Thursday, January 30, 2014

Weekly Menu Plan

So here we go! My first meal plan here on my blog! It's so exciting to m that I have so many lovely people who use my recipes and have made them their own "go-to" choices for their meals! Of course, I want this to be the most useful for you all so please comment suggestions or questions and we can make this weekly post the best for you all! My plan is to post 4-5 meals a week leaving the day of the week up to you. The shopping list will be a rough one, assuming that you already have the standard ingredients that most recipes use. I am going to use recipes from my site and I will also pick one from one of my many favorite food blogs, giving them the credit of course.
Thank you so much for supporting my passion!

Vegie Egg Rolls

Cheesy Gnocchi and Vegetable Chowder


Sausage and Pepper Pasta with Homemade Parmesan and Herb Bread


Chicken Fajita Salad with a Cilantro and Lime Vinaigrette

My Super Bowl food pick is this wing recipe by Daphne Oz. I don't have a picture to use because I haven't made them yet but I am sure they will be a crowd pleaser! There is one change I am going to make to them. Instead of wings, I am going to chunk up some chicken breasts and marinate them overnight. I plan to pan seer them and then bake them in this sauce. I also think that this method would be AMAZING with some broccoli added while baking and served over brown rice for dinner. That is why I am adding this to the weekly meal plan! Let's comment on what we think of this new recipe!
I also wanted to add a snack to make for your family. Maybe something you've never made before. I chose my homemade granola bars! They are really wonderful.
Consider trying a new habit of smoothie making. I have a smoothie each day. If it's not my breakfast then it is my lunch. It has brought an easy and portable way to get fruits and vegies into my day! Here's my link for my smoothie and some other healthy snack and meal ideas.
Grocery List
Vegetables and Produce Dept.
Broccoli Slaw
Egg Roll Wrappers
Bell Peppers
Ginger root
Other Products
Frozen soup vegies -carrots, peas, corn
Canned Pineapple in it's own juice
Chicken Broth
Whole Wheat Pasta (dream fields low carb is good too)
Brown Rice
Yeast packets
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Any of the meat meals could be turned into a Vegetarian Meal
Italian Sausage- I used Turkey
Chicken Breasts
*I've picked meals that use the same ingredients twice. When you're cutting peppers, just take the extra few minutes to slice up all the peppers and then for your next meal, you'll already be prepped. 
*This list didn't include the snack or the smoothie ingredients*

*Read over the recipes to make sure you have the "staples" such as olive oil, garlic powder, honey, soy sauce, ketchup, apple cider vinegar, unbleached sugar, white whole wheat flour, parmesan "shaker" cheese.

*Walmart sells both the unbleached or raw sugar and the white whole wheat flour. In my opinion, just switching those two ingredients can bring much better health to your family*

These are the two that I use. They are both GMO free! I get them at Walmart.


Purple Smoothie Popsicle

We've become a smoothie household. This is my kids favorite smoothie "flavor" They call it their purple monster smoothie. It is often the main part of their lunch meal. I happened to have some leftover last smoothie round and that's when the popsicle idea happened. What kid doesn't rejoice at the sound of the word popsicle? We mama's you'll rejoice at the sight of them slurping these wonderful blends of fruits, vegetable and other nutritional heroes down!
Popsicles you will WANT your kids to want!
1 cup of water, milk or almond milk
1/2 cup of frozen strawberries
1/2 cup of frozen blueberries
2 frozen bananas
2 big handfuls of fresh spinach
1/2 cup of plain yogurt- I make my own. I can explain in a comment if you're curios
2-3 TBSP ground flax seeds
Blend up super smooth in a blender and freeze in your favorite popsicle molds.
I used a BPA free set we got off of Amazon.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Deliciously Dense Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake really hits that spot. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about! Raise fork, take a bite, close your eyes and smile... spot. This cake wouldn't necessarily be a go to choice  for a light and fluffy cupcake. It's more of a mix between a brownie and a flourless cake. I know, sounds like it has multiple personalities! It actually does because it is also a vegan cake!  The addition of the apple cider vinegar replaces the need for eggs and gives it it's dense and fudgy consistency. I like this recipe for those days when you need something fast and easy to get into the oven for a quick chocolate fix. Try it and let me know how you like it!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees


1 cup warm coffee or water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup light olive oil

1 cup unbleached sugar
1 1/4 cups flour-I use unbleached white whole wheat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

1tsp apple cider vinegar

I add the ingredients into a bowl or my mixer just as listed. I stir to combine and bake. It's that easy! I have made both cupcakes and a small 8x8 cake. Both bake very quickly. Check at 12 minutes and keep an eye on them closely after that. As soon as the top is firm, they're done.

These can be topped with a number of yummy things. Fresh whipped cream, a ganache or just a dusting of powdered sugar.
Life is good...

*Because this is a vegan cake, you could under-bake it and serve with ice cream. Sort of a one dish lava cake for the family! I haven't tried this yet but will update this blog when I do*

Fajita Salad with a Cilantro and Lime Vinaigrette

Ingredients for the fajitas:
olive oil
chicken breasts or black beans- whichever you prefer
bell peppers
fajita seasonings-salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, chili powder, paprika
1/2 lime
Heat oil in a pan and sauté the onion and peppers. Also the black beans at this point also. Season them to your own liking. Saute for 3-5 minutes, leaving them still crisp. Remove vegetables from pan, add a bit more oil and sauté chicken. Remove the chicken and cut into thin slices. Place the vegies and chicken back into the pan on low heat to combine flavors and keep warm. Squeeze with juice of half the lime just before serving.
Ingredients for the dressing:
1/2 jar of salsa
1 lime
1 tsp of apple cider vinegar
1-2 TBSP olive oil
1 tsp sweetener- honey, raw sugar, stevia
handful of fresh cilantro leaves
garlic power
Add all of the ingredients into a blender and blend for just a few seconds. It's that easy! You can taste it and adjust flavor to your own tastes. If you're brave, add a jalapeno or some chipotle peppers to add some spice.
This would also be perfect over rice or in tortillas too! Any way you decide to eat it... you will love!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Chicken Pita Quesadilla

On cold and snowy days, I think the most wonderful lunch is some type of sandwich that is warm, crunchy, cheesy and creamy.  This quesadilla covers all of those requirements! Plus it's so quick and easy to put together that your meal can be ready within minutes. I've done this also with black beans when I didn't have any chicken to use up. Both versions are equally as delicious and satisfying.
I find that the pita bread holds up to the hearty chicken filling and browns up as nicely as a tortilla.
Begin to warm up a cast iron skillet on medium/low heat.
2 pita shells- I use Joseph's Pitas found in the Walmart bakery section.
1 sautéed chicken breast-I seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic powder and cumin.
cheddar cheese slices
My chicken was leftover, so I diced it and reheated it in the skillet with olive oil. While it was warming, I spread the quacamole over one pita shell and cover with cheddar cheese. Spooned salsa over the cheese and placed the warmed chicken on the salsa. Add a bit more olive oil to the skillet and place the filled pita in. Cover with another pita shell and press a bit with a spatula. Cook for 2-3 minutes and gently flip to brown the other side. Press down while it's toasting up. Remove and slice with a pizza cutter. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Crisp Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet. Crispy. Yummy. You will not be sorry that you tried these!
Preheat oven to 450 degrees
1 egg white
2 sweet potatoes
Separate the yolk of the egg from the egg white, putting the white into a bowl. Add a  pinch of salt, pepper and cinnamon and whisk until frothy. Slice the sweet potato into 1/2 inch strips and toss into the egg white. Place in an even layer on a baking sheet and bake for 18-20 minutes. Until browned and crisp.
This recipe made a 2 person batch... sort of!
For your family, you may want to quadruple!

The flavor combinations are endless.... enjoy!  

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Peach Blueberry and Oatmeal Breakfast Muffins

I like the idea of morning muffins. You know, the kind that has everything in them that would be considered a well balanced breakfast. The idea of placing this in front of my children with a glass of milk in the morning makes this mommy's spirit release a sigh of peace... the same spirit that sometimes feels a bit crushed after the breakfast rush that leaves me feeling like a short order cook who also has to handle the waitressing! Can I get an Amen on that, parents?! I have used several ingredients that are sort of unusual and specific. If you any questions on them, please leave it in the comments. We'll discuss.
So here's to a few days of happy and peaceful breakfast moments that won't leave you feeling shorthanded!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
1 cup quick oats
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
Add these two to a separate bowl and soak for ten minutes.

1 cup applesauce
1 cup brown rice syrup 
2 eggs
1/4 cup of plain yogurt
2 cups white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup of ground flax seeds
The oat/almond mixture

2 cups of fresh blueberries
1 can of chopped canned peaches- The can I had was in it's own juice, not syrup.

I used my stand mixer and added the ingredients in as grouped. I folded in the fruit with a spatula so I did not end up mashing it through the batter. Top with a sprinkle of quick oats. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35  minutes or until tops are firm

These were so pretty! Husband and child approved...

These muffin cups were a Christmas gift from my thoughtful husband. He found them on Beware. Approach this site at your own risk! It can get dangerously addictive!