Sunday, July 20, 2014

Introducing Elowen Anthea Laurel!

I was busy for a while cooking up something extra special :) Meet our newest little addition, Elowen Anthea Laurel. The other three kids are completely smitten with her and we couldn't be happier.

Elowen Anthea Laurel, 2 weeks old
Liadan and Elowen
Theron and Elowen
Colwynn and Elowen
Every now and again I even get a chance to hold her. But it's usually when the other three baby hogs are in bed. That also happens to be when I do my blogging so please excuse my occasional typos as I am likely typing my posts one handed while nursing ;)


Homemade Clean Eating Tacos (and Taco Shells)

Makes about 10 tacos, 1/4 cup filling per taco
Have you seen the Lego movie? We LOVE it! It was rainy and dreary this weekend so I let the boys watch it. They mention Taco Tuesday a bunch of times and Colwynn suddenly says, "What's a taco?" I realized I have never actually made tacos for dinner since he was born. I used to make them once a week when it was just Matt and I. What could be easier? Brown a little meat, stir in the package of mystery powder full of chemicals, and serve on a deep fried and probably partially made of plastic taco shell. Needless to say, that's probably why I haven't made them ;) But tonight I threw a homemade version together complete with shells and a hidden veggie. The kids loved them! The quiet dinner of everyone eating happily was totally worth the AMAZING mess produced by a 7, 5, and 2 year old eating tacos :) 

Since there is pureed spinach in with the meat the tacos are green. My family is used to a lot of their food being green so they didn't bat an eye but you could certainly omit the spinach if you don't want green tacos. My kids have no problem eating spinach raw, mixed in stuff, or in a salad but, the second I try to put it on a sandwich or in a tortilla or something, everyone complains. Even the biggest kid (remember when Matt actually requested I puree the spinach into the sloppy joes). So by pureeing it and adding it into the meat I can make sure that they are still eating a green veggie but I save myself all the whining. Then I eat mine with a big pile of spinach and feel extra good about my veggie intake for the day :)

Taco filling-

  • 1 lb 93% lean ground turkey
  • 1 Tbsp minced onion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 T whole grain cornmeal (or whole wheat flour)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 big handfuls spinach
Taco shells-
  • Whole grain tortillas
  • cooking spray
ONE: In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the ground turkey until no longer pink. Drain the excess grease. 

TWO: Puree the spinach into the 1/2 cup of water and add it to the browned meat in the skillet with all of the seasonings. Mix well and continue to cook over medium heat until the sauce has thickened a bit, about 3-5 minutes.

Freeze leftovers in 1/4 cup portions using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash.

To make homemade taco shells:
Turn a muffin pan upside down. Spray both sides of the tortillas lightly with cooking spray and wedge between the cups of the muffin pan so that they are standing upright and look like taco shells. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 15-17 minutes until crispy and golden brown.

Nutrition Info:
Per 1/4 cup taco filling- 72 Calories (30 Calories from Fat), 3.4g Total Fat, 1g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 32mg Cholesterol, 278mg Sodium, 213mg Potassium, 1.3g Total Carbohydrates, 9.3g Protein, 19% DV VitA, 5% DV VitC, 2% DV Calcium, 7% DV Iron

Brown meat, drain, add pureed spinach and seasonings

Spray tortillas with cooking spray and line up on an inverted muffin tin.
Bake at 350 for 15-17 minutes.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Clean Eating Creamy Coconut Cilantro Lime Chicken Soup

Makes about 12 servings, 1 cup each
In our house we affectionately call this Colwynn Soup because Colwynn's two favorite flavors are coconut and cilantro. He is his mother's son :) This soup is creamy and tangy and just plain delicious.  Plus it is super fast to throw together if you've got leftover cooked chicken and brown rice. When I'm really in a good make-ahead groove, I will cook a whole chicken in the crockpot once a week like this because there are so many things you can do with a pile of shredded, cooked chicken. Or, if I am being lazy, Matt picks up a rotisserie chicken on his way home from work ;)

NOTE: I use a can of coconut milk and then a can full of regular milk plus some coconut extract. You could of course use two cans of coconut milk and skip the regular milk or 4 cups of regular milk plus 2 tsp of coconut extract and skip the coconut milk. Or if you don't care for coconut, do regular milk and skip the extract. 

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 large carrots, diced small
  • 3 cups chopped broccoli (I used frozen)
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro
  • 15oz can coconut milk
  • 2 cups milk of choice (I just pour regular milk into the now empty coconut milk can instead of measuring out 2 cups)
  • 1 tsp coconut extract
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice
ONE: Drizzle the olive oil into a large pot and add the carrots, broccoli, curry powder, cinnamon, ginger, and paprika. Stir well to coat and cook over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes or until veggies have softened.

TWO: In a blender, puree the cilantro into the chicken broth. Once veggies are soft, add all remaining ingredients to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and let simmer 5 minutes.
Freeze leftovers in 1-cup portions using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash.

Nutrition Info:
Per 1 cup serving- 253 Calories (110 Calories from Fat), 12g Total Fat, 7g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 33mg Cholesterol, 416mg Sodium, 478mg Potassium, 19g Total Carbohydrates, 2g Dietary Fiber, 3g Sugar, 18g Protein, 48% DV Vit A, 38% DV Vit C, 9% DV Calcium, 14% DV Iron


Monday, April 28, 2014

Clean Eating Whole Grain Oven Baked Pancakes

Makes 8 servings
My kids love pancakes and about once a month I will make a big batch of these ones or these ones. But some mornings I am feeling slow and lazy or we have woken up particularly late and I don't feel like taking the time to mix up the batter and stand over the griddle. Oven baked pancakes to the rescue!! These are light and fluffy and the best part is it only takes me a few minutes to mix the batter up the night before. In the morning I just throw some fruit on top and shove them in the oven. While they are baking I am hands free to make everyone their morning tea and maybe even unload the dishwasher.

Note: You can of course just make these in the morning without letting the batter sit overnight.

Banana Coconut
Peach (you know you're jealous of my Elmo plate)
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 3 Tbsp sucanat or natural sweetener of choice (can use brown/white/turbinado sugar but it won't be "clean")
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk of choice
  • 3 Tbsp oil of choice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (or different extract depending on which fruit you are using for topping)
  • 2 Tbsp sucanat or natural sweetener of choice (can use brown/white/turbinado sugar but it won't be "clean")
  • sprinkle of cinnamon 
  • fruit of choice-
    • 2 thinly sliced apples
    • 2 thinly sliced peaches (I sprinkle a little nutmeg on with the cinnamon when I use peaches)
    • 1/2 cup blueberries/sliced strawberries/other berries
    • 1/2 cup chopped cherries (I use almond extract instead of vanilla when I use cherries)
    • 1 large/2 small bananas, thinly sliced (I use coconut extract instead of vanilla and sprinkle some dried, unsweetened coconut on with the cinnamon when I use bananas) 
ONE: Whisk together all the pancake ingredients. Lightly mist a 9x13" pan with cooking spray and spread the batter evenly in the pan. Cover and refrigerate overnight (if cooking right away omit the covering and refrigeration).

TWO: Preheat oven to 350F. Spread fruit of choice evenly over the batter and then sprinkle with the sucanat and cinnamon. 

THREE: Bake 25-30 mins until the edges are lightly browned and the top springs back when touched. Cut into 8 squares and serve warm. 

Freeze leftovers using the flash freeze method to feed your freezer stash.

Nutrition Info:
Per pancake not including the topping- 200 Calories (56 Calories from Fat), 6g Total Fat, 1g Saturated Fat, 24mg Cholesterol, 268mg Sodium, 182mg Potassium, 30g Total Carbohydrates, 1g Dietary Fiber, 5.5g Sugars, 5.5g Protein, 2%DV VitA, 1% DV VitC, 9% DV Calcium, 9% DV Iron


Friday, February 28, 2014

Clean Eating Whole Grain Chocolate Peanut Butter Pancakes

Makes about 30 pancakes
There are few food combinations we like better than peanut butter and chocolate so these were a great Saturday morning treat in our house. Plus by adding some peanut butter to the batter, it boosts the protein and keeps the kids full longer. Does anyone else feel like they spend 75% of their day feeding their children?! Some days I will not even be done cleaning up the breakfast dishes before someone is asking me if it is lunch time yet. I automatically doubled the recipe I based these off of so that I would have some to freeze and eat throughout the week but, if for some crazy reason you DON'T want 30 pancakes, just halve it. 

Not surprisingly, the kids all scarfed these down. And it took my hungriest kid a whole hour to ask if it was lunchtime yet. They did, however, ask why they weren't green. When I make pancakes I always blend half a bag of fresh spinach into the batter but this morning I was lazy. It would certainly work with this recipe, though. 

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (I used King Arthur's White Whole Wheat)
  • 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup sucanat/honey/pure maple syrup (can substitute white/brown/turbinado sugar but it won't be "clean")
  • 2 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4-1/2 cup PB2 powdered peanut butter OR 1/2 to 1 cup natural peanut butter (depending on how peanut-buttery you want it. I used a 1/2 cup PB2 because, when I make something that is supposed to be peanut butter flavored, I like that to be the dominant flavor. But we are kind of partial to peanut butter.)
  • 2 1/2 cups milk of choice
  • 1/2 cup apple sauce (can omit if using regular peanut butter instead of powdered)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp almond/vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seeds (optional but it thickens the batter a bit)
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/2 a bag of fresh spinach (optional)
  • chocolate chips (technically optional. You could sub blueberries or raisins or pieces of banana or something instead)
ONE: In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients except chocolate chips. Mix well, then add in the liquid ingredients. Mix well and let sit a few minutes to thicken. (If using spinach, blend it up into the milk before adding the milk in or I just dump it into the batter and blend it in with my immersion blender.)

TWO: Pour batter by the 1/4 cupful onto hot griddle. (I have an electric griddle and I set it to 350. Regardless of what type of griddle/pan you use, a good rule of thumb is that it's preheated when you flick a drop of water onto the surface and it imediately sizzles and dances around.)

THREE: Drop 6 or 8 chocolate chips on each pancake in a circle with one in the middle. (I do it this way instead of mixing them into the batter because then I can space them out so each bite has just enough chocolate to seem indulgent. Plus everyone’s pancake has the same number of chocolate chips and no one fights for a particularly chocolatey one… Matt.)

FOUR: When the top is bubbly and almost set, flip and cook another minute or so until both sides are golden brown.

Freeze leftovers using the flash freeze method to feed your freezer stash.

Per pancake made with 1/2 cup PB2, skim milk, ground flax, and no spinach- 89 Calories (19 Calories from Fat), 2g Total Fat, 0.8g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 12mg Cholesterol, 109mg Sodium, 184mg Potassium, 14g Total Carbohydrates, 1.5g Dietary Fiber, 5.4g Sugars, 3.5g Protein, 1% DV VitA, 0% DV VitC, 8% DV Calcium, 4% DV Iron

Per pancake made with 1 cup natural peanut butter, skim milk, ground flax, and no spinach- 135 Calories (55 Calories from Fat), 6g Total Fat, 1.6g Saturated Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 12mg Cholesterol, 98mg Sodium, 181mg Potassium, 14.7g Total Carbohydrates, 2g Dietary Fiber, 5.4g Sugars, 5.5g Protein, 1% DV VitA, 0% DV VitC, 8% DV Calcium, 10% DV Iron

My lovely assistant. "If I just stretch out a little bit maybe I can swipe one."
(Notice the fork in her left hand, ready for action)
Never mind the spatula, let's see if I can just get a bite on my fork.
Almost there...... Darn these short baby arms and mean Mommy
putting my stool JUST far enough away

Friday, October 4, 2013

Clean Eating Quick and Easy Stir Fry with Peanut Sauce

Serves 4

Hi. This isn't going to be all fancy and nicely formatted. I'm putting it on here quickly simply because I threw it together tonight, I loved it, Matt loved it, my kids ate it with minimal complaint, and I don't want to forget how to make it. I love many things about Japan but one of the things I love most is the plethora of fresh food. It is a big part of the culture. Many people here don't do one big grocery shop a week or every two weeks like in the states. Instead they buy things fresh every day or every other day. I always want to just run into my local Japanese grocery store and grab some things to throw together a quick stir fry. But I am incapable of cooking anything without a recipe. Well tonight I went for it!!!!

The kids and I had been at my friend Christine's house all day (hi, Christine!!) and we were planning to eat dinner there. (She made spaghetti squash with chicken, parmesan, and avocado! That will be a post for another day.) Matt suddenly texted to let me know he would be coming home after all. So we hopped into the car and I ran into the store on the way home. I had nothing remotely in mind for dinner so I thought tonight would be the night to just go for it!

White meat chicken is dirt cheap here  since they prefer dark meat so I grabbed some chicken tenderloins. Then I perused the discount produce bin. They put stuff in there significantly marked down that is still perfectly good but has to be used today. I grabbed a bunch of asparagus (for 50 cents!!!), a bunch of some kind of leafy green veggie, and a little package of 4 of what I think are some kind of onion but they were about the size of shallots. Then I grabbed a package of fresh soba noodles (I know you're jealous!) and a bag of what I think was thinly sliced carrots mixed with bean sprouts. Here is what I did with it all:


  • 1 lb of lean protein (I used chicken breast)
  • 4 servings of a precooked complex carbohydrate (you could use brown rice or whole wheat angel hair pasta. I used the soba noodles)
  • variety of veggies (I used the asparagus, onions, carrots, leafy greens, and bean sprouts)
For the sauce-
  • 1/4 cup water/broth (I used water)
  • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce (less if you don't want it as salty)
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (can omit or sub a different nut butter or I bet tahini would be delicious)
  • 1/8 cup honey (or mirin if you live in Japan!)
  • Tbsp lemon/lime juice
  • 1 tsp minced garlic or 1/2 tsp garlic powder
ONE: Cut the protein up into bite sized pieces and brown it in a skillet/wok in a little bit of oil (I used olive oil) over medium heat, stirring occasionally.

TWO: While the protein is cooking, whisk the sauce ingredients together. (I did this in a one cup measuring cup so I could measure as I went and then not make two things dirty :)

THREE: Once the protein is cooked, remove from pan, and add a little bit more oil. Throw your slower cooking veggies in first (like asparagus, carrots, or broccoli) and stir fry about 3 minutes. Then add your faster cooking veggies (like onions and bean sprouts) and cook until tender crisp. If using leafy greens, throw them in during the last minute of stir frying.

FOUR: Once veggies are done, add your protein back into the pan along with your complex carbohydrate (in my case the soba noodles) and dump in the sauce. Stir it all and let it cook a little bit until the sauce starts bubbling. Let the sauce bubble for a minute or so until it is heated through and the sauce is your desired thickness (more bubbling equals thicker sauce).

This isn't specifically a freezer recipe but I fully intend to mix up several batches of the stir fry sauce and freeze them using the medium/large portions method. That way I can pop them in the fridge in the morning to defrost during the day and save myself the measuring when dinner time comes around :)

Nutrition Info:
This is just for the sauce since the actual stir fry ingredients will vary. You could use this sauce for 4 portions or certainly stretch it to cover 6 portions.

4 Servings - 143 Calories (72 Calories from Fat), 8g Total Fat, 1.5g Saturated Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 535mg Sodium, 13g Total Carbs, 1g Dietary Fiber, 10g Sugar, 6g Protein, 0% DV VitA, 3% DV VitC, 1% DV Calcium, 4% DV Iron

6 Servings -95 Calories (48 Calories from Fat), 5g Total Fat, 1g Saturated Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 357mg Sodium, 9g Total Carbs, 1g Dietary Fiber, 7g Sugar, 4g Protein, 0% DV VitA, 2% DV VitC, 0% DV Calcium, 3% DV Iron

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Clean Eating Creamy Cauliflower and Sausage Casserole

Makes about 6 servings, 1 1/2 cups each
Yum, yum, YUM! I got the idea for this recipe in part from a post on my friend, Mandy's, facebook page. Mandy is my super awesome friend who creates all kinds of scrumptiously delicious things in her kitchen. She's the kind of friend that drops off muffins on your doorstep in the morning or comes to visit you after you have a baby, brings a whole bunch of food, and then forces you to sit down and eat while she does your dishes or something. 

Anyway, Mandy follows the Paleo Diet now and she posted a recipe for a Buffalo Chicken Cauliflower Casserole. I loved the idea of a casserole featuring veggies as the main ingredient but I didn't have any chicken and we are pretty wimpy about spicy things in our house. So really the only thing I took from the recipe was how to cook the cauliflower to start the casserole LOL. The end result was totally different but SOOOOOOOO good. Creamy and savory with a crispy parmesan crust. 

I inhaled my bowl and the boys were equally enthusiastic. The baby started dancing in her high chair after the first bite and then growled at me if I put her spoon down for a minute to get my own bite. (If you want to see what she looks like when she is NOT growling, make sure to scroll to the bottom!) I will admit that the boys and I each had a piece of homemade whole wheat bread and butter with our servings (so no Paleo for us!) but it was only because the bread had just finished baking and we had been smelling it for an hour. We would have been more than satisfied with just the casserole. 


  • 14 oz package frozen cauliflower or 1 head fresh cauliflower, chopped (about 4 cups)
  • 2 Tbsp and 1 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp sage
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and finely diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely diced
  • 12oz all natural, nitrate free chicken sausage links, sliced into medallions (I used Saag's Naturals Chicken Apple)
  • 4 big handfuls spinach
  • 1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock (could use chicken broth or vegetable broth)
  • 1/2 cup silken tofu
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup shredded part skim mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
ONE: Preheat oven to 400. Dump the cauliflower into a large baking dish and pour 2 Tbsp olive oil over the top. Sprinkle with salt, nutmeg, and sage and stir well until all of the cauliflower is coated with oil and seasonings. Bake 30 minutes, stirring once in the middle, until cooked through and starting to brown.

TWO: While the cauliflower is cooking, throw the onion, parsnips, and carrots into a large saute pan with the remaining 1 tsp of olive oil. Stir well, cover, and cook over medium heat until onion is translucent and veggies have softened, about 10 minutes.

THREE:  Add the sausage and spinach and cook, stirring often, until the spinach has wilted and the sausage is slightly browned, about 4 minutes. (I used fully cooked sausage so if you are using raw sausage, cook it until the sausage is mostly cooked. You are going to bake the final dish so a little pink is okay.)

FOUR: Whisk the tofu and lemon juice into the chicken stock. (I used homemade chicken stock that had no added salt so I added 1 tsp of low sodium soy sauce to the mixture.) Pour it over the veggie mixture along with the shredded mozzarella and 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Stir well and heat through until the cheese has melted, about 2 minutes.

FIVE: Add the sausage mixture into the baking dish with the cooked cauliflower. Mix well, breaking up any large pieces of cauliflower as you stir. Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese over the top and bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 5 minutes or until the parmesan cheese is bubbly and golden brown.

Freeze in 1 1/2 cup portions using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash.

Nutrition Info:
Per 1/12 cup serving- 278 Calories (130 Calories from Fat), 14g Fat, 4.5g Saturated Fat, 60mg Cholesterol, 920mg Sodium, 16g Total Carbohydrates, 5g Dietary Fiber, 3.5g Sugars, 19.5g Protein, 87% DV VitA, 50% DV VitC, 21% DV Calcium, 13% DV Iron

Toss cauliflower in a baking dish with olive oil, salt, sage, and nutmeg.
While cauliflower is baking, saute carrots, parsnips, and onions
Once veggies are cooked, add sausage...
...and a heaping pile of spinach :)
Whisk tofu and lemon juice into chicken stock
Cauliflower is done when it is softened and starting to brown
Add stock mixture, mozzarella, and half of the parmesan to sauteed veggies
Combine with cooked cauliflower, stir well, and top with remaining parmesan
Bake covered for 15 mins and uncovered for 5 until top is crusty and bubbly
Liadan enjoyed a bath in the sink while I chopped veggies. How's that for multitasking?
One more perk of my super cool Japanese house! 

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Clean Eating Coconut Almond Curry

Makes about 6 servings, 1 1/2 cups each
One of the best things about living in Japan (besides the fact that you can get a can of hot milk tea from a vending machine!) is that there is delicious curry EVERYWHERE. I am hoping to go to a local grocery store with my new friend, Hiromi, (Hi, Hiromi!) soon so that she can show me what the different kinds of curry pastes and bottles of sauces are. But for now I made this super yummy version using regular curry powder. The coconut and almond butter went so well together and made the sauce silky smooth. I loved the slight sweetness of the red pepper and pineapple paired with the slight saltiness of the soy sauce. You could easily make this a vegetarian meal by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth and using firm tofu, mushrooms, cauliflower, or even potatoes in place of the chicken.

I deliberately used almond butter because Liadan isn't old enough to eat peanut butter yet and I wanted her to be able to try it, but I think it would be scrumptious with peanut butter as well. The boys were skeptical at first when they saw their bowls but in the end they both licked their plates clean. The baby inhaled hers while making lots of happy lip-smacking noises and trying to throw herself out of the highchair and onto the table to get closer to the bowl. Matt finished two bowls in record time even though he was trying to eat it with chopsticks. I'd say this was a success :) 

At first glance it may seem like this dish is high in saturated fat but it's mainly from the coconut milk which is, believe it or not, good for you. Read more about it HERE.

  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into bite sized pieces, about 1 lb
  • 2 Tbsp tapioca starch or arrowroot powder (can use cornstarch but it won't be "Clean")
  • 2 cups low sodium, fat free chicken broth, divided (can use vegetable broth)
  • 1 can coconut milk (I used a regular one but you could use low fat as well)
  • 1/4 cup almond butter (can use peanut butter or any other kind of nut butter or leave this out completely for a nut-free dish)
  • 2 tsp curry powder or 2 Tbsp curry paste (I used yellow curry powder)
  • 2 Tbsp low sodium soy sauce 
  • 1 tsp ground ginger 
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 2 Tbsp sucanat (could use honey or brown sugar)
  • 3 carrots cut into matchsticks
  • 4 cups broccoli florets 
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks
  • Cilantro (or basil) and slivered almonds (or peanuts) for garnish
ONE: In a large skillet, wok, or saucepan lightly misted with cooking spray, cook onion, pepper, garlic, and chicken over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the chicken is cooked through and the onions are translucent, about 8 minutes.

TWO: In a medium bowl (or 4-cup measuring cup!), mix the tapioca starch/arrowroot powder with enough of the chicken broth to make a thin liquid (called a slurry). Add the rest of the broth, coconut milk, almond butter, curry, soy sauce, ginger, salt and sucanat. Stir well to combine.

THREE: Once the chicken is cooked through, dump in the carrots, broccoli, pineapple, and curry sauce and mix well. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to medium and let cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the carrots are tender and the sauce has thickened,

Garnish with cilantro and nuts. We ate ours by itself but it would go nicely with brown rice or some whole grain naan. Freeze in 1 1/2 cup portions using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash.

Nutrition Info:
Per 1 1/2 cup serving without garnishes- 490 Calories (279 Calories from Fat), 31g Total Fat, 19g Saturated Fat, 67mg Cholesterol, 603mg Sodium, 27g Total Carbs, 6g Dietary Fiber, 14g Sugars, 30g Protein, 125% DV Vit A, 180% DV Vit C, 8% DV Calcium, 22% DV Iron

Saute onion, peppers, garlic, and chicken until chicken is cooked through and veggies are soft
Combine all of the sauce ingredients 
Chop up your carrots...or carrot if you are in Japan since they are ENORMOUS here!
 That's an 8 inch chef knife it is sitting next to. Is it weird that, every time I buy carrots here,
I think about how Bugs Bunny would have loved Japan? ;) 
Mix up your sauce
Dump the broccoli, carrots, and pineapple into the pan on top of the chicken mixture
Add in the sauce mixture
Stir well. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and cook uncovered about 10 minutes or until veggies are tender crisp and sauce has thickened.
Matt had his with peanuts and no cilantro. Mine was prettier ;)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Clean Eating Skillet Baked Ziti with Sausage

Makes 10 servings, about 1 cup each
I have made this once a week for the past 4 weeks. It is a new family favorite :) We have been in Japan for almost 6 months now. The time has just flown by and we are loving this wonderful experience. The kids and I have gotten really involved with modeling since we have been here which means that we spend a few days a week in Tokyo for jobs or auditions. I have had to rely a LOT on my freezer stash and quick-but-healthy throw together meals like this one for the nights that we are getting home from the train station right at dinner time. 

I whipped this up one night when Matt was gone, we had been in the city all day, and I just wanted a nice, home-cooked meal. Whenever my sister, Anthea (hi, Anthea!!), comes to visit me she always makes me baked ziti. She just throws it together but if you have been following my blog for any length of time you know I am incapable of cooking ANYTHING without a recipe. I was googling baked ziti recipes and came across a few that were started on the stove and finished in the oven and I loved how much faster it was so I pieced this together from a few different sources. It is also a super great way to use up wilted spinach that you don't want to eat in a salad :)

Technically this is rotini, not ziti, but the commissary doesn't carry whole wheat ziti
so this was the best I could do ;)
  • 4 big handfuls spinach
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (1 tsp)
  • 12 oz all natural, nitrate free sausage, sliced into medallions (I use Saag's Naturals Chicken Apple)
  • 28 oz can no salt added crushed tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 Tbsp dried basil
  • 1/2 Tbsp dried oregano
  • 3 cups water
  • 12 oz whole wheat pasta
  • 1/3 cup neufchatel (or reduced fat cream cheese) OR 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup part skim shredded mozzarella
ONE: In a large oven proof skillet, cook the spinach and garlic over medium heat until the spinach is wilted, about 5 minutes. Add the sliced sausage and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes.

TWO: Pour in the crushed tomatoes with juices, salt, basil, oregano, and water. Bring to a simmer.

THREE: Preheat oven to 475. Stir the uncooked pasta into the tomato sausage mixture in the skillet, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook covered until pasta is al dente, about 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. 

FOUR: Remove from heat and stir in the cream cheese/ricotta cheese and parmesan. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the top and put the skillet into the preheated oven. Bake 10 minutes until cheese on top is melted and lightly browned.

NOTE: If you don't have an oven-proof skillet, you could certainly do the stove top part in a sauce pan or regular skillet and then dump it all into a casserole dish before sprinkling on the mozzarella. I just like using the oven proof skillet because then I only have one pan to wash.

Freeze leftovers in 1 cup portions using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash.

Nutrition Info:
Per 1 cup serving made with Neufchatel- 243 Calories (48 Calories from Fat), 5g Fat, 2.5g Saturated Fat, 35mg Cholesterol, 384mg Sodium, 32g Carbohydrates, 5g Dietary Fiber, 3g Sugars, 16g Protein, 34% DV VitA, 20% DV VitC, 15% DV Calcium, 13% DV Iron

Per 1 cup serving made with Ricotta Cheese- 232 Calories (41 Calories from Fat), 5g Fat, 2g Saturated Fat, 32mg Cholesterol, 330mg Sodium, 32.5g Total Carbohydrates, 5g Dietary Fiber, 3g Sugars, 15g Protein, 34% DV VitA, 20% DV VitC, 9% DV Calcium, 14% DV Iron

Cook spinach and garlic until spinach wilts
Add in sliced sausage and cook until lightly browned
Stir in crushed tomatoes, seasonings, and water. 
Add in pasta, cover, reduce heat to low, and cook 12-15 mins until al dente 
Stir in ricotta/cream cheese and parmesan and sprinkle top with mozzarella.
Bake at 475 until cheese on top is melted and lightly browned.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Clean Eating Butternut Squash and Lentil Soup with Coconut and Cilantro

Makes 9 servings, about 1 cup each
I LOVED this soup. But I might be biased because butternut squash and coconut are two of my favorite foods. For me this was the perfect mix of slightly sweet squash and creamy coconut with a hint of cumin. I will admit that Matt and the boys weren't huge fans (meaning they ate it but there was some whining) but they all despise butternut squash so I wasn't super surprised. But that's okay, all the more for me and the baby (her opinion doesn't really count yet because at this point she eats anything we put in her mouth lol). This was fast to make, froze really well, and made me happy as I ate it for lunch all week when it was chilly outside. I did not add any salt to it so, if you are new to clean eating (or just like your soup a bit salty), then you might want to throw some in. At first glance it may seem like this dish is high in saturated fat but it's mainly from the coconut milk which is, believe it or not, good for you. Read more about it HERE.

Liadan and I modeling how delicious this soup is!
Okay, we were really modeling the Thermos product. But the reason she opened her mouth wide with that happy look on her face so they could get this great shot was because she was eating this soup so I think that still counts ;)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large carrot, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 cup of lentils (I used green but any kind is fine)
  • 4 cups broth (I used chicken but vegetable would be fine too)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and chopped (2 1/2 - 3 cups)
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro plus extra for garnish
CROCKPOT INSTRUCTIONS: Throw everything into the crockpot, cover, and cook on high 4-5 hours or low 7-8 hours or until lentils and veggies are tender.

It makes me so happy to dump a bunch of stuff into the crockpot
and then have it be delicious soup in the evening :)
STOVETOP INSTRUCTIONS: Heat 1/2 Tbsp olive oil in a large soup pot and sauté the onion, carrots and garlic for about 5 minutes or until the onions are tender. Add lentils, broth, coconut milk, cumin, mustard, squash, and cilantro. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and let simmer for about 30 minutes or until lentils and veggies are tender.

Once the soup is done you can certainly eat it as is but we prefer to puree it into a smooth, thick stew. I use my immersion blender for this but you could use a blender or food processor instead. I served it garnished with a dollop of plain yogurt, a little cilantro, and a sprinkle of sunflower seeds. Pumpkin seeds, some unsweetened flaked coconut, or a dash of lime juice would work nicely as well.

Freeze leftovers in 1 cup portions using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash.

Per 1 cup serving - 256 Calories (118 Calories from Fat), 13g of Fat, 11g Saturated Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 220mg Sodium, 30g Carbohydrates, 10g Dietary Fiber, 5g Sugar, 8.5g Protein, 242% DV Vitamin A, 42% DV Vitamin C, 8% DV Calcium, 19% DV Iron

** NOTE: As mentioned above, I know this seems like a LOT of fat, particularly saturated fat, but this comes from the coconut milk and is actually not a bad kind of fat. For more info check out this LINK.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Clean Eating Quick and Easy Chicken Curry

Makes 4 Servings
About a week after we arrived in Japan, Matt and I decided to be brave and try something out in town. We hired a babysitter and ventured out onto one of the main roads near our hotel. Everything was still very intimidating because we couldn't speak the language or read any signs and it all felt so alien. But, on the babysitter's suggestion, we found this little hole in the wall place called Nirvana. And inside we had hands down the absolute BEST curry I have ever had in my entire life. So good that I think about asking Matt to bring some home from work at least once every day. Dinner for two is about $30, though, so I knew I was going to have to come up with some way to satisfy my curry craving and limit myself to Nirvana only once or twice a month. This is a super fast and easy curry that you can throw together any old time. We ate it with whole grain naan but you could serve it over rice as well. 

  • 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp minced garlic (or 2 cloves finely chopped)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 3 big handfuls of spinach, torn into bite-sized pieces

ONE: In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it starts to brown. Add the garlic and salt and cook one minute, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant but not burnt.

TWO: Add in the curry powder, cumin, and ginger and cook one minute, stirring frequently. Add in the coconut milk, tomatoes, and tomato paste and stir vigorously to scrape any browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.

THREE: Add chicken and simmer until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in spinach, cover, and let sit until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.

Freeze leftovers using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash.

Nutrition Info:
Per serving- 332 Calories (173 Calories from Fat), 19g Fat, 13g Saturated Fat, 73mg Cholesterol, 429mg sodium, 14g Total Carbohydrates, 5g Dietary Fiber, 8g Sugars, 28g Protein, 54% DV VitA, 36% DV VitC, 7% DV Calcium, 17% DV Iron.

Cook onions in a bit of olive oil
Once they start to brown, add garlic and spices
Stir in coconut milk, tomatoes, and tomato paste
Add in chicken, cook through, then add spinach

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Clean Eating Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal

Makes 8-12 servings
Breakfast the tastes like Pumpkin Pie but is actually good for you?! Yup, instant mom of the year award right here :) In the month that it's taken me to post this recipe I've made it three times. I always give my kids a cooked breakfast and most weeks we alternate between Crockpot Overnight Oatmeal and Green Eggs but every now and again I like to throw something different into the mix. This dish smells delicious while it's cooking and really makes you feel like you are having a treat. But it's chock full of Vitamin A and whole grains making it a super way to start your day. I mix up the wet ingredients the night before to save time in the morning and then we eat the leftovers over the next few days so my little bit of effort actually yields 3 or 4 mornings of scrumptiousness. 

  • 2 or 3 ripe bananas
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 cups uncooked oatmeal (I used rolled oats)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 can pumpkin (make sure it's just pureed pumpkin with nothing random added like sweeteners)
  • 1/2 cup sucanat/honey (can use brown sugar but it won't be "clean")
  • 2 tsp cinnamon plus extra for sprinkling
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds, divided (I've used chopped pecans too)
ONE: Spray a 9x13 baking dish lightly with cooking spray. Thinly slice the bananas and spread them over the bottom of the dish. Drizzle with the Tbsp of honey and sprinkle with cinnamon. Place in the oven and preheat to 375. The bananas will soften while the oven heats up.

TWO: Mix the oatmeal with the baking powder and set aside.

THREE: Combine the pumpkin, sucanat, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, milk, eggs, vanilla, almond extract and 1/4 cup of the almonds in a medium bowl. Mix well.

FOUR: Once the oven is preheated, remove the baking dish. Sprinkle the oatmeal mixture evenly over the warm bananas. Pour the pumpkin mixture evenly over the oats and top with the remaining 1/4 cup of nuts. Bake 30-35 minutes until the top is golden brown and the pumpkin mixture is firm enough that the middle doesn't jiggle if you shake the pan. You might also see the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan. Cut into 8 or 12 servings (we eat a big breakfast so I always cut ours into 8) and serve warm.

Freeze leftovers using the flash freeze method to feed your freezer stash. Reheat in the microwave or oven.

Nutrition Info:
Per serving when made with almond milk and cut into 8 servings- 225 Calories (77 Calories from Fat), 8.5g Fat, 1.2g Saturated Fat, 41mg Cholesterol, 137mg Sodium, 34g Total Carbohydrates, 6.4g Dietary Fiber, 10.4g Sugars, 6g Protein, 195% DV VitA, 11% DV VitC, 15% DV Calcium, 14% DV Iron

Per serving when made with almond milk and cut into 12 servings- 150 Calories (51 Calories from Fat), 5.5g Fat, 0.8g Saturated Fat, 27mg Cholesterol, 93mg Sodium, 22.5g Total Carbohydrates, 4g Dietary Fiber, 7g Sugars, 4g Protein, 130% DV VitA, 7% DV VitC, 10% DV Calcium, 9% DV Iron

Spread sliced bananas in the bottom of the pan, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with cinnamon
Roast bananas in the oven while it preheats and you combine the other ingredients
Sprinkle oatmeal mixture over bananas
Mix together pumpkin, spices, milk, eggs, 1/4 cup nuts, and sucanat 
Pour pumpkin mixture over oatmeal mixture
Sprinkle with remaining nuts
Bake 30-35 minutes until set, slice and serve
Hang out with your super cute kiddos while it's cooking :)