideas!

In the US, we will be celebrating Independence Day on Thursday so that means lots of get-togethers and picnics.  But no matter where you are, if you are in your summer season, you may be thinking of picnics.  To help you with your planning I have collected some really awesome CLEAN recipes for you to consider...

Frozen Summer Treats!  I can't call them Popsicles(r) because that's a brand name, and these are about as far from the brand as you can get.  With awesome flavors like Key Lime Pie, Strawberry Shortcake, and Berry Cheesecake, to name a few, you won't be missing the name brand ones at all.  And you will be eating clean!

Berry Tart!  Click on this one for a beautiful dessert that is especially suitable for Independence Day because of the red, white and blue, but I think I would eat this in any country!

Clean eating baked beans!  My mom used to make her baked beans in a crock in the oven on low for hours and hours.  None could compare to that... but these sure come close!  And so easy!  Mix your ingredients in the slow cooker and let them go until it's time to go to the picnic.  No one will guess that these are clean AND vegan!

Grilling kebabs!  And what would be a picnic without something especially yummy like these kebabs?!  You can always throw burgers or steaks on the grill, but why not get a little fancy, without a lot of hard work, and make kebabs!

Watermelon cake!  A what?!  A watermelon CAKE?  You won't believe your eyes when you see this beauty.  And neither will your guests.  It looks so awesome but is really quite easy!

Have a safe and wonderful 4th, US of A friends, and happy summer to everyone!