Saturday, February 22, 2014

One of These Days....

I almost didn't get this blog written.  I think I didn't get enough sleep last night because the dog thought that 5 AM was a good time to get up.  Which is better than the middle of the night thing she had been doing.  So I have been half heartedly messing around with putting together this week's menu, cleaning house a tiny bit, and just generally being lazy.  I did manage to get in two walks today though because the weather was finally fabulous!  So it wasn't a total waste.

Never fear, though, I knew at some point I would have to go to the store, and we would have to eat, so I finally got this done!  You may recognize some of the recipes from recent weeks.  Seems that I didn't quite get them made yet, so I just keep pushing them to the next menu!  One of these days, Alice!

The Southwest Quinoa Wraps are actually a quinoa salad that you can eat with chips, by itself, or in a wrap.  I like the idea of a wrap, and am looking forward to this dish!  (I also promised a Facebook friend that I would include a vegetarian option with lots of protein... and the quinoa salad is it!)  The brisket also looks extra yummy (although not at all vegetarian), and I am anticipating there will be plenty of meat left to make sandwiches another day.

I met a new friend today and was sharing with her about clean eating.  Speaking with her reminded me that I like to challenge people who think this is hard or restrictive to tell me a food they like to eat, and I will do what I can to find a comparable clean recipe.  Because of that (and because my most popular recipes seem to be desserts!) I have also included the recipe for MR's Oatmeal Awesome Cookies and my current favorite Raw Thin-ner Mints.  These thin mints are very similar to Girl Scout cookies, but are clean!  And best of all, you can make them in just a few minutes.  I am totally not kidding!

MR's Oatmeal Awesome Cookies
Another thing that I want to remind everyone again is that you can eat clean even when you think you don't have time.  I work outside the home up to 45 hours a week, plus 2-1/2 hour round trip commute.  Yes, that wears me out.  So you will notice that my recipes are generally pretty simple.  Eating clean doesn't have to mean a big deal gourmet supper.  It just means no processed junk, no sugar, and no white flour.  You can do this.  Seriously.  If I can... you can!

Besides cookies, here's what we plan to eat this week!

Onion Potato Soup and pita bread - When will I ever get this soup made?  Maybe this week.

Shepherd's Pie - MR makes this.  He still hasn't shared his recipe with me (he works more hours than I do!) but the one from our friends at The Gracious Pantry looks yummy too... so just use hers for now!

Black beans and rice - This recipe is listed in the blog linked.  Good stuff!  And so fast, if you remember to make the rice ahead of time!

Southwest Quinoa Wraps - I haven't made this yet but it is full of ingredients I love, so pretty sure it's a winner!

Beef Brisket au Jus and roasted potatoes with truffle salt - Did I tell you I bought truffle salt this week?  Well, I did!  And I am trying to find ways to use it.  It's kind of expensive, but just use it to finish a dish, not to cook with like you do regular salt.

Roast beef sandwiches - That brisket should made some amazing leftover sandwiches!  I love repurposing food into something we really want to eat.  Although you know me... I don't mind eating leftover anyway!

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

Friday, February 14, 2014

Make Me Something Good to Eat!

Did I tell you my vacation had to be cancelled because of all this snow?  Bummer.  Plus, that means I have to plan for some cooking I wasn't really planning for!  But that's okay.  Being stuck in the house gives me plenty of time to think about my menu.  I still want to keep it as simple as possible.  Just because I am home and not at work all day doesn't mean I want to spend hours preparing.  But it does give me some flexibility, so that will work out.  Speaking of working out, I started doing Daily Burn this week.  With the lousy weather we have had (cold cold cold!) I have not been able to get out and walk and I can tell it is starting to have an impact.  I can't wait for it to get warm to get moving, so I signed on for the free trial of Daily Burn. I will give you my honest, unpaid, unsolicited opinion when I am done.  I doubt I will get up to Trader Joe's this week, so that means I have to be satisfied with what I can pick up at the nearest grocery store.  I just stocked up there last week, though, so I should be in pretty good shape.  The other thing, besides snow, that happened this week is my laptop died.  Dead. Dead. Dead.  #1 son will rescue the hard drive for me some day but until then all my pictures are MIA.  Bummer.  But I will find a work around.  I always do!

On to the menu!

Shepherd's Pie- MR actually makes his own but I am too lazy to write up the recipe this morning.  So use this one from Gracious Pantry.  I'm sure it rocks.

Honey Lime Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - Well, these just look yummy, don't they?

Hearty Potato Bread and Creamy Potato Onion Soup - The soup was on last week's menu but I never got it made.    Scratch that!  My inner lazy came out and I reheated some tortilla soup I had already made.  (I did however make the bread.)  And I ran across some spelt in the cupboard so I want to make this bread.  Sounds like a snow day recipe to me!

Rosemary Pot Roast (slow cooker) - I absolutely love this recipe!  It is easy and incredibly yummy.  If you have leftovers (we often don't) this makes the most fabulous soup or shepherd's pie you can imagine.

Sarah's Marinara Sauce - I made a big batch of this in anticipation of being away this week so that makes my life easy!

Pesto Chicken Sandwiches - These are so tasty!  I love pesto and on chicken with sourdough bread.... mmmmmmmm!!!!

Breakfast including Whole Grain Waffles and Pancakes - Because we leave the house really early for work (before many of you are even up, I imagine), we usually have something like oatmeal for breakfast.  Something we can make ahead and heat up when we want it.  So we like to occasionally have breakfast for supper.  There will probably also be eggs and fruit involved, but #1 son does love waffles!
Thinner Mints!

And because no week would be complete with a nice little treat, how about something like Girl Scout cookies, but clean?!  I love the "thinner mints" because they taste good, of course, but also because they can be ready in just a few minutes!!!

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

Monday, February 10, 2014

Who Likes Girl Scout Cookies?

I hear that it's Girl Scout cookie time.  And you know we all have at least one favorite.  But never fear, clean cookies are here!  I have two favorites:  Thin Mints and Samoas.  I just couldn't go another season without finding a way to clean these up!  In order to avoid copyright infringement, or any other legal troubles, I have renamed them, of course!  But you know what I mean!!  These are raw, so that means they take just a few ingredients and even less time to make!


2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
12 soft Medjool dates
1 tsp vanilla
1 TBSP almond butter
1 tsp coconut sugar
2 tsp honey
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
1/4 cup toasted coconut

Blend the 2 cups of the coconut, dates, and vanilla in food processor until you can mold it with your hands.  Roll it out in about 3" snakes (depends on the size of cookie you want), then form into a circle. Flatten them out a little. (If you prefer, you can roll each piece into a ball and flatten and then poke a hole in the center.)   Put the cookies in the fridge to chill and firm up.

Make caramel: With a rubber spatula, blend together almond butter, coconut sugar, and honey until smooth. Spread it on the bottom of the cookies.  Place in refrigerator or freezer until very firm.  Then dip in chocolate!  (The caramel is not yet an exact science.  I have tried cooking it a little but that makes it too hard.  If you come up with a better way please do let me know!)

Melt chocolate chips.  Dip bottoms of cookies into chocolate and allow to cool, chocolate side up.  When chocolate is hard, flip the cookies over and drizzle a little more chocolate on the top.  Then lightly sprinkle with toasted coconut.

To make toasted coconut, I just spread it out on a pan and put it in the toaster oven on "toast" for a few minutes, watching it closely.

Thinner Mints

12 soft Medjool dates
3 TBSP cocoa powder
1 cup almonds or walnuts
1 tsp peppermint extract, more or less to taste

Coating, if desired
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips
1 tsp peppermint extract, more or less to taste
1 tsp coconut oil, if needed

Blend dates, cocoa powder, and nuts in food processor until it is a very thick dough.  The nuts should be barely noticeable.  Add peppermint extract to taste, and process again.  Roll into balls.  Flatten between parchment paper. If coating with chocolate, melt chocolate chips.  Add peppermint extract to chocolate and stir thoroughly.  If the chocolate is not thin enough, stir in a little bit of coconut oil.  Using a spatula, "paint" both sides of the cookie with a thin coating of chocolate.  Allow to cool.  These can be kept in the freezer or refrigerator.

Now that I have made these, I find out that I am the only one at home who likes chocolate and mint together.  How convenient is that?!  What kind of cookies do you like?  Whatever it is, Keep it Clean!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Who's Going to Feed Me When Mom's Not Home?!

Because we eat clean there's no prepared foods in our house for a quick dinner.  Sometimes you can get lucky and find a leftover, but since we usually re-purpose those for lunches, that's not even a given!  Because I won't be here to cook most of the week, I have put together a list of super simple recipes so no one starves.

Pizza - We make it a habit to keep Trader Joe's whole wheat fresh pizza dough in the freezer.  And we love their Quattro Formaggio cheese.  MR makes a big batch of pizza sauce, so there is usually some of that in the freezer.  Top it with whatever else you can find in the crisper!

Sweet Potato Quinoa Burgers - These have a lot of good, fresh, wholesome ingredients, so they look a little daunting, but they really are super easy to make.  And they make a lot so you can usually make it all into patties and freeze them for the next time!  We serve these on Trader Joe's whole wheat hamburger buns.  They are really awesome with a slice of fresh tomato and red onion.

Oven Fajitas - I haven't actually tried this recipe yet, but it looks tasty.  Just remember, don't add the sugar, and use whole wheat tortillas.

Creamy Potato Onion Soup - I love soup.  It's quick, it's easy, and it can be so tasty when you have the right blend of ingredients.

Tortilla Soup - This is my go to soup recipe.  I almost /always have the ingredients and, even if I don't, you can swap out here and there and make this your own.  It makes a lot too!

Marinara Sauce - I like to make this ahead so we have it in the freezer.  You can make it without the wine, but I highly recommend you don't skip it.  If you like, you can add ground beef or other meat to the sauce.  Serve over your favorite noodles!

Chili - a pound of ground beef, a can of crushed tomatoes, pinto beans, black beans, onion, season it!  Good stuff!  Brown the ground beef and add chopped onion.  When beef is cooked and onions are tender, add crushed tomatoes, a can of pinto beans, a (drained and rinsed) can of black beans.  Add chili powder to taste.  Simmer.  Enjoy!

Okay, kids, I can't make it any easier than that!  So nobody should starve because I'm not here to cook!  Hope you have a great week and remember to Keep it Clean!!!

Sweets for the Sweetest! Valentine Treats for Young and Old...

I always think that the best gifts come from the heart.  Someone pouring their own time, talent, and energy into making something special.  I have been working on a baby blanket for a week.  It should have taken me a few hours, but it's been a long time since I made one and I made some silly mistakes.  So I have ripped out every stitch I have sewn in so far!  I basically took it all apart this morning so I could just start over.  I hope to get it done before this little guy is walking!  On the up side, if I decide to make another one anytime soon, I should be a pro by then.  MR and I don't really celebrate "Hallmark holidays," and that includes our own anniversary.  I'd rather treat every day with him as special (because it is).  But I do like to surprise him with something special now and then, and #1 Son and Baby Girl are both home, so I decided I will make everyone a special Valentine treat.  They are over 21, so they can enjoy the Adult Jigglers or the Tiramisu Brownies... or both!

For Valentine's Day, I seem to be relying heavily on chocolate and coconut, two of my favorites!  I hope everyone can find something to enjoy!  In addition to some delightful recipes, I have included links to some fun crafts you can do on your own or with your kids, grandkids, etc.  Give someone you love a hug... every day!

Tiramisu Brownies- It's Tiramisu.  And Brownies.  Need I say more?!

Wine jigglers - For an adult treat, make your Jell-o jigglers with wine.  Really?!  Why have I never thought of this?!

Clean Snickers! I can't wait to try these.  Eating Snickers always makes me think of my dad... they were his favorite!

Macaroons  MR loves loves loves macaroons so definitely want to make these.

More Macaroons Yes, more macaroons.  MR would tell you that you can never have too many macaroons!  And I would agree!

Paleo Dark Chocolate Cheesecake The hat trick of dessert:  Dark Chocolate, Cheesecake, Paleo!

Paleo Coconut Truffles Yes, more coconut.  Sorry, we love it!!!

Chocolate Mud Cake This looks so delightful!  I think everyone will enjoy this one.

Dark Chocolate Coconut Bites It's nice to just have a little treat now and then, isn't it?

Chocolates!- More little pop-in-your-mouth treats!

Cheesecake (from Wheat Belly) If you like real cheesecake, you will like this one!  Good stuff!  When I first intended to make this recipe, I bought all the ingredients and then couldn't find the recipe.  That's one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place, to just keep track of my recipes for the week.  I also put them on Pinterest, but I like having one place for all my menu items for the week!

Paleo Mint Chip Ice Cream A refreshing treat!!!

Strawberry Pillows (grain free) These are just beautiful!

Coconut Raspberry Cheesecake - I added this one at the last minute because I just ran across it on Facebook.  Looks so good!!!

Crafts with bottles If you don't want to make nibbles... or you want to do something in addition to edible treats, here are some fun ideas.  Use your imagination!

Crayon Candles - I think the (supervised) kids will love this!  And it's a good use for broken crayon bits.

Easy Toddler Crafts The most fun you can have all day is just spending time with your little one.  Here are some fun crafts you can make together!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  Keep it Clean!

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Menu Time... and Special Valentine Treats!

Do you know that today is the first of the month AND a Saturday AND the day before the Super Bowl?!  I was NOT going to the grocery store on this particular day, no sirree!  So instead of my usual Saturday menu planning and grocery shopping, I did an abbreviated list earlier this week and #1 son went to the grocery store while I was working.  I sure appreciate that!  I will, however, get to the store sometime in the next few days to get the rest of what I will need to make the menu below.

With Valentine's Day coming up, I want to make some special treats too so I have included some great extras at the end.  I have also included my new peanut butter cookie cereal - just can't believe how good this turned out! - and MR's Oatmeal Awesome Cookie recipe.  You won't want to miss them!

Black beans and rice - This recipe is listed in the blog linked.  Good stuff!  And so fast, if you remember to make the rice ahead of time!

Creamy Tomato Soup - This is as easy as it gets, folks!  Keep in mind, this should be paired with a protein.

Venison or Beef Goulash Soup - This looks absolutely beautiful!  I will use grass-fed beef, but you can also use venison.

Crispy Fried Rice - This is one of the first recipes I made when we started clean eating.  MR made some recently when he presented to a culinary class.  I love this stuff and it is pretty quick and easy. You can add some chopped up cooked chicken for protein!

Hamburgers and and slow cooker baked beans - We are pretty much tired of Winter and thought maybe this would make us feel better.  Besides, the baked beans are really amazing!

Stuffed Peppers - Baby Girl is making these for us sometime this week.  She just told me what to get at the store, and she will make them.  I am sure they will be wonderful and then I will get her to share her recipe with you!

Some other great recipes for you to try!

Peanut Butter Cookie Cereal - I set out to make cinnamon pecan crunch cereal, but once I started throwing ingredients in the bowl, I realized I didn't have everything I needed.  What's a girl to do?  I improvised and came up with this!  You can eat it as a cereal, or mix it into plain Greek yogurt for a really great breakfast!  (Or you can just snack on it!)

Wine Jigglers - The wine in these isn't clean, but the rest of the ingredients are!  Valentine's Day is the perfect time for just a little cheat like this!  For adults only!!!

Tiramisu Brownies - grain free - Tiramisu?  Brownies? But of course!  Another great idea for Valentine's Day!

No Bake Chili Brownies - Mexican spices and chocolate is such a fantastic blend of flavors!  If you haven't tried it yet, don't wait another day!  These taste like they are baked, but are fresh, raw, and super fast to make!

Cheesecake!- Cheesecake, even the clean kind, takes a little longer, but if you have a special Valentine, this is worth the extra effort.  So good!  (Oh yeah!  I definitely want some of this!)

Oatmeal Awesome Cookies - These are my new family favorite cookie!  MR whipped up this recipe one day while I was at work.  I think I need to make him some tiramisu brownies to pay him back!  The kids love them and we love them!

Whatever you are eating this week, remember to Keep it Clean!