Tag Archives: healthy

Menu Plan Monday

OK, so last Friday I was gung-ho for this whole Whole30 thing. But as I thought about it, I began to wonder if I was setting myself up for failure.  I really think it’s an excellent program, but I know myself and if I slip up, I’m going to end up just blowing off the whole thing. The rules are very strict, and I don’t see myself reading every single label of every single condiment in my fridge. The I remembered a saying: “Do the best you can, where you are, with what you have.” That resonated with me and I decided to make a few tweaks to the Whole30 program to make it work for me.

So, for the next 30 days: No grains. No alcohol. No sugary treats. But if my ketchup or taco sauce has a bit of added sugar I’m okay with that. But if I’m OK with it, than it’s not what Whole30 sets out to be. So I’m calling it a “June Reboot.” Overall, we eat very healthy diets. I’ve just allowed myself to get lax with the bread, tortilla chips, and chocolate. My goal isn’t really weight loss because I’m happy where I am (though I wouldn’t say no to a few more digits knocked off the scale!). I will be eating tons of vegetables and protein, fruit, minimal dairy, and peanuts or beans if I really feel like it. I don’t eat a lot of those anyway. I’m going to try to stay as “Whole30”-ish as possible.

So, with all that out, go ahead and point and say “I told ya so.” I already got the “Well you gave up on that pretty quick” from Drew. Well, I’m just being honest with myself, LOL. Here’s my meal plan for the week:

  • Monday: Roast chicken drumsticks, roasted sweet potatoes, broccoli, salad
  • Tuesday: Meaty chili (no beans), salad
  • Wednesday: Sausage & peppers, CSA veggies, salad
  • Thursday: Baja cod with spicy slaw, roasted sweet potato spears
  • Friday: Grilled steak, sauteed CSA veggies, salad
  • Saturday: Pepper burgers topped with sauteed mushrooms and onions, broccoli, salad

For more menu ideas, visit Organizing Junkie’s Menu Plan Monday feature.

{Friday Favorite Finds} Whole30 Recipe Ideas

It’s Friday! So that means it’s time to link up with Finding Joy in My Kitchen‘s Friday Favorite Finds. Can’t believe the last time I participated was back in March! Good grief! Anyway, I am gearing up to start Whole30 on Monday (after a gluttonous weekend of anniversary and birthday celebrations). I was describing it to Drew (who, unbeknownst to me had his in ear buds in and didn’t hear me the first time) and he was pretty intrigued. Basically, it’s 30 days of strict Paleo eating. I’ll be blogging my way through it, so you’ll read plenty about it, but in the meantime, head over to Whole9 if you’re interested in learning more.

I certainly have plenty of paleo recipes in my arsenal, but because I’m pretty liberal with the dairy, I thought this was the perfect time to share some Whole30-approved dishes! Please note, that the images in this post belong to the original blog owners. In addition, I am directly linking the name of the recipe to the original source so you can head right over there to get the details. Please pin from the original sources and not my blog. Here are my Pinterest food finds for the week.

Meaty Chili from Paleo on a Budget


Paleo Breakfast Burritos from A Real Housewife of NYC


Spicy Shrimp with Garlic and Parsley from Cooking Melangerie (have to sub out the wine for Whole30)

Source: melangery.com via Carol on Pinterest


Crispy Chicken Thighs With Cauliflower and Cilantro from Real Simple

Source: realsimple.com via Carol on Pinterest


Spicy Tortilla Soup with Shrimp and Avocado from Cooking Light (I’ll need to leave out the hominy and the tortilla chips, obviously)

Source: myrecipes.com via Carol on Pinterest


And that’s just a few! So many healthy, delicious options. While I’m a little bit nervous about 30 days without sugar, grains, legumes, alcohol, and (most of all) dairy, I can tell that my body needs a reboot because I’m having all kinds of carb cravings and I’m just not feeling on top of my game. Here’s hoping I can make it through!

Be sure to head over to Finding Joy in My Kitchen and see what inspired everyone else this week!

sauerkraut, take one

raw sauerkraut

A few years ago I started reading about the benefits of lacto-fermented food, but it all sounded so complicated and, honestly, a little strange to me. Leave jars out on the counter for days or weeks? Really? But as I’ve expanded my culinary skills and learned the arts of canning and pickling, I figured that fermenting had to be next.

I read Diane’s tutorial for raw, fermented sauerkraut on her blog Balanced Bites and realized that this was pretty easy. It just required a little babysitting. And as I thought about it, it dawned on me that my childhood was filled with this type of food. My Babci regularly made traditional Polish fermented pickles, and we ate homemade sauerkraut all the time. I had to get over my fear of bacteria. Seriously, people have been doing this for hundreds of years. It’s no big deal.

So I set about to shredding my cabbage and carrots, adding garlic and then the salt, and massaging the cruciferous veggies until they started to weep like little babies. I was amazed how much water came out! I kept saying to Drew, “Isn’t this so cool?” I don’t think he was as excited as I was, though.

I packed it in quart-sized Ball jars, covered the top of each with an outer cabbage leaf, then set a half-pint jelly jar filled with water on top of that to weigh everything down and keep the water level above the cabbage.

Then I put the jars in my dining room, covered them with a clean dish towel and waited. And waited. And waited. If you’re anything like me, you will become giddy with excitement when you see those little bubbles appear that let you know fermentation is happening! After a week and a half, I no longer saw bubbles. I think that it was too cold in the room to encourage the process, so I called it quits for this batch.

It is quite tasty, but definitely not there, if you know what I mean. But it goes great with my morning eggs! (Please forgive the horrible quality of this photo – morning light is not great in my kitchen and I wasn’t going to sacrifice hot eggs for a good shot, LOL!)

kraut & fried eggs

Next time around I think I’ll keep the jars on top of my fridge. I’ll also add the caraway seeds so I don’t get that sideways glance from my dad again. Anyway, don’t be afraid of fermenting food. If it’s going bad, you’ll know it. And the benefits of eating sauerkraut and other fermented foods are overwhelming! So give it a shot – you’ll be glad you did.

indian spiced chicken meatballs

indian spiced meatballs with savory tomato sauce

Earlier this week I finally had a chance to try Cinnamon, a new (well, new-ish) Indian restaurant in Rhinebeck. The food was delicious and I’ve had curries on my mind ever since. Yesterday I had some ground chicken in the fridge, and an idea in my head: meatballs simmered in a creamy sauce, infused with all of my favorite Indian spices.

If you use a food processor, this recipe comes together lightening-fast. And even if you chop everything by hand it shouldn’t take too much longer.

Indian-Spiced Chicken Meatballs
in Savory Tomato Sauce

1 lb. ground chicken
1 med. onion
1-2 jalapenos, seeded
2 cloves garlic
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. chili powder
1 Tbsp. coriander powder
1/4 tsp. tumeric
1/2 tsp. salt

Coconut oil (or fat of choice)
1 Tbsp. cumin seeds

* Sauce:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup tomato sauce
1/2 Tbsp. garam masala
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
salt to taste

For the meatballs, combine onion, jalapenos, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until the vegetables are finely minced. Add the ground chicken and spices and process to combine. Shape into meatballs of your desired size. Melt coconut oil in a pan over med-high heat and add cumin seeds. Turn heat down to medium and let the seeds sizzle for just about 30 sec. – 1 min. until you can smell them. Add the meatballs to the pan

While meatballs are cooking, combine the tomato sauce, yogurt, garam masala, and cayenne in a bowl. Add salt to taste. (You can also add more yogurt or tomato sauce, adjust the spices, etc. The sauce is pretty forgiving.)

When meatballs are about halfway done, add the sauce to the pan and finish cooking until the chicken meatballs reach an internal temp. of 165 degrees F.

Garnish with cilantro.
Serving suggestion: cucumber and onion salad dressed with a squeeze of lemon juice; basamati rice (if you eat it) or riced cauliflower.

I realize that many people who follow a Paleo diet do not eat dairy. If that’s the case, my suggestion would be to add some fresh chopped tomatoes and extra onions to the coconut oil and cumin seeds, along with the garama masala and salt, allow it to cook down a bit, and then add your meatballs.

These meatballs were delicious, considering I threw them together at the last minute (since the kids ate all the taco meat I’d made!). I’m making another batch today for the freezer. I think this is a pretty versatile recipe that is easy to adapt to whatever diet you follow, whether it’s a standard diet, low-fat diet, low-carb diet, or Paleo. A little something for everyone 🙂

friday favorite finds

It’s Friday! So that means it’s time to link up with Finding Joy in My Kitchen‘s Friday Favorite Finds. Here are my Pinterest food finds for the week. I haven’t participated in a while, but I have lots of great recipes to share this week.

Raw Mango Lime Tarts – I think these sound so yummy and refreshing! I’d love to create a raspberry version, based on this one!


Frozen Coconut Limeade – Can’t wait to sit on the deck this summer while sipping on one of these.


Cashew Chicken Lettuce Wraps – We made these one night this week and they were delicious! I added more onions and water chestnuts to the chicken, and I basically made a big salad with lettuce, shredded carrots, and scallions instead of dealing with the wraps. Definitely a keeper!


Spicy shrimp and Cucumber Salad with Mint, Lemon, and Cumin – This looks like a delicious light lunch!


Low Carb Lemon Meringue Custard – I am totally making these for Easter dessert! I don’t like crust much anyway, and this recipe gives you the best part of lemon meringue pie!

Source: foodie.com via Carol on Pinterest


(Finally, I am including a shameless plug for my Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Banana Brownies — my kids have devoured these! They are so yummy, easy, and much healthier than a regular brownie! I hope you try them!)

Be sure to head over to Finding Joy in My Kitchen and see what inspired everyone else this week!

gluten-free peanut butter banana brownies

gluten-free peanut butter banana brownie

Last week I was craving something cakey. And chocolaty, but that goes without saying. Naturally, I headed over to Pinterest for a little inspiration and decided to try this Paleo mug cake recipe from The Wannabe Chef. It was delicious! Honestly, it was the first mug cake that I ever truly enjoyed. The only problem is that it was too much cake. So I set about to tweak it a little to my liking and to better feed a family of 5.

This recipe makes a standard-sized pan of gluten-free brownies. The best part? It doesn’t require any exotic specialty flours — I think most people have all these ingredients in their pantries right now! While you can certainly mix everything up by hand, I highly recommend using a food processor. It makes the batter silky smooth and as someone sensitive to texture, I think chunks of banana would ruin this recipe for me. (Just make sure you cover that opening with your hand because the cocoa powder flies everywhere!

Gluten-free Peanut Butter Banana Brownies

gluten-free peanut butter banana brownie

3 medium bananas
3 large eggs
1/3 c. smooth peanut butter
6 Tbsp. cocoa powder
3 packets of stevia *
1/2 c. chocolate morsels *


Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine bananas, eggs, peanut butter, cocoa powder, and stevia in the bowl of a food processor. Combine until smooth (be sure to periodically scrape down the sides). Pour batter into a buttered 8×8 baking dish. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top and gently mix them in. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool.

Yield: 16 servings

* These are both optional ingredients, but I like the extra sweetness they deliver. You could could use fewer chocolate morsels to cut down on the sugar.

As prepared here, there are about 97 calories per serving and 10.4 grams of carbs.

So there you have it! A delicious, guilt-free, grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free (if you omit the chocolate morsels) treat that is chock-full of healthy fats and protein (and potassium). You can certainly substitute another nut butter for the peanut butter and I’m sure it would be just as good!

countdown to 2012: soups & stews

 Countdown to 2011 with Finding Joy in My Kitchen

This week I am counting down to 2012 with SnoWhite from Finding Joy in My Kitchen. She is inviting readers to join in the fun by sharing their very best recipes of 2011. Today’s theme is soups and stews. This was an easy one for me. My black bean soup became one of my most-prepared quick dishes of the year. It’s fast, healthy, and spicy. All of my favorite things! So click on the recipe title to get all the delicious details!

Spicy Black Bean Soup

spicy black bean soup