Last minute (healthy) Turkey Chili

Rainy days make me want to cook all day!

Being a mom of 2 littles, I can’t just drop everything and head out to Whole Foods for an hour gathering unnecessary (and expensive) ingredients like I used to.

But I can still enjoy cooking and make something delicious with just a few yummy ingredients.

Once I’ve decided that no matter how much I bribe him, my toddler isn’t going to eat this, I can actually prepare it the way I want with as many spices as I’d like!

This is one of my favorite things to make last minute during a rainy day, snow day, or day I’m feeling extra puffy and want to eat something healthy AND savory.

Here’s what I use:

  1. Ground turkey
  2. Onion (yellow or purple)
  3. Green pepper
  4. Fresh garlic
  5. Olive oil
  6. Diced tomatoes with green chili
  7. Salsa (any typical red salsa will do)
  8. White chili beans
  9. Kidney beans
  1. Cumin, Cayenne Pepper, chili powder, ground black pepper, a little salt

I start with a big pot and add about 3 Tbs. olive oil over medium high heat.

Add chopped onion, green pepper and garlic to sauté and soften.

Add seasonings and allow to simmer.

Add ground turkey, breaking up and allow to begin to brown.

Stir in un-drained tomatoes and chili’s. Mix together.

Add un-drained white chili beans and drained kidney beans. Stir and simmer.

Finally add a little salsa and keep on low heat until turkey is completely cooked through (about 30 min).

*Tip* I had 2 fresh (uncooked) ears of corn that needed to be used up so I cut the corn off the cob and added it to the chili, something I’ve never done before, but will continue doing because it added a nice sweetness to the spice!

Enjoy, Mamas!

I’m pregnant!!

I haven’t been posting as much lately because I’m pregnant and for the 1st trimester, I had many food aversions and very little energy!

This will be our fist child and we are so happy, scared, and excited! This being my first pregnancy, I had no idea what to expect or how I would feel. I’m just beginning my 2nd trimester and (knock on wood) I’m feeling much better and have a much more normal appetite, except for the fact that I’ve allowed myself to eat more of the things I want!

When I first found out I was pregnant, I was determined to eat really fresh, nutritious foods like fruits, veggies, lean meats and very few carbs. I also planned on sticking to my gym routine, possibly cutting it back by a day….that was a really cute idea. Adorable.

FIRST TRIMESTER BLUES:

Little did I know that about 2 weeks after finding out I was pregnant I’d start feeling like I was HUNGOVER allllll day long! I found this to be quite unfair, as I literally hadn’t had a drop to drink. Everything made me nauseous. Everything. I couldn’t even LOOK at a piece of broccoli without wanting to die. I never actually threw up (which may have been a curse in disguise, as that might have at least given me some relief), but the feeling of being hungover lasted for weeks.

I would think of something to eat like a cheeseburger and fries one night or some Japanese the next, and I would eat the food that seemed somewhat appealing. Then, almost immediately after, regret it and wished I could take it back. Anything I ate became something I would never eat again. The thought of coffee made me ill and if I saw a cucumber, I’d cringe.

Smells didn’t bother me, ironically, but the sight of certain foods did and the feeling I had after I ate almost anything was even worse. What I always enjoyed and still do was Parmesan Goldfish. Not cheddar, not plain, not flavor blast, they had to be parmesan.

END OF 1ST TRIMESTER HAPPINESS:

At about week 8 or 9, I started feeling more like myself and at the present 13 weeks (again, knock on wood), I feel really good, other than the fact that by 9:00 PM I feel like I’ve been hit with a tranquilizer gun.

What I really love to do is grab my headphones/Pandora and head outside for a nice, long power walk. Sometimes I take a quick drive to different areas of town and explore different neighborhoods with my favorite music, or even enjoy the silence/sounds of nature. Really, the fresh air helps a TON with nausea and fatigue. I always feel better on days that I’ve had some sort of exercise.

Speaking of exercise, I had totally scaled back. Walking about 3.5 miles every other day or so has become my main source of calorie burning. I do go to the gym about once a week and get on the stair-master (although I found I have much less stamina and lose my breath much easier than usual, so I don’t go as hard). I also try to get some squats and lunges in a couple times a week, usually after a walk, to attempt to keep some muscle tone. TIP: Google “Bring Sally Up squat challenge” it makes doing squats more fun and goes by in less than 4 minutes. I usually grab a 10-15 lb. weight and hold it against my chest while I do them for a little something extra.

EAT THIS, NOT THAT:

After eating literally anything that would possibly help me feel better/satisfy some cravings, I started searching for healthier versions of foods for myself and the baby. I try to never have high fructose corn syrup or anything with aspartame. I never eat/drink anything “fat free”, “sugar free” or “diet” as these products usually contain tons of preservatives and harmful chemicals for the baby (and myself). Instead of Canada Dry, I’ll drink Hansen’s natural ginger ale which is sweetened with cane sugar and has far less ingredients and no high fructose corn syrup. I gave up my parmesan goldfish and replaced those crackers with Annie’s organic crackers instead. If I want chocolate chip cookies or blueberry muffins, I bake them myself. Even with all that butter and sugar, at least I know what I’m putting in my body and giving my baby. I try to buy my ice cream from a local farm store in our town. I have a real thing for chocolate covered pretzels, so I try to get the organic version from Whole Foods (delicious!!). When I want pizza, I buy pre-made dough at Trader Joe’s (non-GMO) and make it at home with the toppings I love.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ll still occasionally go to Chic Fil A and order a chicken wrap and fries for lunch and get a 3/4 unsweet, 1/4 sweet iced tea (they hate me), or I’ll stop and get some “sushi” (shrimp tempura and California rolls) with soy sauce. I still love Chipotle and we still go out to eat.

WHAT I WON’T DO:

Color my hair. I know some women do and I know some of it is considered ok as long as it doesn’t touch your scalp but the idea of putting hair color/bleach on my head while my growing baby is relying on me to keep him/her safe is unnerving.

Use deodorant with aluminum. Bone disease, memory changes and anemia have been found in studies about aluminum, which can  even enter milk of breastfeeding women. I use Tom’s all natural deodorant, which is aluminum free.

Shampoo and conditioner with sulfates or parabens. Studies have shown links between birth defects and sulfates, so I buy sulfate-free. Some of my favorites include Awapuhi Mango by Avalon Organics and Blackberry and Coconut Milk by Giovanni Eco Chic Hair Care.

Use self-tanners. There aren’t enough studies showing these products are safe to use and with all the chemicals and parabens included in the ingredients (even “organic” versions), I have a feeling we might see studies years from now linking self-tanners to some kind of disorder. I am naturally very fair-skinned and am self-conscious about my pasty legs, so I actually made my own all-natural body bronzer that washes off with soap and water.

I HOPE TO KEEP POSTING THROUGHOUT MY NEW JOURNEY! Let me know if you have any questions or even tips of your own!

Healthy(er) Gluten-Free Shepherd’s Pie

In the spirit of St. Patty’s day this past week, I decided to make a shepherd’s pie. I didn’t have any ground lamb, as traditionally used in the Irish recipe, but I did have ground turkey, so I went with it. Cutting back on the calories and fat isn’t a bad thing!

Here’s what I did:

  • 1 lb. Ground Turkey Meat
  • 1 Tbs. Grape Seed Oil (or olive oil)
  • 2 Carrots
  • 1/4 Yellow Onion
  • 1/2 Cup Beef Broth
  • 1 Tbs. Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Parsley
  • 1/4 tsp. Thyme
  • 4 Russet Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Almond Milk (or regular milk)
  • S&P to taste

Preheat oven to 375.

In a medium-sized pot (on medium heat), I poured the oil and allowed it to heat a bit while I chopped my onion and carrot. I added those to the oil and allowed them to soften while I got the rest of the ingredients ready. I added the thyme and parsley and mixed together.

In a separate pot, I began heating salted water to cook the potatoes. I washed, peeled and chopped the potatoes and added them to the boiling pot of water.

Once the carrot and onion mixture had begun to soften, I added the ground turkey and mashed down with a fork, mixing all the ingredients together. I added the 1 tsp. of salt, Worcestershire sauce, covered, and allowed to cook together for about 5 minutes. I stirred the mixture and added the beef broth, covered again and allowed the turkey to brown completely, stirring a couple more times and removing from heat.

Once the potatoes could be punctured with a fork, I drained and moved them to my mixing bowl. I added some butter (about 1/4 Cup, give or take) and about 1/2 Cup almond milk. I beat with a hand mixer and added salt and pepper to taste. (Feel free to add more butter/milk to your liking).

In a glass pie pan, I poured the meat mixture evenly as my base coat. I then scooped the mashed potatoes into dollops on top and then evenly spread to the edges.

I baked the pie for about 15  minutes, just until the mashed potatoes began to get a little crisp along the edges of the pan.

Slainte and ENJOY!!!

Homemade Granola!!

Do you love cereals and granola but worry about the sugar content and other additives? Try this SUPER easy recipe and trust that you’re consuming delicious, natural ingredients without the preservatives or additives.

This granola was SO easy to make and probably the best I’ve ever had. I have enjoyed it for breakfast and as an after-dinner snack, both with unsweetened almond milk (you could also use regular milk or yogurt).

Here’s what I did (in approximation):

  • 2 Cups Organic, Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
  • 1/4 Cup Melted Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Grape Seed Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Raw Honey
  • 1/3 Cup Dried Cranberries (unsweetened)
  • 1/2 Cup Mixed Nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios and pumpkin seeds)
  • Sprinkle Cinnamon (to your liking)

I preheated oven to 300. In a mixing bowl, combine oats, coconut oil, grape seed oil and honey. Mix together well, you want the oats to be completely coated but not drenched. Sprinkle a little cinnamon, add the mixed nuts and mix together once more.

Spread this mixture out on a baking sheet and bake at 300 degrees (mixing a couple times) for 20 minutes. Lower heat to 250 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes, mixing again in between (you don’t want the granola to burn or cook unevenly).

Remove from oven and pour the dried cranberries on top. Mix together and allow granola to cool completely before eating.

*Tip* You can use any nuts you want, bake them the same way I did. You can use any dried fruit you want, just add it at the end the way I did when the granola is out of the oven but still warm.

*Skin-care tip* Oats are great for many skin conditions! Ever heard of an oatmeal bath? Known to sooth and calm the skin, lower blood sugar levels and prevent heart disease, oats are good for the inside out! Healthy skin starts within!

Spicy Red Curry Chicken

Are you ever in the mood for Thai food but don’t feel like leaving the house? Maybe you don’t know all the ingredients that the restaurant is putting in your food and that bothers you! Well, here you go!

Here’s what I did:

  • 2 lbs. Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 Cup Unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • 3 Tbs. Red Curry Paste
  • 1 Tbs. Curry Powder
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. Fresh Chopped Ginger
  • 1 Diced Garlic Clove
  • 1/4 Cup Fish Sauce
  • S&P To Taste
  • Dash Cayenne Pepper (to your liking)
  • Fresh, Steamed Broccoli (about 1 cup with stems removed)
  • 1/2 Cup Steamed Edamame
  • Brown Rice or Riced Cauliflower
  • Grape Seed Oil (about 1/2 Tbs.)
  • Fresh Sliced Mango and Cilantro to garnish

I sliced my chicken into short strips and heated them over high heat in a skillet with the oil. I seasoned with salt and  pepper, added the ginger, mixed together and allowed to cook about 1/2 way through.

In a small mixing bowl, I combined the coconut milk, curry paste, curry powder and fish sauce (I actually used a little less than the full 1/4 cup, I filled it about 3/4 of the way to 1/4 cup, if that makes sense).

I poured the mixture over the chicken, covered and reduced heat to medium/low. In my steamer, I steamed the broccoli, then the edamame. After about 15 minutes, I added them to the chicken, covered again and allowed to cook for another 10 minutes or so.

I served this dish over brown rice (gluten-free) but you can also use riced cauliflower (paleo) and sliced mango, which really complimented the flavors. Enjoy with a glass or 3 of Medaloni Cellars Sauvignon Blanc! (If you prefer red with this dish, I’d suggest a Pinot Noir)

*Skin-care tip* Tumeric is found in curry. Tumeric is essential in anti-inflammatory issues and is great at healing acne and even psoriasis!

 

 

Paleo Chicken Marsala

This dish is so savory and satisfying, I absolutely recommend making this for yourself, family and friends! I served mine over pureed zucchini and avocado.

Here’s what I did:

  • 2 lbs Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • Marsala Wine
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • S&P to taste
  • Almond Meal
  • Arrow Root
  • Eggs
  • Grape Seed Oil
  • Dried Parlsley
  • Sliced button mushrooms

In a large skillet, heat about 1 Tbs. grape seed oil over medium/low heat. Dice about 1 large garlic clove and add to oil.

In a bowl, beat 2 eggs. In another bowl, combine 1 part arrow root and 2 parts almond meal (I had to add some to finish coating the chicken, I used about 1 cup almond meal and 1/2 cup arrow root). Slice the chicken breasts in half (so they’re thinner), dip in egg wash and roll in flour mixture. Place each breast in the skillet evenly.

Sprinkle parsley, salt and pepper and once the chicken begins to cook on the edges, flip over and repeat. Pour the marsala wine over everything, enough to come up to the chicken but not cover it.

Dice 1/2 yellow onion and add to the chicken. Add about 12 ounces of sliced mushrooms, cover and allow to simmer for about 25-30 minutes.

For Zucchini mash: 1 large zucchini, 1/2 avocado.

Slice one large zucchini down the center the long way, turn each half on it’s side and slice once more, each. Cut into small cubed pieces and add to a small skillet heated with a little grape seed oil. Cover and allow to cook for about 5 minutes over medium heat, or until you can puncture with a fork. Add the zucchini and avocado to your food processor (leaving an opening on the top so heat can escape). Blend until completely smooth.

Serve your marsala over the zucchini mash! Enjoy!! I had Old Moon Zinfandel with this dish.

 

Paleo Chicken Piccata (DELISH!)

20160216_195446.jpg20160216_194216.jpgOk, so eating healthy can sometimes be a challenge, am I right? Sometimes you just want the yummy, buttery dish that your grandma used to make or that they served at your favorite Italian restaurant…WELL, you’re welcome in advance because not only is this dish Paleo, Gluten-Free, AND healthy, but it is DELICIOUS! My very picky husband inhaled it and didn’t even ask if it was paleo or gluten-free.

Here’s what I did:

  • Almond Meal
  • Arrow Root
  • Marinated Artichoke Hearts
  • Lemon Juice (and fresh slices)
  • Garlic
  • Chicken Breast (boneless, skinless. I used about 2 1/2 breasts)
  • Capers
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Grape Seed Oil
  • S&P to taste

In a small mixing bowl, beat 2 eggs. In another, combine 2 parts almond meal and 1 part arrow root. Mix together with a fork.

In a large skillet, pour a small amount of oil over medium heat. Cut your chicken breasts down the center so they’re more thin, (you might even want to cut twice, depending on how thick they are). Mince some fresh garlic cloves (I used 1, large) and place in the skillet (careful not to burn).

Coat each piece of chicken in the egg and then roll in the almond meal mixture until completely coated and place in the skillet. Once all the chicken is in the skillet, allow to heat until the edges begin to cook through and squeeze some fresh lemon over everything (I like a lot of lemon, so I used 2 lemons). Sprinkle some salt and pepper to taste. Flip the chicken over and repeat.

Once the chicken is about 1/2 way cooked, pour your marinated artichoke hearts, juice included, over everything and add some capers (I used 3/4 of a 12 oz. jar of artichoke hearts and about 2 Tbs. of capers). Slice some lemon and place them on top.

Take about 1 Tbs. butter and cut into small pieces, place in between chicken. Reduce heat to low/medium/low, cover and allow to simmer for about 25 minutes.

I served this over steamed/mashed cauliflower with Napa River Chardonnay!