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,

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Red Beans and Rice (with a twist)

The other night we had gumbo (I'll share that recipe soon!).  As a result we had left over Andouille Sausage (GF, organic and preservative free) and brown rice (organic).  So, last night I decided I would try to make a super healthy version of Red Beans and Rice.  

Did you notice that green stuff in the bowl?  Yep, that is my twist.  I had a couple of small organic zucchini that needed to be cooked.  They were about to go bad so I thought I'd add them to the pot along with the rest of the ingredients.

I loved it!  Especially because the zucchini adds color to the otherwise bland dish.  Plus, I just plain love zucchini!  It is one of those vegetables that I always try to keep in my fridge at all times!   

What You Need:
  • 1 package of smoked andouille sausage (cut up)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cups of brown organic rice (cooked)
  • 1 can of organic red kidney beans (drained)
  • 1 large or 2 small organic zucchini (ends cut off, chopped up the way you prefer)
  •  1 cup Organic Vegetable or Organic Chicken Broth 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 - 1 T Cajun Seasoning (GF) Add slowly because it can get too hot!
How It's Made:
  • Add cut-up sausage, zucchini, cooked rice, drained beans and stock of your choice to a pot 
  • Cook until zucchini becomes tender to your level of preference
  • Add seasonings to taste
And there you have it folks!  The easiest Red Beans and Rice that I've ever made.  I don't like spicy foods so I was really careful with how much Cajun seasoning I added.  Take your time adding the seasoning and be sure to taste often.  You can always add more, but it sure is hard to remove if you over do it!

This dish was a win for my boys!  They requested the leftovers for their lunches this morning.  I am so glad I finally made something they really loved!

Happy Eats,

Monday, January 13, 2014

'Breaded' Eggplant and Avocado Caprese Stacks (plus a bonus recipe)

  I do hope you all enjoyed the recipe from my weekend contributor, Zanne!  She is fantastic and has so many ideas for her future posts.  I can't wait!!!

Well, now on to my Eggplant and Avocado Caprese Stack.  Before I get around to sharing the recipe, let me first explain how it came to be.  

Last week I was in my local grocery store.  I saw these beautiful organic eggplants and just had to buy one.  I didn't know what I was going to do with my new beautiful eggplant, so I started thinking.  I racked my brain trying to remember Pinterest recipes that I had recently Pinned.  Low and behold, I remembered one!  It was an Eggplant Caprese Stack.  I thought it sounded delicious so I grabbed an organic tomato then I walked over to the dairy section and grabbed some fresh mozzarella.  I had no idea if I needed anything else, so I left with just that.  

Once I was home I started really thinking about the recipe.  I decided to look it up on my Pinterest board.  The 'breading' was nothing more than flax seed and raw almonds ground up together in a very fine sand consistency.  Thanks God I just bought a Vitamix!  And thank God I keep a well stocked pantry, I had flax and raw almonds already;)

I also had an avocado that was about to go bad.  I decided avocado would be a nice addition to the stack.  let me tell you, this meal was AMAZING!!!

Now on to the recipe!

What You Need:
  • 1 organic eggplant
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 ball of fresh mozzarella
  • 1 organic avocado
  • Basil (I used dry basil, but you can use fresh)
  • Balsamic Vinegar 
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 1/4 cup ground flax seed
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 T water
  • olive oil
How It's Made:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Peel and slice eggplant into thin slices (about 1/4 inch thick)
  • Mix together egg and water into shallow bowl
  • Add flax and almonds to a food processor or blender and blend until sand like consistency
  • Put nut/flax mixture into a separate shallow bowl
  • Grease two cookie sheets with olive oil
  • Dip each eggplant slice into egg mixture and then into nut mixture.  Be sure to coat both sides.
  • Place eggplant side by side on baking sheet
  • Drizzle more olive oil on top of eggplant slices
  • Bake about 8 minutes, then remove from oven and flip eggplant slices over.  Return to oven for another 8 minutes or until eggplants are tender all the way through.
  • Once removed from oven, place eggplant slices on a paper towel to drain oil
  • Cut tomato into hearty slices (salt and pepper the tomato slices for more flavor)
  • Cut avocado in to thin slices (how you would slice an apple, but thinner)
  • Cut mozzarella into thin or thick slices (whatever you prefer)
  • Your last step is to stack each item.  Do it however you want, but I did mine like this"
    • Eggplant on the bottom
    • Then a tomato slice
    • Another eggplant slice
    • Then three slices of avocado
    • Another eggplant slice
    • Then topped with mozzarella, sprinkled with basil and drizzled with balsamic
There you have it.  I did have left over eggplant (all the pieces I didn't cut straight or were too small).  I decided that I would make a super simple eggplant parm with my left over eggplant and mozz. 

I got a small baking dish.  Place eggplant on the bottom, spooned organic marinara over the top and added some cheese.  I repeated the layers one more time, sprinkled with a little basil and Viola!  Kid friendly, easy-peasy eggplant parm!

There you have it.  two eggplant recipes that are easy to make, gluten-free, organic, and just about every other dietary term you can think of (not dairy or nut free though!).  I hope you try it and enjoy it!

Happy Eats,

Sunday, January 12, 2014

GF Pasta with Vegan Roasted Garlic "Cream" Sauce (One Pot Meal!)

I forgot that I wasn't going to blog on the weekends (so my amazing eggplant stack recipe will have to wait until Monday, sorry!).  Why, you may ask?  Well, because I have something super duper special for all of you on the weekends.  A guest contributor!  We will call the weekends from here on out, 'Weekends With Zanne'.

My friend Zanne, lives in Los Angeles (awesome right?!).  Here is a little bit about her.

Living in Los Angeles makes it easy to become obsessed with eating a plant based diet. With the high cost of living the hubby and I had to cut cost somewhere but did not want to cut out our enjoyment of food. So we decided to make a concerted effort to pack our lunches and eat in as much as possible. Instead of pre-made meals we make pretty much everything from scratch which allows us to make modifications and cut out "garbage" from our diets. Our budget is roughly $80 per weeks for 21 meals. 

This is a rich, one pot meal full of veggies. If you don't have the ones I listed below get creative with whatever you may have in your fridge! Thinking pea shoots and carrots may make the cut next round! 

What You Need:
  • 6 cloves garlic (roughly chopped) 
  • Half sweet onion
  • 1/2 lbs sliced crimini mushrooms-well rinsed and sliced
  • 1 small head broccoli 
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1 cup arugula 
  • 1 lbs brown rice pasta 
  • 4 cups plain rice milk
  • 1.5 cups white wine
  • Spices to taste (I used a French spice blend, sea salt and pepper)
  • 1/2 c vegan butter-regular if you don't keep strict diet (we make our own vegan's worth it!)
How It's Made:
  • In large pot place onion, 4 cloves of garlic, chopped broccoli stem and mushrooms with 2 tablespoons oil of choice (we are obsessed with grape seed in this household!) Let them sweat it out and brown
  • When browned, add 1/3 of the white wine, allow to cook down and repeat until wine has evaporated. 
  • Add rice milk, broccoli head and pasta. 
  • Stir. 
  • Top of with butter and cover for 10 minutes. 
  • Season to taste. 
  • Add spinach, arugula and remaining garlic. 
  • At this point if needed add a touch more milk. 
It doesn't look sexy, but it is AMAZING!  And it's a one pot meal!


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Cumin Chicken Salad

Pretty much every luncheon type place serves chicken salad.  It is a favorite amongst ladies who meet up for lunch during the day while their kids are off to school.  Why?  I'm not really sure.  It could be because chicken salad is hard to mess up.  Or because it isn't messy to eat like a sandwich.  Or perhaps it is because it has the word 'salad' in it and that automatically makes it healthy, right?

Whatever the reason, chicken salad is a great lunch time meal and yesterday that is exactly what I made for lunch.

I invited my friend over for lunch yesterday.  This is going to sound bad, but since moving here in August, this was the first guest we have had in our house for a meal.  I decided I wanted to make my cumin chicken salad, cucumber and hummus crudites, some sort of fruit and some sort of pasta.

The pasta was store bought pasta you find in the refrigerator section.  I was amazed to find a gluten free option!  I coked the pasta according to the packages instructions.  I topped each pasta with a spoonful of organic marinara and sprinkled the whole dish with basil.

The cucumber and hummus crudites were just as easy.  I peeled and sliced and organic cucumber and added a dollop of hummus to the top of each one.

For my fruit, I just mixed some organic blueberries and organic raspberries together in a bowl and served.

Okay, now on to the cumin chicken salad:)

What You Need:
  • One large skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup organic mayo
  • 2 small stalks of celery washed and chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 3 cloves of garlic peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 T cumin divided
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
How It's Made:
  • Preheat oven to 375
  • Place chicken breast on a cooking sheet and sprinkle salt, pepper, 1/2 T cumin and garlic powder on top of the breast
  • Cook chicken for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through (no pink remaining)
  • In the meantime, mix togther mayo, celery, green onion, red onion, garlic, 1/2 T cumin and a little salt and pepper into a bowl
  • Once chicken is finished cooking place it into a food processor and pulse until chopped to your preferred consistency then add chicken to the may mixture
  • Add more mayo if you wish, salt and pepper to taste.  Add more cumin if you want as well.
I served our chicken salad on top of a piece of butter lettuce.  You could serve it on top of any lettuce, spinach or as is.  The choice is up to you!

Happy Eats,

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gluten Free Asian Lettuce Wraps

I don't know about y'all, but when this whole 'gluten free' thing first started making an appearance I thought the whole movement was ridiculous, a fad and a way for retailers to milk money from consumers (GF foods AREN'T cheap!).

However, since we have started the GF lifestyle (about 95% of the time, a girl still needs her occasional hamburger), I have noticed that I feel so much better, My skin is clearer, my hair doesn't get as greasy as fast ad my digestion is normal!

I also thought that GF meant TF, taste-free.  That is so NOT the case!  Food explodes with flavor in your mouth when you are finally tasting real food!  You are mindful of what your eating, you put time into making it and that alone makes it taste so much better.  You know you are eating something healthy and whole, free of preservatives and chemicals.  It's truly amazing!

Something else that is amazing, I have turned in to a really good cook.  I used to take the easy route.  I would buy and prepare boxed or frozen meals for my family.  I thought I was cooking healthy, but nothing was organic and everything had processed ingredients.  No more.  Because I have changed the way we eat, I have so much more energy!  I used to be too tired to really cook anything.  Now I cook every night, make two school lunches every night, clean my kitchen every night and finally relax in front of the TV when I am done.  I used to literally sit in front of the TV all day long, eating whatever I could find in my pantry (we never had and chips, cookies, junk).  I was grumpy, impatient, tired.  Now I am mindful, energetic, patient and joyful.  

I have a Virgin shake for breakfast and lunch.  I may have a snack of organic cucumber or GF crackers with hummus, an apple, an orange or a slice of preservative/antibiotic free chicken.  

Last night I made Asian lettuce wraps.  They were absolutely delicious!!!  

What You Need:

  • 1 pound ground turkey (I used organic free range turkey)
  • 1 cup pre-shredded organic carrots (or shred your own)
  • 1 cup chopped organic mushrooms
  • 2-3 cloves of chopped garlic (we are garlic lovers in this house!0
  • 2 green onions, chopped* PLEASE SEE NOTE!
  • 1 T grated organic ginger** PLEASE SEE NOTE!
  • 1 tsp cornstarch (optional, if you want a thicker sauce)
  • 1 head of organic lettuce ( I used butter lettuce)
Sauce Mixture:
  • 5 T coconut aminos (to replace soy sauce)
  • 2 T rice vinegar
  • 2 1/2 T coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
How It's Made:
  • Cook turkey in saucepan until it is almost browned
  • Pour out extra liquid if any
  • Add in carrots, mushrooms, garlic, green onions and ginger
  • Add in sauce mixture
  • Mix well and simmer together for about 5 minutes
  • Add in cornstarch (optional)
  • Continue to simmer another 5 minutes, or until veggies are softened
  • Remove from heat and let sit 5 minutes
  • Place a spoonful of mixture on top of individual lettuce leaves
If you want a dipping sauce with your wraps here is a simple recipe:
  • 1 1/2 T coconut aminos
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/8 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 T coconut sugar
  • 1/2 garlic clove, pressed and chopped
*Note: Don't waste your money buying green onions all the time.  Next time you buy green onions put them in a glass of water and set them in a window.  Green onions will continue to grow.  When the stems start getting too long, simply cut them off low (leave about half and inch), chop them up and freeze them.  The onions will start growing back where you cut them off at.  You will have an endless supply of fresh green onions!

**Note: Keep ginger in a zip-lock bag in the freezer.  It will keep F-O-R-E-V-E-R!

Happy Eats,

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Triple C: Curry Coconut Cod

I am lucky enough to live in an area with an abundant organic food supply.  Colorado Springs has been my favorite duty station so far and honestly, I never want to leave!  We have fresh organic milk delivered to our house every Friday and we have a box of organic produce delivered every other week.  

Last week I received kale (lacinato kale to be exact) in my box.  I am fairly new to eating kale so I don't know of many ways to cook it.  I also had some cod in my fridge that needed to be cooked so I figured that there must be some sort of kale/cod recipe combination somewhere out there.  I did what every good housewife does, I went on Pinterest:)

Low and behold, I found a recipe and it was right up my alley!

I had actually been craving Indian food so when I found this recipe, I knew I had to make it!

What You Need:

  • 1 pound of ocean caught cod, thawed and cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1-2 small organic sweet potatoes, once cut into bite sized pieces and the other blended in a food processor
  • 1 bunch of organic kale (any variety), washed, stems removed and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 2 small stalks of organic celery, sliced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 T curry powder (any variety you like)
  • 1/8 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 14 ounce can coconut milk
  • 1 can organic diced tomatoes
  • 1 T grated organic ginger
  • Salt and pepper to taste (I use sea salt)
How It's Made: 
  • Combined ingredients celery through cinnamon in a food processor
  • Pulse into a rough paste
  • Heat olive oil in a large skillet and add celery/spice mixture
  • Sautee until celery softens, about 1-2 minutes
  • In the same food processor, combine coconut milk, tomatoes, blended sweet potato and ginger
  • Blend until smooth
  • Add mixture to the skillet and mix well with the celery/spice mixture
  • Add cut up sweet potato and cod
  • Bring to a low boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 20 minutes
  • Add kale and continue simmering until the kale is wilted 
  • Season with salt and pepper, feel free to add more spices until you reach the taste you desire!

This dish would be great served over with organic rice or with naan bread (if you aren't gluten free).  We ate ours as is and it was wonderful!  

Happy Eats,

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

BBQ Turkey Meatballs

My boys finally started back to school today and along with all the healthy changes at home, we are also changing the way the boys eat at school.  Since August, the boys have been buying hot lunch from the school cafeteria.  The only reason for this is that I was lazy and didn't feel like making their meals.  Plus, they really liked hot lunch.  

I have come up with several different food options for them that I think they will love.  Today I sent them to school with bbq turkey meatballs, some cheese, carrots, organic fruit leather, and gluten free crackers.  For snack they are having organic, non GMO potato chips and water.  

Here is a before shot of the meatballs;

And after:

The boys each got 5 meatballs in their lunch.  My husband ate the rest.  I honestly didn't put much thought into how I was going to make these meatballs.  I knew I wanted them to have a bbq flavor, but I didn't want to pour sauce over the top of them in case the boys' lunch boxes leaked (they use bento boxes).  So I decided to add the bbq sauce to the meatball mixture.

What You Need:

  • 1 pound of lean organic ground turkey meat (use pork if you want)
  • 1/2 cup of gluten free bbq sauce (I use Sweet Baby Rays)
  • crumbs from half of a slice of bread (*see note about how to make your own bread crumbs)
  • 3/4 - 1 tablespoon of parsley
  • salt and pepper to taste

How It's Made:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Mix all ingredients together well
  • Form into small balls (about ping pong ball size)
  • Place on baking sheet
  • Cook for 25-30 minutes.  Be sure you don't overcook or the meatballs will dry out!
To make your own bread crumbs simply take any slice of bread (I use Rudi's Gluten Free bread and keep it frozen) and place it into your food processor or blender (I use a Vitamix, but any processor or blender will do).  Pulse a few times and you should have your own homemade bread crumbs.  Use half for this recipe.  Store the rest in a Ziplock bag and refrigerate. Who knew it was that simple?!

You can also add seasonings to your breadcrumbs of you wish!

These meatballs are perfect for school lunches or an at home meal.  I would pour more bbq sauce over them if we were eating them at home.  
Happy Eats,

Monday, January 6, 2014

A New Food Blog and A Yummy Recipe!

I've decided to chronicle my whole food lifestyle on a new food blog!  I am very excited to start this blog and share my journey, recipes and tips with all of you.

A little bit about my food lifestyle:
I have been following the Virgin Diet by JJ Virgin.  I do not work for JJ or any of her affiliates.  I simply purchased her book in Target one night and after reading it, I decided this was the food lifestyle my family needed to live.  

Yes, I said "food lifestyle".  Haven't you noticed all the different ways people eat?  There are so many different diets out there!  I don't consider the way I eat a diet.  Diets don't work.  The word diet carries a negative connotation.  I don't want my kids to grow up thinking that mommy and daddy were always on a diet.  No!  This is our food lifestyle.

If you aren't familiar with JJ's book, let me break it down for you.  JJ suggest that we cut out 7 problematic food types from our lives for 21 days.  If you start to feel better, lose weight, have more energy, clearer skin, etc.  Then you know the 'diet' is working and it is safe to say that you probably have an intolerance to one or more of the foods you've just cleaned out of your diet.

The 7 eliminated foods are:

Sugar (basically everything except organic stevia, coconut sugar and xylitol

Got it?  Yes, we cut out these 7 problem foods out of our diet for three weeks.  I lost about 10 pounds and my husband has lost about 28.  

We have gradually tested the problematic foods one by one (each one getting it's own test week) to determine with food we are sensitive to.  

I am sensitive to soy, gluten and sugar so far.  I haven't tested eggs, peanuts or corn yet.  Dairy isn't a problem for me, but I still limit my dairy intake to just a couple of times per week.

My husband is sensitive to dairy, eggs, gluten and peanuts so far.  Since we have different sensitivities we have decided to eliminate all the problematic foods (except some dairy) from our diets.  

Yes, we slip up now and again.  I have had a hamburger (and really bad stomach problems afterwards).  We made cookies one night and ate a few )our stomachs paid the price later).

The point is is that we feel wonderful when we stick to not eating the 7 foods.  When we slip up or give in to a craving, we always pay the price.  Why would anyone want to be constantly sick because of the foods they are eating?  Wouldn't you rather feel great, have energy and look better?  Seems like a no brainer, but even for us, the change has been a hard one.

We are now buying only organic foods, not eating anything with preservatives and ingredients we can't pronounce.  It is a hard food lifestyle to follow because even organic foods have gluten, soy, corn, peanuts, etc.   We have to be very diligent grocery shoppers.  We have to read every label of everything we buy.  Which means that we really don't buy boxed or canned items anymore.  

I will be sharing my tips for following a whole organic lifestyle, recipes and shopping tips.  

Let me start the blog off right by sharing a recipe! We had a yummy one pot cabbage meal  for New Years this year.  We decided last minute that we would stick to our Southern roots and eat cabbage, ham and black eyed peas on New Years.  I thought it would be yummy if we just cooked everything together and that is just what we did.  The result was FANTASTIC and the recipe is definitely worthy of repeating!

I'm NOT a dietician so I couldn't tell you what the caloric intake of this dish is or even what the serving size is.  All I know is that I made this delicious dish in a large skillet and we did have left overs afterwards. 


Organic ham (precooked), we bought a half a ham
1-2 bags of organic shredded red cabbage (depending on how much cabbage you want)
1-2 can or organic black eyed peas (again, depending on how much peas you want)
1 handful of chopped organic green onions
1 tablespoon of organic apple cider
3 cloves of organic garlic finely chopped
8-12 large green or kalamata organic olives chopped (omit if you don't like olives.  They were in our fridge so we thought, "What the heck")
Salt and pepper to taste

How Do I Cook It?:

  • All you need to do is heat some olive oil in a large skillet or wok over medium high heat.  
  • Add the cabbage, ham, peas, apple cider, green onion, garlic, olives, salt and pepper.  
  • Once the skillet really starts to sizzle, turn it down to medium low heat, cover with a lid and let it cook until the cabbage is soft 
  • Seve and devour!

I really hope you enjoy this dish as much as my family did!  It is a very forgiving dish so add what you want and omit what you don't.  I have found that they key to sticking to a new food lifestyle is to re-work recipes to meet MY needs.  Don't be discouraged if a recipe has an ingredient you have have.  Just change it!  make it work for you  and this whole process will be so much easier!

Happy Eats,