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

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.

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)


    2 TBSP coconut sugar
    1 tsp ground cinnamon

    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.


    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!