Don’t Throw Those Bananas Away!

As I said before, when in doubt, make your own…and have I ever! From banana nut breads to blueberry muffins and mixed berry crisp with vanilla bean ice cream, I’ve been having myself a good old time over here:)

Here’s a recipe I’ve been craving and finally made, because as I have discovered, my little boy loves his sweets! He wiggles when I eat delicious sweet treats!

Here’s what I did:

Preheat oven to 350

  • 3 Ripe Bananas (organic, if you can)
  • 2 Eggs (pasture raised/cage-free)
  • 2 Cups Flour (unbleached)
  • 3/4 tsp. Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp. Baking Soda
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/2 Cup Softened Butter (grass fed)
  • 1 Cup Pure Cane Sugar (with a little extra for topping)
  • 1 Cup Chopped Walnuts

Mix all dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix butter, eggs and bananas (I leave the bananas a little bit lumpy). Gradually mix in all dry ingredients and finally add the walnuts. Pour into your greased and floured loaf pan, sprinkle a little extra sugar on top and bake for 50-55 min.

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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 Lavender Sugar Scrub

Lord knows I love making something myself, if I can! In my opinion, homemade is always better! You know exactly what you’re putting on and in your body when you create something yourself.

I also love saving a buck! Some sugar scrubs, ESPECIALLY organic scrubs, can cost a small fortune. I feel like when the “all natural” or “organic” labels are put on a product, the distributor can jack the price up as much as they want and people will buy it because if we’re going to get something, we may as well get the best product we can, right? UNLESS we can make it ourselves!!

This simple scrub was made with all products I had in my cabinets and closets.

Here’s what I did:

Equal parts sugar and coconut oil and 1/2 part apricot oil. I added a few drops of organic lavender essential oil and a few buds of fresh lavender.

I brought the jar into the shower with me and scooped out a spoon-full for each large body part, exfoliated my body and let the excess wash off. The oil blend left behind was SO fresh and luxurious and my skin felt so smooth and soft after the shower!

Homemade sugar scrubs are the healthiest way to remove dead skin cells, dirt, other products, pollutants, and clogged pores all over your body!! Enjoy this “recipe” and feel soft, smooth skin with therapeutic aromas:)

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!

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!

Chunky Turkey Chili

Ok, so this was SO delicious and again, one of my “just throw some in there” kind of recipe, but I’ll tell you what I did:

  • l lb. Lean Ground Turkey Meat
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion
  • 3 Cloves Garlic
  • 1/2 Jalapeno (with seeds)
  • 1/2 Cherry Chili Pepper (with seeds)
  • 1/2 Chili Pepper (with seeds)
  • 1 Green Bell Pepper
  • S&P
  • Chili Powder
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Grape Seed Oil or Olive Oil)
  • 15 oz. Can Garbonzo Beans (un-drained)
  • 15 oz. Can Kidney Beans (un-drained)
  • 7.5 ounces Cannellini Beans (drained)
  • 2 (14 oz.) Cans Diced Tomatoes (un-drained)

I started with a large soup pot on medium heat and added a little oil. I chopped my onion and allowed it to cook for about 2-3 minutes and then added the chopped garlic cloves. After a few minutes, while stirring occasionally so the garlic didn’t burn, added the chopped peppers (green, jalapeno and both chili peppers) and allowed them all to cook for a few minutes. I then added the turkey meat and broke it all apart. I let that cook, mixing occasionally until the meat was almost all brown. I added my seasonings, mixed and let the turkey brown with all the flavors. I then added all the beans and tomatoes, mixed, covered and lowered the heat down to a simmer. I let this all cook together for about a half hour and topped with a little shredded cheddar cheese and sprig of cilantro!

I enjoyed this chili with a couple glasses of Jacob’s Creek Shiraz, which went perfectly!

Yes, the bottle is now empty.

Paleo Plantain Honey Bread

If you’re dieting or trying to eat better in general, you may be missing that “starch” in your diet. I know when I’m trying not to eat many carbs or starchy foods like breads and pastas, I feel like I’m being deprived and never really feel full or satisfied.

This bread was really delicious in the morning, toasted with organic peanut butter and a cup of coffee. You can have my pasta but leave me my coffee!

Here’s what I did:

  • 3 Green Plantains
  • 5 Eggs
  • 1/3 Cup Coconut Oil (plus extra to grease pan)
  • 2 Tbs. Coconut Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1 Tbs. Raw Honey

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Grease your bread loaf pan with a little coconut oil. Peel and cut the plantains and put in your food processor and pulse on high until completely blended. Add the eggs, honey and coconut oil and blend again. Finally add the coconut flour and baking powder and mix one last time.

Pour mixture into your greased pan and bake for 40-45 minutes. Allow to cool, slice and enjoy with some peanut butter and coffee:)20160206_225023.jpg20160206_232823.jpg

Healthy, Gluten-Free Chicken Carbonara

So, as you probably know by now, I LOVE to eat! If food is involved, I’m there. If I ate the way I want to eat, I’d be extremely unhealthy and I’d be concerned with my blood pressure and cholesterol. That’s why I re-create these recipes so I can enjoy everything I WANT to eat without consuming an absurd amount of calories and fat.

I was so completely satisfied with this dish, even without the pasta! I poured the cabonara over mashed cauliflower and thin zucchini noodles, which turned out to be the perfect combo.

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No dish is complete without a glass (or bottle) of wine, in my professional wine-drinking opinion, which is why I decided on the chardonnay, pinot grigio blend. I wanted the buttery flavor of the chardonnay with the light/crisp taste of the pinot grigio.  Let me tell you, Villa Cerrina knows their stuff!

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Here’s What I Did:

  • 1 1/2-2 lbs. Boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1/4 Onion
  • 4 Slices uncured turkey bacon
  • 1 tsp. oil (I used grape seed oil, but you can use olive oil or other)
  • 1/4 Cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 Cup half and half
  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs. arrow root
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 1/2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • S&P to taste
  • 3/4 Cup steamed, cut green beans

 

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion, chopped. Allow it to cook alone for a couple minutes while stirring occasionally. Once the onion begins to soften, slice the turkey bacon into small, 1/4 inch pieces and add to the onion. Let this combo cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken, cut into cubes, and sprinkle all seasonings including S&P.

Once the chicken has cooked 1/2 way through, add the chicken broth and lemon juice and allow to simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the half and half, butter and arrow root, mixing well. Turn heat to medium/low, cover, and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked and sauce has thickened.

I cut and steamed the green beans at the end and tossed them into the mixture so they were a little crisp.

For the cauliflower, I literally just steamed the crowns, drained and pulsed on high in my food processor. You really don’t need any seasonings or fillers in this because you want to enjoy the flavor and sauce from the carbonara.

For the zucchini noodles, I peeled the zucchini with a potato peeler on 4 sides until I hit the seeds. I put the noodles in a small skillet with a tiny bit of oil and tossed around frequently with a little salt and pepper. These noodles cooked very briefly because you don’t want them to get soggy, which they will very quickly.

Pour your mixture over the cauliflower and place the zucchini around the outside. Pour yourself a MUCH deserved glass of wine WHILE you cook AND while enjoying this delicious light version of a favorite dish!

 

If You Have A Spoiled Husband…

Homemade BBQ Sauce…Hand-rolled honey wheat AND white pizza dough (for the spoiled husband)20160201_203207.jpg BBQ Chicken Pizza!!!

Because I love my husband…(and don’t feel like listening to him whine) I made him his own “white” pizza, while I enjoyed my honey wheat bbq pizza and here’s what I did:

(Same bbq sauce recipe from the paleo chicken bbq dish, but doubled this for 2 pizzas):

  • 6 oz. Can Organic Tomato Paste
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 Cup Water
  • 1/4 Cup 100% Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tbs. Honey
  • 2 Tbs. Molasses
  • 1 Tbs. Grape Seed Oil
  • 1/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Minced Onion
  • 1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/8 tsp. Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/8 tsp. 21 Season Salute (Trader Joe’s)
  • 1/8 tsp. Ground Cloves

For Honey Wheat Pizza Dough (same recipe as the pizza I made with veggies)

  • 1 lb. Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
  • BBQ Sauce (from above)
  • 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (plus extra for kneading)
  • 1/4 oz. Pizza Crust Yeast (“Fast and Easy”)
  • 2 tsp. Honey
  • 2/3 Cup Hot Water
  • 3 Tbs. Grape Seed Oil (plus extra for greasing baking sheet)
  • 1/8th Purple Onion (sliced)
  • 1 1/2 Cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese (part skim)
  • Cilantro (for garnish)

In a small sauce pan, combine all ingredients for BBQ sauce, step by step, mixing as you go on medium/low-medium heat. You want the contents to simmer but not boil. Allow this to simmer, mixing occasionally, for about 10 minutes.

Cut the chicken into strips and cook in a skillet with a little oil over medium-medium/high heat, mixing occasionally to cook evenly. Once the chicken is about 3/4 way cooked through, remove from heat.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Grease your baking sheet (mine was 17 x 12 1/2). In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast and honey and mix together. Slowly add the how water and mix until it forms a “sticky ball”. Remove from bowl and place on a cleaned surface, dusted with flour. Begin to knead the dough, adding more flour as you need so the dough doesn’t stick. Once the dough has been kneaded for about 4 minutes, or until it becomes “elastic”, begin to roll out into a rectangular form. Place on the greased cookie sheet and begin to press down and into the edges (I brush a little oil around the edges).

Bake the dough for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and pour scoops of the BBQ sauce to evenly spread, leaving a little room for the crust. Sprinkle the cheese, then the chicken strips and onion. Bake again for another 10-13 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle cilantro to garnish. Slice and serve!

We enjoyed this with Blue Fin Petite Sirah!

Brie And Green Apple Grilled Cheese

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I took some thin slices of prosciutto and laid them on a cookie sheet with some foil. I drizzled some grape seed oil, brown sugar, and cayenne pepper on top and baked at 400 for about 5 minutes, tops.

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Once they came out of the oven, I put them inside 2 slices of sprouted grain bread with fresh slices of Brie and Gouda cheeses, fresh slices of Granny Smith green apples and arugula. I heated the sandwich in a skillet with a little butter and flipped once it began to brown and the cheeses began to melt. Once the sandwich was browned on both sides, I removed from the heat and sliced the center.

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On the side, I sliced some English cucumber and plum tomato and put them together in a bowl with a little Red Wine Vinegar, Grape Seed Oil, fresh Dill, salt and pepper to taste. This was a DELICIOUS dinner and I would recommend it for any time of the day!

I enjoyed this dish with Napa River Sauvignon Blanc, which was perfectly paired with the green apple!! Every single ingredient from this dish was from Trader Joe’s, down to the wine!