Saturday, March 29, 2014

Menu for a Clean Eating Week

Not sure where I've been, but I haven't been writing, that's for sure!  Sometimes I just need to take time to breathe and the last couple of weeks have been like that.  I have still made menus but just didn't  have the time or the inclination to post them.  So this week I am making up for that by throwing some new recipes in.  Well, new to me.  And maybe new to you, depending on what other sites you follow.

It's rainy, but at least it's warm, so I am going to make my life easy today and just make soup.  I have posted this recipe multiple times, but with good reason.  It is really great, plus it's versatile.  I happen to have some leftover cooked chicken so this time I will throw that in instead of quinoa.

I also found a really tasty-looking recipe for Paleo granola chocolate bark.  I will adapt that and use The Gracious Pantry granola recipe, but other than that, pretty much as it's written here.

I made waffles this morning and, believe it or not, had some left over so I think I will try this bread pudding too.  It's nice to have some extra special treats now and then from time to time.

The weather is finally improving so we will throw steaks on the grill and makes some sweet potato fries and asparagus to go with that.  I love asparagus!  No recipe for that.  Just do it!

Another night we will put burgers on the grill and have some of this awesome slaw.  It's really good and really easy.  Not as easy as my mom's recipe, but hers includes sugar so... not doing that anymore... even though my mom's slaw was the best in the world. and burgers on the grill

MR loves his pizza so we will have that one night.  He likes to use Trader Joe's crust, as I have mentioned countless times, and their quattro formaggio, and Ciao pepperoni.  I am going to try this recipe for me.  I do eat wheat occasionally but I have been trying different gluten free pizza recipes.

We have some beautiful beef ribs from the cow we bought last year plus I will be working from home on Thursday.  Sounds like a recipe for slow cooker ribs to me!  I'm sure there will be some slaw leftover from a previous day, so that will go nicely with these.

I was going to make jerked chicken last week, but it got pushed to this week.  That's okay!  Anytime is the right time for jerk seasoning! jerked chicken

Monday, March 17, 2014

Almond Roca -- all cleaned up!

One of the many treats I used to love love love was almond roca.  That stuff is so addicting!  I could never eat just one piece.  I was craving some almond roca last night when I couldn't sleep, so started thinking about how I might clean it up.  I had an idea all set in my mind this morning, but when I started looking online for a clean recipe -- and couldn't fine one -- I did run across a non-clean version and realized that my idea was missing a key ingredient... toffee!  Well, we can't have roca without toffee.  Luckily, I have the perfect recipe for that!  So I combined this absolutely awesome toffee recipe with my idea for roca and..... here it is!!!!

Isn't it lovely!?  Tastes even better!

Almond Roca

1/2 cup almonds, chopped
1/4 cup extremely finely chopped almonds
1 recipe Paleo Toffee Caramels (just the toffee part)
1/3 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks

It's really important to have all your ingredients measured and ready to go.  You have to work quickly once the toffee is ready.

Layer the 1/2 cup chopped almonds on a piece of parchment paper, as thin a layer as possible.  Make the Paleo Toffee Caramel.  When it gets to the part where you spread it on parchment, drizzle it over the chopped almonds, coating as much of the almonds as possible to make a thin layer.  Don't worry if it's not perfect.  As soon as you have scraped out every bit of toffee from the pan, sprinkle the 1/4 cup finely chopped almonds (I actually just used Trader Joe's almond meal -- but I don't recommend almond flour) over the toffee.  Use your hands to spread it out and press it down into the toffee as much as possible.  At this point you can also manipulate the toffee a little to make sure the bottom layer is covered.

Cut into small squares and then put it in the freezer or refrigerator to set up.  Once it is completely cooled, melt dark chocolate and either drizzle over the top, or dip each piece into it if you want it covered completely.  Allow to cool completely until chocolate hardens.

When I spread the toffee over the almonds, there were some on the edges that didn't get covered.  No big deal.  You can scoop those bits up and save for later, or press them into the chocolate before it hardens if you like.  Also, I dipped each piece, and some of the almond meal got in the chocolate.  No matter!  Just keep using it.  It all ends up together!

Alternate method:  Have the almonds chopped and ready and mixed with the almond meal.  As soon as you have the toffee spread out, press the almonds and meal into the toffee.  Then allow to cool and coat with chocolate.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Granola - Oops! I don't have all the ingredients...

I do this a lot... start out making something and then realize I don't have all the ingredients.  As it turns out, though, all this cooking that I have been doing over the past couple years has taught me to improvise, and also what an acceptable substitute might be.  What I ended up with today wasn't way off the beaten path, but it sure is good!

I didn't have raisins or walnuts.  So what's a girl to do?!  Dried cranberries, of course!  And pecans!  And a healthier addition of cinnamon than usual.  Deeeee-lightful!

The original recipe that I use comes from The Gracious Pantry.  It is the first granola recipe I ever used, and it is still my favorite for basic granola.  It's quick, it's easy, and it's stuff most of us (usually) have in our cupboards.  Okay, not me, not today!  But, hey, I do a lot of cooking.

So here is the recipe with my additions.  Not hard.  And certainly can be tweaked to suit you:

The Gracious Pantry Granola - with my twist!

3 cups rolled oats
handful or two of chopped pecans
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 TBSP cinnamon
handful or two of dried cranberries (I make my own when cranberries are in season and freeze them)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Mix all ingredients together (my Kitchen-Aid is GREAT for this!).  Spread over a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake 15 minutes and stir around.  Bake 15 minutes more and stir around.  Bake 10 minutes.  Remove from oven - it should be nicely browned - and allow to cool.  Store in airtight container.

This makes a great cereal, snack, or mix it with some plain Greek yogurt!

Clean Eating Ideas ... Keeping it Simple!

I am not sure where the last couple of few weeks have gone.  Between weather, work, things to do at home, I have barely had time to turn around.  I did cook over the past couple few weeks but just haven't had time to tell you about it!

Things don't seem to be slowing down and now that we have changed the clocks I can get out in the evening for my walk.  So less time to write, but it also means suppers have to be super simple! Marinara sauce is a little time consuming but I made it the other day and we can eat it again later in the week.  Today is a stay-at-home-and-getting-something-done day so we will throw something in the slow cooker... set it and forget it!

Hey!  Did you see that pizza I made last night?  It wasn't the same as eating a wheat crust, of course, but it was light yet filling, so I really enjoyed it.  I am thinking I can use the basic recipe for some other things, so stay tuned to see what happens!

This week's menu:

No week would be complete without making some granola and some peanut butter cookie cereal.  You can eat either of these as a cereal, alone as a snack, or mixed with Greek yogurt.  Good stuff!  And when it's in the oven, the house smells amazing.  I allow it to cool completely and store it in big glass jars.

Going to make some Thin-ner Mints too! GS Cookie recipes

Slow cooker baked beans and Hebrew National all beef hot dogs

Hamburgers on the grill and leftover beans (see above)

Whole wheat pasta with marinara sauce (everyone else has the pasta, I make "noodles" with a zucchini and saute those for me)

Lime cilantro chicken  with ranch dressing for dipping (add chipotle seasoning for zing) and sweet potato fries (baked)

Breakfast for supper - mini quiche, toast, and fruit

Shepherd's pie

Pizza with either whole wheat pizza crust or coconut flour pizza crust 

This week is a Trader Joe's and Whole Foods stock-up kind of week, so that means I will be loading up on unsweetened coconut, dates, nuts, quinoa, and other delights!  What are you up to this week?  Whatever it is, Keep it Clean!

Friday, March 14, 2014

No Wheat Pizza!

Just add wine!
I made a lovely pizza tonight.  MR got a whole wheat crust one but I am avoiding wheat so I made a coconut flour crust for mine.  Frankly, when you first peel it off the parchment paper, it's a little soggy on the bottom.  But it made enough for four big pieces so I am thinking that if I reheat it in the toaster oven it should crisp up a little.  Either way, though, it tastes good and I enjoyed it... without the feeling I get from wheat, which is just kind of blah.

Ready to go in the oven for the second time!
The crust comes to us from wholelifestylenutrition, but you need to know two things.  First, grease the heck out of that parchment paper.  I used coconut oil, but maybe something like olive oil would have been better.  Then when you take it out the last time, allow it to cool for about 2 or 3 minutes before you start to separate it from the parchment paper.  I had to use a Pampered Chef metal spatula to get it to come up good.  I almost had to gently scrape it off.  But it did come off and didn't leave a lot behind.

Here is the Pizza Crust recipe.  MR makes his own pizza sauce with a large can of crushed tomatoes, 2 TBSP olive oil, 1 TBSP Italian seasoning, 1 tsp oregano (spices should be more or less, to your taste).  That makes a lot of sauce, so we put it on smaller containers and freeze it for future use.  Top with cheese and toppings of your choice!