Friday, February 7, 2014

Taco Lettuce Cups

I may or may not have an obsession with lettuce wraps, cups, bowls, etc.  When you are trying to live a gluten free lifestyle and really want tacos, using lettuce in place of taco shells is the best thing you can do!

I use very fresh, crispy, cold lettuce.  It doesn't really matter what kind of lettuce you use, I am just partial to butter lettuce.

What You Need: 
  • 1-2 lbs lean organic ground beef or bison
  • 1 head of organic butter lettuce (washed well)
  • 1 can organic black beans, drained
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 jar organic salsa
  • 1-2 T organic taco seasoning (GF and MSG free), or make your own by following this recipe
How It's Made:
  • Cook beef until no pink remains, drain meat if needed
  • Add seasoning and a little water if needed
  • Thoroughly wash lettuce and break apart leaves
  • Scope one spoonful of meat mixture onto lettuce cup
  • Add some black beans, avocado and salsa to the top of meat mixture
  • Eat and enjoy!
We eat cheese only on occasion, but if you are not sensitive to dairy you can top your lettuce cups with a little organic shredded cheese.  Round out your meal with a side of organic rice seasoned with a little taco seasoning and salsa.

Happy Eats,

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Kitchen Fail! Are Blueberry Muffins Supposed to be Green?

I had this grand idea that I would make a whole bunch of muffins during the weekend, freeze them, then serve them to my kids for breakfast or put one in their lunchbox for a healthy sweet treat.  

Well, as they say, "The best laid plans...FAIL!".  Okay, I'm not sure how it really goes, but I do know this, I CANNOT BAKE!!!  I have tried to make from scratch so many different sweet treats.  Cookies, breads, cakes, and now, muffins.  My gingerbread cookies looked like they were blown up in a battle.  My sugar cookies came out with a fortune cookie texture (turns out, baking soda is very important).  My muffins came out green and tasted like slightly sweetened cardboard.

I could go on and on about my failures as a baker, but I think you get the idea.  So, want to see what these awful muffins looked like?

I made about 2 dozen of these mean green muffins.  They are blueberry muffins and apparently using fresh or frozen blueberries will turn batter green if any juice gets out.  

These muffins were gluten free (of course).  I used almond flour and made the muffins according to the instructions on the website I found the recipe on.  All was fine until it came to adding the sugar.  I still have normal white sugar in my house, but we no longer use regular sugar.  We have been using coconut sugar for everything.  Coconut sugar is expensive and doesn't come in very big packages.  I didn't want to use up all my coconut sugar for these muffins so I decided to use the Stevia I had bought.  I never use Stevia, but it is allowed on my diet so I thought it would be fine.  Talk about gross!  I wish I wouldn't used my trusted, never fails me, tastes delicious,  coconut sugar!

The Stevia gave my muffins a very strong artificial sweetener taste.  I couldn't stand it.  I even had my boys try the muffins and they spit them out.  I tried to give the baby one and she made the most disgusted face I have ever seen.  It was bad people!  

They quickly went into the garbage can.  I have given up on ever being a professional baker or even a normal mommy baker.  From now on all baked items with have to be pre-packaged (gluten free of course).  I may try to make these again in the future.  I think I'll leave out the blueberries and go with a safer fruit like bananas or apples.  And I'll definitely stick to coconut sugar or regular sugar next time as well!

Have you ever failed in the kitchen?  I'd LOVE to hear your stories!   Oh, and if you have any good GF muffin recipes, please share them.  I am bound and determined to get back on the baking saddle!

Happy Eats,

Friday, January 31, 2014

'Beeting' Monday Pasta

Today's post is courtesy of my weekend guest blogger, Zanne Willis!

I am obsessed with anything I can literally throw together in 20 minutes that has all sorts of flavor, and is filling after a long work day, and a run. I am not typically a pasta person. The hubby however....only kept a box of pasta and a jar of sauce in his apartment when I met him (how boring!). So, I have attempted to get some goodness (and good-for-you-ness) into every hubby pleasing pasta dish! Below is tonight's quick and delicious meal. Perfect for Meatless Monday (or any day!) 

"Beeting" Monday Pasta
Serves 4

1/2 lb brown rice pasta 
3 small par boiled beets (don't let them get mushy!)
2 cups arugula
3 tbsp olive or grape seed oil 
1/8 cup raw almonds
5 cloves garlic
1 small shallot 
Juice from 3 lemons
1/2 c white white 
1/4 c non-dairy milk
Salt/Pepper to taste 
Sprigs of parsley 
Sprigs of basil 

1. Boil water for pasta 
2. While water is boiling, sauté shallot, 2 garlic cloves and half of the almonds.
3. When browned, add lemon juice then wine. Allow to simmer and slightly reduce. 
4. Add all spices. 
5. Rinse pasta. 
6. Top with sauce, beets and arugula. 
7. Stir, serve and add almonds for extra crunch. 

Happy Eats,
Zanne and Christin

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Shopping List

Most people who find out that we don't eat; gluten, soy, corn, peanuts, eggs, sugar or dairy ask, "Well, what do you eat?".  It is a fair question and today I am going to share my shopping list with you all.  Like I said in my last post, if you keep a well stocked pantry, fridge and freezer, you will always be able to put a healthy meal together for your family.  

I do need to clarify that because we are out of the cleanse phase (total elimination of all seven foods listed above) we do eat dairy and sugar on occasion in very minimal amounts.  Plus, some recipes I make call for one or two eggs so that is minimally in our diet as well.

Please remember that ALL items are Organic, GMO Free and Gluten Free!

Freezer Foods:
  • Frozen organic berries
  • Frozen wild caught shrimp
  • Frozen organic veggies
  • Organic free range  turkey and/or chicken sausage
  • Organic grass-fed ground beef
  • Organic free range chicken and/or turkey breast
  • Pasture fed pork
  • Wild caught fish (sole, salmon, Alaskan halibut, etc)
Refrigerated Foods:
  • Vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, bell peppers, cucumber, salad greens (kale, chard, lettuce, spinach), mushrooms, squash, zucchini, eggplant, green onions - whatever veggies you really like and you know you will eat!
  • Chia and ground flax seed - great to add in berry smoothies (1T)!
  • Coconut or Almond milk
  • GF dijon mustard
  • fresh berries and apples
  • Organic salsa
  • Organic guacamole
  • Organic hummus
  • Lemons and limes
  • Almond butter (hardens in the fridge so I keep mine in the pantry)
  • Organic luncheon meat (turkey and roast beef)
  • Ghee (doesn't have to be refrigerated) or organic butter
  • Peeled or crushed garlic
  • Tomatoes
Pantry Items:
  • Organic canned artichoke hearts 
  • Organic black beans (canned and/or dried)
  • Organic brown rice
  • Canned coconut milk
  • Organic diced green chilies
  • Organic canned beans (kidney, garbonzo, chick peas, Great Northern, whatever you like)
  • Organic gren tea
  • Organic diced tomatoes
  • Lentils
  • Organic chicken and veggie broth
  • Quinoa
  • Quinoa and/or brown rice pasta
  • Raw nuts
  • Sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • GF ketchup
  • Organic, GF oatmeal
  • Prunes
  • Coconut water
  • Mint tea (really any organic tea you like)
  • Almond, coconut or quinoa flour
  • Organic marinara sauce
  • Kalamata olives
  • Tomato paste
  • Coconut sugar
  • Meal replacement powder.  I use The Virgin Diet meal replacement powder and it is DELISH!  We use frozen or fresh berries, coconut milk or coconut water (8-10 ounces), 1 T chia or flax seed and 1-2 scoops of powder.  Blend it up and you'll have an amazing smoothie for breakfast and lunch!  Find the powder here.  
Veggie/Fruit Bin:
  • Avocados
  • Squash
  • Garlic bulbs
  • Onions
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Bananas
  • Oranges/tangerines/clementines/grapefruit (eat in moderation, 1-2 times a week)
  • Coconut oil
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Basil
  • Cinnamon
  • Cumin
  • Italian seasoning
  • Curry
  • Oregano
  • Chili powder
  • Sea salt
  • Parsley
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Pepper
  • Any seasonings you like as long as it contains NO GMO's or MSG!
  • A good multi-vitamin (I use a vegan multi-vitamin that doesn't contain gluten/dairy/soy/nuts/eggs)
  • Daily digestive enzyme
  • Fish oil
There you have it.  That is my shopping list.  I shop mainly at Safeway, Whole Foods and Costco.  The key is to get to know your stores and find out which stores have the majority of what you need.  If you live near a Safeway, they always have coupons for their organic items!  Costco carries are great variety of bulk organic items that you'll use a lot like; diced tomatoes, black beans, GF bread, Chia seeds, etc.  I go to Whole Foods if I need something that I can't find anywhere else.  It is very expensive, but they offer coupons too!  If you live near a Trader Joe's I recommend that instead of Whole Foods.  Their prices are much more affordable.  

Happy Eats!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pantry Pasta and a Give-A-Way!

There are times in my life that I stand in front of my pantry with a blank stare just waiting for something to speak to me and say, "Cook me for dinner".  But, being that food doesn't talk (except for Taco Bell [you know what I mean]) I just continue to stand there,  Sometimes I stand in front of the fridge waiting for the same voice, but it never comes.  I go back and forth until I have lost all hope of making something wonderful for my family.  But, there is always hope!  

As you may have been able to tell, I am a big fan of one pot meals.  I love them mostly because one pot meals are easy and don't dirty up as many dishes (duh!).  When I can't think of anything to cook, I always have Pantry Pasta to fall back on.  

I am going to share my shopping list of items I always have on hand tomorrow on the blog.  If you keep a well stocked pantry, fridge and freezer, you should always have something to fall back on.  I'm not talking about keeping thinks in bulk.  I surely don't have room for 200 cans of tomatoes in my house and I'm sure you don't either.  I'm talking about those essential items you always keep in your pantry that no matter what, you can always make a meal out of.  

That is what Pantry Pasta is for me.  

Pantry Pasta can be anything you want it to be.  I made a Greek style pasta for my family last week, but you could make it anyway you want!

What You Need:
  • 1 box or package of GF pasta (any type)
  • 1 can of organic beans (I used garbonzo)
  • 1 can of organic artichokes
  • 4 organic sun dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2-4 leaves of organic kale, chopped
  • 1/4 organic purple onion, chopped
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T kalamata olives, chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
How It's Made:
  • Cook the pasta according to the package directions
  • Once pasta is cooked and drained, add all the other ingredients and heat until warmed through.
  • Serve and enjoy!
It is that simple!  And the best part is that you can add whatever you want!!!  Add any meat you want or keep it vegetarian.  Add any veggies you have, canned beans., etc.  The possibilities are endless.  This is a great meal to make if you are trying to clean out your pantry!  

So, how would you make this dish?  What ingredients would you use to make Pantry Pasta?  

I want to hear from you!  If I can get enough people to follow this blog either here or on the Facebook page, I will do a giveaway!  JJ Virgin (The Virgin Diet) is coming out with The Virgin Diet cookbook next month.  I have been following her dietary guidelines since November.  I feel great and I've lost 10 pounds.  My husband has lost 30 pounds.  I really believe in her logic and I'd love to share her insights with all of you!  Her cookbook should be amazing!  

I will randomly pick a FB follower or a blog follower at the end of February, if I can get more followers on each site.  Share this blog with your friends!  Help me get out there so I can encourage more people to switch to a healthier lifestyle.  

Happy Eats,

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

GF Jerk Chicken Lettuce Wraps

My husband had a great idea for dinner.  He said, "We should buy a rotisserie chicken, shred it and make lettuce wraps for dinner".  I said, "Sounds great!", and that is how we came up with this little gem.  

We both LOVE Jamaican food!!!  Having visited Jamaica several times has spoiled us to the flavors of the island.  Jamaican restaurants are hard to find, so we've resulted to making our own Jamaican food.  

We usually make Jerk Chicken Nachos, but since we've cut out so much from our diets, we opted for lettuce instead.  We shredded the chicken, seasoned it really well with the Jerk seasoning, topped it with  all kinds of yummy things.  Then all that is left to do is heat and eat!  So good!

What You Need:
  • 1 Organic Rotisserie Chicken, shredded, no skin
  • 1 small can of crushed organic pineapple
  • 1 small can of chopped organic green chilies
  • 1 can organic black beans
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • As much Jerk seasoning as you like!
  • 1 head of butter lettuce, or lettuce of your choice
How It's Made:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Place shredded chicken on a cooking sheet
  • Season with as much Jerk as you like, be sure to taste as you go, some Jerk seasonings are very spicy!
  • Top with pineapple, chilies and black beans
  • Place in oven for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is warmed through
  • Spoon mixture on to washed and dried lettuce leaves then top with avocado
And that's it folks!  This mixture would be great on top of a salad or rice.  Serve with a side of fruit salad for a more filling meal.  I seriously ate four lettuce wraps!  They were that good!

If you have any other healthy Jamaican recipes I'd love for you to share them!  Share them here in the comments section or on the FB page, Real Food For A Real You.

Happy Eats,


Quick and Easy BBQ Pork Chops

Do you ever need ideas for quick and easy weeknight meals?  I do all the time!  Especially on nights when I'm exhausted and don't feel like putting a lot of thought (or any) into making a delicious, nutritious meal for my family.  

Tonight I made BBQ pork chops.  And no, I didn't make the BBQ sauce from scratch (which I could do and is super easy).  Nope, I bought a bottle of GF Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce.  The only effort I put into making this meal was turning on the oven and pouring sauce on top of the chops.  That's it.  I didn't bread the pork chops or even season them (besides the sauce).  I cooked them until there was no pink left and while they were cooking, I made some garlicky sauteed spinach for myself (my kids wouldn't eat it).  Super easy, super yummy, super quick, super supper!

I made two pork chops and cut them in half (they were huge).  My husband was in California all week, so four halves worked perfectly for me and the kiddos (Thomas took one half to school for lunch the next day).

Here ar the recipes for the pork chops and garlicky sauteed spinach.  

BBQ Pork Chops

What You Need:
  • 1 package of organically grown pork chops
  • 1 bottle of GF Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce
How It's Made:
  • Turn oven to 375 degrees
  • Place pork chops on cooking sheet
  • Pour enough sauce on each pork chop to cover the top.
  • Cook until chops are cooked through, no pink, about 20 minutes
Garlicky Sauteed Spinach

What You Need:
  • One package of organic baby spinach, washed
  • 3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 T olive oil
How It's Made:
  • Heat oil on medium-high in saute pan
  • Add spinach and garlic
  • Saute until spinach is wilted
I don't think a weeknight meal could get much simpler than this!  Not only is it easy, but it is also very kid friendly!  My kids did not eat the spinach so i gave them some grape tomatoes and a tangerine instead.  I know their limits and spinach is it!

What are your favorite weeknight meals?  Share here or on the Facebook page!

Happy Eats,