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Sunday, 22 October 2017

5 Days of Grain Free Dinners




Meal planning is a huge part of being successful with your nutrition. On weeks which I don't meal plan it is so much easier to reach for easy and unhealthy foods and little by little it adds up to a lot. When we are eating healthy as a family we have more energy, better moods and for me my skin is better too! This weekend we didn't have much time to meal plan but I've put together really quickly 5 grain free dinner recipes so we could get the groceries this evening and plan ahead for success.

I found two new recipes that we will try and modify this week that I'm sharing in this post and 3 others that we have tried and shared before. I've included the recipes for each as both a reference for us this week and a resource for you as well.


Here are our 5 dinner recipes for the week:









These Low Carb Cauliflower Pot Pies have all the flavors of a traditional chicken pot pie in guilt free form! Gluten free, low calorie and delicious! www.itscheatdayeveryday.com

Cauliflower Mini Chicken Pot Pies (itscheatdayeveryday blog)

Ingredients

For the cauliflower base:
1 medium head cauliflower (4-5 cups cauliflower rice)
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1 egg
pinch of salt and pepper

For the pot pie filling:
1/2 onion, diced
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup almond milk, unsweetened
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables
8 oz cooked chicken, diced
1 tbs onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 tbs cornstarch + 1/4 cup water

Instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Add the cauliflower to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you achieve a rice-like consistency. Transfer cauliflower "rice" to a bowl and microwave for 5 minutes. Set aside and allow cauliflower to cool for approx 10 minutes.
Add the cauliflower rice to a cheesecloth and squeeze out as much of the juice from the cauliflower as possible. If you don't, the bases may end up soggy. (The key here is to really get as much of that juice out as you can. Once you have done a round with the cheesecloth. Repeat with another dry cheesecloth to ensure you have removed a majority of the liquid. I managed to get 1 1/2 cups of cauliflower juice).
Add the dried cauliflower rice to a bowl with the egg, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Using your hands, combine all of the ingredients thoroughly. Spray a large muffin pan or 4 ramekins and gently press the cauliflower mixture to the sides, creating a cauliflower bowl. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the centers are dry and the edges are golden brown.
While the cauliflower bases are in the oven, spray a medium saucepan with cooking spray and saute the diced onion on high heat until slightly tender. Reduce heat to medium and add the chicken broth, almond milk, mixed vegetables, onion powder, salt and black pepper. Stir and cover for approx 5-8 minutes or until frozen vegetables are soft.Mix the cornstarch with the water to make a slurry and add to the sauce with the cooked chicken. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and increase heat to high and cook until sauce begins to boil. Remove from heat.Fill each cauliflower base with the pot pie filling and serve!


Sweet Potato Cheeseburger Casserole


Sweet Potato Cheeseburger Casserole

This grain free casserole fuses your favorite cheeseburger fixings with fresh veggies for a lighter, healthier meal. We added a sprinkle of cheese to the top and the whole family LOVED it! Certainly will be making this again.

Ingredients
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, spiralized
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 t dried oregano
  • ½ t garlic powder
  • 1 t smoked paprika
  • ½ t chili powder
  • 1 ½ cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup crushed tomatoes
  • Chopped tomatoes. grated white cheddar cheese and green onion to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  • Heat extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion, carrot and celery. Cook for 3 minutes until onion is translucent and veggies are softened.
  • Increase heat to high and add ground beef. Cook for 5 minutes, breaking meat up as it cooks, until beef has browned and is no longer pink. Add oregano, garlic powder, smoked paprika and chili powder. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  • Stir in the chicken stock and the crushed tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium-low and bring to a simmer; add spiralized sweet potatoes and cook for another 10 minutes until sweet potatoes are slightly softened and sauce is reduced. Remove from heat and top with grated cheese, chopped tomatoes and spring onions. Serve warm.

Tip: Take this cheeseburger casserole recipe up a notch and add your favorite burger toppings like pickled jalapeño or crumbled bacon. The variations are endless!

Original recipe source: Paleohacks




Thai Peanut Chicken & Zucchini Noodle Bowls


Thai peanut chicken & zucchini noodle bowls are easy to make, healthy, and incredibly tasty!

Ingredients

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
Sea Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 medium zucchini, spiralized (AKA Zoodles)
1 large red or orange pepper, thinly sliced or chopped
¼ cup chives, cut up into tiny peaces
¼ cup peanuts, roughly chopped
Lime wedges, for serving

Peanut Sauce


⅓ cup creamy natural peanut butter
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame or olive oil
2 teaspoons Coconut Palm sugar or Brown sugar
¼-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (Optional)

Instructions

 Drizzle a large skillet with oil and bring to medium heat on stove. Season chicken on both sides with sea salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken to pan and cook 4-6 minutes on each side until browned on the outside and cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board or platter and allow to rest.

 Whisk together all sauce ingredients.

Steam or boil zucchini noodles and pepper til just tender (you can also put them in a large bowl and microwave them for about 2-3 minutes for a shortcut!)

Assemble bowls with zucchini noodles and peppers on the bottom. Dice chicken and assemble on top of zucchini and peppers. Drizzle sauce over the top and sprinkle with chives and peanuts. Serve immediately. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing on top if desired.


*   Left overs can be taken for lunch and they actually do reheat nicely in a microwave safe bowl.  Reheat the zoodles and peppers separately and then top with your peanut sauce and toppings.  


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SWEET POTATO SKINS WITH CHICKEN
3 Servings

3 baked medium sweet potatoes, cut in half
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
6 oz. shredded cooked chicken breast
1 tsp. all-natural taco seasoning, no salt added
1/3 cup shredded white cheddar cheese
1 cup plain Greek yogurt
¼ cup chopped fresh green onion

1. Heat oven to 400° F.
2. Scoop flesh out of the sweet potatoes and reserve for another use.
3. Place skins on baking sheet. Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt. (Optional)
Bake for 10 minutes, or until crisp.
4. While skins are baking, combine chicken and taco seasoning in a small bowl; mix well. Set aside.
5. Top each sweet potato half evenly with, chicken mixture, and cheese.
6. Bake for a further 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Top with Greek yogurt, and cilantro.

*white potatoes can be used in place of sweet potatoes



Cheesy Cauliflower Nachos

Total Time: 55 min.
Prep Time: 15 min.
Cooking Time: 40 min.
Yield: 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 medium head cauliflower, cut into florets
2 tsp. olive oil
½ tsp. ground cumin
¼ tsp sea salt (or Himalayan salt)
¼ tsp. chili powder
¼ tsp. garlic powder
½ cup shredded Monterey jack (or pepperjack) cheese
¼ cup chopped tomato
¼ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped orange bell pepper
1 to 2 medium jalapeños, seeds and veins removed (optional), sliced
½ cup mashed avocado
2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro

Preparation:
1. Preheat oven to 425º F.
2. Place cauliflower on baking sheet. Drizzle with oil. Sprinkle with cumin, salt, chili powder, and garlic powder; toss gently to blend. Spread evenly on baking sheet.
3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until tender crisp and golden.
4. Top evenly with cheese. Bake for 3 to 5 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
5. Top evenly with tomato, onion, bell pepper, jalapeños, avocado, and cilantro; serve immediately.

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Thai Peanut Chicken & Zucchini Noodle Bowls


I just HAD to share this recipe with you!  Why?  Because it's so flavorful and healthy which is what it's all about here on the blog! 

When I first started eating clean I discovered that healthy doesn't have to mean zero flavour and taste well "healthy".  Which is why I love finding and creating delicious recipes, and sharing them with you here and over on my Faceook page!

Lately Gord and I have been following the meal plan and home fitness program we followed in the summer which is grain free and only includes healthy carbs like beans, sweet potatoes and white potatoes for the most part.  I found it hard at first not having my overnight oats and baked oatmeal in the mornings but now I'm so used to having my super food smoothie and greek yogurt and berries for breakfast and morning snack that I don't even miss oats!  

Along the way we have discovered quite a few yummy dinner recipes that we have found very satisfying as well.  Not to mention the results from this program have been incredible!  I eat clean 80-90% of the time but a few adjustments and sticking to the meal plan 100% for 3 weeks gave both of us amazing results!  And while I've kept active and maintained my results since we completed the program in August, we both wanted to do it again before we leave for Hawaii in November!  


If you want more details on the program Gord and I are following shoot me an email and I'd be happy to give you the details!  

Now you might think Zucchini noodles don't sound too tasty but I'm here to tell you that you MUST give them a shot!  Besides it's all about the peanut sauce in this recipe although we usually have zoodles with marinara sauce or pesto and it's just as tasty!  

Peanut Sauce has always been my FAV and practically a comfort food in my book!  It's a little bit salty and a little bit sweet and just really hits the spot and makes all those healthy veggies taste amazing!  

Ok now for that recipe.... 


Thai Peanut Chicken & Zucchini Noodle Bowls


Thai peanut chicken & zucchini noodle bowls are easy to make, healthy, and incredibly tasty!

Ingredients

3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
Sea Salt and pepper to taste
2-3 medium zucchini, spiralized (AKA Zoodles)
1 large red or orange pepper, thinly sliced or chopped
¼ cup chives, cut up into tiny peaces
¼ cup peanuts, roughly chopped
Lime wedges, for serving

Peanut Sauce


⅓ cup creamy natural peanut butter
4 tablespoons water
4 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
½ teaspoon sesame or olive oil
2 teaspoons Coconut Palm sugar or Brown sugar
¼-1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (Optional)

Instructions

 Drizzle a large skillet with oil and bring to medium heat on stove. Season chicken on both sides with sea salt and pepper to taste. Add chicken to pan and cook 4-6 minutes on each side until browned on the outside and cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board or platter and allow to rest.

 Whisk together all sauce ingredients.

Steam or boil zucchini noodles and pepper til just tender (you can also put them in a large bowl and microwave them for about 2-3 minutes for a shortcut!)

Assemble bowls with zucchini noodles and peppers on the bottom. Dice chicken and assemble on top of zucchini and peppers. Drizzle sauce over the top and sprinkle with chives and peanuts. Serve immediately. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing on top if desired.

*Left overs can be taken for lunch and they actually do reheat nicely in a microwave safe bowl.  Reheat the zoodles and peppers seperately and then top with your peanut sauce and toppings.  

Original Recipe adapted from lecremedelacreme. 


Tuesday, 10 October 2017

HealthyHomemade Shake N' Bake




I hadn’t been feeling 100% last week and just needed a simple home cooked dinner, you know chicken and potatoes and veggies!  So I decided to bake some chicken breasts and coat them with my own homemade Shake and Bake mixture since I didn’t have any on hand.  I posted about this over on my facebook page and a few friends asked for the recipe, so I thought I’d share.   


Shake n’ Bake was a household name growing up and I’m sure it still is for many families but my kids honestly aren’t familiar with it. It’s something I just don’t buy from the store as it’s processed and has ingredients that are unnecessary and unhealthy.


If you aren’t familiar with this product here is what wikipedia has to say:

Shake 'n Bake, manufactured by Kraft Foods, is a flavored bread crumb-style coating for chicken and pork. The product is applied by placing raw meat pieces in a bag containing the coating, closing the bag, and shaking so the particles adhere. The coated meat is then baked in the oven.

Store bought Shake n’ Bake contains the following ingredients:
enriched wheat flour (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate Vitamin B1, riboflavin(vitamin B2), folic acid), salt, partially hydrogenated soybean oil and cottonseed oil, sugar, contains less than 2% of paprika, dextrose, dried onions, spice, caramel color, yeast, annatto (color), and natural flavor.


Note: I highlighted the Hydrogenated Soybean Oil because Soybean oil contains high levels of Carcinogens.  A carcinogen is any substance that promotes carcinogenesis, the formation of cancer. While a little bit here and there may not be a big deal, you will notice that Soybean oils, both liquid and partially hydrogenated are sold as "vegetable oil," or are ingredients in a wide variety of processed foods and little by little it all becomes a lot.

When reading the above ingredients list I just see so many ingredients that aren’t necessary and wonder why they are included in the store bought brand. I love having the control over what is in my food, meaning I can use homemade breadcrumbs or simply buy them in the store. I can use regular spices or organic spices, organic cane sugar or refined white sugar.  I choose how healthy I want to make my food rather than the manufacturer's!  

Enough chat about ingredients - let's get to that recipe!



Healthy Homemade Shake and Bake Chicken


INGREDIENTS

3 cup whole Wheat Bread Crumbs
1/4 cup Olive Oil
2 tsp Sea Salt
2 tsp Onion Powder
2 tsp Organic cane Sugar
2 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Black Pepper
1/2 tsp Chili Powder
1/2 tsp Parsley
1/2 tsp Basil
1/2 tsp Oregano

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients and mix until well blended and there are no big clumps.
Transfer to airtight container.

To use pour ½-1 cup mix into a large ziplock bag, add one piece of chicken breast and shake to coat. Transfer each coated chicken breast to a baking dish, bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Pumpkin Spice Granola



I had a glorious kid free morning on Sunday after my mom came and took the boys to visit their great grandparents.  It's been a while since I've had the time to really get in the kitchen and just do a little baking, so I took a little time to get creative in the kitchen.  I made a batch of Banana chocolate chip muffins for the boys breakfast this week and then threw together some seasonally inspired granola. 

I do enjoy pumpkin spice and chai flavours however in stores I find they are overly sweet and most of the tasty looking pumpkin loaves and muffins are full of sugar and other ingredients I'd rather not put into my body.  If I'm gonna have a pumpkin-y treat I want to savoir and enjoy it not feel guilty about all the bad stuff that's likely in it.  



I made a batch of Pumpkin Spice Granola and I've gotta tell you it's just way to easy to make granola once you know the basics of it.  I love adding different types of nuts and seeds into my granola but I kept this one pretty basic since my cupboards could use a little stocking.  In fact I didn't even have pumpkin seeds but if I made this recipe again I would add them in SO I've included them in the recipe!  Walnuts, pecans or pistachios would also be amazing in this granola but I just didn't have anything on hand.  The game plan for the week is to restock my baking cupboard for the season! 

I truly love and enjoy baking at this time of year, but I do have to limit myself so I don't over do it, especially because I've traded my more intense workouts for yoga lately in order to stretch out some very tight muscles.  I will say thought that I'm really loving waking up to do yoga before the rest of the house is up in the morning. I used to do a lot of yoga classes but I find that I can't get to them with kids, activities, working and a business I just don't have the time to add an extra hour plus workout outside the house to my day.  



The Yoga Studio on Beachbody on Demand has been wonderful! There are so many options from Restorative yoga to Core yoga, Flow, Yoga for Athletes, Cardio and flow, Sculpting, Meditation and even Pre and Postnatal yoga.  There truly is something for everyone and every time frame too from 10 minutes to over an hour long yoga practices I can get a yoga workout in no matter how much time I have to spend.  The muscle recovery practice stretched out all the right spots in my neck, shoulders and hips which is just where I needed it!  I think once I'm feeling loose again and back to my regular workouts, I'm going to be sure to incorporate even a short flow to my day to keep my body in balance and stretch things out!  

If you haven't checked out the Yoga studio or the 3 week yoga retreat on Beachbody on Demand yet I highly suggest it!  

Now back to the Pumpkin Spice Granola!



Pumpkin Spice Granola

Ingredients

Granola

3 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (or other nuts)
1/2 cup unsweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup maple syrup
1-2 teaspoons sea salt
1-2 teaspoons homemade pumpkin pie spice

1/4 cup ground cinnamon
2 tbsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground nutmeg*
1/2 tsp ground cardamom (optional)


Instructions

Prepare Granola: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the dry ingredients together (oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut, sea salt, pumpkin pie spice). Whisk the wet ingredients and spices together (pumpkin, coconut oil, maple syrup) making sure to break up any large chunks of coconut oil by pressing it on the side of the bowl with a spoon. Pour wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.

Bake the Granola: Spread the moist granola into a large cookie sheet cake pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 15 minutes; stir; bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest – it should start to crisp up. If the middle of the granola is still moist add another 15 minutes until it is crisping and browning on the outside.

Store in a plastic zip-top bag or sealed glass jar 1-2 weeks. Serve with plain greek yogurt or simply with milk.

Pumpkin Pie Spice

Combine all ingredients for desired mix and blend well. Use what you need for the recipe and then store remaining mix in a small, airtight container or make ad hoc. Feel free to experiment with amounts to get a blend that works for you. I personally like lots of ginger and cloves in my pumpkin spice but some people don't like those spices as much.  

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