Saturday, August 24, 2013

Use It Up!

When was the last time you went through your cupboards, pantry, fridge, or freezer to really see what was there? You may be surprised what you find. Writing things down makes it easier to keep an inventory for your kitchen. This whole process though possibly daunting will allow you to see what you have in stock, what you don't, what you need, and what you need to give the boot! 

One suggestion is to keep a long, narrow dry erase white board on the wall need the cabinets or pantry in order to keep a list, and since its erasable you can change it as need be. Make it a habit, keep the dry erase marker close by, and save your sanity. This will help you to avoid buying the 4th bag of quinoa, and to replace the unsulphured sundried tomatoes.

Get creative with meal choices using all you have in the house.Don't limit yourself to food that typically in the USA is only eaten at certain meals. Eat whole, real, nutritious foods. Involve a lot of greens whenever the chance.

Here is a quick recipe to use up all you have!

Rainbow Quinoa

2 Large Handfuls of Organic Kale
2Fresh Garlic Clove. minced
2 Organic Carrots, sliced
1/2 Small Red Onion, diced
2 TBSP Organic Coconut Oil
2 Cups Cooked Quinoa
1 Cup Real Chicken Stock
1 Fresh Organic Lemon, squeezed
1 Tsp Celtic Sea Salt
1/4 Tsp Black Pepper


In a large skillet add coconut oil and saute the kale, garlic, carrot, red onion. Once soft, add everything else. Simmer on low-medium for about 10 minutes to allow flavors to combine. Carnivores add pasture raised chicken.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Mini Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes

Today is my older son's 13th birthday. For the longest time he's been asking me for strawberry shortcake. I've been trying for a very long time to make a dairy free,soy free, sugar free, nasty vegan butter free (its a mixture of oils that are not good for you, especially canola) frosting or cream that doesn't melt in two seconds. It's been quite the challenge.

I was determined to come up with something for his birthday. Shuffling between other fabulous blogs out there, sorting through my fridge and pantry, as well as keeping in mind what has worked in the past I melted multiple ideas into success!

I can't really take credit for the separate recipes. I really do like the blend between the two though. For the cake part I used Elana Amsterdam's shortcake recipe with a sweetener tweak. Then for the cream recipe I borrowed from Sugar Free Alex. I didn't change a thing except for the amount of vanilla because it was perfect otherwise! This cream is so decadent! You won't believe what's in lovely!

I call them Mini Double Chocolate Strawberry Shortcakes! In the picture is the little station I set up for the birthday boy, his brother (who is 10), and a good friend. I allowed them to build the shortcakes. The three boys had fun putting these together. My youngest doesn't like strawberries, so I set out some organic peanut butter. You'll need some fresh organic strawberries. 

Shortcake Ingredients (Makes about 17 minis)

1 1/2 Cups Almond Flour (I use Trader Joes)
1/4 Cup Coconut Flour (I use either Coconut Secret, Nutiva, or Tropical Traditions this is my affiliate link)
1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp Celtic Sea Salt
2 TBSP Raw Cacao Powder (I order from
3 Eggs
1/3 Cup Coconut Nectar (I use Coconut Secret)


Mix everything well in a bowl. 
On parchment paper on a baking sheet scoop out I full TBSP size scoops.
With clean fingers roll into a nice ball, then gently press down on parchment.
Bake at 350 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
*While these are baking make your frosting/cream.
Let them cool.

Chocolate Cream Ingredients (This makes quite a bit)

2/3 Cup Baked Sweet Potatoes (Bake these the night before to make life easier)
1/2 Cup Pitted Medjool Dates
1/4 Cup Raw Cacao Powder
3 TBSP Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil
2 TBSP Almond Butter (I used some I had made, if you are buying though Traders Joes Raw Creamy Unsalted would be good)
1/2 Cup Almond Milk (I made mine, go here to see how)
1 TBSP Pure Vanilla Extract


Just put everything into the food processor and mix well. Put into a glass container and put into the fridge to set for at least 20 minutes. Really it's fine to use right out of the processor, but I think refrigerating it makes it better.

Building the Mini Strawberry Shortcakes

So once the cream is set and shortcakes are cool go ahead and build away. You are free to do this in ANY fashion you like. I chose to slice the strawberries thin to medium in width.  Slice the mini shortcakes in half, be gentle. Then with a butter knife or spreader put a layer of cream, then a strawberry slice , then cream, then a strawberry slice, then cream, and finally the top.

We really enjoyed them! Hope you do too!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Healthy Meal Planning

As per request of my BFF in San Diego I am writing a short entry on meal planning. This to some is pleasant and to others a necessary evil. Really I think it's all about how deep you want to go. Meal planning is practically a MUST for living a healthy lifestyle. It doesn't need to be difficult or overwhelming. I'll share what I do and hopefully it's helpful to you. The pros to meal planning are saving money, saving time, and less waste. Also keep in mind if you know what you are going to have its more of an incentive to keep those family meals eaten together. The age of everyone eating together has kind of faded due to schedules, time, tastes, and more. Maybe family meals are mandatory in your house. For those of you with traveling spouses, are single parents, or have other issues going on in the home that may not be the case. If that busy teenager with a job and a license knows Mom is having their favorite grass fed burgers and sweet potato fries on Tuesday night they may be more inclined to have dinner at home. Just a thought :)

Break Down of Meal Planning Basics

  • Choose the plan that works for you ( you are not your best friend, Martha Stewart, or myself, you are you and must do what works for you)

  • Put food on it you like, keep favorite recipes accessible

  • Stick to it (but plan for the unexpected like meals out here and there)

There are a plethora of meal planning programs for sale and for free. You can download excellent spread sheets made just for meal planning. I suggest making your own to tailor your needs. If you don't have time for that then most definitely take advantage of what is available. If you have specific food demands, picky eaters, lots of allergies or sensitivities then using a blank form versus one with meals already plugged in may be more effective for you. Some have room for complete recipes, some having a shopping list form available, some are by day, week, or month.

Helpful Websites: 

  • (This is my favorite)




First think about what you and your family likes to eat. That's really important. Who wants a meal plan with food no one will touch?!!! I would also say to not completely cater to the family. Its good for everyone to try new healthy foods. How you handle people trying foods, finishing foods, and having different foods available for the picky people is all up to you. Moms and dads, you know what's good for you and the kids. I say this because if you decide to display the meal plan for easy access on a cork board or the fridge just know this is your tool and you put on it what is helpful to you. They don't need to know you put zucchini, carrots, and spinach in the tomato sauce. Displaying the whole recipe may not be in your best interest. We parents need our sanity after all.

Keep a binder with your go-to recipes as well as recipes you'd like to try. I suggest dividing it into sections. Your section titles will vary. You could be as vague as breakfast, lunch, snacks/desserts, and dinner. On the flip side if it works be specific like smoothies, breads, soups etc. If you are that super organized type A personality then go nuts and use sections within sections like breakfast: eggs, smoothies, and baked goods. Maybe you are a techno geek and would prefer everything stored on your device, hey go wild. This has to be conducive to what YOU will actually do. This will make the meal planning process easier.

The way I meal plan may be too boring for you. What works for me is having the same breakfast meal each day of the week because I don't usually have time for much flexibility in the morning. The kids don't have to guess and neither do I. So my week looks like this for breakfast: Monday is yogurt with fruit and something I've or the teenager has baked like muffins or zucchini bread, Tuesday is eggs, Wednesday is pancakes, Thursday is oatmeal, Friday is French toast or smoothies, Saturday is pancakes again because we just love them around here, and Sunday is eggs again. Smoothies are always acceptable substitutes if someone doesn't want what is being served.

Lunch if the Paleo bread is made may be sandwiches, or there's always leftovers from dinner. Again a smoothie for lunch in my book is also perfectly fine. Dinner is planned with room to move. For dinner I don't always have an exact recipe in mind, but I know to some degree what I'll be using for the main dish. Everything else depends on whats in the house at the time. I will explain :) Monday is grass fed beef, Tuesday is organic free range chicken, Wednesday is pasta, Thursday is fish, Friday is pizza, Saturday is either pasta or brown rice/quinoa and beans, and Sunday depending on the season is usually soup, chicken in the crock pot (crock pots make me do a happy dance), or whatever I have the energy to muster up after being at church for 5 hours.

Plan the complexity of your meals according to the type of day you will have. Use labels in your pantry or cabinets. Its easier IF you can have a regular spot for foods in the fridge and pantry/cabinets. I say IF because I know some of you live in a shoe and have so many children, well you know the rhyme, that having a regular place for anything is close to impossible. Leave yourself room, but stick to the plan for the most part. This will encourage healthy eating, help your budget, and decrease stress. If you know you need exact recipes or you won't make something, then do that. I don't need that much structure to get a meal made. I eyeball when I'm cooking and just typically throw things together. Make it yours! You know you better than I do...capisce?!!! (That's Italian for understand.)