Sunday, December 30, 2012

Clean Eating Mahi Mahi Coconut Soup

Makes 6 servings, 1 cup each
This was something I threw together when we were living in a hotel when we first arrived in Japan. I loved how easy it was and how the flavors of the ingredients really shone through. I didn't really season it at all because the ingredients I had access to were very limited, but the resulting soup was delicious so it was a blessing in disguise :)

If you are new to Clean Eating you may need to add some salt or curry powder or something. The longer you eat fresh, whole ingredients, the more your pallet adjusts to recognize the natural flavors of foods. But this takes a little while to happen so this may seem a bit bland. If you are not new to Clean Eating, you will be more than satisfied by the slight sweetness of the carrots, the tang of the lemon juice, and the creaminess of the broth. Yum!



Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp olive oil/coconut oil
  • 1 small onion, peeled and chopped 
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped 
  • 3/4 lb red skinned potatoes, cleaned and chopped (I used a 12oz bag of frozen mini red potatoes because that's what they had at the minimart)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken/fish/vegetable broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 2 Mahi Mahi fillets, about 4 oz each (You could use chicken breast instead)
  • 1 cup shelled edamame
  • 2 large handfuls of fresh spinach leaves
  • Lemon juice
ONE: In a large stockpot over medium high heat cook the onion, carrots, and potatoes in the olive oil until the onions are translucent and the veggies begin to soften, about 8-10 minutes.

TWO: Add the broth and coconut milk, bring to a boil. Add the fish, cover, and simmer 10 minutes or until fish is cooked through and flakes easily. Remove fish from pot and set aside.

THREE: Add the edamame and spinach to the pot and simmer for a few minutes while you cut the fish into bite sized pieces. Stir the fish back into the soup, season with a little salt to taste, and garnish with a squirt of lemon juice.

Freeze leftovers in 1 cup portions using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Nutrition Info:
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

Per 1 cup serving - 311 Calories (192 Calories from Fat), 21g Total Fat, 17g Saturated Fat, 13mg Cholesterol, 192mg Sodium, 20g Total Carbohydrates, 5g Dietary Fiber, 6g Sugars, 13.5g Protein, 121% DV VitA, 26% DV VitC, 10% DV Calcium, 16% DV Iron

Cook veggies then add in the liquid ingredients
Add in the fish and cook through
Stir in the spinach and edamame
So easy you can feed a baby while making it ;)
Multitasking is essential while living with three little kids in a hotel room.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Clean Eating Healthy Homemade Creamy Tomato Soup

Makes 6 Servings, about 1 cup each
You know when you find something that is totally awesome but so simple and it rocks your world? (Like the first time I made yogurt in the crockpot!) Well this is one of those things! This is hands down the best tomato soup I've ever had IN MY LIFE. Which is not surprising since I got it from my amazing friend, Crystal. (Hi, Crystal!) She is one of the best cooks I know and I swear if she cooked me a rubber ducky I'd eat it and it would be delicious :) Crystal is one of those cooks that just throws things together and never measures anything... ANYTHING. As you know I'm one of those cooks that measures everything. But no matter whether you are a measurer or a dumper, I promise you this will come out good. 

The original recipe called for 2 cups of milk but, here in Japan, milk is expensive and tofu is cheaper than dirt. So I used some silken tofu in place of some of the milk which actually bumped up the protein level a bit and made the soup even creamier. The boys and Matt oohed and ahhed over this and licked their bowls clean. After eating it, Matt said, "Okay, I ate it. So what's in it?" I repeatedly told him there was nothing hidden in it. Then a few minutes later I said, "Well there's tofu in it," and he said, "Oh, that doesn't count." We are now "those people" where tofu in our soup is normal. I'm okay with that. Best. Soup. EVER.


Few things are better than grilled cheese and tomato soup :)
Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • dash of peppet
  • 2 28oz cans no salt added tomatoes, undrained (diced, crushed, whatever you have)
  • 4 leaves fresh basil
  • 1 bay leaf 
  • 2 Tbsp sucanat/honey (can use sugar/brown sugar but it won't be "clean")
  • 12oz silken tofu pureed plus milk to equal 2 cups total (about 1/4 cup milk)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
ONE: Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Saute the celery and onion with the salt and pepper until the onions are translucent and the celery starts to soften, about 8 minutes.

TWO: Add in the tomatoes, basil, bay leaf, and sucanat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for 45 minutes.

(At this point, Crystal removed it from the heat, blended it, strained it, and froze it in a freezer bag. On the day of serving she will defrost it and heat it in a stockpot with 2 cups milk/milk-tofu mixture and 1 tsp baking soda. I tried to blend it and strain it but it made a HUGE mess so I just removed the bay leaf and pureed it.)

THREE: Blend silken tofu until it is liquid and mix in enough milk to equal 2 cups. Stir the tofu-milk mixture into the tomato mixture and add 1 tsp baking soda. Mix well and heat through. (The baking soda seems weird but makes such a difference! It creates this light, fluffy texture and it's almost like tomato soup mousse.)

Freeze leftovers in 1 cup portions using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Nutrition Info:
Per 1 cup serving - 124 Calories (21 Calories from Fat), 2.3g Total Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 478mg Sodium, 8g Total Carbs, 0.5g Dietary Fiber, 6g Sugars, 4.5g Protein, 12% DV VitA, 9% DV VitC, 6% DV Calcium, 6% DV Iron

Saute onions and celery with salt and pepper
Add in tomatoes, basil, bay leaf, and sucanat. While I was cooking:
Theron - "What are you making mommy?"
Me - "Miss Crystal's Tomato Soup."
Theron - "Oh. You gonna take a picture." Hahaha.
Add in tofu-milk mixture and baking soda, stir well and heat through
:)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Clean Eating Healthy Homemade Hamburger Helper

Makes about 7 servings, 1 1/4 cups each
This one earned me super-duper-awesome-wife brownie points for sure! Matt LOVES Hamburger Helper. Back when we actually ate it, we would always joke that I could cook for hours and he would like it but if I made Hamburger Helper he would rave about it for weeks. He's a pretty laid back guy and has willingly joined me on our Clean Eating journey (alright, he's way too lazy to cook something for himself so he just sucks it up and eats what I make but "willingly" sounded so much nicer). For every blog-worthy thing I make you can pretty much guarantee he's had to choke down two things that were not blog-worthy. He never complains while he's eating it and then at some point later that night or the next day, he will just casually say he wouldn't mind if we didn't have it again. But the one thing I know he really, really misses from our pre-Clean Eating days is Hamburger Helper. And do you want to know a dirty little secret? I do too!!

Don't get me wrong, I would never actually cook Hamburger Helper now because of the white pasta, msg, hfcs, preservatives, additives, and laundry list of chemicals they manage to squeeze into that brightly colored little box. But I used to make it about once a week when we were first married and I miss how easy and fast it was. Plus you can't beat the fact that it only dirties one pan (especially since we have no dishwasher yet in our Japanese house).

My totally awesome new friend, Christine, (hi, Christine!) watched the kids for me today while I went to the dentist so naturally I stayed and hung out (okay hid from the unpacking I was supposed to be doing) for like 4 hours afterwards drinking cup after cup of tea and cuddling the baby. Once we finally got home it was already dinner time and I hadn't planned anything. I am working on building my freezer stockpile right now since we had to empty the freezer when we moved so I wanted to whip something up fast instead of using my little stash. And all I could think was, "I wish there was a healthy version of Hamburger Helper." Well now there is. The whole family loved this and Matt agreed that it was just as good as real Hamburger Helper. Which could be read as "you cook as well as crap that you dump out of a box" but I know coming from him it's a huge compliment LOL. Super fast, super easy, and only one pan to clean. Woo hoo!


This picture does NOT do it justice. It was so delicious that we all scarfed it down and I completely forgot to take a picture when it was hot so this serving has actually been sitting in the fridge for a few hours LOL. I'm writing this at 12:30 AM and it took a RIDICULOUS amount of willpower not to eat this serving cold after I took the pic. 
How I "healthified" it:

  • Substituted whole wheat pasta for the white pasta.
  • Used real cheese, real tomatoes, and seasonings instead of a packet of mystery chemical powders.
  • Used lean ground turkey instead of ground beef.
  • Added broccoli (cut up REALLY small so that you barely notice it... and it's harder to pick out).

Ingredients: 

  • 1.25 lbs 93% lean ground turkey (my package was 1.25 lbs but 1 lb would be fine)
  • 3 cups broccoli, chopped into little pieces 
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper 
  • 1 1/2 tsp onion powder 
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
  • 15 oz can tomato sauce 
  • can full of water 
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard (I didn't have any so I used 1 tsp mustard powder and 1 tsp vinegar
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt 
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat pasta (I used elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese 
ONE: In a large skillet, brown the ground turkey over medium high heat until no longer pink. Drain off grease and rinse out pan.

TWO: Return browned turkey to skillet and add broccoli, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, tomato sauce, a can full of water, mustard, salt, and pasta. Stir well. Bring to a boil then reduce heat; cover and simmer 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the water is absorbed and the pasta is cooked. (If you plan on freezing the leftovers, slightly firmer pasta is better)

THREE: Turn the heat off and stir in the cheese.

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

Nutrition Info:
Per 1 1/4 cup serving - 339 Calories (106 Calories from Fat), 11.7 g Total Fat, 5.3g Saturated Fat, 74mg Cholesterol, 681mg Sodium, 35g Total Carbs, 5g Dietary Fiber, 3.5g Sugars, 26.7g Protein, 14% DV Vit A, 63% DV Vit C, 17% DV Calcium, 20% DV Iron

Brown ground turkey
Dump in everything else, bring to boil, simmer 15 mins on low, remove from heat and stir in cheese
Matt insisted on eating his with chopsticks. He's a weirdo but we love him anyway :)
Admit it, you would rather spend your day cuddling this cutie than unpacking too :)
:)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Clean Eating Turkey Chili

Makes about 16 servings, 1 cup each 
This is sooooo easy to make, is delicious, and is a great way to sneak a whole bunch of veggies into your family without them knowing it. Perfect paired with some whole grain cornbread. This is one of the very first recipes I started making when I was getting into freezer cooking. You could pretty much guarantee that you would always be able to find at least one serving in the freezer. So naturally when we arrived in our house in Japan and I had a big, huge, empty freezer to fill I thought the first thing in there should be a big batch of chili. But for some reason I have never posted the recipe and my recipe box had yet to be unearthed in our pile of boxes. As you know I am incapable of cooking ANYTHING without a recipe so I literally sat on a stool in my kitchen surrounded by boxes and went through 3 years (three years!!!!) of e-mails (on my phone because our internet wasn't set up yet) until I found an old one where I had sent the recipe to my friend. Crazy, right?! This chili is so good it was worth it :)



Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions, minced 
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped 
  • 1 medium bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into ½-inch pieces 
  • 6 medium garlic cloves, minced (2 Tbsp) 
  • ¼ cup chili powder 
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin 
  • 1 tsp dried oregano 
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 ½ tsp salt, divided 
  • 2 lbs 93 percent lean ground turkey 
  • 2 15oz cans red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or sometimes I use Cannellini beans)
  • 1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes 
  • 1 15oz can tomato sauce 
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes 
  • 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth 
  • 1 bag fresh spinach 
Optional: (if you like it hot. You know me, I'm super wimpy so I leave these out!)

  • ½-1 tsp red pepper flakes 
  • ¼ - ½ tsp cayenne 
Slow Cooker Directions: Brown the ground turkey and toss it in the crockpot with all the other ingredients except the spinach (you can omit the Tbsp of olive oil). Cover and cook on high 4-6 hours or on low 8-10 hours. An hour before serving, stir in the bag of spinach, cover, and continue cooking. 

Stove Top Directions: 
ONE: Combine the onions, carrots, bell peppers, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, oil, ½ tsp salt, red pepper flakes (if using), and cayenne (if using) in a large covered pot. Cover and cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the vegetables are softened, 8-10 minutes.
TWO: Increase the heat to medium-high, add the turkey, and cook, breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pink and just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
THREE: Stir in the beans, diced tomatoes with their juices, crushed tomatoes, broth, and 1 tsp salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce the heat to medium-low, stir in the spinach, and simmer, uncovered, until the chili has begun to thicken, about 1 hour.

Freeze leftovers in 1 cup servings using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top.

Nutrition Info: 
Per 1 cup serving - 217 Calories (48 Calories from Fat), 5g Total Fat, 1.5g Saturated Fat, 40mg Cholesterol, 693mg Sodium, 27g Total Carbs, 8g Dietary Fiber, 3g Sugars, 18.5g Protein, 135% DV Vit A, 63% DV Vit C, 13% DV Calcium, 31% DV Iron

I only used two carrots because look how huge my Japanese carrots are!!
Dump in the veggies

Dump in the meat, cans, and seasonings... also a good shot of my cookbooks in case you were interested. Super Baby Food was where it all started, then there is my Eat Clean Diet Book (which should really be called the non-diet book since it's not a diet, it's a lifestyle), every Clean Eating Magazine ever published, and Cook's Illustrated Best Light Recipe. Who could need anything more?!
Stir and cook. So easy :)

:)

Clean Eating Whole Grain Cornbread

Makes 16 servings, one slice each 
This is probably one of my boys top 5 favorite things and mine too. Every time I run the breadmaker, they run in as soon as they hear it start and ask if I'm making cornbread. If the answer is yes, there will be much cheering and happy dancing in the Allan household :) If you were previously a box of jiffy cornbread kind of person then this will be a little drier and more crumbly than what you are used to (likely due to the lack of shortening lol) but it is full of flavor and way better for you. Because it is a little crumblier, I like to cut the entire loaf in half and then cut fat slices instead of thin slices. You'll see what I mean in the pic. We almost always make this to eat with Turkey Chili. I've also used it to make cornbread stuffing.


Hot and fresh from the mini loaf pan! You can almost smell it :)
Ingredients: 
  • 1 ½ cups whole grain cornmeal (the side of the package must say whole grain corn or whole ground corn or something involving whole, not degerminated or anything. I buy mine at the natural food store in bulk.
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour (I use King Arthur's White Whole Wheat)
  • 2 ½ tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp salt 
  • 3 Tbsp honey 
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk (I NEVER have this so I combine 1 ½ c milk w/ 1 ½ Tbsp lemon juice, let sit 5 minutes then stir
  • ¼ cup oil (extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, whatever you like
  • 2 eggs, beaten 
  • Optional: For sweet cornbread add ½ cup Sucanat or honey (I always do
Breadmaker Instructions: Dump all the liquid ingredients into the pan and then add the dry ingredients. Set the machine to the quickbread setting and push start.

(NOTE: Not all machines have a quickbread setting. This is not the rapid setting for yeast breads, it's a specific setting for quickbreads using baking soda/powder instead of yeast. If your machine doesn't have this setting, mix the ingredients first then dump them in and just run it on the bake setting for about an hour.)

Oven Instructions:
ONE: Buy a cheap used breadmaker on Craigslist. Just kidding... kind of. Preheat oven to 400 (350 if using mini loaf pan or 9" loaf pan). Coat an 8” square pan, 9" loaf pan, or mini loaf pan with non-stick spray.

TWO: Mix flours, baking powder, salt, honey, and sucanat/extra honey (if using) with a wire whisk. In a separate bowl combine wet ingredients and then stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

THREE: Pour batter into a prepared pan and bake 20-25 minutes for square pan or mini loaf pan or 30 minutes for a 9" loaf pan or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Crockpot Instructions:
ONE: Mix all ingredients as directed in oven instructions. Coat the inside of the crock with cooking spray, dump the batter in, and put the lid on.

TWO: Cook on high for 3-4 hours or until a toothpick comes out clean. If you notice a lot of condensation building up inside the cover, prop it open with a chopstick or similar sized item to vent.

Cut into 16 slices. Freeze leftovers using the flash freeze method or double bagged method to feed your freezer stash. Reheat in the microwave or toaster or thaw in the fridge overnight.

Nutrition Info:
Per slice (sweetened version using sucanat) - 162 Calories (38 Calories from Fat), 4g Fat, 0.7g Saturated Fat, 21mg Cholesterol, 170mg Sodium, 28.7g Total Carbs, 1.2g Dietary Fiber, 10.6g Sugars, 3.6g Protein, 2% DV Vit A, 1% DV Vit C, 7% DV Calcium, 6% DV Iron

Per slice unsweetened - 140 Calories (38 Calories from Fat), 4g Fat, 0.7g Saturated Fat, 21mg Cholesterol, 170mg Sodium, 22.7g Total Carbs, 1.2g Dietary Fiber, 4.6g Sugars, 3.6g Protein, 2% DV Vit A, 1% DV Vit C, 7% DV Calcium, 6% DV Iron

Dump in the liquids
Dump in the dry ingredients
Press start and it magically becomes bread :) I love my breadmaker! This pic also shows what I mean about cutting the loaf down the middle to make short, fat slices instead of wide, skinny slices.
For non-breadmaker, mix together the dry ingredients
Stir in the liquid ingredients. Dump in a pan or crockpot and bake.
I had chili in the crockpot and cornbread in the breadmaker so, instead of spending time in the kitchen, I got to hang out with this little cutie pie :) Life is good.

:)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Clean Eating Shrimp and Veggie Saute (or Clean Eating Shrimp and Grits)

Makes 6 serving, about 3/4 cups each
This is tasty and quick to throw together. We have only ever eaten it served on top of Cheese Grits which takes it from being pretty good to being holy-cow-I-love-this-dinner good. You could definitely sub chicken for shrimp (Anthea, I know you will!) and it is still delicious. You could also change around the veggies depending on what you have available. 


Ingredients:
  • 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tail off (or 1 lb chicken cut into bit sized pieces)
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 2 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (or 3 cloves finely chopped)
  • 14.5 oz can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained (or 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes)
  • 4 or 5 leaves of fresh basil or 1/2 Tbsp dried
ONE: Season shrimp with chile powder, salt, and pepper. Heat 2 tsp oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot add half of the shrimp. Cook 2 minutes without stirring or until browned on the bottom. Flip them over and brown the other side, about 2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate and repeat with another 2 tsp oil and the rest of the shrimp. (It takes a little longer to cook them in two batches but not crowding the pan will give them space to brown instead of just steaming.)

TWO: Pour the remaining 2 tsp oil into the same skillet and return to medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and onion, 1/4 tsp salt, and a sprinkle of pepper, and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes.

THREE: Add garlic and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.

FOUR: Add tomatoes and their juice and cook until mixture thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.

FIVE: Add shrimp with any juices that have accumulated on the plate and stir just until heated through. Remove from heat and stir in basil.

As I said above, I always serve this over hot Cheese Grits but you could certainly serve it over brown rice of whole wheat pasta as well. Freeze leftovers in 3/4 cup portions using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash. I actually scoop leftovers of the grits into a container and then smush a serving of the shrimp and veggies into the top of it and freeze them both together.

Nutrition Info:
Per 3/4 cup serving made with shrimp - 139 Calories (51 Calories from Fat), 5.7g Total Fat, .7g Saturated Fat, 149mg Cholesterol, 314mg Sodium, 6g Total Carbs, 2g Dietary Fiber, 3g Sugars, 17.5g Protein, 10% DV Vit A, 22% DV Vit C, 4% DV Calcium, 16% DV Iron

Per 3/4 cup serving made with chicken - 211 Calories (94 Calories from Fat), 10g Total Fat, 2g Saturated Fat, 67mg Cholesterol, 208mg Sodium, 6g Total Carbs, 2g Dietary Fiber, 3g Sugars, 23g Protein, 11% DV Vit A, 22% DV Vit C, 3% DV Calcium, 8% DV Iron

Browning the shrimp
Cooking Zucchini and Onions
Cooking down the tomatoes
:)

Clean Eating Cheese Grits

Makes 6 servings
This blog post is actually my sister's birthday present (Happy Birthday, Anthea!!). I have been making this for about 2 years but just never got around to posting it on the blog. It is actually printed out on a piece of paper and is all crusty and stained from overuse. Anthea probably calls me once a month to ask for the recipe and I tell her to look it up online from the site I got the original idea from and just modify it but then she can't find it online so she calls me back and then I dig it out of the recipe box and sometimes it's crammed way in the back so then I have a panic attack thinking I've lost the recipe but I realize I can just call Danielle to get it from her since she cooked it for us when she was our nanny and made a copy before she left... this is my rambling train of thought while I'm digging in the recipe box. Also, now that I've been doing this blog for a while, I am completely incapable of cooking anything that isn't posted on it. So now you know I do all my blog posting for the selfish reason of making my own cooking easier and more organized :)

Long story short, this post is way overdue (and I'm tired of Anthea calling for the recipe LOL!). These grits are seriously delicious. I am British and I was raised in New York so, no matter how you look at it, there is absolutely no time in my childhood where I ever ate anything called a grit. I will admit to being a snotty Yankee when we moved to Florida and vowing never to eat grits. Ironically, the only reason I cooked this was because my Auntie Anne, who is super posh and high class, actually came all the way from England to visit us in Pensacola and she said she wanted to try grits. (We also had breakfast at waffle house. Picture the Queen of England in Waffle House saying, "And what exactly is biscuits and gravy?" and then ordering it. Insane.) 

So I searched for a grits recipe that would be a bit more gourmet than just plain grits and fully expected it to be revolting. WRONG! This is so good we licked our plates clean and I have made it a million times since then. In fact the only people who won't eat it are my boys. I don't get it because it's basically cheesy porridge and they would live on cheese alone if I let them and eat porridge almost every day for breakfast. I think it's a texture thing for them. I chalk it up to them just being too British for grits hehehe. We have this with Shrimp and Veggie Saute on top, basically Clean Eating Shrimp and Grits. Yum :)



Ingredients:
  • 4 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup whole grain grits/cornmeal (This is the tricky bit. Most packages of grits are not actually wholegrain. In fact I have never found something labeled "grits" that was. Instead I use coarse wholegrain cornmeal.)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
ONE: Bring water, grits/cornmeal, and salt to boil in a large saucepan, stirring occasionally. Once it's boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer until the grits are thick, stirring occasionally. (I keep cooking them until I can make soft peaks in the grits with a whisk like when you are whipping egg whites. It usually takes about 10 or 15 minutes.)

TWO: Preheat oven to 350 and coat an 8-inch-square pan with cooking spray. Stir the garlic powder and cheeses into the grits and dump it all into the prepared pan. I like to reserve a little bit of the cheeses to sprinkle on top with an extra sprinkle of garlic powder.

THREE: Bake, uncovered, until bubbling and crusty on top, about 45 minutes.

To make ahead of time, complete step one and two (without preheating the oven obviously). Cover the baking dish and refrigerate until ready to bake.

One serving is 1/6th of the pan. Freeze leftover servings using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash.

Nutrition Info:
Per 1/6th of the pan - 148 Calories (56 Calories from Fat), 6g Total Fat, 17mg Cholesterol, 295mg Sodium, 16g Total Carbohydrates, 1.5g Dietary Fiber, 7g Protein, 3% DV Vit A, 0% DV Vit C, 17% DV Calcium, 5% DV Iron

Bring water, salt, and grits to boil
Cook until thickened
(this is an attempt at getting a picture of the grits forming soft peaks)
Stir in cheeses and garlic powder
Dump in a pan and sprinkle a little extra cheese and garlic powder on top
This is what my kitchen looks like right now since we are still unpacking and have no table yet, LOL! But that doesn't mean we can't enjoy a yummy, Clean Eating dinner! (The boys are eating Black Bean Salsa Soup from the freezer since they are weirdos and won't eat the grits. Just one more great thing about having a good freezer stash.)
(Anthea, it should show you how much I love you that I took the time to post this even though this is what my kitchen looks like. Although to be fair your birthday was almost a month ago hehehe)

:)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Clean Eating Brown Rice Risotto with Chicken and Asparagus

Makes about 6 servings, 1 cup each
Risotto sounds so gourmet. It makes you think of warm, creamy deliciousness. It’s also usually loaded with fat and really bad for you. I have always wanted to make risotto but never have because it seemed like so much work. But we’re still living in the hotel so I’m being pushed out of my comfort zone to try new stove-top things. This is one I’m so glad I tried!! I got the idea in part from my friend, Naomi (hi Naomi!), and from Anna’s comment on the call for help post (hi Anna!). And guess what... it was NOT a lot of work! In fact it was ridiculously quick and easy. It did take a while to cook but all I had to do for most of the time was just stir it occasionally. Plus my whole family loved it. 

This is for sure going on our make-frequently list. It was a warm bowl of creamy comfort-food goodness but still super good for you. Also it’s a whole grain, lean protein, and super green veggie all in one bowl. You know how much I love that :) If I was not living in a hotel when I made this I probably would have added a little bit of garlic in with the onions. Also I know adding poultry seasoning is kind of random but I had some left over from when I made the Cornish game hens in the crockpot. It worked but you could definitely substitute your own favorite herbs if you don’t have poultry seasoning. (Speaking of random, how weird is it that the minimart DID have poultry seasoning?!) 



Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil, divided 
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast trimmed of all visible fat and cut into bite sized pieces 
  • ½ onion, diced 
  • 1 cup brown rice 
  • 2 cups chicken broth 
  • ¼ cup 1% milk 
  • 1 bunch fresh asparagus, cut into ½ inch pieces 
  • 1 tsp poultry seasoning 
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

ONE: In a large saucepan, heat ½ Tbsp of the olive oil over medium heat and brown the chicken. Once it’s cooked through, remove it from the heat and set aside.

TWO: In the same pan (especially if you are living in a hotel and therefor having to hand wash everything!) sauté the onions in the remaining ½ Tbsp of olive oil making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan. Once the onions are slightly tender and almost translucent, add the rice and toss to coat.

THREE: Pour in the chicken broth slowly while stirring. (Usually when you are cooking brown rice or other grains you don’t want to stir at all because it breaks down the outer sheath and makes them gummy but for risotto this is a good thing.)


FOUR: Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 50 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until rice is tender. (I stirred about every 10 minutes.)

FIVE: Stir in the asparagus, cooked chicken, poultry seasoning, and ¼ cup milk and continue to cook for 10 minutes.


SIX: Remove from heat, stir in the Parmesan cheese, and let it sit covered for a few minutes.

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

NUTRITION INFO:
Per 1-cup serving – 297 Calories (65 Calories from Fat), 7g Fat, 2g Saturated Fat, 68mg Cholesterol, 277mg Sodium, 27.6g Total Carbohydrates, 2g Dietary Fiber, 2g Sugars, 29g Protein, 8% DV Vit A, 5% DV Vit C, 10% DV Calcium, 14% DV Iron

:)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Clean Eating Crockpot Cornish Games Hens with Apple Almond Whole Wheat Stuffing

Makes 6 Servings
This past Sunday I sat in my hotel room and skinned chickens. As I was doing this I wondered if anyone else in the world was skinning chickens in their hotel room at that time. I think the answer is probably no :) But right now we are living in a hotel in Japan while we wait to move into our house. We still want a home-cooked meal every night but I have no car yet so I am limited to what I can buy at the minimart next door. The only meat options at the minimart are hotdogs, bacon, breakfast sausage, and Cornish game hens. I have no idea why they sell Cornish game hens at the minimart but I was actually pretty excited to see them since I wasn't about to buy the hotdogs.

This was so easy to make and tasted great! I cook a whole chicken in the crockpot about once a week (you know, when I'm not living in a hotel in a foreign country) so I knew I would get nice, tender,  fall-off-the-bone meat. But I wanted a side to go with it without having to do much extra work. Stuffing was an obvious choice and this particular combo was no fuss and easy to toss together. 

Our three-year-old, who is going through the typical phase of insisting that he doesn't like anything I cook (even though he still clears his plate every night anyway), actually said, "Ooooooh, this is yummy.... I love this... Can we have it again?" Big compliments! And yes, we will definitely be having it again :)



Ingredients:
  • Medium-sized apple, chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • 1/2 cup celery, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter (of course you could use olive oil but I'm okay with butter every now and again since it is technically clean)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 slices of whole wheat bread cut into cubes, about 3 cups
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth, divided
  • 2 Cornish game hens, giblets removed and rinsed clean (I also skinned mine because I don't like the idea of them cooking in their own fat all day. Also the skin doesn't crisp in the crockpot like it does in the oven which makes it not worth the extra fat and calories to me. But you can leave the skin on if you prefer.)
ONE: Melt butter in a pan and saute apples, almonds, onions, and celery for 5 minutes until onions begin to soften. Toss the bread cubes in a bowl with the raisins, cinnamon, poultry seasoning, and salt.


TWO: Add the sauteed apple mixture into the bread cube mixture and mix well. Add 1/3 cup of broth and stir to moisten.


THREE: Spoon the stuffing mixture into the chickens and fold the legs together to hold it in. Place chickens in crockpot and sprinkle remaining stuffing mixture around the outside. Pour the remaining 1/3 cup broth over the chickens, making sure that the stuffing sprinkled around the chickens is nice and moist.


FOUR: Cover and cook on low for 5 to 7 hours or until chicken is cooked through. I used a slotted spoon to scoop the extra stuffing out of the crockpot once I took the chickens out because I didn't want my stuffing to be too soggy. If I was not living in a hotel with limited ingredients I would have cut up some kale really small and mixed it into the raw stuffing. It would look like parsley and no one would know :)

One chicken fed me, my husband, and our two toddlers. The adult serving size for the stuffing was about 2/3 cup. To freeze the leftovers I would suggest removing the chicken from the bones and freezing it in usable portions in ziploc baggies, such as 1/2 or 1 cup portions. Freeze any leftover stuffing in 2/3 cup portions using the medium large portions method.

NUTRITION INFO

Per 1/3 of a chicken and 2/3 cup stuffing - 278 Calories (110 Calories from Fat), 12g Fat, 3.6g Saturated Fat, 49mg Cholesterol, 253mg Sodium, 31g Carbohydrates, 6g Dietary Fiber, 13g Sugar, 15g Protein, 4%DV Vit A, 5%DV Vit C, 8%DV Calcium, 10%DV Iron

:)

Monday, October 15, 2012

We made it!... and a call for HELP!

Kon'nichiwa!! We made it safely to Japan! :) We've been here about 2 weeks now. I can't tell you much about the country yet because we arrived in the middle of a typhoon so we couldn't see anything on the bus ride to our new base (never a boring day with this family). We were sleeping anyway because we had been traveling for almost 24 hours at that point... with two toddlers and a newborn. Fun.

We haven't had much time for exploring yet. However, in the short time we've been here, we managed to find a really cool house and we are hoping to get to moved in by the end of the month. In the meantime, we are living in a hotel.... with the toddlers and the baby. Also fun.

Our room technically has a kitchen area but it is VERY basic considering we will probably be living here for at least a month. I have two burners,  a microwave, a sink, a mini-fridge, and a toaster. No oven. I never realized just how much I relied on my oven until I was faced with trying to feed a family of five with no oven (okay technically the baby doesn't eat table food but family of five sounds more dramatic). I will admit, I cheated and borrowed my friend's crockpot.

Here is our "kitchen":


And here are all of the tools I have to work with:


You may be asking yourself, can you eat healthy living in a hotel room in a foreign country? I am determined for the answer to be yes and that we will still eat three healthy meals a day even though I have no freezer to fall back on. (I've discovered that you can also cloth diaper a newborn and homeschool a Kindergartener and First Grader in a hotel room but that's a post for another day.) It will take some planning, though. In addition to the small kitchen and minimal tools, we have no car yet so I am limited to what's available at the minimart next door or what I can carry from the commissary on the bus by myself with the three kids. And it should be pretty easy to throw together because I'm slightly insane by the end of the day when I'm supposed to be cooking since I'm living in a tiny hotel room with all of my kids. But at least I will be a well-fed insane person. (Insert maniacal laughter).

So here's where the call for help part comes in. I would love any suggestions you have for simple but healthy stove top meals with minimal ingredients. Even if it's not clean, post it in the comments or email it to me anyway and I'll clean it up. Here is what we have eaten so far (notice it's mainly crockpot. Seriously, I need stove-top meal help!):

Whole grain pasta with all natural spaghetti sauce
Black Bean Salsa Soup (un-pureed since I have no immersion blender)
Crockpot Cornish Game Hens with Apple Almond Stuffing
Chicken and Asparagus Brown Rice Risotto
Mahi Mahi Coconut Soup

Thanks!!!!

:)

Monday, August 13, 2012

I'm still here!!

Hello! I have not disappeared off the face of the earth :) I've received quite a few messages and comments lately wondering if I'm going to continue the blog. I am!!! I've been taking a little break since my last post in mid-January. I was finishing our first year of homeschool and gearing up for my last season teaching survival swim lessons in Pensacola. This swim season was even busier then last year and then in June we had a new baby girl :)

Liadan Allison Laura, 1 week old
I took 3 weeks off then taught 3 more weeks of lessons before we left Pensacola to move to Japan! We're taking a circuitous route to Japan via Rhode Island and England because Matt has a class he has to take and then we're taking an extended vacation. It's always an adventure in this house!! I hope to be settled in Japan and blogging again by the end of October. In the meantime I'm going to be enjoying having nothing to do all day but hang out with my three favorite little people. Look for me in October!


P.S. Aren't these pics of my kids awesome?!?! I know I'm a little biased of course :) But if you live in Pensacola and want awesome pics of your kids/family/dog/business/wedding/etc like these ones, contact my awesome friend, Elishia, with EBouley Photography at 850-686-5580 or EBouleyPhotos@gmail.com. You won't be disappointed!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Clean Eating Chicken Tortilla Soup (OAMC)

Makes about 10 servings, 1 cup each
As I've said time and time again, we eat a lot of soups in our house. It's a perfect medium to throw all kinds of veggies into which get happily eaten unnoticed. And all of my boys (even the biggest one) love anything they can dip tortilla chips into. I'm pretty sure Matt would eat this or Black Bean Salsa Soup every single night if I let him.


There are a TON of different ways you can make tortilla soup but two interesting things about this recipe are the addition of cornmeal and okra. The cornmeal gives the soup a nice texture and rounds out the flavors. Also combining a bean with a whole grain makes a complete protein. Okra is a vegetable that people don't often think about unless they're frying it. I'll admit that until we moved down south I had never heard of it. Back when I was first making baby food for Colwynn I learned that Okra is actually a power packed green vegetable and it also thickens the soup nicely. No one in my house is very fond of slices of okra in soup, though, so I cook it and puree it before stirring it in. 
Update: Instead of precooking and pureeing the okra now, I just cook it right in the soup and then puree it after I take the chicken out to shred it




Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup diced onion (any kind will do)
  • ½ cup diced bell pepper (any color)
  • 2 cups sliced okra (I use frozen)
  • 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 1 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 15 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 4 cups water 
  • 2 15 oz cans black beans, drained and rinsed well 
  • ¼ cup whole grain cornmeal
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 
  • 5 wholegrain corn tortillas, cut into strips (optional)

ONE: Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add onions, pepper, okra, garlic, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, and salt. Cook 5 minutes or until veggies begin to soften.

TWO: Add in diced tomatoes, chicken stock, tomato paste, and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Add in chicken breasts and cornmeal and cook, uncovered, 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Stir every few minutes for the first 10 minutes, scraping the bottom, to make sure the cornmeal doesn't settle to the bottom and stick.

THREE: Remove chicken from pot. If you don't want chunks of okra, use an immersion blender to puree the soup mixture still in the pot. Allow soup to continue simmering while you shred the chicken using two forks.

FOUR: Return shredded chicken to pot, add the beans, and let simmer another 5 minutes until heated through. Remove from heat, and let sit for 10-15 minutes before serving. If using tortilla strips, stir them in 5 minutes before serving.

Serve garnished with sliced avocado, shredded cheddar cheese, fresh cilantro, a drizzle of lime juice, or even a spoonful of plain yogurt. My boys like to dip tortilla chips into it instead of having the corn tortillas stirred in. Freeze leftovers in 1 cup portions using the medium/large portions method to feed your freezer stash.

NUTRITION INFO:
Per 1-cup serving without tortilla strips or garnishes - 190 Calories (35 Calories from Fat), 4g Total Fat, 1g Saturated Fat, 27mg Cholesterol, 397mg Sodium, 22g Carbohydrates, 6g Dietary Fiber, 4g Sugars, 15g Protein, 11% DV Vitamin A, 27% DV Vitamin C, 5% DV Calcium, 39% DV Iron

:)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Clean Eating Cherry Almond Dutch Baby Pancakes (and how to pit fresh cherries without a cherry pitter)

Makes 6 servings, 1 slice each
This is another variation of the Peach Dutch Babies that I recipe tested for the April/May 2011 issue of Clean Eating Magazine. It was delicious with peaches, we loved it with pineapple and coconut, and this morning we had cherries so I thought I'd give it a try. 


A Dutch Baby is an oven baked pancake which is kind of a blend between a popover and a crepe. The boys voted this one as their favorite version and I have to agree :) But I REALLY love fresh cherries so I might be a little biased.




Ingredients:
  • 3 large eggs
  • ¾ cup low-fat milk
  • 2 tbsp pure Maple syrup
  • ½ tsp almond extract
  • ¼ tsp plus a pinch sea salt
  • Large pinch nutmeg
  • ½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour (I just use King Arthur’s White Whole Wheat flour)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 cup sliced cherries
  • 2 Tbsp slivered almonds (although the boys and I had it with pecans because we didn't have any slivered almonds LOL)
ONE: Place a heavy, 12-inch oven-proof or cast-iron skillet in the oven and preheat to 425°F. (If you don't have an oven-proof skillet, you can use a baking dish. You'll need something a bit bigger than an 8x8 square pan but a 9x13 is about as big as you could go.)

TWO: In a large bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add milk, Maple syrup, almond extract, salt and nutmeg; whisk to combine. Add flour and whisk just until blended (a few lumps are fine).

THREE: Carefully add coconut oil to the skillet in the oven. Close the door, and allow it to melt, about 1 to 2 minutes. Wearing a heat-proof glove or oven mitt (I wear my Ove Glove), remove the skillet from the oven and pour the melted oil into the batter; whisk just until blended (do not over mix).

FOUR: Pour the batter back into the hot skillet and sprinkle evenly with the sliced cherries. Carefully return skillet to oven and bake until edges are puffed and golden brown, 17 to 19 minutes.


FIVE: When the pancake is done, sprinkle it with the almonds. It’s pretty impressive when it’s all puffed up fresh out of the oven. Call everyone to the table right away because it deflates pretty quickly. My boys like to peak through the window on the oven door to watch it puff up. They call this Magic Eggy Pancakes.

Not only do I get to eat a delicious pancake... staring at it through the oven door
keeps Theron entertained for 20 minutes and I get to see this excited little face :)

You won’t have leftovers but, if you did, you could freeze individual servings using the flash freeze method to feed your freezer stash.

QUICK TIP: I don't have a cherry pitter. We all love cherries and I am eagerly looking forward to the day that I can just hand my kids a bowl of cherries and send them outside to happily eat them and spit out the pits. Until that day comes, this is how I get around the pits:

Wash the cherry, pull off the stem, and stand it up on the cutting board.
Slice of the fruit on either side of the pit
Finally cut off the little bits of fruit left around the pit.
Discard the pit and enjoy!

NUTRITION INFO:
Per serving - 162 Calories (71 Calories from Fat), 8g Fat, 5g Saturated Fat, 94mg Cholesterol, 141mg Sodium, 18g Total Carbohydrates, 2g Dietary Fiber, 9g Sugars, 6g Protein, 4% DV Vitamin A, 2% DV Vitamin C, 6% DV Calcium, 5% DV Iron

:)