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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Get it While It's H-O-T!

I'm just going to get right to it!  I published a recipe book!  I put together some of my "go to" favorites and organized them all in one place for you.  And for me, to be honest.  (I have trouble keeping track of things that aren't organized so this will help me too!)

The Clean Eating Lifestyle Recipe Book
If you prefer a paperback version, you can order that here.


I am pretty excited about doing this because it gives me another avenue to share what I've learned.  I know a lot of us want to eat better, feel better, and maybe even lose some weight along the way.  But trying to figure out all the do's and don'ts is hard!  So I took years of my own research and boiled it down into a book for you... along with some fabulous recipes.  I tell everyone up front, I am not a doctor, nutritionist, or chef.  I'm just someone who figured out what works for me.  It may work for you too.  

One of the nicest things anyone has said about my cooking lately is that I got her to eat clean and she didn't even know it!  And this came from someone whose favorite food group is pizza. But that's the thing about clean eating...  it's just real food that tastes good!  For me, it hearkens back to when I was a little girl and my mom cooked everything from scratch. Everything!  Even before we knew that table sugar and white flour probably should be limited in our diet, my mom was using whole wheat flour and cutting back on sugar in recipes. 

It may be a different way of eating than the highly-processed quick serve foods many of us have gotten used to, but I try to keep it as simple as possible by using readily available ingredients and keeping the prep time to a minimum.   I work outside the home and have a crazy long commute into the city.  But with a little planning, we can usually pull off a great supper every night in our house.  We do eat a lot of leftovers for our lunches, but you don't have to.  Snacks and the occasional treat are important too!  I have lots of dessert recipes in the book!!  So check out the recipe book and join me on my clean eating journey!

I can't let a week go by, though, without sharing a recipe.  So today, how about something for my pizza loving friend....  Zucchini Pizza Boats!  The pepperoni aren't really clean, but the occasional item is okay... all things in moderation, you know.  And just think of all the benefit of eating a whole zucchini!  It cancels out the pepperoni, don't you think??


ZUCCHINI PIZZA BOATS!

Zucchini Pizza Boats

Makes 4

2 medium zucchini
1/2 cup pizza sauce (recipe below)
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella
1 TBSP Parmesan
1 TBSP Italian seasoning plus a little sprinkle
1 tsp garlic salt
12 pepperoni slices, quartered  (or use mini pepperonis)

Preheat oven to 400F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

SCORE THE INSIDE OF THE ZUCCHINI AND SCOOP OUT
Cut zucchini in half long ways.  Score and core the zucchini.  (See picture.)
Lay cored zucchini cut side up on prepared baking sheet.
Put pieces into a small bowl.  
Mix 1 TBSP of the pizza sauce, 1 TBSP of Italian seasoning, and the garlic salt with the zucchini chunks.
Scoop the zucchini mixture back into the zucchini shells.
Spoon the rest of the pizza sauce over the zucchinis.
Layer with 1/2 the pepperoni, then the mozzarella, the rest of the pepperoni and then the Parmesan.

Bake at 400F for 15-20 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.

Pizza Sauce

Makes about 3 cups

1 - 26 oz can crushed tomatoes
1 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP Italian seasoning
1 TBSP dried oregano

Mix together in a medium bowl.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before using.  This freezes well!

 This is what we had for supper last night, and it was great!  What are you eating today?  Whatever it is, Keep it Clean!




    Remember to subscribe by clicking on the link on the right.  That way you will get my weekly posts.  (No more than once a week with a rare exception when I find something so amazing I can't wait to share it, so let's say maybe 54 times a year rather than weekly... how does that sound?  but I won't fill up your email because I hate that!)  I'm just here to help you on the path to Clean Eating!


    Sunday, December 18, 2016

    Cinnamon Roll? Biscotti? Crackers!

    I hope you saw my posts and tweets earlier this week about this because I have been beyond excited to share it with you!  And because I try really really hard (sometimes without success) to only blog once a week, and not fill up your email, I have been waiting all week to post this!

    I was a little anxious at first as to whether these would turn out as planned.  I had made the original biscotti recipe previously so I knew that was all good, but trying to turn it into a cracker may or may not have worked.  Well... spoiler alert... it worked!  Sometimes I just want a few crackers or something small to nibble on.  This suits perfectly, and I'm feeling pretty confident that I can sub other things for the cinnamon mixture (thinking cocoa and dark chocolate chips!) to make a similar texture with a whole different taste.  (Hmmm.... I might go make those cocoa ones when I'm done writing the recipe up for you!)

    So, very simple, I just followed the original biscotti recipe but rather than follow the directions on how to put the biscotti together... well... just check out the recipe, and I'll spell it all out there.....


    Cinnamon Roll Biscotti Crackers
    (This recipe is adapted from this one by Carolyn at All Day I Dream About Food)

    Ingredients

    Filling:
    2 TBSP coconut sugar
    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    Crackers:
    2 cup almond flour
    Scant 1/3 cup coconut sugar
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp xanthan gum
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/4 cup melted butter
    1 large egg
    1 tsp vanilla

    Make the filling by combining the coconut sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.  Set aside.

    Preheat oven to 325F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Set aside.

    In a large bowl, whisk together, almond flour, coconut sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt.  Stir in melted butter, egg, and vanilla extract until dough comes together.

    Turn dough out onto prepared baking sheet and roll out to about 1/4" thickness.  Sprinkle with cinnamon/sugar filling, covering completely and all the way to the edges.

    Roll up jelly roll style.  The dough may crack a little, but that's okay because now you're going to roll it all out again to about 1/8".  Score horizontally and vertically making squares.  Cut off the ragged edges to make crackers more symmetrical. Then cut each square in half diagonally.  (You can really cut it in any shape you want, but this is what I did).  With the extra dough you cut off the edges, roll that out again and make more crackers. Repeat until you've used all the dough.

    Bake 15 minutes until lightly browned and firm to the touch.  Break at the scored lines and flip them over.  Turn off the oven and let sit another 10 minutes or so until almost crisp.

    Remove from oven and move them to a cooling rack.  Let sit until completely cooled.

    Crackers!!!!

    NOTES:  I am told that almond meal may make these too fragile, so stick with almond flour.  Trader Joe's carries it now!  Also, about xanthan gum: try to find a friend to buy this with because it's expensive and you only ever use a tiny bit at a time... so we buy one and split it into jars to share with other like-minded bakers.

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

    Remember to subscribe by clicking on the link on the right.  That way you will get my weekly posts.  (No more than once a week with a rare exception when I find something so amazing I can't wait to share it, so let's say maybe 54 times a year rather than weekly... how does that sound?  but I won't fill up your email because I hate that!)  I'm just here to help you on the path to Clean Eating!



    Monday, December 12, 2016

    Favorite Thing I Made All Week!

    I always think I know what I'm going to write about.  But my plans often don't go the way I think they will... so instead of a meal plan this week, you are in for a wonderful delight!  I think if you go through some of my older posts you can get the gist of this clean eating thing: 1) no processed food, 2) no refined sugars, 3) no white flour, and 4) pair a protein with a complex carb at every snack and meal.  Now you can make your own meal plan.... So there you go!

    I got all the clean eating rules down, but for me the hard part is resisting treats!  Just one cookie, right?  Just one nibble of brownie, right?  Well, fortunately, I have found recipes that beat all those highly processed, over-sugared treats all to pieces.  And this week was a real winner.  I was going to try my hand at making whole wheat tortillas from scratch to go with slow cooker pineapple chicken verde.  And then I ran across a recipe for apple pie tacos!  The recipe wasn't clean, but since the only UNclean ingredients were white flour tortillas and white sugar in the apples, I knew I could fix that in a hurry!  So now I have to buy a tortilla press because I love this recipe so much and trying to roll this dough into circles is not easy (but I'll provide a tip on that too)!

    So here you go....  And you're welcome!

    Apple Pie Tacos  
    adapted from Cooking Panda 

    4 Granny Smith apples, peeled and diced
    1/2 cup water
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp nutmeg
    1/2 cup coconut sugar
    10 or 12 six-inch tortillas (see tortilla recipe below)
    2 cups vegetable oil for frying
    1/4 cup coconut sugar (divided)
    1 tsp cinnamon
    1 cup whipping cream

    First make tortillas! - When I rolled these out, I couldn't get pretty little circles, so just roll them out to just a little bigger than you want and use something to cut in circle.  I used the lid to a small saucepan.  It's just the right size and has a bit of an edge on it where it sits down in the pan!  Perfect! (Of course, if you have a tortilla press, then that issue is solved.)
    Set the tortillas aside.

    Lay out some paper towels on your counter or other surface.

    Mix together 2 TBSP coconut sugar and the cinnamon.

    In a medium pan over medium heat, mix together apples, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar.  Mix well until apples are coated.  Cover and continue cooking on medium, stirring frequently, until apples are soft.  About 8 minutes.  Set aside.

    Heat oil in a small saucepan or skillet (or use your fryer if you have one).  Cooking one at a time, fold the tortilla in half, using tongs to keep it folded (you fold it in half and hold the two edges together with tongs).  Dip the bottom of the tortilla in the hot oil for 10-15 seconds.  Lay the tortilla on its side and fry until golden brown.  Flip over if needed.  Drain on paper towels.  Repeat with remaining tortillas.

    Sprinkle shells with coconut sugar-cinnamon mixture.

    Whip the whipping cream adding remaining 2 TBSP (more or less to taste) slowly until stiff peaks are formed.

    Spoon the apple mixture into the prepared taco shells and add a spoonful of whipped cream on top.

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


    Also, bonus recipe:  These clean eating cinnamon rolls are really good too! And easy!  (Especially if you have  a Kitchen-Aid or similar type mixer with a dough hook!  And I highly recommend you do!)




      Remember to subscribe by clicking on the link on the right.  That way you will get my weekly posts.  (No more than once a week with a rare exception when I find something so amazing I can't wait to share it, so let's say maybe 54 times a year rather than weekly... how does that sound?  but I won't fill up your email because I hate that!)  I'm just here to help you on the path to Clean Eating!

      No Food Was Harmed in the Creation of this Post!

      Today's post is completely unrelated to food, but I just had to share this awesome kid's Christmas gift to his family.  At only 7, he really gets the meaning of Christmas.  More importantly, he looks after his younger sisters (Ava will be 4 on Christmas and Emma is 2) this way all year long.  What a loving, giving heart he has.


      Dear family, this is the candle of time together
      like when we watch movies together
      that is a special time.
      (TL) Dear Ava, this is the candle of leadership it will help you lead the way through hard times.
      (LL) Dear Emma, This is the candle of love when you get yelled at remember they still love you.
      (TR) Dear Dad, this is the candle of faith on Christmas the brightness will lead the way in the night.
      (LR) Dear Mom, This is the candle of kindness,  When you are having trouble you just have to say a prayer.
       *mic drop*


      Saturday, December 3, 2016

      Trying Not To Freak Out!

      We turned the calendar to December this week, and I am suddenly feeling frantic!  No reason to, since my gift shopping is done, but there are always so many other things to do and places to go, that I feel myself getting freaked out!  I think I'll make some raspberry coconut dark chocolate muffins.... oh yeah!  
      This is just to help calm me... in case the muffin doesn't do the trick!!

      While I'm snacking on a muffin... oh they are soooo good.... I'll show you my menu for this week, including recipes of course!  Hopefully, having a plan and some great recipes will calm the part of me that is running around like the proverbial headless chicken!

      So one issue -- which did not help the anxiety! --  is that the tortilla soup recipe I am sharing is not my-kitchen-tested version because the one I usually use has a broken link and I can't get to it! Since it's been a while since I made it, I can't remember the exact recipe.  But I will wing it with the one I have posted below and I am pretty sure it will be fine!

      Something else new for me to try this week is freshly made whole wheat tortillas.  You know, it looks so simple! Which means there is a good chance I will mess it up!  But I will give it a shot and let you know how it works out for me.  Not really sure how trying new recipes is supposed to calm me.. but this muffin sure isn't hurting things!!

      So without further ado, herewith my recipes for this week.....  (And yes, I really do say things like that!)


      Easy Beef Stir Fry - You know they had me at "easy" with this one!  I have some stir fry beef just taking up space in the freezer, and I can make the quinoa ahead, which will save time later, so... you know... why not?!


      Slow Cooker Pineapple Chicken Verde - This is the recipe I need tortillas for.  I think this sounds good.  A little sweet... a little hot.. Yeah!!  

      And here is the tortilla recipe!!

      Whole Wheat Pasta with....
      Easy Marinara Sauce

      Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add 1 small chopped onion.  Saute until onion is tender.  Add 1 or 2 cloves garlic (crushed).  Saute another minute or two.  Add a cup of chopped peppers (green, yellow, red, whatever you choose... sometimes I used frozen mixed peppers).  Saute until tender.
      Stir in 1/2 cup red wine.  (This is optional but in my opinion it really makes the sauce amazing!)
      Pour in two 26 oz cans crushed tomatoes.  
      Add 1-2 TBSP Italian seasoning (to taste).
      Heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.  
      I simmer at least 30 minutes, but sometimes longer.


      And here is that new tortilla soup recipe to try.  I've adapted it from another one I found online, since I can't find my usual. 😱  If anyone has any ideas or suggestions for this recipe, please let me know in the comments!  I'll let you know if it turns out a winner!

      Tortilla soup 


      • 2 teaspoons olive oil
      • 1 small onion chopped (about 1 cup)
      • 2 garlic cloves, minced.
      • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
      • 2 cups chicken broth
      • 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
      • 1 cup corn (frozen or fresh)
      • 4 ounce can of mild green chili peppers, diced
      • 1 Tablespoon fresh oregano (or 1 teaspoon dried)
      • 1 teaspoon chili powder
      • ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
      • Handful crushed tortilla chips, optional
      • Optional toppings such as cheese, sour cream, avocado

      Heat olive oil over medium high heat.  Add chopped onion and saute until tender, stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and saute another minute.  Pour in crushed tomatoes, broth, black beans, corn, chili peppers.  Stir in oregano, chili power, and cilantro.  Simmer about 30 minutes on low.  Serve with tortillas and optional toppings.

      Red Hasselback Potatoes with Shallot Herb Butter - Okay, this recipe is a total bonus!  I'm not making these this week, but wouldn't they be amazing next to a grilled steak next summer?!?!?

      Okeedoke... that's all for this week.  What are you eating?  Whatever it is... Keep it Clean!




      Sunday, November 27, 2016

      I Can't Believe I Ate the Whole Thing!

      Are you old enough to remember the Alka-SeltzerTM commercial....  I can't believe I ate the whole thing. You ate it, Ralph!  If you don't remember, check out the video here.  It was one of those funny commercials that became really annoying because everyone.... EVERYONE... was going around saying, I can't believe I ate the whole thing.  Now, 40-some years later, it can be funny again.  But not really funny if you're the one who actually ate the whole thing!

      It's post-Thanksgiving in the US and it seems like a lot of my friends are having that kind of reaction to the weekend.  On the bright side, I also see them sharing some new healthy recipes and ways to eat better, so I have to think they are at least trying to stay on track as we head into some food-laden holidays.

      The best way to do that, I think, is to accept that you will likely eat some things that aren't on your List of Acceptable Foods.  (I always feel like things that like that should be capitalized.  It makes them sound so serious!)  So, accept it and do your best to work around it.  I try to build parties and holiday gatherings into my schedule as cheat days.  And by cheat days, I mean cheat meal, not literally an entire day of cheating... or you for sure will end up like poor old Ralph.

      If you're attending a potluck, that helps because you can make sure you are the one that brings something healthy.  Oh now, don't give me that look!  If you have read any of my previous posts, you know that healthy does not mean gross, boring, or tasteless!  In my experience, the "healthy" dishes I take to gatherings are always met with rave reviews.  And, no these people aren't just being nice.  Trust me... they aren't those kind of people.  (Just kidding, they are lovely people, but they would not ask for the recipes if they didn't really like the food!)  I think the reason that my recipes are such a hit is because they all are made with whole, natural, delicious food.  No added junk.

      So... all that to say, it's okay to cheat a little across the holidays, but try to make this season a little easier on yourself by eating well in between, and taking along one of my favorites when you can.  Browse through my previous posts to find cookies, candies, muffins, all kinds of wonderful treats.  One of my new favorite snacks is Chili-Maple Pepitas.   The linked recipe has eight different ways to make them.  I've only made a few but the chili-maple are my favorite!!  I make a big batch, or even a double batch, and store them in a jar.  Then they are handy for whenever a need a little crunchy snack.  (In my area, I get raw pepitas  at Trader Joe's.)

      Needing something sweet?  How about a candy bar!  I adapted these from a clean eating (yes, I am not kidding!) Butterfinger.  My kids tell me they taste more like Snickers since I added toffee.  Either way, that has to be a win, right?!  I cut these into smaller pieces and keep them in the fridge or freezer so I don't eat them all right away!  But truly sometimes it's just a nibble we want, isn't it?  And this can definitely fill that requirement!  The bonus is they really don't take that long to make.


      Craving cake?  Almond Joy Cake is.... OMG.. it is just the best!  I have had notoriously UN-clean eaters rave about this cake.  No one ever knows it's not loaded with sugar and junk.  Another super easy recipe too.  (If you haven't figured it out by now, I am not just about eating clean, I am about making it easy!)  Take this to your next holiday gathering and you'll see what I mean!  Or just make it and save it all for yourself!  That works too!  You can eat it for breakfast or dessert.

      Okay, so you probably need something besides cakes and candies... (if not, browse through my posts, and you'll find tons more great recipes!) so here's what's on tap at my house this week:

      Southwest Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - Actually, these aren't on the menu because we had them a couple weeks ago but I wanted to share because I think you'll you'll really like them!

      Pasta with Marinara - I love this marinara recipe for its simplicity. But it doesn't lack flavor.  The addition of a little red wine really makes all the difference.  Just toss with with some whole wheat pasta (or use spaghetti squash).  The blog I linked to also includes a link to some crazy good meatballs.  If you're in the mood, make a batch of those too and freeze what you don't need.

      Pizza - MR makes the pizza around here.  We get a whole wheat crust from Trader Joe's (in the refrigerator section), and he makes a batch of sauce if we don't have any on hand - just crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning and olive oil -- and then we add the topping we like.  You can always make your own crust too.  Frankly, time is often the mitigating factor around here so it's just easier to have the TJ's crusts in the freezer.  Just have to remember to get one out to thaw!

      Pepperoncini Brisket - This is a two-ingredient recipe!  Not kidding.  A brisket and a jar of pepperoncini!  Put the brisket in the slow cooker, dump the jar of pepperoncini over it (liquid too) and cook for ten hours on low.  If there are leftovers, shred them and reheat for some really fabulous sandwiches.

      Pumpkin Chipotle Soup - This has just the right amount of zing.  Don't add more chipotles than it calls for... I'm not kidding!  Not because it makes it too hot.  It just changes the flavor and kind of ruins it.  When you buy that can of chipotles in adobo sauce you're going to wonder what you'll do with all the extra... don't worry, just store them in a jar in the fridge because you're going to make this again... soon!

      Is there something else you're craving?  I'd love to help you clean it up or offer you a better substitute.  Drop me a note in the comments and let's figure it out.  While I can't guarantee you won't eat the whole thing occasionally this season, I can offer you some pretty amazing alternatives!

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



        Remember to subscribe by clicking on the link on the right.  That way you will get my weekly posts.  (No more than once a week with a rare exception when I find something so amazing I can't wait to share it, so let's say maybe 54 times a year rather than weekly... how does that sound?  but I won't fill up your email because I hate that!)  I'm just here to help you on the path to Clean Eating!



        Friday, November 18, 2016

        Gotta Have it.... Almond Joy Smoothie!!! (Plus a Meal Plan!)

        I skipped a week! Did you miss me?  I did it for a very good reason though (the WHY comes later.... keep reading!)  I have found myself struggling to stay on track with clean eating.  A cheat here, one little non-clean snack there... and it soon was adding up.  Adding up to pounds.  Which was just irritating me to no end.  A couple years ago when I lost 30 pounds on clean eating, I got rid of all my clothes from the "before" me.  Since I didn't want to have to start buying in that size again, when I realized how badly the pounds were creeping up I decided I just really needed to get serious again!

        Besides eating some non-clean foods (processed, mostly.... boo!) I was also trying to introduce new eating plans into my lifestyle.  I don't know why I did that, since clean eating works for me, but I did... and I think some of that may have contributed to the changes.  I played around with low carb, even super low carb (keto-ish), and some other things.  But recently I was thinking about how easy it was (for me) to drop weight while eating frequently and enjoying really good food, the clean eating way.  And so I decided to go back to the very beginning.

        I dug out the first two books I read on the subject.  One is more of a recipe book but it gave me some good meal plan ideas too -- "Try-it-Diet: Eating Clean." And the other one, "Just The Rules," was written by Tosca Reno who I guess is something of a legend in the clean eating world.  If you are stuck for how to get started, I really recommend both books. They helped me understand clean eating and get my start, so why not go back there and do my Restart?!  So here I am ... restarting.  Join me if you like.

        And now the reason I skipped a week....  I want to start bringing you, at least occasionally, but maybe not weekly, meal plans again.  So I took a week off to log my own meals and snacks.  You may not want to eat what I eat, and that is perfectly fine.  I may note some alternatives to help you out though. The main thing to remember is always pair a protein with a complex carbohydrate.  So a tablespoon of no sugar added peanut butter (or other nut butter) with an apple for a snack, or an egg with a whole wheat English muffin for breakfast. The strict clean eaters often avoid wheat.  I don't eat a lot of it, but I will eat it when there are no added sugars, and always in moderation.

        So all that to bring you this!!!!!




        If you need any of these recipes, browse my blog.  If you don't find them, leave a comment and I will provide you with the one you want.

        Almond Joy Smoothie
        1-1/2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
        1/2 cup coconut milk
        2 T unsweetened cocoa powder
        2 T almond butter
        2 medjool dates, pitted
        1/2 banana (frozen)
        1 or 2 cups ice

        Blend together all ingredients, adding ice a little at a time until desired consistency.


        *The sausage and peppers isn't clean but a friend made it and gave me some.  I just love sausage and peppers so figured a little won't hurt me!  It's all about moderation.

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

        Sunday, November 6, 2016

        You Can Do It!!!

        I hate to admit that I might be giving you a re-run recipe but I scalded and blistered my finger pretty bad making toffee (yes, clean toffee!) so typing is kind of difficult this week.  But this recipe is so delicious, I know you will forgive me!! (And the toffee is awesome, just be careful because it gets really hot!!)

        These meatballs alla parmigiana really are the best meatballs I've ever had.  And they're clean.  And they're low carb, if that matters.  Pair them up with marinara sauce and you've got yourself a great meal!



        Easy Marinara Sauce

        Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a large saucepan.  Add 1 small chopped onion.  Saute until onion is tender.  Add 1 or 2 cloves garlic (crushed).  Saute another minute or two.  Add a cup of chopped peppers (green, yellow, red, whatever you choose... sometimes I used frozen mixed peppers).  Saute until tender.
        Stir in 1/2 cup red wine.  (This is optional but in my opinion it really makes the sauce amazing!)
        Pour in two 26 oz cans crushed tomatoes.  
        Add 1-2 TBSP Italian seasoning (to taste).
        Heat and simmer, stirring occasionally.  
        I simmer at least 30 minutes, but sometimes longer.

        This makes a lot, but I just freeze the extra, which makes it even easier the next time!

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


        Monday, October 31, 2016

        Snack Attack!!

        It was a very busy weekend around here so I just didn't get to writing much.  But I can't leave you high and dry!  So today I am skipping the menu for the week and sharing a delicious snack recipe. If you need ideas for supper, browse through my previous posts.  Many of them have entire weekly meal plans, including breakfast and lunch!

        One reason it was so busy is because MR ran in the 41st Marine Corps Marathon on Sunday.  It was his first, their 41st.  He completed with a good time of 4 hours, 11 minutes, 29 seconds.  I am so proud of him for training all summer, even as hot as it was sometimes, and completing this.  Dude is not a kid anymore either, but he does stay in shape.  He started running half marathons four years ago and has completed six of those so far.  I just thinks it's awesome that anyone would dedicate the miles of running it takes to prepare for a marathon.  (And you really do have to prepare.  We saw a few people being taken off the course on stretchers.)  Over the last 14 weeks (which includes one week off for a mission trip out of the country), he ran 445 training miles.  445 miles!  Craziness!  And then 26.2 yesterday.  He's taking a break today.  Imagine that! :-)  Yay for MR and another item off his bucket list!

        Anyway, all that to tell you, today you get a snack recipe.  (It really is a wonderfully easy, incredibly tasty snack though!)  For me, snacking is one of the hardest parts of clean eating.  If you have fruit and a cheese stick, you're good.  But sometimes you want something crunchy. Maybe something salty. Maybe something sweet.  How about something salty and sweet?  How about...

        Chili Maple Pepitas!
        2 cups pepitas (raw, hulled sunflower seeds)
        1 T olive oil
        2 T pure maple syrup
        1-1/2 tsp chili powder
        1/2 tsp ground cumin
        A few grinds of sea salt

        Preheat oven to 300 F.  Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
        Combine ingredients and mix well to coat pepitas.  Spread in a single layer on prepared cookie sheet.
        Bake 20 minutes* or so, stirring halfway through.

        *If you have the option, I found that turning convection bake on allowed them to bake in 20 minutes.  It may take a little longer in a regular oven.  The first batch I made without convection bake was closer to 30 minutes, stirring about every 10 minutes.

        The recipe title links to the page where I found these little delights, and also includes seven other variations.  I have made the pumpkin spice also, but have to admit the chili maple are my favorite so far!  Have a snack, just don't get crazy!!!

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



          Remember to subscribe by clicking on the link on the right.  That way you will get my weekly posts.  (No more than once a week with a rare exception when I find something so amazing I can't wait to share it, so let's say maybe 54 times a year rather than weekly... how does that sound?  but I won't fill up your email because I hate that!)  I'm just here to help you on the path to Clean Eating!










          Saturday, October 22, 2016

          No Tricks... Just Treats!!



            Remember to subscribe by clicking on the link on the right.  That way you will get my weekly posts.  (No more than once a week with a rare exception when I find something so amazing I can't wait to share it, so let's say maybe 54 times a year rather than weekly... how does that sound?  but I won't fill up your email because I hate that!)  I'm just here to help you on the path to Clean Eating!


            Most of my recent posts have been exclusively about great tasting, easy making, clean eating supper ideas.  But everybody wants a treat now and then, don't they?  Earlier this week I made a pretty fabulous treat.... if I do say so myself (and I do)!  It started out to be a clean eating version of Butterfinger!  Yes!  Butterfinger!  And if you follow this recipe at the vegan8.com, you can create one too.  I have made them using that recipe, and they turned out really good.  But... I didn't have any dried white mulberries, and honestly, those suckers are kind of expensive.  So I thought and I thought and thought some more... what could I use in place of the mulberries?  The author of that blog says they are there for crunch.  What else crunches?  How about toffee!?  I won't say this tastes like a Butterfinger, but I will say... it turned out really great!  I cut them into bars and keep them in the freezer for an occasional treat.  MR loves them and so do I!  I hope you do too!

            Toffee Nut Candy Bars
            (based on this and that)

            First, make a batch of toffee:

            1 tsp vanilla
            1/3 cup almond butter
            1/4 cup coconut sugar
            1/3 cup honey
            1/4 cup water
            You will need a candy thermometer

            Measure vanilla and almond butter and have ready to go.  (You work pretty quickly once the other ingredients are hot enough!)  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
            Put coconut sugar, honey, and water in a medium saucepan over medium high heat, stirring frequently until it comes to a boil and the coconut sugar is dissolved.
            Insert a candy thermometer and boil, stirring frequently (edited to add), until it reaches 285 degrees (F).
            Remove from heat and quickly stir in the almond butter and vanilla.
            Pour the mixture onto the parchments paper and spread evenly and thinly.  It thickens quickly, but don't worry if you don't get it all perfect.... you're going to smash it to bits later anyway!
            Place the toffee in the fridge to completely harden.  About 30 minutes should do it.
            Break the toffee into big chunks and put it in a plastic zip bag.  Smash it to bits!!  Set aside.

            Next, make the rest of the candy bar:

            3/4 cup peanuts
            1/8 tsp fine sea salt
            2 TBSP honey
            1/2 tsp vanilla
            Toffee, smashed to tiny bits (see above)
            3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

            Line a 9x5 pan with parchment paper, leaving some hang over the sides.
            Put the peanuts and salt in a food processor and pulse until a crumbly flour forms.  Don't let it turn to paste. Add toffee and pulse a few more times just to mix well.
            Add honey and vanilla.  Pulse a few times until clumps starts to form.  Again, don't let it get too pasty.  You should be able to pinch it and it will stick together.
            Dump the dough into the prepared pan and spread evenly.  Overlap the parchment paper and press down hard and even.  Refrigerate about 30 minutes.
            Melt the chocolate (however you prefer to do this... I microwave about 30 seconds, stir, microwave another 15 seconds and stir, and keep doing that until I get a spreadable consistency).  Spread half the chocolate evenly over the top of the cold bars.  Refrigerate about 15 minutes until the chocolate is hard.  Flip the bars over and spread the rest of the chocolate on that side (you may have to melt the chocolate a little if it starts to thicken while you're waiting for the first side to harden).  Refrigerate again until the chocolate it hard.
            Cut into six bars... or you can cut them into smaller pieces, if you like.
            Store in the freezer for best results.  Enjoy!!

            And the headline says "treats" in the plural, so here's another...

            Cinnamon Rolls!

            And another....

            Cheesecake!

            Okay, so that takes care of that!  But what's for supper this week??  I have some good choices for you!

            Chicken Bombs - These are billed as an appetizer, but I could easily make a meal of them.  Try to find a pepper jelly without added  sugar.

            Egg Roll Stir Fry - This is so quick to make.  Make your life even easier by buying pre-chopped cabbage and carrots!

            Meatballs alla Parmigiana - I have been making these for a long time.  They really are some of the best meatballs I've ever made.  You can use them for sandwiches, with pasta, or just as your entree.  It makes quite a few so we usually freeze half for another time.

            Maura's BBQ - This link will take you to a few favorites... scroll down to find this easy slow cooker recipe!

            What's on your menu this week?  Whatever it is, Keep it Clean!!





            Sunday, October 16, 2016

            Recycle! Repurpose! Eat Clean!

            I have been making my own granola for a long time.  I had a go to recipe that I still like a lot but my SIL turned me onto one that crisps up even better.... plus it bakes in about half the time.... AND it makes more than the other recipe!  So I still use the other one occasionally, but new go to is from Cookieandkate.com.  I make a batch of this about once a week.  We like to make a snack with plain yogurt, chopped fresh or frozen berries, and a handful of granola.  The nice thing about granola is you can really just throw in whatever you happen to have... within reason!  This is the version I made today:

            Healthy Granola from Cookie and Kate

            4 cups rolled oats (old fashioned)
            1-1/2 cups chopped almonds
            1 tsp fine sea salt
            1/2 tsp cinnamon
            1/2 cup melted coconut oil
            1/2 cup real maple syrup (or honey, or a combination of both!)
            1 tsp vanilla
            1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
            3/4 cup dark chocolate chips


            • Preheat oven to 350F.  Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
            • In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except chocolate chips.  Stir to mix.
            • Pour mixture onto baking sheet, spreading into an even layer.
            • Bake at 350 until golden, about 25 minutes, stirring about half way through.
            • Remove from oven and allow to cool completely.  It will continue to crisp as it cools.
            • Break into pieces and add chocolate chips.
            • Serve in an airtight container.

            So that's snacks and maybe even part of a great breakfast!  But my focus for you is supper entrees!  So what's for supper this week????  Well, I'm going to make some good use of some leftovers from last week!  We had a pot roast and some grilled chicken, remember?

            Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad - Dice leftover grilled chicken.  Rinse and dry one or two heads of Romaine.  Cut Romaine into small pieces.  Toss lettuce with Caesar dressing (yes, I buy it prepared, no, it's not totally clean!).  Sprinkle chopped bacon and shredded Parmesan over top.  Add chicken!

            Beef Vegetable Soup - Using last week's pot roast, shred or chop about 2 cups beef and throw that in your slow cooker or large pot.  Also add some of the leftover onions and carrots from your roast.  If you saved the broth, use that.  If not, add about two cups of beef broth.  (You can use leftover broth and added broth.... that's what I had to do.)  Add one 26 oz. can crushed tomatoes.  Add about 1-1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables.  Heat through.

            Barbecue Beef Sandwiches - We get whole wheat hamburger buns from Trader Joe's for these.  They don't have any added sugar!  MR just shreds some of the leftover beef and mixes it with his barbecue sauce:
            Barbecue Sauce (you will have extra to freeze!)
            One 6 oz. can tomato paste
            2 oz. apple cider vinegar
            3 oz. water
            2 TBSP blackstrap molasses
            1 TBSP honey
            1TBSP prepared mustard

            Pumpkin Chipotle Soup with Chicken - This recipe is a hit every time I make it!  This week, we will add in a little diced chicken for protein.  You can serve this with a salad or even grilled cheese!  It's very important that you use only as much chipotle as the recipe calls for.  Also, you can sub whatever sweetener you prefer.  I use coconut sugar.

            My entree list is a little short this week!  That's because we are going out one night and eating something definitely not clean and not easy to get another... no point telling you about that!  But you can browse my blog and find lots more great recipe ideas.  I've been thinking about some sweets and treats and I hope to provide you something very special very soon!  Until then ,check out this really easy Chocolate Mousse recipe!!  (It calls for agave, but I use honey.)

            Until then, have a great week and Keep it Clean!


            ***Update!  The subscription link is working fine!  Please sign up on the right to get these posts directly to your email. I will never sell or share your information.***











            Monday, October 10, 2016

            It's Easy to Fall in Love With Autumn!

            There is a bit of a chill in the air this morning which makes me excited for all my Fall favorites!  Sometimes there will be pumpkin (but not today!), but mostly it will just be belly-filling, amazing flavors warming your heart!

            This week's featured item is something for your hurry-up-run-out-the-door mornings.  Make them ahead and, as the title suggests, Grab and Go!  I told you before, I don't do a lot of prep, but making a batch of muffins on the weekend is easy!  And I am all about easy!

            Featured recipe:  Grab n Go Pancake Muffins
            A couple notes about these muffins -- I made them once with freeze dried berries and once with frozen berries.  The freeze dried were better because they didn't impact the consistency of the batter.  I also made them once using 1/4 cup real maple syrup in place of the sweetener.  I loved this!!  But if you use maple syrup, add just a little more almond flour to keep the batter from being too runny. Doesn't matter how you make them... just make them!!

            Since I gave you a grab and go breakfast recipe this week, I still have to come up with some dinner entrees.  But that's okay, because I have a bunch of great ones.  The thing about eating clean and healthy is that it really does open you up to a lot of great recipes.  I try to keep them simple and without a lot of weird ingredients, because in addition to eating clean, I am all about easy.  I think I already said that, but it bears repeating!  My recipe collections are about clean AND easy!!  So check them out....

            While it's still not really cold, let's fire up the grill!  I love the taste of fried shallots.  Make a lot and you can keep them handy to throw on top of salads.  You will be so glad you did.  Amazing flavor!

            Grilled Chicken with sauteed shallots and rosemary.  Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper (or whatever you want.... maybe a little lemon pepper?) grill as usual.  While that's going on, thickly slick 4 medium shallots, saute in 4 tablespoons coconut oil with 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary.    When you take the chicken off the grill, give it a quick turn in the pan with the shallots and rosemary to sear in the flavors.  Serve with a green salad.

            Stuffed Sweet Potatoes - I love quinoa.  It is so versatile and so good for you!  This recipe is stuffed with amazing flavors.  You won't believe you're eating healthy!

            Parmesan Chicken Tenders - These are adult and kid friendly!  Dip them in whatever makes you happy, serve them up with some baked sweet potato fries!

            Meatballs alla Parmigiana - These are my absolutely favorite meatballs!  They are low carb, but they are also full of flavor.  They freeze well too!  Pair them up with my....

            Super Easy Marinara:

            2 TBSP olive oil
            Medium onion, chopped
            1 tsp. chopped garlic
            3/4 cup frozen mixed peppers
            1 small carrot, finely chopped
            2  26 oz. can crushed tomatoes
            1/2 cup red wine (optional)
            1 or 2 TBSP Italian seasoning (to your taste)

            Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.  Add onions and cook a few minutes until they start to soften.  Add garlic and cook another minute or so.  Add mixed peppers and carrot.  Cook and stir about 5 or 6 minutes until they begin to soften.  Add crushed tomatoes, red wine, and seasoning.  Stir and heat until it's warmed through.  Turn heat to low, cover pan, and allow to simmer at least one hour, stirring occasionally.

            I'm not going to kid you, I think the wine really makes this sauce amazing!  But if you don't have it, or prefer not to use it, it will still be fine.

            Balsamic Pot Roast - I love making a pot roast.  First, it's a crock pot thing so that makes my life easy.  Second, there are almost always leftovers so I can make sandwiches, soup, or just eat it!!  And did I mention it's easy?!  (Did I also mention how much I like things to be easy?!)

            Chili - Always a cold weather favorite!  We make this different ways, depending on what I have in the cupboard!  This week:
            1 pound ground beef, cook and stir over medium high heat until cooked through and crumbly
            About halfway through cooking the meat:
            Add 1 onions (chopped)
            1/2 cup fresh or frozen mixed peppers
            Once all that is cooked through, add:
            26 oz can of crushed tomatoes
            15 oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
            15 oz can of pintos, drained and rinsed
            Chili powder to taste
            Stir and heat thoroughly.  Turn heat to low and simmer 30 minutes or more.

            Making this list is making me hungry!  I better get to the store and get busy!  What are you eating this week?  Whatever it is... Keep it Clean!

            Also, if you haven't already -- sign up for my once weekly emails!  I will send you recipes every week.  But only once a week!  I will not sell or share your contact information.  I will not try to sell you any products.  This blog is just to help spread the good word about clean eating!  Just enter your email in the tool on the left.  So easy.... remember when I said I like things easy?!







            Monday, October 3, 2016

            All Aboard!!!!

            The hardest part of clean eating is the hardest part of any eating plan.... figuring out what to make!  I would like to say I do all kinds of prep on Sunday so that my life is so easy breeze (cue the wind through my hair) all week long.  But, you know what.... life ain't like that!  But one thing I do always do is make a menu.  Clean eating doesn't have to be hard at all... but in order to make it even easier and keep your costs down, you will want to plan.

            So!  I want to make life easier for you.  Come on board the clean eating train and I will provide you a weekly menu ideas along with recipes.  I will introduce at least one new personally tested recipe every week.  Most of my ideas will only include the entree.  You can fill in with veggies, fruit, and sides as you choose. Subscribe now so you don't miss a bite!

            This week's featured recipe is Egg Roll Stir Fry!  I love this recipe for a couple reasons:  1) It tastes amazing and 2) The ingredients are easy to find at your favorite grocery.  Plus, extra bonus, you can whip this up really quick!

            MON - Egg Roll Stir Fry.  I make it early in the week so I can have leftovers in my lunch!!

            TUE - Roast chicken

            WED - Rosemary Pot Roast - This pot roast is crazy easy and I can't even explain how great it tastes.

            THU - Pumpkin Chipotle Soup - This sounds spicy, but it's really just the right amount of zing.  (Don't use more chipotles than it calls for.)

            FRI - Chicken salad on pita - Mix together leftover chopped chicken, plain yogurt, chopped walnuts or pecans, and raisins or halved grapes until you have the consistency you want.

            SAT - Mexican steak and avocado salad - The avocado salad is just the right amount of cool with the spiciness of the rub.

            SUN - Zucchini Primavera - If you still have some leftover chicken from earlier in the week, you can use that.  (Another great money saver!)

            I hope you see something you want to try.  Let me know if there is something particular you are thinking of and I'll see if I can come up with a recipe for you!!!

            Subscribe now!!!  I promise to only send one post per week.  I will never sell, rent, or give away your contact information.












            Thursday, August 18, 2016

            I Have Good News and I Have Bad News.....

            Bad news:  Last week I was home alone so I was pretty lazy about cooking and eating.
            Good news:  I ate up a lot of the leftovers that were in the fridge so we can start fresh this week!
            Bad news:  I have to create a plan for the whole week!
            Good news:  We will likely try out some new recipes!

            Yes, we will definitely try out some new recipes.  I am especially interested in the Chicken Stir Fry recipe below from PaleoGrubs.com because I love love love garam masala!  But we have a freezer full of grass fed beef (how lucky are we?!) so I am going to sub in beef for the chicken.  In the winter I make a microwave meatloaf that uses garam masala so I know the flavors will work together.

            So let's see what else is on the menu this week:

            Chewy dark chocolate chunk cookies  - I actually made these this morning.  I was a little nervous about using all that almond butter in a recipe I hadn't tested so I halved the recipe.  They turned out good, so next time I will make the full recipe.

            Grilled Chicken with sauteed shallots and rosemary - Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper (or whatever you want.... maybe a little lemon pepper?) grill as usual.  While that's going on, thickly slick 4 medium shallots, saute in 4 tablespoons coconut oil with 2 tablespoons of fresh chopped rosemary.    When you take the chicken off the grill, give it a quick turn in the pan with the shallots and rosemary to sear in the flavors.  Serve with a green salad.

            Chicken salad - We are all about the leftovers at this house.  Use some leftover chicken, and make chicken salad your way!  The basic recipe is cooked chicken and Duke's mayo (our favorite).  Last week I mixed in fresh blueberries and it was amazing.  You can add pine nuts, roasted sunflower seeds, chopped pecans, raisins, dried cranberries (remember to use the no sugar added kind)... whatever you want!  Because my leftover chicken will have shallots and rosemary, I am thinking some pine nuts will add crunch without detracting from all that flavor.

            Black beans and rice - We eat this a lot in the winter but we love it all year round too.  Because 1) it's tasty and 2) it's easy! Or may because 1) it's easy and 2) it's tasty!  Cook brown rice according to the package.  (We usually use one cup dry rice.)  Put a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a big skillet.  Add a rough cut onion and saute until tender.  Add a couple cloves of chopped garlic and saute another minute.  Pour in two cans of drained and rinsed black beans and one can of Mexican style stewed tomatoes.  If you can't find those kind of stewed tomatoes, use one can of regular stewed tomatoes and a can of diced tomatoes with green chilis.  Stir and heat through.  Serve over rice.

            Grilled steak and onions -  We will throw a couple of those grass fed steaks on the grill and while they're doing their thing, we will cook very rough cut onions on the cool grill pan my SIL turned me onto.  You really need to get one of these things!!  We will serve those with green beans.

            Hot dogs and slaw -  Hot dogs probably are never going to be totally clean, but the Hebrew National ones come close enough for an occasional indulgence.  We prefer Trader Joe's whole wheat hot dog buns, or you can eat it with no bread!  Cook your dogs however you prefer.  The secret is the slaw.  MR came up with this recipe and it's my new go-to!   MR's Sure-to-be-Famous Coleslaw

            Chicken (or beef) Stir Fry - As I said above, I am going to sub beef in this recipe.  I feel quite sure it's going to become a favorite!!!  If you haven't used garam masala yet, you are missing out!  It adds amazing flavor!!

            As always, lunches are usually leftovers and breakfasts are plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and a sprinkle of homemade granola.  Eating clean doesn't have to be complicated, you just have to plan a little!

            What are you eating this week?  Remember to Keep it Clean!!




            Time to Make the Donuts... Paleo Donuts!

            It's been a while since I wrote and published a post.  I write lots of them... they just don't all get published.  Sometimes I just use it as a way to keep track of recipes.  But it's about time I got back to sharing some of those recipes, don't you think?!

            It's been crazy hot here on the eastern seaboard, as I guess it has just about everywhere, in the US at least.  It was even plenty warm the one day I was in Canada this summer.  And not "warm for Canada" kind of warm.  It was pretty hot, actually!  But I enjoyed it.  We went to Buffalo and then of course had to see the infamous Niagara Falls.  MR had never been to the Falls or Canada, so we checked both those of his list that day!  Our G-Bird lives in Buffalo now so we will likely get there again.  Soon, I hope!

            So all that just to say, it's really been too hot to cook!  Meals at home have been a lot of salads or something we can put on the grill.  Dear SIL turned us onto a tool for our grill so we can grill veggies easy-peasy!  Grilled zucchini, onions, and mushrooms (not necessarily together, but not necessarily not either) were pretty much a staple this summer.  So easy!  So tasty!

            Anyway, I've been home alone this week.  Often a recipe for trouble but I have actually behaved myself!  Last night Baby Girl and I went out to dinner.  We sat by the water and enjoyed a nice meal.  I love spending time with my kiddos!

            But as I said, home alone often leads to boredom, which instead of trouble this time led to perusing recipes online, which led to the one that is in the oven right now!  Lemon Poppy Seed Donuts!



            You can go straight to the original recipe at the link but I've also copied it here.  It's not mine, it is from Paleo Grubs, but sometimes when I link to stuff and then the links get broken or pages get taken down I can't find the recipe, so I have started to post the recipe as well as link to it.  But all credit, as far as I know, goes to http://paleogrubs.com/.   I just love to have something like this in the house when I'm feeling snack-y!

            What are you eating this week?!  Remember to keep it clean!

            Ingredients
            1. 1/3 cup coconut flour
            2. 1 tbsp arrowroot flour
            3. 1 tsp baking soda
            4. pinch of salt
            5. 1 tsp lemon juice
            6. 1 tsp lemon zest
            7. 1 tbsp poppy seeds
            8. 2 large eggs
            9. 2 tbsp liquid coconut oil
            10. 2 tbsp honey
            11. ½ cup almond milk
            12. coconut oil for greasing a pan
            For glaze
            1. 2 tbsp warm honey
            2. ¼ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
            3. 1 tsp poppy seeds
            Instructions
            1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease a standard donut pan with coconut oil. Set aside.
            2. In a stand mixer, combine the coconut flour, arrowroot flour, baking soda and pinch of salt.
            3. Add in the milk, eggs, honey, coconut oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, poppy seeds and mix to combine.
            4. Allow the batter to rest for about 5 minutes to ensure the moisture is absorbed by the coconut flour.
            5. Divide the batter evenly between the 6 donut molds. Bake for 17- 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean and donuts are set.
            6. Remove the pan from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes.
            7. Gently remove the donuts from the pan. Brush the donuts with warm honey and sprinkle with desiccated coconut and poppy seeds.