Tag Archives: Food

The Green Machine!

16 Jan

I love the color green, it’s one of my favorites. And I love smoothies, even in the wintertime. So putting the two together – why have I not done that sooner?

As I was off work today due to Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I decided to make my first ever Green Smoothie chalk-full of healthy, natural and delicious greens! One of my favorite ways to waste time (when I should be doing homework, or folding laundry, or making a shopping list) is watching various cooking channels on YouTube. And since we’ve started this new lifestyle, I’ve added a few new channels to the mix focusing on consuming foods raw and in their natural state. Needless to say, I’ve watched a dozen or so videos on different ways to construct the ultimate Green Smoothie and I was feeling up to the challenge!

Unfortunately for you,  I didn’t follow a particular recipe, nor did I measure my ingredients. So trust me when I say you’ll just have to trust your gut on this one, it won’t steer you wrong!

Here’s what I had on hand today:

  1. 1 frozen banana
  2. About a 1/4 – 1/2 cup of unsweetened almond milk
  3. 1 Granny Smith apple
  4. About 1/2 frozen pineapple (I picked through a bag of mixed frozen fruit for what I wanted!)
  5. 2 heaping handfuls of spinach
  6. 2 heaping handfuls of kale
  7. 2-4 drops of lemon essential oil (I had doTERRA, use whichever brand you prefer, or juice the real thing if you have one handy!)

Now, here’s where things got a little interesting – I had everything in the blender, pushed the button to mix it all together and milk goes everywhere! As the blender was already assembled when I went to use it, I didn’t know there was a large crack in the base. (Ugg!!) Food processor to the rescue and the smoothie was saved!

Personally, I loved the taste! Hints of tropical paradise with the pineapple and lemon. Nice and creamy with the banana. And the spinach and kale made it a beautiful shade of green! This is one I plan to make again – even Scott enjoyed the taste!

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For dinner tonight, we incorporated the kale again by making this delicious Spaghetti Squash with Kale, Fire-Roasted tomatoes and chickpeas. Just a wee bit too much kick for me (may have added a dash too many of the red pepper flakes!) but overall fantastic and very filling! We had enough leftover to each enjoy it for lunch later this week – and that’s a win in my book!

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Wellness Wednesday – Vegan Stuffed Bell Peppers

4 Jan

The past few days we have done very good about avoiding meat and dairy products. I was even off to a great start this morning with my bowl of oatmeal and a banana and a lunch filled with a veggie “chicken” patty, cucumber, carrots, and apple slices. Before I left for work I even had in my first 20 oz of water for the day.

However, things went south when I got to work and learned we were celebrating two birthdays with a pizza party and chocolate fudge brownies. Being only 4 days into this lifestyle change, I caved. I told you I’d share the good, bad, and ugly and here it is.  I had two slices of Pizza Hut pepperoni pizza and a brownie square and another 20 oz of water. A few hours later, however, I was regretting that choice. My stomach was in knots and I felt like I needed to temporarily move in to the bathroom because I was visiting it so frequently they were going to start charging rent! Okay, enough of that.

For dinner tonight I knew I needed to get myself back on track. So I looked though our refrigerator, jumped on Pinterest, made a shopping list and went to work creating a new masterpiece.

Tonight I present you with vegan stuffed bell peppers. However, I tweaked the recipe ever so slightly to fit our needs.

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The original recipe called for a-couple-kinds of cheese, I eliminated those along with the cilantro because we don’t like the flavor of that herb. Another change I made was switching out quinoa for white rice and chopped up in the food processor. In addition, I substituted corn with a half bag of mixed vegetables to add a bit more color, crunch and flavor, and replaced petite diced tomatoes with halved cherry tomatoes. I kept all of the spices the same, however I didn’t have onion powder on hand so I just left it out.

As for as the taste – this dish has a mexican feel to it. I’ve decided to use the leftover stuffing for burritos, enchiladas or quesadillas later this week. The stuffing could even be warmed back up and eaten as a dish by itself, it’s that good! One thing I can tell you after devouring this meal, this stuffed pepper stuffs you! My tummy is happy and content and feeling a million times better than lunchtime.

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In thinking to the future and making this dish again, I would probably use a bit more spice – the flavor was good, but I personally like a bit more punch and pizzazz with the flavor. Switching out the ingredients in the stuffing could be fun as well – garlic, summer squash, sweet potato or even different kinds of beans may taste good.

Let me know if you decide to give these stuffed peppers a try! What alterations would you make to the recipe?!

The Veggie Takeover!

2 Jan

The New Year is often associated with resolutions…be happier, spend more time with the family, work less, lose weight, eat healthier. These are all great and I hope that anyone who makes them sticks with it through the long hall.

This year, I’m not participating in resolutions that will fall by the wayside before February. Rather, Scott and I are committing to making a lifestyle change to eat a whole food, plant-based diet instead. We began talking about this in early December 2016 after visiting with his family for the holidays and expressing our concern about some health issues. We were encouraged to make this change after listening to the health benefit testimonies from his family members who have been eating this way for a few years. They graciously provided us with multiple resources to get us started, including the documentary Forks Over Knives, which we finally had the time to sit down, watch and learn the many interesting facts and statistics it presented today.

I will be honest, a-couple-weeks ago we tried our first plant-based meal, a veggie burger, and it was disgusting, completely lacking in flavor, although it was pretty-looking plate. Two things happened as a result of that meal, first, I had a meltdown thinking about all the food I’d be giving up (beef, chicken, turkey, ice cream, cheese, sweet treats) and I lost it. I didn’t want to do this and I was angry because in that moment I felt Scott was “making me” do this, even though he wasn’t, he fully supported me not following him on this journey. Second, we began to learn what worked and what didn’t (namely, the beans we selected and the veggies we included), and that we NEEDED to find a different “burger” recipe and fast!

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Since that inaugural vegan meal, we have had success in the kitchen. We found a “cheese” sauce made with cauliflower that we put on baked potatoes one night and then used the leftover sauce on noodles for macaroni and “cheese” the next night with garlic and basil roasted red potatoes. While that dish had no dairy or animal byproduct, I was able to fool my brain into thinking it was the thick and creamy mac and cheese from childhood! That recipe is a keeper in my book!

For lunch today, Scott whipped up Avocado Pasta with cherry tomatoes and corn. As a side we had some pretzels with garlic hummus. The avocado sauce called for fresh basil, which we cut from our plant, so it great knowing one of the ingredients was grown by us! Another fantastic dish in the books! We have decided that anything that calls for avocado is going to be delicious!

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In addition to these, we have enjoyed making our own homemade guacamole for a tasty snack or side!

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I know not every meal will earn two thumbs up, and there will be days that I struggle. But I have decided to be 95/5, meaning 95% of the time I will be fully committed to this eating behavior, but if I am out with friends and want a piece of pepperoni pizza, I’ll have it. If I’m over at my parents house and my dad decides to grill up some hamburgers, I’m going to enjoy one. These times will be the 5% – the special treats, the once in a blue moon occurrences.

To hold myself accountable and to gain support from others who have made this lifestyle change, I’m going to be sharing my experiences with you – the good, the bad and the ugly, the highs and lows, the failures and successes. If you have any go-to recipes that don’t call for meat, dairy or other animal byproducts, please share with me!

What’s for dinner?

1 Jul

That use to be a question I’d ask my parents every evening, now that Scott and I have our own place (I know, I know, I haven’t mentioned it much. I will, when I’m ready.), we take turns asking each other.

For those who know me well, my aversion to all things cooking is nearly comical. I’m more of a microwave-it girl. But….since I have to be an adult, I have deciding to give cooking a fair chace, and surprisingly, I am learning to love it!

Last night, I had the answer – Caprese Chicken. A-couple-weeks ago I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and one of my friends had liked a video quickly demonstrating how the dish is made. After watching it a-couple-times and tracking down the recipe online, I decided this was a meal I could make!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breast

Salt and pepper to taste

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced (I bought a jar of minced garlic, 1 tsp = 2 cloves)

1 pint grape tomatoes, halved

2 tbsp. shredded basil (I had dried basil, so I used that instead)

Mozzarella slices

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Start off by halving your tomatoes. This took me roughly 15 minutes. Save in a bowl for later! You’ll be glad you did this ahead of time!

 

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In a large skillet, heat oil on medium-high heat. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Cook until golden-brown and cooked through – roughly 6-7 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate until later.

 

Add balsamic vinegar to skillet to deglaze, then add garlic and stir until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add your halved tomatoes and season with salt. Let simmer until soft, 5-7 minutes. The stir in basil.

I used this time to clean up my workspace a bit. While cooking the chicken, the hot oil had a tendency to spit out of the pan and got all over my stove top and countertop. I also used this time to begin putting used ingredients away and utensils in the sink.

Return chicken to the skillet and nestle in the tomatoes. Cover with a slice of mozzarella and cover skillet with lid to melt cheese.

Spoon tomatoes over chicken and serve.

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I served this meal with some steamed vegetables and it was everything comfort food is supposed to be! Full of flavor, the chicken was juicy, the tomatoes melted in your mouth and the cheese was ooh-gooy delicious! Facebook recipe for the win! This is a meal I know we’ll be making many times!

Sunday Lunch – Baked Margherita Spaghetti Squash

26 Jul

I have never been very talented in the kitchen. Cooking meals has never come easy for me. I’m more of a “can I put it in the microwave” kind of girl. But when it comes to baking, now we’re talking, but that’s a post for another time, I digress. Anyways, when I found this recipe online a few days ago, it looked fool-proof!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: Approximately 40 – 50 minutes

Serving size: 2 (I doubled the recipe to make enough to feed four people today!)

Ingredients:

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1 large spaghetti squash
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 large Roma tomato, finely chopped
2 tbsp. finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 tsp. each salt & pepper
1 tsp. garlic powder

Let’s get cookin’!

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Using a large knife or a cleaver, slice the spaghetti squash in half lengthwise down the middle. Use a spoon to remove the seeds and center strings. (Helpful hint: If the squash is too hard to cut, place it in the microwave for 3 – 8 minutes depending on the size of the squash.

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3. Drizzle the two halves with olive oil and then sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder.

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4. Place the squash, open side down on a cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes. (*Next time I would cut back on the amount of olive oil. It was pooling in the bottom of the squashes.)

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5. Remove from the oven, check to see if the squash is soft and easily comes up with a fork into a spaghetti like texture. If it’s too hard to remove, cook for another 10 minutes. Scrape and fluff the stringy squash with a fork. Leave the squash in the skin.

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6. Turn the oven up to broil. Add the tomatoes and fresh basil into the squash, stir and top with the mozzarella cheese. Place in the broiler for 3-4 minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

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7. Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving the squash. Enjoy!

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This dish looks beautiful and tastes even better! I only had one slight problem when I burned my thumb (yes, I was using potholders!) when I took the pan out of the oven for the last time. Luckily, my dad told me to put some Lavender essential oil on the burn to take the sting out!

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This is a dish I will definitely make again! Although my family had a suggestion on how to make it better – when scrapping out the squash, put it all in one pot and add the tomatoes, basil and cheese to the whole mixture. We noticed that some of our squashes didn’t cut right down the center, so the portions were a little off – some had lots of squash, some had a little.  I think combining everything in one bowl and cooking it through one last time would make it easier to mix the tomatoes and basil throughout the squash, that was a little difficult to do in the small squash halves.

*I found this recipe on Facebook – from what I could tell it was originally posted on the Losing It With Trisha Facebook page.

Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks

27 Aug

My family has recently started looking for healthier food options and while wasting time on Pinterest the other night, I happened upon this recipe for Cheesy Cauliflower Breadsticks. They are gluten free, low carb and surprisingly DELICIOUS!

If you’ve got a picky eater in your family, this is the PERFECT recipe – you can’t taste the cauliflower and based on the texture, you’d never guess they have a secret ingredient!

Now I’m not a cook – I honestly HATE cooking, but this was a super simple and quick recipe.

So let’s get cookin’! Full credit for this recipe goes to Jo from the blog Jo Cooks, make sure to check her out, she has some great recipes that I cant wait to try in the future!

What you’ll need:

  • 4 cups of riced cauliflower (about 1 large head of cauliflower)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups of mozzarella cheese
  • 3 tsp oregano
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 to 2 cups mozzarella cheese (for topping)

Here we go fellow cooks!

1. Preheat oven to 425 F degrees. Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. Wash and dry cauliflower.

3. Make sure your cauliflower is roughly chopped in florets. Add the florets to your food processor and pulse until cauliflower resembles rice. (I had a medium size cauliflower head and it made about 3 cups of “riced” cauliflower.)

4. Place the cauliflower in a microwavable container and cover with lid. Microwave for 10 minutes. Place the microwaved cauliflower in a large bowl and add the 4 eggs, 2 cups of mozzarella, oregano, garlic and salt and pepper. Mix everything together. (Next time I make these, I think I’ll cut back on the oregano just a bit, personally I thought it overpowered the other flavors.)

5. Spread the mixture onto the prepared baking sheets for the breadsticks. (I used a jellyroll pan. That’s the name my mom just gave me!)

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6. Bake the crust (no topping yet) for about 25 minutes or until nice and golden. (It’ll start smelling DELICIOUS, just be patient and let it bake!)

7. Once golden, sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese and put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese has melted. (I used the rest of the cheese from the small package we bought – about 2 cups to evenly cover the whole thing. My mom also added some Parmesan shaker cheese just for kicks!)

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8. Slice and serve. (My family ate this up QUICKLY!)

All in all, this one is a SUCCESS! One to save for future use! Give it a try — can’t wait to hear how you like it! Enjoy!

 

 

DIY Earl of Sandwich Holiday Sandwich

1 Dec

One of the things I miss most about living in Florida is Earl of Sandwich and it’s a stop I always make when I go back to visit my friends and coworkers. Before moving down there I’d never heard of this place, but I was hooked after one night out with friends and a delicious ham and cheese sandwich. And then I was introduced to the Holiday Sandwich and it was like a little piece of heaven between a bun!
20131201-121906.jpg I have talked this sandwich up many times, and even introduced it to my family when they came to visit me in Florida. My dad liked it and I tease him by sending home pictures of my sandwich to which he responds with “bring one home for me!” 20131201-122541.jpg And with thanksgiving leftovers currently filling the refrigerator, we decided to give recreating this delicious sandwich at home a try!

You will need:
• Sub Buns
• Turkey (the photo from Earl of Sandwich is thinly sliced, but we used the leftovers from Thanksgiving)
• Stuffing
• Cranberry Sauce
• Gravy 20131201-123323.jpg There’s no exact measurements of science behind building the sandwich. Start with your sub bun and a layer of turkey. Then put a layer of stuffing and on top of that a thin layer of gravy. 20131201-123936.jpg Next add one more layer of turkey, a layer of cranberry sauce and a tad more gravy and you’ve got it! One at home version of Earl’s Holiday Sandwich! 20131201-124412.jpg I wanted mine flatter like the original sandwich, so we put it in the quesadilla makers for a few seconds (this step it optional). 20131201-125105.jpg 20131201-125341.jpg What do you think, pretty similar, right?! Hope you’ll give this a try sometime this holiday season, I promise, you’ll love it! 20131201-125621.jpg