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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!


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      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.