Recipe Roundup

I am always on the look out for new recipes, so I wanted to share some new favorites with you.

http://lexiscleankitchen.com/2015/07/10/potato-pesto-breakfast-skillet/

This Potato Pesto Breakfast Skillet would be a great way to start the weekend.

http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2014/01/big-comfy-sweet-potato/

These Big Comfy Sweet Potatoes would be easy to make ahead for lunches or quick dinners. 

http://www.mynewroots.org/site/2012/04/meatless-mondays-with-martha-stewart-earth-bowls-2/

We are focusing on eating as many vegetables as possible, and I love these Earth Bowls! We would make them with organic garlic quinoa. 

http://goop.com/recipes/chicken-and-zucchini-noodle-pho/

This Chicken + Zucchini Noodle Pho looks amazing! I had a delicious pho when we were traveling in Colorado and have been craving it ever since!

September Wellness 02: Go Green

Another thing we are focusing on this month is increasing our vegetable intake! We already eat more vegetables than your average American family, but it is easy to get in a rut or to skip them all together when life gets hectic.

Since saying 'eat more vegetables' isn't measurable or specific, our goal is to have three vegetables at each meal. Yes, each meal, including breakfast. If that seems too overwhelming to you or your current breakfast is a bowl of cereal, let's just start with incorporating one vegetable into each meal. Here is what that typically looks like for us:

This recipe  sounds amazing with simple, but delicious flavors. Just substitute zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash!

This recipe sounds amazing with simple, but delicious flavors. Just substitute zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash!

+ Breakfast: roasted broccoli, zucchini, and kale egg scramble with backyard eggs (organic, free-range and unpasteurized! Hooray for owning chickens!) OR roasted chicken and vegetable soup OR a breakfast salad of mixed greens, green onions, and roasted veggies topped with a fried egg or other protein. 
+ Lunch: a big salad with organic greens, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, roasted broccoli + cauliflower, avocado slices + protein with a homemade dressing or guacamole
+ Dinner: paleo chili with zucchini, bell peppers and eggplant over cauliflower 'rice' OR grilled tuna steaks with roasted brussels sprouts, mashed parsnips and raw coleslaw. This is the easiest meal to incorporate vegetables. 

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Insider tips:
+ Wash, cut and roast a variety of vegetables on the weekend to have during the week. Think cauliflower, broccoli, butternut squash, parsnips, sweet potatoes, okra, eggplant, rainbow carrots, beets, anything you like! Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt, pepper, garlic and roast. Hardier vegetables like butternut squash and potatoes will take a little longer compared to things like broccoli and okra. 
+ On days when we have smoothies either between meals or as a meal replacement we take a MultiGreens supplement or open the capsules and add them to our smoothies. You can find out more about the company behind our supplements here, and stay tuned for more info on supplements later this week!
+ You can find tips for creating a whole foods pantry and refrigerator here as well as our whole-foods-on-a-budget favorites from Trader Joes and Aldi here and here
+ You can find some of our favorite recipes here and complete month-long meal plans here.

Easy + Delicious Freezer Meals

I talk a lot about meal planing and preparation since I really believe that it is vital to maintaining healthy diet. Life is busy and hectic, and most days there just isn't enough time to pull together a whole-food, nutrient-dense meal from scratch. And while planning and prep are the norm for us, but there are still some weeks that end up crazy and hectic. That's why we have a freezer and pantry stocked with things that will quickly transform into a meal. (More on that later.) 

I typically freeze pre-cooked foods like ground beef or chili, but I recently decided to try a few freezer crockpot meals. So easy! I had a small window of time while my son was napping, and I threw together three meals as well as some marinated meats to freeze. Here are a few recipes to get you started:

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Teriyaki Chicken Stir Fry:
1.5lb chicken breast, diced
1/2 cup or so Coconut Secret Teryaki sauce
3 or so garlic cloves, smashed
1/2 package frozen onions OR 1 small onion, diced
1 package frozen carrots + broccoli

Place chicken in a freezer bag, then add sauce and toss to coat. Top with vegetables (except broccoli!) and lay flat to freeze. To cook, place in a slow cooker on low for 6 hours OR thaw overnight and sautee in a large pan. Add in the broccoli for the last 30 minutes of the slow cooker to keep all the nutrient. Crack in an egg to scramble for an authentic stir-fry! Add about 1/4 cup or so of extra sauce during the last 15 minutes of cooking. Serve with zoodles or cauli-rice.


Slow-cooker Sausage + Peppers + Onions:
1 12oz package of sausage, sliced (read ingredients!)
1 small can organic diced tomatoes 
2 garlic cloves, diced (you can use more if you use a different flavor sausage)
1 bag frozen onions + peppers
OR
1 small onion + 2 small bell peppers (your choice of color)

Place all ingredients in a ziplock bag and freeze flat. Write on the bag: Cook on low for 6+ hours. The exact time will depend on your slow cooker and whether your sausage was pre-cooked. I used TJ garlic chicken sausage  that was pre-cooked, so I plan to either put this in the slow cooker on low for about 4 hours or to just sauté together in a pan. Serve with sautéed greens or broccoli and cauli-rice or zoodles!


Maple-Dijon Pork Chops:
1lb thin-sliced pastured pork chops
2tsp organic dijon mustard
1/8-1/4 cup organic maple syrup (to taste, we like less)
21 Season Salute (or other all-purpose seasoning)
s+p

Mix all ingredients together in a freezer bag and freeze flat. Cook in a slow-cooker on low for 4-6 hours depending on the thickness of your pork. 

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Chicken + Vegetable Curry:
1-1&1/2lb organic chicken, diced
1 bag vegetables, your choice! (onion, bell pepper, zucchini, squash, snow peas)
1/2 small bell pepper (any color)
2 tsp curry powder
3 cloves garlic, smashed
s+p to taste
Optional: fresh spinach, slightly wilted
1 can organic coconut milk

Mix together in a freezer bag and freeze flat. Add about 1/2-1 cup organic chicken stock to a slow-cooker and cook on low for 6 hours. Add coconut milk during the last hour of cooking, and add wilted spinach during the last 15 minutes. Top with chopped cashews, green onions, and serve over zoodles or cauli-rice.

Easy + Delicious Chicken Salad

One of our favorite, simple go-to recipes is homemade chicken salad. While the store-bought stuff is laden with industrial seed oils and preservatives, this quick and easy recipe is full of nutritious benefits - lean protein, good fats, and plenty of flavor.

Easy Chicken Salad:
1 - 1&1/2lb shredded chicken*
1/4 cup primal kitchen mayo
1T organic dijon mustard
salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste
4 drops lemon essential oil

Mix chicken with mayo and dijon, then add essential oil and spices. Mix well. Add more or less mayo or dijon to your personal taste. We prefer more mayo and less dijon, but do whatever you like best! Other optional add-ins: sliced almonds, diced apples or dried cranberries, smashed avocado, shredded spinach. 

This recipe is also a toddler favorite, especially when I mix in a little extra avocado and maybe a tiny bit of diced apple or a couple diced green grapes. 

*I cook about 1.5lb of chicken in our slow cooker to make this even easier! I season it with a little olive oil and Trader Joe's 21 Season Salute (or other all-purpose seasoning) and cook on low of 5 hours. After the chicken is cooked, shred with a fork and allow to cool. 

Recipe Roundup

We are currently in somewhat of a food slump. You know the feeling... you eat the same things over and over to the point where just the mere mention of spaghetti + zoodles makes you queasy. My friend Lesley and I talk about going grocery shopping for each other, just to have a different perspective on what to make food wise for a week. Sound fun, right? So in an effort to shake things up a bit, here are some new to us recipes we plan to try. 

Sriracha Lime Chicken Chopped Salad via Lexi's Clean Kitchen sounds perfect for summer grilling, and it has some of my favorite flavors! I absolutely adore Lexi's recipes and love reading her blog. Plus, she is a fellow oil user! 

Grilled Steaks with Herbed Butter would be a great excuse to pick up some grass fed steak from the local farm. Paired with some grilled zucchini and a tomato + cucumber salad to soak up all the goodness of the summer garden!

Eggplant pizzas would be a fun weekend treat. Pizza is quite possibly my favorite food, but even the gluten-free versions typically leave me with a headache or feeling less than stellar. I find that mozzarella is a more tolerable cheese for most people, and I love the idea of using eggplant as the base! 

garden-veggie-bowls-with-ranch.jpg

Rainbow Veggie Bowls with Jalapeño Ranch would be a great lunch packed full of vegetables and nutrients! I have a soft spot for ranch dressing, so this recipe is right up my alley!

Creamy Pesto Chicken 'Pasta' is another great recipe that has simple flavors and will be the perfect way to use up the zucchini from our garden! You know I love a good zoodle ;)

You can find these and more whole food meal ideas here

 

Summer Watermelon Chiller

One of my favorite ways to mix things up is to add citrus oils to my water, but in the heat of summer, sometimes even that isn't enough. And after a long weekend slashing in the lake and playing in the sun, I wanted something just a little sweet and special. So, inspired by this recipe, we created a simple, but refreshing drink that is perfect for hot summer days. 

Summer Watermelon Cooler:
2 cups seedless watermelon
3-4 drops orange essential oil
Splash of grapefruit La Croix

Blend watermelon until liquid and add essential oil. Blend for about 15 seconds more. Pour into glasses and top with sparkling water. Serve chilled or over ice with a watermelon or peach garnish!

Kitchen Gadgets

When it comes to kitchen real estate, we land on the side of minimal, yet practical, and keep our gadgets to a minimum. That being said, there are a handful of things that make life easier, especially when you prepare 95% of your meals at home. Here are a few of my must-haves when it comes to the kitchen. 

+ A really good cast iron dutch oven. We used to have a Martha Steward one, but after it chipped and I had a really terrible customer service experience at Macys, I just can't recommend it. This Lodge Dutch Oven was our replacement and is a much better option.

+ A stainless steel julienne peeler. You can get much fancier and purchase and actual spiral slicer, but I prefer the simplicity of a peeler. Plus, it fits into the utensil drawer and doesn't take up precious cabinet space.

+ A stand mixer . I wasnt' sure we would use this when we transitioned to a paleo diet, but it is the simplest way to make mashed parsnips, cauliflower or potatoes. Plus we use it to make muffins and occasionally break out the ice cream attachment for some coconut milk ice cream.

+ A good french press and accompanying coffee grinder. After our trip to Panama and the opportunity to really taste coffee, we changed our routine a bit. It makes all the difference!

Fourth of July

With so much going on in our country and so much going on in our life as a family, the freedom of Independence Day feels especially sweet this year. This year our celebrations will be low-key, which is honestly just what we need. A few friends, lots of time outside (with plenty of outdoor spray and sunscreen!), a family day trip, simple decorations, sparklers galore, and lots of good food, some healthy and some treats. Here are some of my favorites for a simple, but festive Fourth of July. 

An almond matcha superfood smoothie to start the day right and get in some greens!

pineapple + flower centerpiece. Colorful, festive, smells divine. I love it! Carve out the fruit from the inside and grill it or add it to some homemade guacamole, then save the exterior for the perfect party vase. 

This grilled potato and cannelloni bean salad would be a great side to pair with burgers or Bbq and a big green salad. I would use dried beans that you soaked and cooked instead of canned. 

These paleo chia and almond chocolate parfaits would be a delicious, simple desert and look great when layered in individual mason jars. I also can't get enough blueberries this time of year!

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Summer and peaches are synonymous here in the South, and this peach gin fizz would make a great signature cocktail for a small gathering.  Also, more blueberries! 

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We love games, and backyard Twister sounds so fun! Find more backyard games here. And what Fourth of July celebration would be complete without sparklers and a good BBqsauce?

Summer Paleo Chili

Paleo chili is a staple in our home, regardless of the season. It's one of our stand by dishes that we always have ingredients to prepare, so it is great for those insanely busy weeks when time just slips away. I like to keep two pounds of cooked ground beef in our freezer to make the chili prep even simpler and easy to transition to a slow cooker if needed. 

Summer Paleo Chili:
2lb grass-fed  ground beef
1 small yellow or visalia onion (or frozen onions)
1 bell pepper, any color (or 1 package frozen bell peppers)
2-3 summer squash, yellow or zucchini, diced
1/2 a package organic grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1 28-oz can organic crushed tomatoes
Splash Bragg's apple cider vinegar
1 tsp organic dijon mustard 
Optional: splash wortschershire sauce (contains molasses, not strict paleo)
Olive oil
Homemade chili seasoning + s/p/garlic to taste

Place onions and olive oil in a dutch oven and cook until slightly opaque. Add in ground beef and cook until no longer pink (if using raw meat) or until thawed (if using pre-cooked and frozen meat). Add in squash, fresh tomatoes, canned tomatoes, and seasoning and cook, covered for about 30-45 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Add water or broth if you desire a thinner consistency. Add apple cider vinegar, dijon and wortschershire, if using, and cook for another 20 minutes or up to 1 hour. We like to leave ours on low for about 45 minutes to really let the flavors meld together.

Serve with raw shredded cheese, raw sour cream, and/or avocado, depending on your preferences. If we really want to kick up our heels, we serve this with gluten-free corn bread. 

Mint Mocha Protein Smoothie

When the stars align and I make it out of bed early enough to squeeze in a workout (hello 5am!), I like to follow up with a nutrient-rich protein smoothie to maximize the post-workout window. We eat a low-carb paleo diet, so we try to keep the majority of our carbs in the post-workout time frame. I don't usually jump on the liquid meal bandwagon, especially first thing in the morning since it's a big insulin spike, unless I've done a good cardio workout. Here is my current favorite post-workout recipe:

Mint Mocha Protein Smoothie:
A large handful of organic spinach or kale
A handful of organic blueberries
1/2 a frozen banana
1/4 - 1/2 an organic avocado
1 T raw cacao powder
1 scoop grass-fed protein powder
1 drop peppermint essential oil
Almond milk to desired consistency


Place all ingredients in a blender in the order listed and blend well! Pour into a glass and serve with a glass or stainless steel straw. 

I typically make my smoothie, then head to a quiet place for a little down time and prayer before starting the day. I like to dab a little frankincense or grounding blend on my wrist or place it in the diffuser. On the days when I need to hit the door immediately after a workout, I follow this quick three minute facial and done!