Friday, August 28, 2015

Clean Eating for the Newbie!

It's been a while since I wrote a post.  Lots of reasons, tons of excuses!  But I met someone new this week who is very interested in eating clean.  She was a vegetarian and is recently a vegan.  Now, a lot of my recipes are for neither of those categories....  but some are.   And some can be adapted.

Since this is just the way I eat now, going on four years, I don't really think about it as much.  But I get pretty excited about clean eating again when someone has questions and wants to share.  So this is for you!  The one who is curious and has lots of questions.  As an added bonus, I am including the Cheez It recipe and a great recipe for Chia Berry Jam... two recipes that anyone can enjoy.

For those new to clean eating the big question seems to be, but what can I eat?  I started out pretty easy, just reading labels.  If it has less than five ingredients and you can pronounce them all, you are probably okay.  Even better is one ingredient.... apples, avocados, chicken, Romaine lettuce... you get the picture.

We also avoid sugar (white, brown, pure cane, etc.) and white flour.  We do sometimes use whole wheat flour.   I do buy boxes of whole wheat pasta.  I know some clean eaters don't eat any wheat products, but that's their choice.  They also eat only organic. Again, not a bad choice, but not my choice.  We try to buy local produce and we get our grass fed beef from a local farmer.  We buy the beef once a year so it averages out a to a pretty good cost.

The easiest way to be sure you are eating clean, of course, is to cook from scratch.  I love a lot of the recipes at  They have a great marinara recipe and the Kid Approved Tortilla Soup couldn't be easier... or tastier!  Another great resource is  She's on this journey too and offers lots of great insights and advice.

This is not a long post, but just a starting point.  If you have a specific question, go ahead and post and I will answer the best I can!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Swedish Pancakes... harder than it needed to be!

I am a binge TV watcher. I don't watch TV every day or even every week but when I do, I tend to watch entire seasons of old series.  Currently I am watching That 70s Show.  Not really sure why, because it's really just another crappy sitcom, but anyway, that's what I'm watching now that I have run out of Breaking Bad, Mad Men, and Sherlock.  So, the other day Kitty made Swedish pancakes for breakfast and that seemed to make Red really happy.  I'd never heard of them so I Googled a recipe and thought, well, gosh, that looks easy!  So I made them for breakfast and served them with homemade applesauce.

Except.... it really wasn't that easy.  Oh, the recipe is easy enough, but you see, we just moved into a new house and the appliance delivery was delayed by two weeks.  So I have no major appliances in my kitchen. None!  Fortunately, for me, my first world problem is not so bad because in the basement of the house we bought is a kitchenette with a refrigerator and a stove.  Not a big fridge, so I do have to be careful about my grocery shopping, but a fridge nonetheless.  And the stove is great.  Kind of old but clean and it works well!  (Once I remembered to plug the electric burners back in after cleaning it.)

So, you're probably thinking, what is her problem?  She has a refrigerator and a stove.  No dishwasher but so what?  Suck it up, buttercup!  Right?  Okay, you're right.  Really no problem, except that I'm used to doing all my work in one kitchen.  So I always seemed to be in the wrong kitchen at the wrong time.  Therefore, the recipe for these Swedish pancakes went something like this:

Look in upstairs kitchen pantry for flour.
Remember that flour is whole wheat so it's in downstairs kitchen refrigerator.
Run downstairs for flour.
Run upstairs with flour.
Read the recipe instructions and realize you start out by mixing together milk and eggs.
Run downstairs for eggs and milk.  
Run back upstairs and realize you forgot the milk.
Run back downstairs for milk.
Upstairs and start mixing milk and eggs together in Kitchen-Aid.  Look at next step and realize the butter needs to be melted.
Run downstairs to get butter and melt on stove.
No pan downstairs.
Run back upstairs for pan.
Run downstairs and melt butter.
Run back upstairs and pour melted butter into Kitchen-Aid.
Realize I was supposed to add the flour first.
Measure flour into Kitchen-Aid.
Add rest of milk.
Run back downstairs to make pancakes.
Forgot plate to put them on.
Back upstairs for plate.
Downstairs, pour first pancake in pan.
No flipper.
Back upstairs for flipper.
Downstairs to finish making pancakes.
Upstairs to eat pancakes.
I'm not sure if they tasted so good because they were or because of the amount of calories I burned off running up and down those stairs!  And I'm not sure who is taking the applesauce down to put in the fridge....

So I am better at planning now.  If I am going downstairs, I look around and see if there is naything I can take with me.  Same for going up.  I'm going to need to recarpet the stairs soon if the appliance don't come!

And if you've taken the time to read all that, I thank you!  And to reward you, I give you the actual recipe.

3 eggs
2-1/2 cups milk (I use almond milk)
1-1/4 cups flour (I use whole wheat)
1/2 tsp salt
2 T butter, melted

In a large bowl, beat eggs with half the milk.  Beat in flour and salt until smooth.  Stir in melted butter and remaining milk. Batter will be thin.  Heat small non-stick saute or crepe pan on high heat.  Pour 1/3 cup of batter into pan and rock it slightly to coat bottom of pan.  Cook until edges start to dry, just a couple minutes.  Flip and cook the other side about 30 seconds.  Keep warm while making remaining pancakes.

(If you don't use a non-stick pan, you will probably have to use oil in the pan.)

Serve with homemade applesauce, jam, or maple syrup.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Morning Breakfast Break

I am one of those people who can pretty much eat the same thing all the time.  MR likes to change it up a bit more frequently.  He doesn't mind leftovers, but after about the third time, he is done.  I attribute my willingness to eat the same thing all the time to being basically lazy on my part.  If I have the same thing all the time, I don't have to think of something new to make.  Plus, I hate to make a recipe and have it not turn out well.  Such a waste.  So if I have a tried and true recipe....  well, I tend to stick with it.

The same is true regardless of the meal.  You already know I eat supper leftovers for lunch.  That's not just being lazy, although that's part of it, but it's also being practical and economical.  For breakfast I often eat the same thing.  It has eggs, it has cream cheese, it has... oh wait, that's it!  Two ingredients.  It takes about three minutes to make and it's really delicious.  You can add a little sweetener if you like, and even pour on a little real maple syrup.  That makes it taste more like French toast.  Sort of.  But I just like the eggs and cream cheese version.  I can whip it together in a soup mug at work and have a hot and healthy breakfast.  But even I like something different now and then, so today is devoted to some wonderful breakfast ideas!

Egg Puff - sweet version with syrup
2 ounces cream cheese
2 eggs
1 tsp. of sweetener of choice
Real maple syrup

Heat cream cheese on high in a microwaveable dish for 20 seconds. (a soup mug works well).  Remove from microwave and stir it up a bit.  Add two eggs  (and sweetener if using) and whisk with a fork until they are somewhat blended.  There will be lumps, but that's okay.  Heat in the microwave for 45 seconds.  Remove and whisk again, getting the egg mixture as smooth as you can.  Again, it doesn't have to be perfect  Heat for two more minutes.

And that's breakfast!  If you eat English muffins, I could totally see putting this on one and adding a little cheese and a piece of bacon to make a breakfast sandwich.  I just eat it by itself, or sometimes with bacon.

Minute French Toast - This is another good one.  I know we've all had some kind of muffin-in-a-minute or cake-in-a-minute.  That's basically all this is, but then you slice it and grill it in a pan!  If you've ever had a grilled muffin at Perkins you know what that does to it!  Epic!
I use real maple syrup, as opposed to sugar free called for in the recipe.  But that just depends on your eating plan.

Yogurt - Did you know I actually make my own yogurt?  That doesn't fall under the lazy category,
Yogurt with berries and honey
that falls under the... um... frugal category.  I used to pay over $7 for Fage 2% yogurt.  Yikes stripes!  And that only lasted MR about a week.  He is totally worth it, but I just knew there had to be a better way. And there is.  Now we buy a gallon of milk (the recipe calls for half a gallon but it is easily doubled and works out just fine) for half the price of the Fage and make about twice as much yogurt.  And it really is good.  And it really is easy.  It's very important to use a candy thermometer and make sure you get the milk to about 180 - 190 F and then cool back to about 110 - 112.  The only time consuming part is heating the milk.  The rest is just letting it sit and do its thing!

Breakfast Crepes with Chia Berry Jam - These are a good make ahead kind of breakfast.  I like to take them to a potluck brunch.  They aren't hard to make at all.  (You may sense a theme.....)

Blueberry Lemon Puffed Omelette - When I have a little more time I like to make this omelette.  It is baked in the oven and so light and fluffy!  Plus, you know... easy!

I realize there are a lot of eggs in these recipes.  But I eat a lot of eggs!  What do you like to eat?  Do you have a recipe that needs cleaned up?  Let me know in the comments and we'll see what we can do!  Until then, Keep it Clean!!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Recipes for a Wintry Season

I was going to tattle on someone.  I was going to tell you what I saw in her fridge today.  But then I realized that I would be breaking my own rule.  This blog and my Facebook page are about how I eat, not how I think anyone else should eat.  It's just my way of sharing what has worked for me.  My friend apparently eats a way that is different than mine.  I am not going to tell her she's wrong.  Because, frankly, maybe she isn't!  I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or any other professional that might have any clue about nutrition.  I just know that clean eating has helped me to lose weight and feel better.

So instead, I will tell you what we are eating this week.  As always, leftovers from supper go into lunches, so I don't have anything different to share for lunch.  But I will share some favorite breakfast ideas!  You might notice that there is a fair amount of fat in my daily eating plan.  I am not really tracking fat or calories or anything but I have found that more fat does help me feel fuller and it doesn't seem to impact my ability to keep the weight off.

The weather here, as in many parts of the US, has been so cold.  So very very cold!  Because of that I am throwing in a couple of slow cooker recipes.  Nothing better than coming home to the smell of home cooking!

Cream Cheese Chicken and Black Beans - The important thing to remember with this one is to be sure to use a salsa that doesn't have added sugars or any preservatives or other junk.  It's best if you have made your own, but if you didn't.... well, it's kind of the wrong time of year to worry about that!!!  I will probably serve this over brown rice.

Slow Cooker Stir Fry - This is a very adaptable recipe.  Pretty much you can use any leftover bits of vegetables you might have.  Or you can get some just for this.  Whatever works!  Be sure to omit the sugar and, if you like, you can sub coconut aminos for the soy sauce.

Chili -   You can make this to suit your family.  We just used a 26 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, a drained and rinsed can of black beans, a drained can of pinto beans.  Add that to 1# ground beef which has been browned with a small chopped onion.  Season to taste.  Voila!!!  Supper!

Chicken Caesar Salad - The other day I cooked a couple pounds of chicken tenders.  I used some to make chicken salad but still have some left.  So I will chop that up and throw it in with some Romaine, clean Caesar dressing (Trader Joe's makes a Romano dressing that's clean-ish and tastes wonderful or you can make your own), a little crumbled bacon, and some freshly grated Parmesan.  Another quick and easy meal.  Okay, not a Winter meal... but I have to use up all that chicken I cooked!

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad - I already made the quinoa for this.  It's just sitting in the fridge waiting for me to get back to it.  Remember to rinse your quinoa before you cook it.  Otherwise, your refrigerator will stink stink stink!!!  This probably isn't exactly a Winter time meal, either but I haven't made it in a long time and I really like it.  Plus it's super easy to take in lunches because it doesn't require heating up!

Yogurt - Okay, this isn't for supper, but I do make my own yogurt now (can you imagine?!).  It's easy and tastes so good.  I can't believe how much I have probably spent on buying yogurt over the years when I could just do this.  MR takes this most days for a snack with some frozen fruit or granola.  By the time he has a chance to eat it, the fruit is thawed and mixes right in!  (He takes it in a separate container though and mixes it when he's ready to eat.)   I also make my own granola.  Just throw a batch in on Sunday afternoon, and we are set for the week.

Fluffy eggs - This is a microwave recipe so that might not work for some of you, but I don't mind using the microwave.  This is so easy and my new favorite way to eat eggs.  I can even do this at work because we have a microwave in the break room.  In the microwave, heat 2 ounces of cream cheese for 20 seconds in a large ramekin (or even a big coffee mug if that's what you have).   Take it out and beat in two eggs (I usually pre-beat these a little just to help them mix in a little better).  Then microwave the eggs and cream cheese together in the dish for 45 seconds.  Remove from microwave and beat it all again making it as creamy as you can. It doesn't have to be perfect.  Then microwave for two minutes.  It will puff way up, but I have never had it overflow... don't worry!  Then when it's ready, you can eat it right out of the dish.  You can make this super savory by adding bacon bits or some spices.  Or you can sweeten it up by adding a little sweetener substitute of choice when you add the eggs and then pour a little real maple syrup over it.  I eat them plain but occasionally do the sweet version.

So that's pretty much what we're eating at my house this week.  What about you?  What's for supper?  Whatever it is, Keep it Clean!!

Sunday, January 18, 2015

The Best Spice You Aren't Using... Yet!

Have you tried garam masala yet?  If so, you know what I'm talking about!  If not, you really need to check it out.  I couldn't find it in the stores in my town so I mixed up my own.  But then I found a small container and thought I'd go ahead and pick it up.  Mostly because, I am not going to kid you, buying all the ingredients to make my own was kind of expensive.  Unfortunately, the store-bought-already-mixed-version was not nearly as good as my own.  So I have the little container available if I need it for a quick sprinkle, but for the most part I am just going to continue to mix my own.  The wonderful flavor it adds to my now-favorite-meatloaf is out of this world.

Apparently, there are many variations on this recipe but this is the one I recommend (also known as the easiest!) if you want to mix up your own garam masala (and I think you do).

Garam Masala
Garam Masala

2 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
3 tsp ground cumin
3 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 tsp ground cloves

Measure out ingredients and put in a small clean jar.  Close lid tightly and shake to mix.

Since my favorite recipe for meatloaf in a mug only calls for a teaspoon at a time, this lasts a while.  If you go to the meatloaf link, just scroll down the second recipe.  It's so quick and easy, you just won't believe it.  Basically, pumpkin, ground beef, and garam masala.  Oh and a little sea salt.  I often mix up a few individual ones at a time and then I have them to grab and take to work to cook in the microwave.  Yes!  You cook them in the microwave.  That's the other thing that makes them so awesome.  I can make them at work and have a really yummy hot lunch.  You know my co-workers are jealous on meatloaf day!

What are you waiting for?  Go get you some!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunny with a Side of Meatballs, and some other great recipes!

One thing I hear a lot is that it's expensive to eat healthy.  Well, not going to kid you... you're right.  Buying fresh produce, grass fed beef, and all that other good stuff can add up.  I am always looking for ways to economize.  And the best way I know is to not waste anything.  Which requires planning.  Although, today, it just kind of happened!

Meatballs alla Parmigiana ready to finish in the oven
I had planned meatballs alla parmigiana for dinner.  First, I had to make the marinara sauce.  There will be lots of sauce left over and this stuff is great to freeze.  There will likely be leftover meatballs too which can go into lunches or for a MustGo night.  Waste not #1 and #2.

Because the meatballs alla parmigiana only calls for 1-1/2 pounds of ground beef, that means I had a 1/2 pound to not waste. (We buy our beef once a year from a local farmer, and the ground beef comes in 1 pound packages.)  So, I used the left over half pound and made two of the pumpkin marsala meatloaf in a mug from this link. which I can have for my lunches later this week.  Waste not #3.

Then, because I opened pumpkin to make the meatloaf, I had pumpkin left over.  I searched around my Pinterest page and found two minute pumpkin pie.  I have made this before and it is delicious... as are all the recipes posted here today.  I didn't make the crust -- the recipe says you can do it either way.  I also tripled the recipe so I could have a few of these and use up the pumpkin.  I will share if someone wants one, or I will just eat them with lunch or supper later this week.  Waste not #4!

So for the price of some meat, onions, crushed tomatoes, some spices, and a can of pumpkin, I have dinner for the family tonight, and lots leftover for lunches, more suppers, or just to freeze!  I am not going to kid you about this either... It doesn't always work out this way.  But it did today, so thought I'd share these recipes with you too!

What are you eating today?  Whatever it is, Keep it Clean