Saturday, January 18, 2014

Whole Wheat Muffins

I hosted breakfast this morning for some girlfriends of mine, and was looking forward to baking some "clean" muffins.  I made Whole Wheat Banana Bread muffins and my family's Breakfast Casserole in addition to this new recipe.  Muffins are like cupcakes for breakfast :)  Delicious!  I hope you enjoy.

  • 1½ cups whole-wheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup oil (I used coconut oil)
  • ¾ cup orange juice or apple juice
  • About 1 cup of total filling (berries, fruit, nuts, etc. – see below for details)
  • Muffin/Cupcake liners
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl with a fork or whisk mix the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg.
  3. Make a well (hole) in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the eggs, honey, vanilla, oil and orange juice. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together – do not overmix.
  4. Now here is the fun part. If you are in a hurry just add 1 cup of blueberries, mashed up banana & nuts, or other filling of your choice. If you have 5 or 10 minutes extra (and some anxious helpers) do not add anything to the muffin batter before continuing with the next step.
  5. Line a muffin pan with liners and fill ⅔ to ¾ of the way full with batter. If you didn’t already add your filling, sprinkle 1 – 2 teaspoons of whatever you would like (from the list below or from your own creation) onto the top of each raw muffin in the pan. Then gently mix each one with a fork or spoon.
    Here are some options to consider for the fillings:
    - blueberries
    - diced strawberries
    - peeled and diced pears
    - applesauce
    - either diced or mashed up bananas and chopped walnuts
    - raisins and chopped pecans (I add an extra pinch of cinnamon to the muffins with this filling)
    - grated carrot and chopped walnuts
    - orange or lemon zest (only add ¼ to ½ teaspoon of zest per individual muffin)
    - a mix of dried fruit bits
    - jelly
  6. After the filling has been mixed into each muffin slide the tray into the warm oven and bake for 10 – 15 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm or at room temperature and freeze some for a later date.
From 100 Days of Real Food

Zucchini Ravioli

I love this recipe!  It looks way more labor-intensive than it actually is.  I really thought i'd make a mess trying to fold these.  Simply line 2 strips up and cross over with 2 more strips at a right angle.  Fill with the filling and fold the four sides up to make a box.  So easy!  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1.5 lbs. ground turkey
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinach
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tsp. of Grill Mates- Montreal Chicken Seasoning (or you could use just salt & pepper)
  • Zucchini 
  • Tomato Marinara Sauce
1.  Slice zucchini  with peeler; set strips aside
2.  In a medium wok combine:  ground turkey, chopped fresh spinach,  1/2 large onion, 2 cloves of garlic, and seasoning; sauté until turkey is cooked all the way through
3.  Assemble the ravioli using 4 zucchini strips and 2 Tbsp. of turkey mixture.
4.  Wrap them up and put face down in baking dish.
5.  Top with marinara sauce and bake at 350* for approx. 30 minutes

Found through Pinterest here.

Slow Cooker Beef Fajitas

I have really been enjoying cooking lately.  I feel like my food has more flavor and nutrients per bite.  I've been a little biased towards 100 Days of Real Food recipes, but it's because everything I've made so far has been delicious.  You know I love the slow cooker, and this recipe does not fail to disappoint.  I have to admit that I'm still transitioning my pantry to real food, so I used traditional flour tortillas.  Otherwise, this recipe is fully non-processed.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 1 ½ lbs flank steak, preferably grass fed 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce, preferably the low-sodium variety
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 – 5 bell peppers, any color
  • 1 onion
Other fajita fixings:
  • tortillas, grated cheese, fresh sliced avocado, cilantro, lime slices, fresh spinach leaves, sour cream, hot peppers, etc.
  1. Mix together the dry spices with a fork including the chili powder, cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.
  2. Rub the spice mixture over all sides of the flank steak and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker. Sprinkle the soy sauce on top.
  3. Top the flank steak with the diced jalapeno and minced garlic. Slice the bell peppers and onion and throw those on top of the steak as well.
  4. Turn the slow cooker onto HIGH and cook for 5 – 6 hours or until the steak can easily be shredded with two forks.
  5. Drain the meat and peppers well then serve with the recommended fajita “fixings” (listed above). 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Whole Wheat Banana Bread

Banana bread is one of, if not my favorite snack and/or dessert. I have to admit that I really didn't expect "clean" banana bread to come close to our family's recipe. Here's our family's banana bread recipe:
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 mashed, ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup nuts (optional)
Cream sugar and shortening together. Add mashed bananas and eggs. Sift flour, baking soda, and salt and add to mixture. Pour into greased loaf pan and bake for 40-55 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick comes out clean. 

It's really good :)

However, part of "eating clean" means no white flour and no refined sugar. So I tried the whole wheat banana bread and.. I loved it! It's so good! Surprisingly it's only about 20 fewer calories per serving, but it removes all that processed stuff leaving you with more nutrition per calorie. I hope you enjoy!
  • 2 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey, organic
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl mix bananas, yogurt, honey, eggs, coconut oil, and vanilla. Fold the banana mixture into flour mixture until mixed. Do not over mix. Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake at 350 for 40-50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Revamped NP Chicken Spaghetti

Looking back through my recipes, most of the casseroles contain some form or another of condensed soup.  The ingredients in Cream of Mushroom Soup:


What? Not sure what modified food starch or monosodium glatamate is.. do you? So, I revamped one of our favorite meals, Chicken Spaghetti, to the healthy, pronounceable version.  I couldn't taste the difference.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 2 cups Cooked Chicken, Perhaps from your whole chicken in the slow cooker
  • 3 cups Dry Whole Wheat Spaghetti, Broken Into Two Inch Pieces
  • Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
    • 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 6 tbsp whole wheat or unbleached white flour
    • 2 cups milk
    • salt & pepper to taste
    • pinch of ground thyme
  • 2 cups Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese
  • 1/4 cup Finely Diced Green or Red pepper
  • 1/4 cup Finely Diced Onion
  • 2 cups Homemade Chicken Broth (or store bought organic)
  • 1 teaspoon Lawry's Seasoned Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon (to 1/4 Teaspoon) Cayenne Pepper
  •  Salt And Pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup Additional Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Preparation Instructions

Cook spaghetti until al dente. Do not overcook. 
To make soup, cook mushrooms and garlic in a pan lightly coated with olive oil, until tender.  Add flour and stir for 30 seconds.  Slowly pour in milk, as it will congeal quickly.  Stir constantly for 3-5 minutes until thickened.  Remove from heat and stir in salt, pepper, and thyme.  When spaghetti is cooked, combine with remaining ingredients except additional 1 cup sharp cheddar.
Place mixture in casserole pan and top with remaining sharp cheddar. Cover and freeze up to six months, cover and refrigerate up to two days, or bake immediately: 350 degrees for 45 minutes until bubbly. (If the cheese on top starts to get too cooked, cover with foil).

Homemade Chicken Stock

I can't believe I've never made this before! It's so simple and saves so much money and energy.  Make a whole chicken in the slow cooker, for dinner, leaving all the juices and bones in the slow cooker.  Add 1 onion, roughly chopped, 2 whole, cut-up carrots, 2 pieces of celery, roughly chopped, and fresh parsley, thyme, and salt and pepper.  Fill slow cooker to the top with water, leaving about an inch at the top. Don't worry if you don't have all the ingredients.  Cook it over night, or start it the next morning on LOW heat.  Strain through a fine sieve into containers for the fridge or freezer. Makes about 8 cups for future recipes!  So easy!  I hope you enjoy!

Adapted from 100 Days of Real Food

NP Whole Chicken in the Slow Cooker

One of the best and most affordable ways to cook chicken is in the slow cooker.  I found this recipe off of 100 Days of Real Food, my new favorite inspiration blog for non-processed cooking.  The meat was literally falling off the bone when it was done.  Yum!  It creates its own juices, so no need to add water or chicken broth to the slow cooker.  Use the chicken leftovers for other great dishes.  I hope you enjoy!

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large chicken, free range if possible
  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
  2. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
  4. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
  5. Cook for 4 – 5 hours on high (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken) or until the chicken is falling off the bone. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

NP Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes

This is the perfect recipe to start off your New Year!  In researching NP foods I've really enjoyed reading 100 Days of Real Food.  She has tons of great ideas and recipes to begin your NP adventure.  This breakfast recipe was one of the breakfasts she put together on a weekly meal plan.  I was a little hesitant about the whole wheat flour because in the past it's always tasted somewhat gritty.  Not for this recipe!  I can honestly say this may be my best breakfast I've ever cooked.  My husband even said, "I expect this every Saturday."  I hope he's just joking! If you even remotely love banana bread, you will love this!  I hope you enjoy!

  • 2 cups whole-wheat flour 
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 ¾ cups milk, organic
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted + butter for frying
  • 2 ripe (organic if possible) bananas, mashed
  • 100% pure maple syrup for serving
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  2. Make a well (hole) in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the honey, eggs, milk, and 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Whisk together thoroughly, but do not overmix.
  3. Gently fold the mashed bananas into the batter with a spatula.
  4. Heat a griddle or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Swirl enough butter around the pan until it is well coated. Add pancake batter using a soup ladle.
  5. When the pancakes have begun brown on the bottom, flip them over to cook the other side.
  6. Serve with warm maple syrup and a side of fruit. And don’t forget to freeze the leftovers for another day!

Beef Enchiladas with Homemade Sauce

HAPPY NEW YEARS! Can you believe it's already 2014?  With the new year comes, of course, new year's resolutions.  What are your new year's resolutions?  I typically don't make any, but this year after doing a lot of research I've decided to change the way I shop for, prepare, and cook food at home.  I've decided to start being more conscious of buying only foods that are non-processed (NP) or minimally processed (MP), including fruits and vegetables that are organic, or pesticide free.  Of course this is not going to be an overnight switch as I still have quite a bit of processed foods in my pantry and freezer.  As I shop for my groceries I am going slowly switch us over to fresher and better food.  Also, organic fruits and vegetables can be very expensive, especially at a regular supermarket.  Thus, I will be sticking to the Dirty Dozen  and buying more if I can afford to.

What does that mean for my blog?  When looking back, most of my recipes are already minimally processed or can be non-processed with a few simple substitutions.  From now on, you will see NP or MP labels for recipes as well as substitution lists to help you make choices about what to buy.  Also, you'll see recipes that contain more seasonal fruits and vegetables since I'll be shopping at more farmers markets and local places.  It may not be a perfect journey, but I hope you will join me in 2014!

My first recipe to blog in the New Year (I actually made it in 2013) is a transition to NP recipes as I am yet to make my own corn tortillas. (Soon!).  Also, I used organic, but not grass-fed beef as I couldn't find any grass-fed beef at my local store.  This was my first try at making my own enchilada sauce, and I am pretty proud of how it turned out.  I always love comfort Mexican food!  I hope you enjoy!

For the Enchilada Sauce
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 jalapenos, deveined, seeded, and diced
1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 teaspoon Sriracha sauce (+ more, if desired)
For the Meat
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
For the Enchilada Assembly
3 tablespoons vegetable or canola oil
10 corn tortillas
1 (8-ounce) package sour cream
2 cups shredded lettuce
cilantro (optional)
2 cups shredded Monterrey Jack or Cheddar cheese

1. For the Enchilada Sauce
2. Puree all enchilada sauce ingredients (tomatoes, onion, garlic, jalapenos, oil, Sriracha sauce)
in a blender. Set aside.
3. For the Meat
4. Brown ground beef over medium-low heat. Drain meat to remove any excess drippings.
Add 1/4 cup of enchilada sauce into brown meat and stir until well-combined.
5. For the Enchilada Assembly
6. Preheat oven to 350º F.
7. Pour 1/2 cup enchilada sauce into the bottom of a 9x13 oven-safe, casserole dish.
8. Drizzle oil into the bottom of a skillet over a medium-low heat. Add corn tortillas, one at a
time, and cook for about 1 minute each. Do not allow to become crispy.
9. Drain tortilla and then layer on beef, lettuce, sour cream, cheese and cilantro. Roll tortilla to
keep all ingredients inside. Then place seam side down in the casserole dish. Once all
enchiladas have been assembled and placed into casserole dish, pour remaining enchilada
sauce over to make sure well covered. Top with remaining cheese.
10. Place in oven and bake 15 minutes, or until cheese has fully melted.
11. Remove from oven and top with additional cilantro, if desired.