This recipe is just WAY too easy, but I get asked about it quite often. Apple Nachos are just straight up FUN, and a great way to add in some healthy fats with the nuts and almond butter. Grab a fork and DIG IN!
1 organic apple
1 tsp organic almond butter
Sprinkle of pecans
Sprinkle of unsweetened coconut
Dash of cinnamon
Have you ever tried "Meatless Mondays?" I was attempting to cut our grocery bill by purchasing less meat one winter, and I came across this recipe for vegetarian minestrone soup from Mama Miss. It is FANTASTIC. Seriously, it is SO filling and SO full of veggies! You would never guess that kids would like it, but mine BEG for more! And there are at least two servings of veggies in each bowl! Winning! And let's just be honest, I don't actually MEASURE everything...I just chop, chop, chop, and toss in the pot!
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 medium yellow onion
2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 medium yellow squash, chopped
2 medium zucchini, chopped
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 - 15.25 oz. can whole kernel sweet white corn, drained
6 (4 cups) Roma tomatoes, chopped & divided (3 cups & 1 cup)
3 - 14 oz. cans low sodium chicken broth, divided
1/2 cup uncooked ditalini pasta
1 - 15.5 oz. can Great Northern beans, rinsed & drained
1 - 6 oz. bag of fresh baby spinach
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 oz. (1 cup) grated Asiago cheese
Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion to pan; sauté 3 minutes, until softened, stirring frequently. Add oregano and garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in squash, zucchini, carrot, and corn; sauté 5 minutes until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
While the vegetables are cooking, place 3 cups chopped Roma tomatoes and 1 can of broth in a blender; blend until smooth. Add the tomato mixture to the pot. Stir in remaining 1 cup Roma tomatoes and remaining 2 cans of broth; bring to a boil. reduce heat; simmer 20 minutes.
Add pasta and beans to pot; cook 10 minutes until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Stir in spinach, salt, and pepper.
Ladle soup into bowls and top each bowl with 1 tablespoons of cheese.
Need a hearty meal that doesn't come from a box or use canned soup? That's what I was looking for, too! Here is one that isn't hard to make at all...in fact, throw it together the night before and use the crockpot!
Clean Crockpot Chicken & Mushrooms
1 1/2 lbs Chicken Breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
16 ounces mushrooms sliced
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp wheat flour
salt and pepper to taste
chopped fresh parsley, optional
In a medium skillet, add oil and chicken. Cook on medium-high heat and sear until brown, flip, and brown the other side. Place in slow cooker.
In the same pan, add onion and saute until tender. Add to slow cooker.
Place the mushrooms, garlic, and parsley in an even layer over the chicken and onions in the slow cooker. Pour in chicken broth and sprinkle with salt and pepper and cook on low for 4 hours.
Remove the chicken from the slow cooker, and add cornstarch/wheat flour to the juices and mushrooms. Whisk until smooth. Return chicken to slow cooker and cook until the gravy is thick about 20 minutes.
Serve over brown rice or organic wheat pasta!
I learned from a long line of amazing cooks...but as our life gets busier, I enjoy cooking less. With 3 little ones, I'm lucky to make a few homemade meals each week, in large quantities, and we eat leftovers! Saves money AND time! Organic, quick, clean chili! ❤️
1 lb ground turkey
1 onion diced
1/2 green pepper diced
16 oz organic kidney beans washed
28 oz organic diced tomatoes
1/2 c water
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tsp mustard
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Cook turkey, onion, pepper in large pot over medium. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Reduce heat. Cover and simmer 10 min. (Or keep in Crockpot on low until ready to eat!)
Who doesn't love a good chicken salad sandwich in the summer? It just makes me think of eating at a cute little cafe and feeling fancy. Add in some sweetness with fruit, crunch with almonds, and NO celery? That's a winner in my book!
Here is my family's FAVORITE Clean Chicken Salad:
2 cups shredded chicken
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/2 cup diced apple
1/2 cup grapes, halved
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice, or more, to taste
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Yellow mustard and garlic powder to taste.
In a large bowl, combine chicken, red onion, apple, grapes, dried cranberries, sliced almonds, Greek yogurt, lemon juice, garlic powder, salt and pepper, to taste. Serve sandwiches on bread with chicken mixture and lettuce. I made sandwiches for the family and just enjoyed mine on a bed of spinach. 😊
Seriously, guys, you can't mess this up! Just adjust as you go and you will LOVE it!
Since I began clean eating over two years ago, I have had many people ask me about how I lost the weight (over 30lbs in four months' time). While I attempted to explain the principles behind clean eating, and shared various websites that I had used for tips and tricks along the way, what people REALLY wanted to know was how they could continue to eat the foods they loved and somehow magically lose weight.
Let's get one thing out of the way from the start: The problem is not the "How to," rather it is the "WHY." What is your motivation? If your reason is not strong enough, if you are not passionate about your "why," then you will likely stop making these changes when you don't see immediate results. However, if you are determined to change, regardless of how long that takes and what SACRIFICES you need to make, then you WILL succeed! And not just success according to the scale, but REAL, lifestyle change that LASTS. So, if you are willing to put forth the effort and stick it out long-term, let's continue...
If you are curious about the general principles behind clean eating, you can check out a previous post I wrote, which also contains a great sample meal that you can make for your family.
1. Whole foods, not processed.
2. Unrefined over refined.
3. Include a protein, carbohydrate, and fat at every meal.
4. Reduce fat, salt, and sugar.
5. Eat 5-6 small meals.
6. Don't drink your calories.
7. Exercise daily.
So, the first step to eating clean is making a game plan BEFORE hitting the grocery store.
Plan your meals.
In our house, because of our schedule and the fact that we have two small children who don't eat a ton just yet, I can get away with planning 3-4 meals/week. The kids eat cereal for breakfast and my husband and I drink our Shakeology and coffee each morning. For lunch, we are separated with work and school and eat in respective cafeterias or pack a lunch for the road. So, I keep some staples in the house for breakfast and lunch:
Cereal: I choose cereals like Cheerios, or Kix. These are not necessarily the "cleanest" out there, but they are better than most and have less sugar. Here are some ingredients you want to make sure to avoid at all costs (thanks to www.greenplaterule.com):
Lunch: Since I can't really control what the kiddos eat at school or at the babysitter's or what my hubby eats at the cafeteria at work, I choose to control what I can eat in my own lunch and steer my family on track for breakfast, dinner, and snacks. So no, we are not perfect, but we also believe in moderation. My lunch typically consists of a veggie omelet, made with 2 eggs, spinach, fresh mushrooms, and onion. I have at least 1 1/2 cups of veggies in the omelet so I get enough nutrients in. I always get organic produce, if it is available. The pesticides and GMOs are not worth saving a few pennies. I also make my own whole wheat bread in a bread maker once or twice a week so I can have a nice piece of dry toast with my omelet. Here is the bread recipe:
If I am working and on the road, I will pack things like an organic apple, whole almonds, organic carrots or pepper slices, hummus, two hard-boiled eggs, or protein leftover from dinner throughout the week. I make sure I pack enough for snacks and lunch so I can eat a little throughout the day and not be hungry.
Here are items we keep on hand each week:
Dinner: Again, since we don't eat a ton each night, and we have a weekly meal at church Wednesday nights, I tend to plan out 3-4 meals per week and we do eat leftovers. This is one way I can save money each week when I do grocery shopping. Meals like chili, soups, monster meatloaf, spaghetti casserole and things like that make a lot and can feed all of us 2-3 dinners.
So, gather the recipes you want to make and let's make a shopping list.
Here is an example of a family favorite recipe that I have revised to be cleaner and healthier:
Directions are the same:
Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions, drain. Place into a buttered or sprayed 9x13 pan. Cook onion in a little butter until soft. Mix the onion into the sour cream and cream cheese. Set aside. Combine the cooked meat and spaghetti sauce. Pour half of the meat mixture over the spaghetti. Put the cream cheese mixture over the meat. Pour the rest of the meat over hte cheese mixture. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the top. Cover with foil that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes longer. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
The key is using ingredients that are closest to their natural state and have less than 5 ingredients on the label. All of the items in the clean recipe can be found at Walmart.
Another family tradition in our house is Saturday brunch. My kids LOVE pancakes, eggs, fresh fruit, and turkey bacon...and after a long run, so do I! Now, I realize that you cannot have a steady diet of these items, but I stick to one pancake for myself, a veggie omelet, and skip the bacon.
We also enjoy mixing up this recipe to add a few dark chocolate chips in each pancake, or mash a banana and add a dash of pure vanilla, or try adding 1/2 cup of pumpkin and a few walnuts! Another favorite flavor is blueberry! YUM! Just make sure to buy organic blueberries, as regular berries have high amounts of pesticides.
The idea of revising recipes is to use whole foods, and preferably organic ingredients when possible. You can still enjoy your favorite foods without feeding your body the chemicals that are so commonly added to our shelf foods.
Comment with questions or suggestions below!
This is a journey. I am still learning as I go, but I enjoy knowing that I am doing the best I can for the health of my family!
Are you wondering what to make for dinner tonight?
Do you hate having to come home tired from work and scraping something together that everyone will like? Yup. Me, too.
So today I said GOOD-BYE to haphazard meals and HELLO to something that would keep us full and make those mouths happy...especially hubby's.
Tonight's dinner? Pulled pork, twice-baked secret mashed potatoes, green beans, and a homemade cranberry banana bread.
Everything was CLEAN.
Clean? Really? Yes.
No white potatoes were harmed in the making of this dinner.
No bottled sauces were opened.
What is "clean eating" mean, anyways?
These are the seven principles of clean eating found here.
1. Choose whole, natural foods and seek to eliminate or minimize processed foods.
Processed foods are anything in a box, bag, can, or package, and although there are always a few exceptions to the rule (like a bag of fresh green beans), the majority of your foods should be fresh.
2. Choose unrefined over refined foods.
While it may not be possible all the times, you can up your intake of whole grains like brown rice, millet, amaranth, and quinoa. Beans and legumes are also important. Clean sugars include honey, maple syrup, and dehydrated sugar cane juice.
3. Include some protein, carbohydrate and fat at every meal.
Most of us typically do well with carbohydrates and fat, but we often lack protein, especially in the early part of the day, like at breakfast and lunch. Protein is an important muscle-builder, and it can also help curb your appetite. When eaten throughout the day, it keeps us feeling full longer. Be aware of the kinds of meals you put together and space out your protein. (Which is why Shakeology is PERFECT for my breakfast every, single day!)
4. Watch out for fat, salt, and sugar.
This is easier than you think, particularly if you’ve cut out processed foods, which are responsible for most of our excess calories and high levels of fat, sugar, and salt. Clean foods are usually naturally low in all of these ingredients.
5. Eat five to six small meals throughout the day.
This usually pans out into three main meals and two or three hefty snacks. Eating this way prevents you from skipping meals and overeating. It also keeps your blood sugar levels steady so energy doesn’t lag.
6. Don’t drink your calories.
High calorie drinks like specialty coffees and soft drinks, on average, tack on an extra 400 to 500 calories a day. Choose water first, or my personal favorite, unsweetened tea (any flavor). Other clean drinks: low-fat or skim milk and 100 percent fruit juice diluted with sparkling water.
7. Get moving.
Regular physical activity is a must for many reasons. Not only does it decrease fat, strengthen and build muscle, and help you burn more energy at rest, it keeps your heart, lungs, and bones healthy and strong.
These are the principles that I started incorporating in my quest for better health a couple years ago. Through these "rules" I literally CLEANED out my pantry of processed foods, and redirected my brain on how to think about food.
OK, on to the meal.
I generally do not by pork. We eat a LOT of chicken breasts and turkey, while carefully watching to avoid added ingredients, antibiotics, etc. This week, I decided to splurge and buy the cleanest pork I could find and change things up.
I found this recipe on Pinterest a while back. It was time to give it a go. I threw this stuff together (literally) before I headed out to work in the morning. By dinner, it was done and AMAZING!!!
Check out the entire blog post here.
The Best Pulled Pork in a Crockpot
Next, I decided to make one of our family favorite side dishes: What I like to call, twice-baked secret mashed potatoes! The secret is that they are completely made from cauliflower, NOT potatoes at all! The best part? The kids LOVE them! AND I know they are getting that extra serving of veggies with no fighting! :)
Here is the recipe for our super secret yummy potatoes:
Ingredients (Serves 3 - 4) I doubled it for our family so we have leftovers!
Place cauliflower in a large pot covered with water. Bring to boil. Reduce to a gentle boil and cook with lid on for 8 - 10 minutes. Cauliflower should be tender but not mushy. Remove from heat. Drain well. Put the cauliflower back in pot with lid on and let stand for 5 minutes. This ensures the cauliflower doesn't get watery. Don't skip this step. Place cooked cauliflower in the food processor with Parmesan Cheese, Yogurt, salt, pepper, garlic powder and parsley. Pulse until it becomes whipped/consistency of mashed potatoes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place mashed cauliflower in a greased casserole dish. Top with onion, bacon and cheese. Bake for 15 minutes until heated through and then broil for a couple of minutes to crisp up cheese. If you make the mashed cauliflower ahead of time and it has been refrigerated bake for 30-35 minutes and then broil for a couple of minutes.
The greens beans were simply a big bag of frozen long green beans. Mmm...love green beans!!! Easy side there!
The last piece to the dinner puzzle was also used as our dessert: Cranberry Banana Bread!
I had made a promise to my son that I would make this particular bread recipe for him, so now it was time to make good on that promise. Breads and desserts were a staple in my house growing up, so I was used to having both of them at EVERY meal. Looking back, I can't believe that we didn't think about how many carbs and sugar we were consuming. I am thankful to be able to show my children moderation and replace those high-sugar treats with healthy, whole foods.
So, without further ado, the final recipe for the day...
Whole Wheat Cranberry Bread
1 ¼ c whole wheat flour (measured correctly)
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp oil or butter, melted and cooled
2 tsp vanilla extract
½ c + 2 tbsp mashed banana (about 1 extra long 9” banana)
2 tbsp plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2 tbsp honey
1/3 c chopped cranberries
So there it is! An entire, yummy, CLEAN meal your family will love! Let me know what you think when you give it a go at your house! Comment below and share this post!
Wife. Mother. Runner. Coach. Adoption Advocate. I strive to share HOPE through my journey and help others reach their goals.