Monday, December 30, 2013

Repurpose - Reuse- Recycle

Whatever you want to call it, I am a firm believer in "waste not want not!"  My mom was especially good at repurposing everything!  She was a recycler long before it was cool... or even called that.  She just knew that you didn't throw anything away.  So following Christmas, and all the associated leftovers, tonight we have, not leftover night, but repurpose night.  Took some of that beautiful ham and a big handful of leftover peas and threw them in a dish of homemade scalloped potatoes.

And here you go.  And you're welcome!

Scalloped Potatoes
2 T butter
2 T whole wheat flour or other thickener
1-1/2 cups milk (I use almond milk)
medium onion, chopped
3 large potatoes, thinly sliced (I prefer not to peel them but you can)
1 C leftover ham, chopped, optional
3/4 cup peas, optional
1 C cheese, optional

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a square baking dish.  In a saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.  Saute onions in melted butter until soft.  Add flour and stir.  Add milk all at once.  Continue stirring over medium heat until it thickens.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
Pour a third of the sauce in the bottom of prepared baking dish.  Layer in potatoes, ham, and peas.  Pour more sauce over that.  Layer in potatoes, ham, and peas.  Pour remaining sauce over top.  Add cheese on top, if using.

Cover and bake about 45 minutes until potatoes are soft.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Back to the Routine -- Menu Time!

Before I forget!  You can now follow me on Twitter @CleanEatingLife.  So check it out!  I am old and very new to Twitter so please bear with me as I figure this stuff out!  I can also be found on Facebook
Clean Eating -- It's a Lifestyle

The holidays are winding down so we are getting back into our routine.  Trying to get back into the routine, at any rate.  Today we went to a wedding and reception, then church, grocery shopping, and dinner.  We spent very little time at home.  I did manage to somehow put together a menu and grocery list.  #1 rule:  Have a plan so you don't overspend at the grocery store.  I will be going to Trader Joe's on Monday to pick up a few more things (coconut oil!).  Also, I am trying to repurpose some leftovers.  That will save me a lot this week too.  Today at the grocery store I only spent $35 (cha-ching!) because I based my menu on what I already had in the house.

This week's line up includes:

Black Bean Burritos - I finally made these last week.  They were really great!  The most time consuming part was roasting the sweet potatoes.  If you are a planner, or prepper, you could have this part already done and throw these together in no time.  They were worth the wait, though!

Shepherd's Pie - This will be made with the last of the leftover roast beef.  MR mixes the meat up with some vegetables (some of those are leftovers from this week too!), and tops it off with some whipped potatoes.  Comfort food at its best!

Nachos - These are made from leftover chili from this past week. Just make them how you like them!

Ham and bean soup - I have to do something with all this ham so I will make a fraction of this soup.  The two of us won't eat that much soup, so maybe 1/3 recipe?

Alfredo sauce - MR saw a recipes for Alfredo sauce he wanted to try over some brown rice pasta or whole wheat pasta.  He is a really great cook, so I am all for letting him give it a whirl.  I don't think his exact recipe will be the one I have linked to.  Once he has made his, I will post it.  But in case you want to make it this week, here is one to try!

2014 is the year of the Clean Eating reboot for me.  That means focusing on eating clean and not on weight or size.  If the past is any measure, that means weight and size will take care of themselves.  I read something on a Facebook post today that essentially said, Why do we keep focusing on the failures and not the successes?  That is exactly why I am focusing on the Clean Eating lifestyle this year.  I was getting stuck on "Why can't I lose 10 more pounds?" and forgot that I had already lost more than 20!  So, I am taking the win with the 20+ pound weight loss and going back to focusing on the clean foods.  The other things will take care of themselves.

What are you doing for 2014?  Whatever it is, keep it clean!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

2014 - Time for a Clean Eating Reboot!

I don't know if it's because I have been eating clean for so long that I don't even think about it anymore, but I find lately that I am looking at trying other eating plans rather than just sticking with clean eating.  Green smoothies, juicing, Paleo, gluten-free, whatever it may be, every once in a while I will read about something and start to toy with it.  Certainly nothing wrong with any of those eating plans, I guess, but why mess with success?  I figured out almost two years ago now that eating clean is what works for me.  So for 2014 I am  not making any big resolutions, but I am going to go back to the roots of my clean eating plan.

Clean Eating Cheesecake!  Who would have thought?!

Some of the reasons I like clean eating:
1) I sleep better.  No. I sleep!  I used to think that it was normal to sleep a few hours a night, usually in two or three chunks.  No longer!  It is now very unusual for me to be awake in the night.  And, usually, if I am, it's just long enough to look at the clock to see I don't have to get up yet!  That alone is reason enough to stick to clean eating for me!

2)  I weigh less.  I lost about 30 pounds just by changing how I eat.  I also started walking, but let's not kid ourselves, I am not a workout queen!

3)  I just feel better.  That also is reason enough to stick with it, isn't it?

I get lots of questions from readers and friends about eating clean.  Is it expensive? Is it hard?  Will my family like it?  So, as part of the 2014 Clean Eating Reboot, let me cover some of those questions for you.  But first let me say, you can do this!  I work 40+ hours a week and I commute 75 minutes each way.  Sometimes my adult kids are here, and sometimes it's just two of us.  I occasionally (very occasionally)  buy them things I won't eat, but for the most part, I buy whole foods and we prepare everything.

First:  Is it expensive?  It can seem like it, especially at first.  But the key to keeping it under control is to have a plan.  A meal plan!  I make a menu on Saturday morning.  I make an effort to use things we already have on hand, especially if it's something that needs used up.  If you follow my blog, you will notice a trend of beef roast one night, and vegetable beef soup another.  This is all part of my plan!  Repurpose!  Don't waste!  I also puree and freeze and produce that is not getting used up fast enough.  We are also fortunate to have access to grass fed beef from a local farmer.  We go in with another couple on a half cow in the summer.  While that is a big expense up front, it works out to less than $6 per pound.  That's a normal price for good quality hamburger.  But it's a FABULOUS price for Porterhouse steak!

Second:  Is it hard?  Again, it may seem like it at first.  You have to really think about what's for every meal and snacks.  No foraging through the cupboards and eating a handful of gummy worms and six potato chips for breakfast any more!  But you get used to the planning and, for me at least, it's fun to research some new recipes and try them out.  Or find an old recipe favorite and see if you can clean it up!  Typically, for breakfast MR makes a slow cooker of steel cut oats on Sunday and that is breakfast all week.  Amazing stuff!  I also make granola and that mixed with 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt makes a fabulous snack.  Lunch is usually leftovers from a previous supper.  Supper is the standard lean protein and vegetables.  We use the slow cooker when we can, but also have found some quick recipes that we can make after a long day at work.  Some people do a lot of prep work on the weekends.  If you have younger children especially that may be helpful.

Third:  Will my family like it?  All I can tell you is how it worked out in my family.  MR had seen me go down the diet road many times and neither he nor the kids were interested in eating what I ate.  I don't blame them, I wasn't much interested either.  But when I started clean eating, it really was just going back to cooking from scratch.  Something I had done quite a bit when our kids were young.  Then tweaking it by using whole wheat flour and honey instead of white flour and sugar.  MR jumped right in and does great at it.  And he look mah-velous!  #1 Son pretends to be a less willing participant, but he typically eats whatever I make without complaining.  Baby Girl often calls me for help on making something clean, so I know she likes it!  I would say that if you tell your family we are going to "CHANGE OUR DIET" they will complain.  But if you just start cooking from scratch, which is really what this is, then they probably will enjoy it. I think it's worth a shot!

And I don't eat only fruits and vegetables.  I make some great breads, cookies, and other taste treats, even candies.  But, as with any type of eating, all things in moderation.  Follow me on the Clean Eating (Reboot) Journey in 2014, and see where it takes you!

I'd love it if you would comment below to tell me what you hope Clean Eating will do for you!

Here's an excerpt from that sums clean eating up well.

  1. Eat  Lots Of Plants – Eat food that is straight from nature. (Some people say “as close to the way nature made it as possible”. But I think that leaves too much wiggle room – in my humble opinion) Eat mostly foods that are off a tree, bush, plant or vine, and you’ve pretty much got it covered. The idea is to stay away from anything that humans (food corporations) have altered in any way.
  2. Include Meats - Eat meats that are whole and straight from the butcher. Don’t buy pre-packaged meat products because you never know what’s in them. When possible, buy whole meats and grind them yourself. You’d be surprised what’s in ground turkey meat! You can also select a few turkey breasts and ask that the butcher grind them for you. Many butchers are more than willing to accommodate.
  3. Enjoy Grains - Eat grains that are still complete and haven’t been broken down into “glue”. Stick to brown rice, whole wheat and other whole grains.
  4. Read Labels I don’t know how many breads I’ve picked up at the store that say they are whole grain. But when I take a look at the ingredient list, white flour is the second ingredient after whole wheat flour!
  5. Eat Fewer Ingredients. Try not to purchase foods that have more than 3-6 ingredients in the ingredient list. And be sure you recognize each and every ingredient. If you find a “mystery ingredient” such as “spices”, contact the company! Ask them what they consider to be spices. If it’s anything other than honest-to-goodness herbs and spices, avoid it! And remember, if you can’t pronounce it, it probably shouldn’t go into your body.
  6. Eat 5-6 small meals per day. This may seem like a lot at first. But remember, you are eating smaller portions. If you really have a hard time with this, prepare your regular three meals and a snack for the day, and divide lunch and dinner in half. You’ve instantly got 6 small meals!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Eating Clean with a Family

Many of us have been there.  We want to change how we eat, usually a new fad diet.  One of the reasons we fail is that, in addition to making our meals, we have to make a meal for our partner and maybe the family too.  (Of course, the fact that they are fad diets is another matter!)  I recently had a friend ask about how to go about starting clean eating while still making food for the family.

My personal experience with this was that my husband readily ate what I made.  The thing about clean eating is that it's about eating real., whole, natural foods.  So it's not a lot of weird recipes.  As a matter of fact, I think we both started to enjoy cooking and eating more because of the great blends of flavors we were beginning to experience.  My kids are adults, but still seem to live at home from time to time.  #1 Son is 25.  Even though he always asks, "Is this clean?" he still will eat about 90% of what I make.  My daughter doesn't mind if it's clean.  But even if they didn't ask, I'm not sure they would know the difference.

Probably the most notable difference is the switch to whole wheat flour.  There is a difference in taste and consistency, but personally, I can't stand the taste of white flour now.  This may be the toughest hurdle for your family though.  Trader Joe's sells a white whole wheat, so if you can get that, I would recommend it.  Of course the other big difference is that they will know you are now cooking more from scratch.

I am not suggesting you try to trick them, but eating clean is of benefit to everyone.  And, I agree, it's tough to try to cook twice ... once for them and once for you.  Plus it's extremely hard to stay on track when you're doing that, as you probably know.  But just starting cooking differently.  See what they say.  You may be surprised.

A Clean Eating Family!
The person that particularly asked the question about changing to clean eating with a family lives with her parents and her father is ill.  It's hard to get them to change their ways, I'm sure.  I know MR's parents are somewhat resistant, but when we cook they always eat it!  So while they may eat other things, when I am cooking they willingly eat what we eat.  The best suggestion I have here is that you ask to do the grocery shopping and they try to stick with only buying real food and move away from the prepackaged stuff.

Also MR loves his sweets.  His motto has always been, "Life is short, eat dessert first!"  And he still enjoys a treat now and then.  The difference is that he makes an effort to keep it clean.  We have both learned to enjoy food more.  For the real flavor of real food.

I hope this is helpful.  I hope you can be successful with clean eating!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Making a List and Checking it Twice!

(This post has been edited)

Making my grocery shopping list for the week, that is!  Big plans for Christmas dinner, of course.  Also MR's birthday is Monday so have to have something extra special!  And Baby Girl is on her way home... somehow got sidetracked in Baltimore...  But when she gets home we can run around and do fun Christmas preparations together!

In addition to eating regular meals this week, of course we will have some treats.  I think we will flavor roast some almonds or something for one snack item.  And I want to make Paleo Toffee Caramels!  <---Pretty awesome stuff right there!

First, real quick... here's what for supper this week...

Tortilla soup - I know I have made this a lot lately but we were pretty busy this weekend, between church and getting ready for the kids and the grandparents to come into town!  Plus there are always leftovers for a super quick lunch later this week.  By the way, my friends at have some really great recipes besides this one.  You should check them out!

Ham loaf, mashed potatoes, and corn (not our usual clean eating meal!)- This is MR's birthday supper.  The ham loaf is from Gene Wenger's Meats in Elizabethtown, PA.  I should mention that this ham loaf isn't clean, but it's a family favorite.  You may recall that many people believe in an 80/20 clean eating plan where they eat clean about 80% of the time.  We tend to do it more than that, so the occasional ham loaf is certainly within the realm of acceptable.  We will also have a shoo fly pie.  This is awesome stuff, and another non-clean item.  Chalk Monday up to a cheat!

Christmas Eve!  With the grandparents in town, we have to focus more on food throughout the day.  Usually MR and I just eat leftovers for lunch.  But ftoday we will make pizza for lunch using Trader Joe's fresh whole wheat crust.

For dinner, a slow cooked beef roast with carrots and onions.

Merry Christmas!  We bought a nice honey baked spiral ham.  We will serve this with homemade applesauce and sweet potatoes.  Not sure yet just what else... but we will round it out, no worries!

For breakfast I will see about making some cinnamon raisin braids!!
Cinnamon raisin braids (from the Naked Kitchen)

Cheesesteak wraps!  We use very thinly sliced steak meat, grilled with onions and peppers.  Then melt some provolone over that and wrap it up in a whole wheat flour tortilla.  If you like you can add a little marinara sauce on top!

The fridge will probably be full of leftovers by now, so this is "mustgo" night.  Everything MUST GO!

The other thing that's been on my mind a lot lately has to do with affording to eat healthy.  I have been reading about people getting their SNAP (food stamps) cut, and I have been giving a lot of thought to how healthy one can eat on a really tight budget.  One of the most important things has to be to make a plan.  If I have a plan, then I can think about how I can re-use leftovers for another meal.  That Tuesday night beef roast will probably be repurposed into either barbecue beef sandwiches or soup or both.  When I buy fresh produce, I try to buy only what I will need so it doesn't spoil before it gets used.  But sometimes it does start to go bad, so I usually try to get to it before it's too late and puree it and freeze it in ice cube trays to make smoothies later.  Also, I generally make any snacks or treats that we have, with the exception of fresh fruit or nuts of course.  You can save a lot of money just by not buying processed, pre-made snacks.

Beef is especially expensive, so I would say that trying to buy chicken when it's on sale might be a cheaper way to get protein.  Also if you buy a whole chicken and roast it, that is one meal and you can, again, usually get one or two meals out of the leftovers.  If you really can't afford beef or chicken, think about other protein foods -- black beans, lentils, etc.  You can buy these canned and ready to use, but if you have time, it really pays to buy them dry and prepare them as you need. More time consuming, but saves a lot of money.

Really, the bottom line is that if you want to eat healthy on a budget, you have to make a plan and work your meals around each other to save ingredients and money.

If you have any questions about any of these recipes, leave me a comment.  I am happy to help.  Until then, keep it clean!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Clean Out the Fridge! The Grandparents are Coming!

The grandparents are coming for the holidays and they always bring a ton of food because, apparently you cannot buy food in Maryland!  It's actually pretty amusing how much food they bring.  It took me a long time to realize I don't need to stock the fridge and cupboards for company when they are coming.  They will take care of it for me!  In the meantime, we still have to eat.  So recipes this week are planned mostly around what's in the cupboards.  Save money, makes use of what I have, and frees up space for the grandparents' food!

We had a beautiful beef roast the other day and since it was just the two of us, there are plenty of leftovers that will be repurposed twice this week!  I also have some super easy soup recipes that require things I typically have on hand.  Lots of soup this week, but that's probably a really good thing as we get ready to make room for MR's birthday shoo fly pie (Oh, decidedly NOT clean, but it is an indulgence we both have once a year)!

So what's for supper????

Beef Vegetable Soup

Beef vegetable soup - Yep, leftover beef, broth, crushed tomatoes, whatever vegetables you like, add some seasonings.  So easy.  So versatile.

Barbecue beef sandwiches - More leftover beef, mixed with MR's barbecue sauce recipe -- mostly tomato paste, blackstrap molasses, mustard, and honey.

Chicken Tortilla Soup - I have some leftover cooked chicken, so I will make this soup and add some chopped up chicken to it!  The best part is I can then have leftovers for lunch the next day!

Chicken Coconut Soup - I told you there would be a lot of soup this week.  This is really good stuff.

Veggie and black bean burritos - I still haven't tried this recipe... maybe this week!  I have some whole wheat tortillas I need to use up!

Chili - It's a go to when you can't think of anything else... and that's where I am right now.  Out of ideas!

This isn't supper but I have to keep telling you... MAKE THESE!  So good!
Flourless cranberry scones - Did you make these yet!?  I cannot tell you how truly quick and easy they are!  And so very tasty!  I will have to make some more in preparation for Christmas morning!

So what are you eating this week?  Just keep it clean!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Back to Basics

I don't know if it's because it's that time of year when we all seem to just watch our waistlines expand at the wonderful treats laid out before us or what but I have been asked about clean eating more lately.  That's okay, because I am happy to share!

This post is really just about the basics.  What is clean eating?  I think there are probably a few definitions of it, but for me (and for MR), it's about eating things as close to their natural state as possible.  No white sugar and no white flour are two key essentials.  Beyond that, we try to make everything from scratch.  Over the last couple of years we have found a replacement recipe for just about every processed food we ever put in our bodies.  And they taste better and, most importantly, we feel better!

This is pizza.  It's clean!  Can you imagine?!

The hardest part, as Cher used to say (remember the Vic Tanney commercials?  Remember Vic Tanney?  Okay, then you are also officially old), the hardest part is getting started.  For some people it's baby steps.  Not me! I am an all in kind of person!  Both feet, hold your breath, here we go!  But if you are a baby stepper, that's perfectly fine.  Make small adjustments each week.  Soon you will notice a difference in how you feel and, quite possibly, in how your clothes fit.  (And that's a good thing!)  (Did I tell you I dropped two full sizes doing this?)

Here are the basics:
First, every time you eat, every meal, every snack, be sure to pair a complex carbohydrate with a lean protein.
Next, eat three  meals and two or three snacks every day so that you are eating about every 3 hours.  Personally, I don't usually do the third snack.  But you might want to start out that way.  If you really follow this you will feel like you are eating all the time.  But if you are eating the right things, it will be okay!
Third, what are the right things?  Again, think of it as food as close to its natural state as possible.  Eggs, fresh fruit, plain Greek yogurt, lean meats, vegetables.  Most importantly, read labels!  If you don't know what it is, or can't pronounce it, you likely shouldn't be eating it.  If it has more than a few ingredients, you probably shouldn't be eating it.

Okay, but what do I eat?!  If you are stumped for what to eat, check out my other blog posts.  I try to post my weekly menu for two reasons.  First, because if I don't post it I lose track of the recipes and then I have the ingredients but can't remember what to make!  Second, so that you can get ideas on what to make.  I work full time and have a 75 minute commute (each way, each weekday), so most of my entrees are not complicated.  Occasionally one of us works from home so we throw in a slow cooker meal in the middle of the week.  Sometimes on the weekends we have a meal that takes a little longer to prepare.  But for the most part, you will find simple, but tasty meals.  From time to time, okay a lot of times, you will also find yummy treats to make.  One of the reasons I couldn't stick with any "diet" in the past is because I would start feeling deprived.  On this lifestyle change, and I emphasize that it is a lifestyle and not a diet, you shouldn't have that problem.

A quick sample menu:
Breakfast:  Smoothie
Smoothies are a great way to have breakfast in a hurry and still get lots of good nutrition.  Seriously think about what goes in it, though.  Your base should be either skim milk or almond milk (my personal favorite) or plain Greek yogurt.  Than add fruits and/or vegetables to your taste.  I don't post a lot of smoothie recipes in my blog because there are tons of websites out there.  I don't use protein powder usually because I don't really understand the ingredients, so that means they probably aren't clean.  Get your protein from Greek yogurt!

Snack:  1 TBSP (clean) peanut butter and an apple
Read the labels.  Some peanut butters marked "natural" have added sugar.

Lunch:  Leftovers from last night
LOL  Obviously this would be a little harder to do the first day, but that's typically what I have for lunch... whatever we had for supper the night before.  If you don't have any leftovers or don't want to eat that, throw together a yummy salad the night before.  Remember to include a protein.  I like this recipe.  It's really fast and easy to make.

Snack:  Cheese stick and a clementine
Get a good quality cheese stick made only from milk.  Trader Joe's has some great ones!

Dinner:  Rosemary Pot Roast and a vegetable
This is one of my favorite recipes for two reasons.  1) You make it in the slow cooker and 2) It tastes incredible with just a few ingredients.  The really good news?  You should have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow!

Snack:  Small handful of almonds mixed with a few raisins

Do you have a sweet tooth?  Or like cream and sugar in your coffee or tea?  There's an app for that... okay, not an app, but there's a substitute!  First replace the sugary prepared creamers with half and half or milk.  There are also some recipes online for making flavored creamers that are not full of sugar and junk.  Just search "clean eating coffee creamer" and you will be amazed at the many choices.  Next replace the sugar with either honey or coconut sugar.  Coconut sugar is available at more stores now.  If you can't find it, try Whole Foods.  For other sweets, coconut sugar, black strap molasses, honey, and Medjool dates are my go to replacement sweeteners.  The main thing is to stay away from processed stuff.  White sugar is not permitted at all on clean eating.  Brown sugar is just white sugar mixed with molasses so don't be fooled.

Okay, this post just hits the most basic idea of clean eating.  If you have questions or are looking for a particular kind of recipe, post a comment and I will see what I can do to help.  It may seem intimidating, but I found that it was not that difficult.  Is it expensive?  Well, maybe at first because you need to buy all new flour and sweetener.  But maybe that's where the baby steps come in.  The next time you need flour, buy whole wheat.  The next time you need sugar, buy honey and/or coconut sugar.  When you start buying fresh produce, buy only as much as you need for a few days so it doesn't go bad.  Although when I find that I have fruits or vegetables going bad, I just puree it and pour it into an ice cube tray and freeze it for smoothies or soups!

I am a firm believer in, when it comes to food, all things in moderation.  Many people believe that if you eat clean you should do it about 80% of the time and then have cheat meals the other 20%.  I don't cheat much because I find that I can't really control it.  That's it!  That's who I am!  If I have a few peanut M&Ms, I will want more.  So I find it's better if I just don't eat them, or do so only very rarely.  But there are some things that I indulge in occasionally...  A glass (or two) of a really good wine or soup and salad from Panera are probably my most frequent cheats and even that is not so often.  Yes, Panera soup and salad is a cheat.  Read their ingredients sometime.  I was really disappointed, but at least I recognized that it's a cheat.  Anyway, the point is, you can occasionally have  a cheat meal.  Just don't make THAT your lifestyle!

Whatever you do, keep it clean!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Wait for it... it's menu time!

Saturday morning!  Laundry is started, scones are baked (go back one post if you missed that!), and I am making my weekly menu.  It looks like we are in for some chilly weather, so lots of comfort foods this week!

Once I get all my other stuff done around here this morning, I am going to start making Christmas treats.  I will make unclean cupcakes for MR and me to take to work.

These are not clean!  But they sure are cute and fun to make!

And I will also make some dark chocolate treats and some other clean treats.  Of course, I will make a batch of granola this morning!  I love a handful thrown in with some plan Greek yogurt.  MR adds a little honey when he does that, but I like it just fine with granola and yogurt.  Fortunately, I have most of the ingredients for my menu this week so that means a cheap trip to the grocery store.  Good thing since I dropped a bundle at the Amish market and Trader Joe's last week!

Tortilla Soup - This is such a versatile recipe.  I don't always have every ingredient on hand, so I just wing it.  Sometimes I throw in some cooked, chopped chicken, and sometimes I throw in some prepared black beans.  Sometimes both!

Pizza - MR loves his pizza!  We indulge in this occasionally with a fresh whole wheat crust from Trader Joe's.  We also like to use their Quattro Formaggio cheese (I know, that's redundant).  He makes his own pizza sauce with crushed tomatoes, olive oil, and some Italian seasoning and garlic.  Good stuff!

Potato Corn Soup - We don't even know what this is.  We are going to make it up!  We love potato soup.  We love corn soup.  We are going to combine the two and make our own recipe!  MR is good at that.

Rosemary pot roast - This goes in the slow cooker.  I love love love it!  And it only takes a few ingredients!

Beef and vegetable soup - Another recipe we kind of make up as we go along.  Leftover pot roast, some frozen mixed vegetables, some broth... what else, what else?

Baked chicken and acorn squash - This is just what it sounds like.  Rub some olive oil on your chicken, sprinkle on some seasoning (we usually use Italian) and bake it.  You can bake this at the same time as your acorn squash.  I think acorn squash is the ultimate comfort food!  My mom used to make it for me!

Mustgo - Either eat what's left in the fridge (everything must go), or go to Plaza Mexico for a taco if there is nothing left to eat since we do repurpose for lunches most of the time!

Check out earlier posts this week for lots of yummy treats to make if you're in the mood!  No matter what, though, keep it clean!

Friday, December 6, 2013

Treats Treats Treats!

I love staying in the house on cold Winter days and making Christmas treats!  And this is the perfect weekend for it.  Weatherman says Sunday, especially, will be a wicked one.  So what to make?

I am going to list a whole bunch of different recipes.  I probably won't get them all made this weekend, but I can do more next weekend.  Isn't that what Christmas is all about?  Yum!  Can't wait!

Clean Eating Sticky Buns!

Flourless cranberry scones - I added these after I posted this blog because they are just so darn good!  And super quick and easy!  I have to put them away when they finish cooling or I will eat them all!  AMAZING!!!  You can make these in about 5-10 minutes, plus 10 minutes bake time.

Sticky buns - These are made with the dough from Cinnamon Raisin Braids over at The Naked Kitchen (  I linked to the original recipe, but if you want to make sticky buns, just make the dough as indicated.  Then instead of rolling into ropes and braiding, divide the dough in half and roll each piece out into a rectangle.  Mix a little bit of honey with some chopped pecans (or other nut of your choice). It should be mostly nuts.  Roll it up jelly roll style, and cut into individual rolls.  I like to use dental floss to do this because it doesn't squish the dough.  Then place in a buttered cake pan, side touching.  Bake at 350 about 20 minutes.  When done, brush with honey cinnamon mixture (see recipe link).  Allow to cool as long as you can stand it.  Makes two batches of sticky buns.

Dark Chocolate Coconut balls - These are like eating a Mounds bar.  Yummy coconut drenched in dark chocolate!  Oh yeah!  Better than a Mounds!

Paleo pumpkin muffins - I love to make a batch of these and keep them in the fridge to heat up for breakfast.  Throw a handful of fresh or dried cranberries in for a great tart POP in your mouth.  I use unsweetened cranberries, so it's pretty tart.  But I love it like that!

Molasses oatmeal cookies - My husband created these one day when we didn't have enough coconut sugar.  I like to make them extra big for grab and go breakfast cookies!

Gourmet S'mores - I know, s'mores are for Summer, but I just love these.  If you are going to a party or holiday gathering, a plate of these is always a big hit!

Peppermint patties - I could eat a whole bag of peppermint patties in one sitting... one reason I had to switch to clean eating!  But just one or two of these totally satisfies me!  So delightful!

Dark Chocolate Orange and Pomegranate Truffles - I haven't made these yet but I really hope to this year!  They look beautiful and sound even better.  If you make them let me know how they turn out or, better yet, invite me over for a taste test!

Dark Chocolate Covered Toffee - You won't even know there's no refined sugar in this.  Amazing stuff! And so easy!  You really need a candy thermometer, though.

Apple Pie Balls - Easiest recipe ever!  No baking and can be made in just a few minutes.  Everybody loves these... even #1 son who doesn't eat clean!

Have fun!  Share a recipe with me if you like!  And remember to keep it clean!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Sometimes it's not just about the clean eating!

Yay for the holidays that fall from November to January!  I love this time of year with all the excitement, festivities, family, and friends!  If you're like me, you also have that one little thing always hanging over your head though...  will I gain any weight this season?  Will I at least maintain the weight I have lost?

The holidays are often a sugar-filled whirlwind.  MR and I try to offset that as much as possible by making clean treats.  There are lots of great baking and candy recipes.  I will post some of my favorites in the days to come.  But this time of year, more than ever, I know I have to also ramp up my exercise.  Last year we did the weight gain challenge.  You weigh yourself on the day before Thanksgiving and then again on New Year's Day.  The goal is to weigh less on January 1st.  MR actually did it last year.  I did not.  But I only gained two pounds, so I put a small "w" in the win column.  (Previous years would have told a different story!)  This year we are doing it again.  And I know I will have to be extra vigilant this year, especially after that awesome (Paleo) pie I made for Thanksgiving.  Desserts are desserts, folks, and should be eaten in moderation, even when made without refined sugars!  (Tell that to my taste buds!)

My idea of exercise on a regular day is walking.  It has been so ridiculously cold lately that I haven't even been able to do that as much as I'd like.  So I have added the Plank Challenge to help build my core, and have also committed to a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise every day.  Not an average over a week but every single day.  Today, because it's the first day and I am all excited about it (call me next week to discuss), I did the Plank Challenge and a Kickboxing video (I can view it free through my Roku... I am all about free), and I am about to walk 3 miles (round trip) in the freezing cold to buy some coconut sugar.  I don't need the coconut sugar today, but I do need the walk so it's a good excuse and gives me a reason to keep moving.  Truth be told, the walk may turn into a bike ride... we'll see.  Nonetheless, exercise!

This is my idea of how to spend the next 30 days, and it doesn't have to be yours.  But none of us want to gain any weight this season, so find something you do enjoy, and move it move it!

And keep it clean!