Clean Eating

5 Ingredient Breakfast Casserole

Switching up my normal breakfast routine and throwing in a breakfast casserole. It also makes for great leftovers during the week if I get lucky enough.  The kiddos tend to gobble this up and only save maybe 3 servings. This 5 ingredient breakfast is super easy to make and of course some good ol’ Franks Red Hot on top to make it complete!

 

Ingredients:

  1. 4 Russet Potatoes – Spiralized
  2. 6 Eggs
  3. Raw Milk Cheese
  4. 1 lb cooked ground pork ( seasoned with salt/pepper, garlic, and ground fennel seed)
  5. Optional -crumble cooked bacon on top

Step by Step

  • Spray 13X12 glass dish with EVOO
  • Spiralize the russet potatoes, cut strings in half, and set asideimg_0722
  • Cook the ground pork and season with salt/pepper, garlic, and fennel seed.
  • Layer 3 shredded potatoes on bottom of panimg_0720
  • Shred some raw milk cheese on topimg_0721
  • Layer cooked pork on top of potatoes
  • Layer last shredded potato on top of pork
  • Mix 6 eggs and raw milk cheese together
  • Pour egg mixture on top of last potatoimg_0725
  • If using bacon add on top of egg mixture
  • Cover with parchment paper and cook in oven at 350 degrees for 55 minutesimg_0727
  • Remove parchment paper and cooke for another 5-10 minutesimg_0728
  • Serve warm! Don’t forget to add some Frank’s Red Hot.img_0729

** I have also used organic ground turkey in place of the ground pork

 

Gobble up and Enjoy!

Clean Eating

Cold Brew Coffee – My LOVE

Happy Sunday to you all. This marks the last weekend officially of summer, but it is still well in the 90s or above in the great state of Arizona where I live!  I will be looking forward to October when the temps hopefully will really start to change. Although, the last couple of morning I have enjoyed my daily exercise in much cooler temperatures finally 🙂

Speaking of summer, one thing I have been really enjoying is some great Cold Brew Coffee.  I have never really been a coffee drinker until I had it COLD. This summer I have been enjoying a nice cup of Cold Brew. Really is refreshing, and has been a great pick me up in the afternoons. Making Cold Brew does take some time. Brewing time is 24hours!

Rob is a lover of Kickstarter programs and came across Fellow Duo Coffee Steeper and we fell in love with it. We have a first generation and since they have come out with a second generation. It is easy to make hot or cold coffee. Go check them out and see for yourself! Seriously the best tasting coffee ever.

We were making the cold brew in the Duo Coffee Steeper, but since we are both drinking it we have made some changes since it has to brew 24hrs. I wanted to free up the steeper in case we wanted to make coffee while we were still waiting for our other one to finish brewing in the fridge.

What you will need:

  • Duo Coffee Steeper
  • 1/2 Gallon Mason Jar
  • Dark Coarse ground coffee ( we ground our own at the store)
  • Filtered Water

** If you are only using the Duo Coffee Steeper. You would place 3 tbsp of ground coffee in the chamber and fill chamber with filtered water. Place cap on and set in fridge for 12 hours. Then when ready to drink it twist to drain coffee into bottom chamber.

Steps for Making 24hr Cold Brew Coffee:

  1. Place 8 TBSP of dark course ground coffee in bottom of 1/2 gallon mason jar. Then fill mason jar with filtered water up to the 1/2 gallon mark. Stir with wooden spoon. Place cap on and put in refrigerator for 24 hours. ( Also pictured is one that we already made and I was making a cup for myself)img_0710

2. After 24 hours, take mason jar out of fridge and strain through Duo Coffee Steeper. Fill first chamber with coffee until full. Then twist and drain into second chamber. Pour strained coffee into clean mason jar. Repeat steps until all coffee has been strained. Seems time consuming, but it really isn’t. img_0708

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Now you can enjoy a fresh cup of cold brew however you like it. Enjoy it black, with creamer, or heck why not with some chocolate milk!

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Fill cup with cold brew coffee and add equal parts of french vanilla creamer and cashew chocolate milk- Delightfully creamy!!

Now go make yourself some!

Clean Eating, School Lunches

Weekly School Lunch- 1

So I decided to change things up with my school lunch post. I will be posting my weekly lunches on Saturdays. That way I can compile my weeks worth of lunches all in one spot. This will provide a better snap shot of how I do our lunches during the week, and how you can really utilize dinner leftovers throughout the week!  Oh and I am really liking our YumBox lunch boxes this year.

Week 1 School Lunches:

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Monday: Carrots, romain lettuce with raisins, grilled chicken, pineapple, cheesestick, and organic ketchup.
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Tuesday: Carrots, romain lettuce with pickle, hardboiled egg, oranges, ham and cheese wrap.
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Wednesday: Celery with sunbutter, romain lettuce leaves, grilled chicken, cheesesticks, oranges and raisins.

 

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Thursday: Carrots, romain lettuce leaves, grilled chicken with organic ketchup, Siggi’s yogurt tube, and strawberries.

 

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Friday: pickle and carrots, Stonyfield  yogurt with raw honey and Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips, romain lettuce, uncured beef hotdog, and strawberries.

So there you have it, my kiddos weekly meals. Some days my kiddos get through all their lunch and some days not. They never waste food at school and I always pack their lunch in a lunch bag with freezer packs. So if they don’t get through their lunch they finish it either on the way home or as soon as they get home with their after school snack. Keep lunches simple and I never worry about repeating protein or veggies as you can see 🙂

Making healthy lunches to fuel their bodies one day at a time!  Happy packing.img_0701

Clean Eating

Tuna Salad

Wow it has been awhile since I have posted. I have been compiling my blog post, but haven’t blocked out the time to post them. With the school year in full force, it has been crazier then what I expected. Dropping kiddos off at two different schools and then taking my youngest back four days a week in the afternoon for speech/language class has me on my toes. Plus Rob and I both training for triathlons coming up makes it hectic right now, but I am loving every minute of it. So I am trying to dedicate more time to my blogging!

With things keeping me busy I need something I can easily grab quickly and eat on the go if needed. There are times I am working out right up until I have to go pick up the youngest  two in the morning. I don’t like to wait until I get back home before I get something into my body to eat after working out. So lately it has been tuna salad. I eat it with plantain chips, apples, celery, or cucumbers. It is refreshing and hits the spot every time!

I make my own mayo that you can find here. Feel free to substitute with a healthy store bought one too.

TUNA SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 3 cans of tuna ( I like Wild Albacore Tuna that I get from Costco)
  • Chop fresh onion or a handful of shakes of dried chopped onion
  • 1 tsp of ground fennel ( I use whole seed and ground in a pepper shaker)
  • Himalayan salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 cup of mayo

Directions:

  1. Empty tuna into bowl and break up with a fork
  2. Add seasonings and mix in
  3. Add the mayo and mix until combined

Serve with apples, plantain chips, celery sticks, or put make a cucumber sandwich.

Enjoy!

 

Clean Eating, snacks

Wholly Granola – On the Run

Wow where has the time gone. This summer has been keeping me busy, so my blog post have been a little more spaced out for now. With summer off and running and vacations on the agenda I like to share one of my favorite granola recipes. We use this in place of buying store bought cereal. When we travel I tend to pack the majority of my food. This is cost effective for my family and provides us with good clean eating food always on hand. Traveling back home is almost a 24 hour road trip. Therefore, I need to have meal ready to go and easy to prepare on the road. Breakfast then is yogurt topped with this homemade granola, mixed fresher fruit, and banana muffins. This makes it easy to eat in the car and something the whole family enjoys. My kiddos can tolerate organic whole milk yogurt or even greek yogurt. I could tolerate dairy in small quantities, but due to recently finding out I have MTHFR (Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase) I have decided to go completely dairy-free except for the occasional goat milk items.  I will be sharing more of my story at a later date. For now lets get down to some granola making business!

Grab your mixture of nuts and start chopping away.

Now add in the rest of the dry ingredients: ground flax seed, shredded coconut, raisins, dried blueberries, cinnamon, and himalayan salt. Then stir!

Combined wet ingredients and then warm in saucepan just until melted. I picked this pineapple juice at Trader Joes.IMG_0692

Pour wet ingredients into the dry nut mixture and stir until evenly coated. Make sure the “granola” nut mixture is really coated.IMG_0693

Line pan with parchment paper and heat oven to 300 degrees. Cook for about 45-60 minutes staring every 10 minutes or so. Oh and your house will smell amazingly!

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Just before going into the oven.

Granola is done when most of the moisture is gone and nuts start to brown. Let cool and ENJOY!

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Out of the oven

 

Granola- Paleo Style

Dry Mixture

  • 1 1/4 cup of raw pecans
  • 1 1/2 cup raw walnuts
  • 1 1/4 cup raw almonds
  • 10 oz bag macadamia nuts
  • 1/3 c ground flax seed
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1 cup cup dried blueberries
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • sprinkle of himalayan salt
  • 1 heaping tsp of cinnamon

Liquid Mixture

  • 1/3 cup pineapple juice
  • 3 Tbsp unrefined coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
(Can use any variation of nuts you prefer. I also like to add in brazil nuts into the mix too)
(Can also add or substitute different dried fruit)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees
  2. The nuts that need to be chopped up use a hand chopper to chop. I have tried using a food processor, but don’t like it because it chops them too fine for me. Chop nuts until you have a granola like consistency. I buy some of my nuts in pieces so I don’t have to chop them ahead of time.
  3. Add in the dry fruit and shredded coconut to the mix nuts
  4. Add in himalayan salt and cinnamon to nut mixture and stir.
  5. In a small pot melt and mix together the coconut oil, honey, pineapple juice, vanilla, cocoa powder, salt and cinnamon.
  6. Add the liquid mixture to the fruit/nut mixture and coat the “granola” really well.
  7. Place granola on a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 45 – 60 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes until done. * Key here to cook on low heat and slowly as to not burn the nuts and coconut.
  8. Let cool and store in airtight container.

It is great to serve with almond milk as a “cereal” or served with yogurt as a topping. This is the yogurt I enjoyed with my granola for breakfast!  As I am thinking of it, I bet this would taste amazing in my Acai BowlIMG_0695

Books, Clean Eating, Menu Planning

Life Choices and Healthy Eating

It is summer break and with that comes easier meals for me and NO more school lunches to pack! We get to enjoy the outdoors, lots of time at the pool, and of course books in hand.   I am really am liking The Rhythm of Life -Living Every Day with Passion & Purpose by Matthew Kelly. It is a great easy read. If you haven’t read this book, I strongly urge you do! IMG_0552

When I look at the life I have, I realize I have been given life. The Lord has given me the ability to make choices in my life with the hopes of course that I will choose to follow him. I have lived in the past of negative thinking – why did this happen, why am I not where I want to be, if I only had this I would be happy, the list can go on and on. Over the last year or so I have been doing a lot of reflections on life. How I live each day, really is MY CHOICE. I can choose to be happy, or choose to be sad. I can choose to exercise, or choose not to. I can choose to eat healthy, or eat junk. I can choose to manage my money or let my money manage me. I can choose to love myself, or tear myself apart. I can choose to pray and go to church, or choose to stay home (or go to an event) etc.

Lets take eating healthy for an example. When talking with other people in my life, one thing I hear about is I want to make better food choices. Then next comes the long list of excuses as to why it is so hard or why they can’t do it. Really when it comes down to it, it is YOUR CHOICE to CHANGE! Only you can decide to take the steps in the choices you make. So okay you know you want to eat healthier. Now how are you going to get there? What goals and steps are you going to take to get to making better food choices? What resources are available to help you get to where you want to be?

I personally am a dive on in kind of gal, but not everyone is like that. Also every situation I may not be able to just dive all in and need to take steps. So create small goals to accomplish your one big goal of eating healthier. Maybe first is clean out your fridge and pantry of the unhealthy foods. Next you commit to only buying healthy foods when going grocery shopping. Start with buying more fruits and veggies and less processed food.  Maybe you start researching healthier meals to make and make a list of meals you would like to try. Another option is take meals you like already and substitute in healthier alternatives. For instance, instead of pasta noodles, you make zucchini noodles. Then  maybe you start to meal plan. You can start with just a couple of meals a week and then build up to a weeks worth of meals. Some people discuss the cost factor of eating healthier. This could then turn into a goal of setting a budget for weekly meals. Maybe limit the amount of times you go out to eat and instead bring your meals with you. I can always make adjustments in my budget, but when it comes down to it the cost really isn’t that huge. This is just a thought process to get you started. This same concept applies for all aspects in your life. I can tell you that you will hit barriers (ups and downs) along the way. Again, it is your choice to continue through, pick yourself back up and continue forward on this journey called life!  Keep in mind though, you never have to do it alone!

My goal here is to share pieces of my life in hope to inspire others or give them the encouragement they need to keep going on whatever journey they are on. So with that, comes in summertime meal planning. I still continue to meal plan, but it isn’t necessarily as strict as it is during the school year. I have a master snack list that I list on my board my kiddos can choose from twice a day instead of me planning them out each day. The snacks that need to be prepared I will meal prep so they are ready to go when they choose to have them during the week.

Week to week the snack list really does not change. Maybe one or two things I may switch out. This is my master snack plan for this week:

  • Banana Muffins
  • Rice Rolls with Sunbutter
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Fresh Raw Veggies
  • Apples with sunbutter and toppings (mini Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, Shredded coconut, chopped nuts)
  • Ants on a log
  • Lemon Coconut Protein Balls -Link out to the recipe here.
  • Plantain Chips and Guac
  • Sunbutter Balls
  • Banana chips
  • Larabars
  • Trail Mix (raw nuts with dried fruit)

 

Breakfast for the week still stays the same as it does during the school year.

  • Fluffy Paleo Pancakes – find recipe here. Seriously the best pancakes hands down!
  • Daily morning breakfast -Sausage/Eggs/Potatoes. I blogged about it here.

 

Lunches during the week are leftovers from our dinner the night before. Making it easy peasy!

Dinners: I plan 5-6 main dinners and then will have at least 1 leftover night to clean out the fridge before the next round of meals. This ensure we are eating up what we brought and reduces the amount of food waste. You will always know when it is grocery time in my house because my fridge is almost bare. Each dinner will have salad available. Here is my meals I planned for the coming week:

  • Tuna cakes and Sweet Potatoes
  • Ginger Lime Meatballs and cauliflower rice. I use turkey instead of pork for the meatballs. You can find the recipe here.
  • Chicken Salad Lettuce Boats with raw veggies. Recipe coming this week so check back!
  • Grilled chicken and grilled veggies (zucchini, mushrooms, and carrots)
  • Taco Night
  • Asian Zoodle Bowls

Now to update my grocery list in Wunderlist, and off to the store I go.

Enjoy!

About Me, Clean Eating

Food Intolerances

More and more restaurants these days are making accommodations to their menus to support those with food intolerance/allergies. For that I am thankful. I do like to go out from time to time with my hubby and enjoy a date night.  For the most part I know what restaurants are a go and which ones are not. I make the same considerations when it goes for eating at friends and family houses too. Usually I pack our meals so we can still enjoy time with friends, or just know we take a risk of being cross-contaminated. It isn’t the end of the world and I know it is only temporary. It is bound to happen from time to time, and because of that I don’t let it control my life. I eat fairly clean; not always PERFECT, but I try to be close. I feel like I know my body well and I am happy for that. I know I face some food intolerances, one for sure being gluten. Although it is hard to test at this point so I do avoid it. The test for celiacs would be most accurate if you are already eating gluten while running the test. Since I avoid it, the test wouldn’t be necessarily accurate for me. I also know dairy is also on my avoid list as I tend to break out in acne; although I can handle goat cheese and raw milk cheese in moderation.

Just like working out makes me feel amazing, so does the food I put into my body. With over four years of doing a food elimination diet and monitoring the foods I eat, I have a good sense how my body will react to the foods I eat. Which plays into my clean eating diet. I am not a “health nut” but I do eat to fuel my body. Don’t get me wrong, I do struggle from time to time with emotional eating. Even though my emotional eating consists of healthier foods, eating anything in extreme excess isn’t healthy. So I try to incorporate yoga or earlier bed times when I know I may be under some stress. It is progress, not perfection!

So I am sharing today a picture of me and how my body reacts to foods I am intolerant to. I am not 100% sure what I was exposed to, but this typically happens when I am exposed to gluten. I get extremely bloated almost to the point where my stomach is pretty solid. I usually have a delayed reaction of about 24 hours before symptoms take. Although, sometimes my symptoms will be same day. These pictures are about 10 days apart. These are not exaggerated, but wanted to share something I personally struggle with. IMG_0551

It is always important to listen to your body and you will be happy for it in the long run. I have to do what is best for me and my body. I am responsible to nurturing the body the good Lord gave me.  Living with purpose in this journey called LIFE!

Clean Eating

Cast Iron Chicken Dinner

Having a cast iron is a must in my house. I have three 12inch cast iron skillets and two 6.5inch cast iron skillets. I have cooked several dishes in them, baked desserts, and even take them camping with us! Bonus, they are super easy to clean with just hot water.

Tonight it’s Chicken Dinner. Quick and easy meal to throw together and make. I used bone-in chicken thighs and coated them with Kerrygold Butter, mustard, salt/pepper, and sage seasoning. Make sure you get under the skin too. You can certainly season them however you like. Couple of ways I have done them are: avocado oil, salt, and pepper. Butter, salt, pepper, and garlic. Be creative!

Place chicken thighs in cast iron skillet, and cook in oven. I used 2 cast irons and made 8 chicken thighs. Cook at 425 degrees until chicken temps at 165 degrees (approx 45-50 minutes). I also cooked my cauliflower pop at the same time. Set those aside to rest.

Next I microwaved my sweet potatoes and russet potatoes in my Pampered Chef round cover baker for approx. 6 minutes. Remember to poke your potatoes before cooking. I miss my double oven because I would have otherwise cooked my potatoes in the oven at the same time as well.IMG_0263

While the chicken was cooking in the oven, fired up the grill and made grilled veggies and chicken wings since I was already meal prepping for the week. Otherwise you could do this whole meal on the grill too!

I lightly drizzle avocado oil on top of the raw zucchini, carrot, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place in grill veggie rack. Grill up until zucchini is done. About 3 minutes and stir. Then cook for about 2 more minutes. I like my veggies a little crunch still, if you don’t then cook them a little longer.IMG_7979

You can easily warm up leftovers in the cast iron on the stove or oven the next day.

Enjoy this delicious wholesome dish.

Clean Eating

Homemade Mayo

One condiment I love having around is mayo, and I love that I can make it myself. This basic recipe can also be used to to make dips by adding in different seasonings, and dressings like honey mustard dressing.  I use this mayo to make chicken salad, egg salad, tuna salad, and broccoli cold slaw.

I have tried several different versions of homemade mayo, but this is the best one and it includes a video tutorial for making your own. You can find it here along with Nom Nom Paleo’s video. I have had the best results with using an immersion blender.

 

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1 egg yolk (I save egg white and throw in with my scrambled eggs), 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 Tbsp water, pour in avocado oil up to 1 cup mark.

Use immersion blender ( I got mine here) until blended. About 3-5 minutes.IMG_0109

When it is done, it will be thick like mayo.IMG_0108

I just leave mine in the fridge until I am ready to use it. My mayo last 1 week past the expiration date of the egg.

When making tuna salad, egg salad, or chicken salad I mix in the seasonings I want to use into some mayo and then mix into the salad. I always start with a small amount of mayo as I can always stir in more to my liking.

I also like to make honey mustard dressing. Kiddos enjoy it with their chicken. Sometimes I add it on top of salads too. It is not as thick as normal honey mustard though, but I am ok with that.

Start with 1/4-1/2 cup of homemade mayo. Add in 2Tbsp each of mustard and raw honey. Add in 1 Tbsp of vinegar.

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Whisk it all together.IMG_0106

Then serve up or store in fridge. Mine last for a about a week sometimes longer.IMG_0105

So what are you waiting for???  STOP buying mayo and START making your own!

 

 

 

Clean Eating, snacks

My go to snack right now-LARABAR

When I think of a snack for myself, I think of something quick and satisfying. As I have discussed before I enjoy snacking on LARABAR. An enjoyable fruit and nut bar. I am a busy and active momma. I usually have them in my purse or hiking bag. Having food in my purse is a must. If I am out running errands and it took longer then expected (which is common) I know I have something healthy to snack on to hold me over until I get home. It beats picking up junk food while out and about. I have pretty much tried every LARABAR! Our go to LARABARs are: blueberry muffin, key lime pie, lemon bar, apple pie, carrot cake, cashew cookie, and mint chip brownie (target only). Phew! I don’t think you could go wrong with any of them really!

I like to get creative with my LARABARs. I crumble them up on top of yogurt, crumble them up on top of my Acai Bowls. If you haven’t tried Acai Bowls you must. Check out my recipe I made here. Now my new obsession is topping them with nut butter. Specifically, Barney Butter Smoothed Almond Butter, or Barney Butter Cocoa & Coconut. It has put a new twist on my favorite snack.  One of my favorites is Cashew Cookie Larabar with Smooth Barney Butter Almond Butter. I totally did the happy dance at Costco this past weekend because they had a box of cashew cookie and apple pie 18ct combo box for $14.99 plus another $4 off! I usually get them at my local Sprouts because they are between $0.88-$1.00 a piece.

Yes you can say I am a LARABAR-aholic. I now need to go and try the Larabar Organic with Superfoods. I have been eyeing the Tumeric, Ginger, and Beet combo since I love me some ginger.

Now get to snacking and don’t forget to be healthy and creative!