Recipes

Hearty Beef and Veggie Chili

This chili is an all-time favorite at our house for two reasons: It’s incredibly easy to make and it’s delicious.

Oh, and it contains a huge helping of veggies in it, which makes my little nutrient-density-loving heart happy.

My kids love it topped with cheese and I love it served over brown rice or a sweet potato. We even eat it with Frito-style chips sometimes. It is also something that is super easy to freeze and thaw, so I almost always make a double or triple batch of it. This let’s us have a super fast meal on a weeknight if needed, that’s still super healthy.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of high quality ground beef or bison
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes (no salt added)
  • 1 can of black beans
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 2 cans of pinto beans
  • 1 8oz can of diced green chilis (optional)
  • 16 oz of diced root veggies of your choice (for this, I love using the Healthy 8 veggie blend from Trader Joe’s. Here’s a copycat recipe in case you don’t have TJ nearby or need ideas)
  • 1/2 medium onion, diced
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 2 TBSP chili seasoning
  • 16 oz organic beef bone broth

Instructions

Open all of the cans of beans, chilis, and tomatoes. Drain the water from the beans, but do NOT drain the tomatoes or chili.

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and brown the ground meat, until it is cooked through. Add in the diced onion and stir occasionally until the onion softens and releases its water. Then add in the chili seasoning and stir until everything is evenly coated.

Add in the 16oz of chopped root veggies. Cover and cook until the veggies are softening (but not cooked through). If the veggies or meat is sticking to the bottom of the pan, you can add a few oz of the beef stock in this step to prevent that.

Once the veggies have begun to soften, add in the diced chilis if you are using them. Mix thoroughly. Next, add in the diced tomatoes and all of the beans. Stir the mixture to evenly distribute.

Finally add in the remaining bone broth and bring the chili to a simmer. You can simmer in as little as 10 minutes, or wait up to two hours to serve if you keep it over very low heat. You can also add the chili to a crock pot at this point and cook on low heat for up to 6 hours.

If you made a double batch, separate half of the chili out to freeze once is it cooked. Wait until it is cooled to room temperature before placing in a freezer bag and freeze it flat for easiest storage and thawing.

Health & Wellness, Healthy Kids, Uncategorized

My Favorite #momhacks for Breakfast

It’s no secret that breakfast can be a struggle with new moms. (Heck, its a struggle for MOST people.) In pregnancy, you may be dealing with morning sickness. When the baby is finally here, you may be so sleep deprived that you can’t remember if you ate or not. You only have one hand to make something with anyway, since the other arm is home to a new (and totally adorable) little resident. So maybe you grab something prepackaged to eat with one had (pop tarts anyone?) or maybe you get a few sips of (now cold) coffee down.

Once the baby turns into a little human, aka toddler, you’re trying to keep them from dumping out the cat food while rushing around getting yourself ready and packing their bag. Or maybe you’re making them whatever they loved yesterday, only to watch it end up on the floor because clearly they wanted the thing they hated yesterday instead. ::cue tantrum::

Although we “know” that breakfast is the most important meal of the day (because they keep saying it, right?) all of the stress in a busy morning combined with not enough sleep (there will come a day when night waking is in the past, but today is not that day) causes us to either skip it entirely or rely on whatever we can grab from the pantry (hello GoGurt and cookies) or the drive through (come to me you beautiful venti caramel macchiato). Breakfast for a new mom is often an afterthought. And by letting it stay this way, we are setting ourselves up for a day of hunger, cravings, mood swings, and the like thanks to imbalanced blood sugar.

The thing is, you don’t have to go from eating a stale doughnut from the break room at work on the regular to organic, pasture raised egg frittatas with a side of heritage pork sausage (nitrate free, of course) over night. There are plenty of small and sustainable changes you can make wherever you are along the spectrum to make breakfast a better meal for you overall. Once you’ve mastered one change (swap out that doughnut for a greek yogurt), you move on to the next step (swap the yogurt for eggs). Through step wise implementation like this, you will be able to make long and lasting changes.

Even with a minor swap, you can begin to feel the benefits of a good breakfast right away. Getting great nutrients into your body for your first meal sets up your body chemistry to either support you or fight against you for the remainder of the day. Solid nutritional breakfasts can help you control cravings all day long, prevent that 2pm slump, and even help you get to sleep better at bedtime. With that in mind, here are the top 3 things to be working towards for a great breakfast:

  • Eliminate (or greatly reduce) added sugar in breakfast
  • Choose foods that are nutrient dense
  • Make sure there is a balance of protein and fat in the meal

If you are going to be reducing sugar in any place in your life, breakfast is the place where you will get the most “bang for your buck” When you have a lot of sugar at breakfast, you start the day off pumping a ton of insulin into your body to metabolize all the sugar you just ate. This creates a chain reaction where you have blood sugar highs and lows throughout the day. This also stops you from burning any stored fat for energy and can mess with the hormones that tell you if you are hungry or full.

Here are examples of typical grab-and-go items that are often used for breakfast that have a ton of extra sugar in them: nonfat flavored yogurt, granola, granola bars, cereal with nonfat milk, instant oatmeal packets (flavored), premade meal replacement drinks (think carnation instant breakfast or slim fast), a special k bar or similar, etc.

Do not feel bad if these are your staples! But do try one or two of the healthier options on this list: full fat greek yogurt (vanilla if you need a flavor), plain full fat yogurt (better choice than flavored, add frozen berries), plain instant oatmeal (again add berries), Kind bars (the ones that are 5g of sugar or less per bar), a protein shake, a green smoothie, hard boiled eggs, and/or a piece of whole fruit.

 

Once you have swapped to the healthier items above or if you are ready to take your breakfast nutrition even further try some of my favorite #momlife breakfasts listed below. These all meet my personal breakfast criteria: they can be made in advance in a batch for the week or can be made in less than 5 minutes (including dish cleanup), they can be eaten with one hand, they are a great balance of nutritionally dense food and will keep you full, they taste amazing, and they have no added sugar.

So go ahead and try some (or one) or these for a week (or day). Pay attention to how you feel after a few days. Do you have fewer cravings? Are you full for longer? Do you have more energy? If you experiment let me know how it goes!

*to make the Paleo Protien Pancakes, we use this pancake mix and add one scoop of this protein powder. You get 10g of protien per pancake, and they are delicious! I like to make a large batch on Sundays so I can give the kids 2 cakes (no syrup) during the week for an easy breakfast for all of us.

Recipes

Simplest Pie Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups of flour (gluten free baking flour works great here)
  • 1 stick of butter (1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2-3 TBSP water (ice water works best)

Instructions

Mix together the salt and the flour. Cut the butter stick into 6-8 pieces. Add the flour and butter to a blender or food processor. Pulse the food processor until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Place the meal into a bowl for the next step.

Add the water one tablespoon at a time and fold and press the dough until it comes together. Form the dough into a ball and place in the refrigerator for an hour.

Roll out the dough into your desired shape. You can use a sprinkle of additional flour on the rolling surfaces while doing this to prevent sticking.

Recipes

World’s Easiest Chicken Pot Pie

When I was growing up, Chicken Pot Pie was one of my favorite dinners in the winter time. I loved the creamy warmth and the flakey crust. We always ate the store bought/frozen pies though, so I never learned how to cook them. Once I realized that gluten was off limits for me, Chicken Pot Pies became a thing of the past. Until now…

This is the world’s easiest to make pot pie. It is absolutely delicious, but also much much healthier than the traditional pot pie recipes and infinitely healthier than what you can buy in the store. The secret here is that it is loaded with veggies and it uses almond milk to add the staple creaminess. It can also be prepared in about 15 minutes since we use quality frozen veggies in this recipe (no chopping required) and pre-prepared shredded chicken.

This recipe makes a double batch of filling. You can use half the filling for the pie you are making today and you can freeze the other half for an even easier home-cooked meal down the road.


Ingredients

  • 4 cups of shredded chicken (precooked – you can also use leftover rotisserie chicken if you have that on hand)
  • 2 bags of Trader Joe’s Vegetable Melange
  • 1 bag frozen pearl onions
  • 1 bag frozen organic corn (you can switch this for peas if you prefer)
  • 1/4 cup all purpose gluten-free flour (you can use regular flour if you don’t need gluten free)
  • 2-3 cups Unsweetened Plain Almond Milk
  • Pepper to taste (we use about a tablespoon in this recipe)
  • One pie crust top (you can buy one or make one with this simple recipe)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425F.

In a large pot, place both bags of the vegetable melange, the pearl onions, and the frozen corn. Heat the veggies over medium heat until they are warmed through.

Sprinkle the flour over the veggies and stir until they are well coated. Slowly add in the almond milk and mix the veggies with the milk. Continue to stir the mixture as the milk thickens into a creamy sauce (you can add in more milk if you would like it to be saucier/creamier).

Once the sauce has thickened. Remove from the heat and add in the shredded chicken and the pepper. Stir until all ingredients are evenly mixed.

Place half the mixture into a ceramic pie dish. Roll out the pie crust and place over the dish. Trim the crust (if needed) so that about 1/2″ of the crust overhangs the dish. Press the crust down on the sides of the dish and cut 3 slits in the top. Bake the pie in the oven until the crust is golden brown (about 20 minutes). Let the pie rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Save the remaining mixture in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag for an easy dinner later on.

Recipes

Perfect Chicken Tacos

These tacos have become a new staple in our house. They are soooo good and easy to make. What’s even better is they use sprouted corn tortillas, so they are nutrient dense and heartier than the stuff you get from a restaurant. Both my one year old and three year old inhale them as well!

We love to pair these with a huge chopped salad like this Tropical Slaw Salad or a premixed bag of Cruciferous Crunch or Super Greens. These are great, nutritionally packed taco toppers (move over iceberg) that help the family to get their veggies in on Taco Tuesdays. Top everything with some sliced avocado and you have perfection.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound shredded chicken (precooked, about 3 cups)
  • 12 sprouted corn tortillas (you can substitute crunchy shells if desired)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese
  • 1 8oz can of diced green chilis
  • 2 TBSP avocado oil
  • 2 TBSP taco seasoning

Instructions

Heat the olive oil in a skillet and add the shredded chicken. Sauté for about a minute to warm the chicken. Open the diced chilis (do not drain them) and add the can to the chicken. Add in the taco seasoning and continue to sauté the mix until the chilis and seasoning are evenly coating the chicken. Remove the skillet from the heat.

If you have soft tortillas: place a small frying pan over medium heat (stainless steel works best, but a non stick pan is fine too). Place one of the tortillas in the pan and sprinkle some shredded cheese on the tortilla. When the cheese begins to melt, add some of the chicken mixture to the tortilla by placing the chicken in a line down the middle of the tortilla. Fold the tortilla in half using a spatula and remove from the heat. The warming and the cheese will help to prevent the tortilla from cracking/tearing when you are eating your taco. Repeat these steps for the remaining tortillas.

If you are using crunchy shells: spoon some of the chicken mixture into each shell. Top the chicken with shredded cheese immediately so the heat from the meat can melt the cheese.

Top the tacos with a greens or slaw mixture of your choice and serve!