Sunday, November 3, 2013

Menu Plan Week of November 4

It was a busy travel weekend for us!  This means that we are going into a busy week without my normal weekend preparation time.  As an allergy mom, this can be especially chaotic!  But between freezer meals and an arsenal of quick and easy recipes, I have what I need to survive with just a quick trip to the grocery store!  I would love to hear from you with tips for dinner and meal planning during  those weeks when you have little time to prepare!  Please share!

Monday - Chicken and rice stir fry (I love using Coconut Secret coconut aminos!  Soy free - check it out next time you are at Whole Foods or your co op!). Check out this recipe.

Tuesday - Crock pot beef stew freezer meal (from this awesome ebook!)

Wednesday - Turkey quinoa meatloaf burgers (if you are egg free just omit egg they will turn out fine!). ***i will mix this and then form into burger patties instead of loaves.  I will also double recipe, bake all of them and freeze half for a quick weeknight meal later!)

Thursday - leftovers

Friday - chicken quesadillas with raw veggies (using leftover chicken stir fry - quesadillas with Asian flare, why not?!?  :)

Saturday - out

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Menu Plan Week of October 27th

It was a busy and beautiful fall weekend for our family here in Minnesota.  We spent a lovely afternoon at the apple orchard and jumped in leaves in the front yard while my 11 month old practiced her walking skills. :). I made an apple orchard inspired turkey burger for dinner that was simple and delicious.  Recipe is featured below my menu plan - give it a try this week!  These would be great leftover too.  I love to make double the burgers, grill and freeze the extras.  Defrost and warm in the oven for a quick and easy weeknight dinner!

Sunday - Apple and onion turkey burgers with grilled potato slices and spinach salad

Monday - Pumpkin and Sausage Pasta bake (with GF noodles) from the Real Kids Eat Spinach ebook (so many awesome, healthy fall-inspired recipes!  A great value!)

Tuesday - Chicken stir fry (using leftover chicken from a whole chicken that I baked a couple of weeks ago)

Wednesday - wing it

Thursday - chicken quesadillas (also using the leftover chicken) with guacamole and raw veggies

Friday - Sunday - out

Apple and Onion Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground turkey (I use turkey thigh)
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup apple, grated or finely chopped (1 small to medium apple)
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp salt
Pepper to taste

Mix apple, onion, garlic and spices.  Add oil to frying pan.  Fry apple and onion mixture until soft.  Let cool slightly, add to ground turkey and mix together with hands.  Make into 4-5 patties.  Grill  or fry until cooked through.  Serve with Dijon mustard.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones

As you may know by now, I am a big fan of pumpkin.  I love to bake in the fall so pumpkin treats naturally become part of my repertoire.  I love taking tried and true recipes and making tweaks to put my own stamp on them.  This is a scone recipe that I use frequently during the summer months when fresh berries are in season.  I made some changes to it to make it a fall favorite.  Pair these will my latest obsession - pumpkin buttered coffee - and you are set for a delicious fall breakfast!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Scones (adapted from this recipe)

1 cup brown rice flour + 1/2 cup sorghum flour
½ cup tapioca flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
½ teaspoon sea salt

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
½ cup organic palm shortening

1/4 cup maple syrup
½ cup + 2 tablespoons cold non-dairy milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1/4 cup chocolate chips (I use Enjoy Life mini chips)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Place the flours, baking powder, xanthan gum, pumpkin spice and sea salt into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together well. Cut in the shortening with your fingers or a pastry cutter until coarse crumbs are formed.

In a separate small bowl whisk together the syrup, milk, pumpkin puree and vanilla. Add this to the dry ingredients and quickly mix together with a fork or wooden spoon until the dough thickens. Fold in the chocolate chips, being very careful not to over mix.

Drop by the large spoonful onto a cookie sheet and bake for about 15 to 17 minutes, depending on the size of your scone.  Ma
kes 6-8 scones.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Menu Plan Week of 10/20

After being very inconsistent with my posting over the past year, I am so thrilled to share that I have made a newfound commitment to be back to writing on the blog on a weekly basis.  I have received so much feedback from so many who use my blog as a resource for recipes and menu planning, it is what motivates me to be back to writing.  I am so grateful to my followers here!!  And I am so passionate about doing what I can to share my tips and tricks to feeding my family a whole foods, allergy-friendly diet.  I speak to friends and acquaintances on an ongoing basis who have struggled with so many of the same things we have when it comes to making dietary changes for their families.  I am here to ease the burden just a little and encourage you to stay the course - it is so worth the extra time and effort!  And I hope I can help you see that it can be easier than you think, with a little planning!

My plan going forward is to share menu plans as often as I can - I have so many menu plans archived now that it can get a little repetitive but I know that this is one of the most valuable tools for my readers!  I also plan to share more recipes and ideas with you to ease the burden of packing lunches, snacks and finding substitutions for processed foods that you are trying to eliminate.  I will also be highlighting my favorite blogs and resources that I use on a daily basis.

Some of the food challenges I have been tackling lately revolve around taking more grains out of my diet and my family's diet and feeding my almost 11 month old very close to grain free and organic, whole foods since we introduced solids at 6 months.  It has been an interesting journey and I am looking forward to sharing my tips with you.  As we introduce simple grains, I have some great ideas and recipes for you!

In the meantime here is our menu plan for this week!

Sunday - Crock pot chili

Monday - Black bean sweet potato quesadillas with kale chips

Tuesday - leftover chili with quinoa macaroni (Chili Mac)

Wednesday - "wing it"

Thursday - Crock pot freezer meal - Honey Apple Chicken Stew
***This recipe is from This awesome mini ecookbook that every mom should have in her arsenal!!!

Friday - Italian meatballs with organic sauce and spinach salad
***after a busy work wheat, a high quality organic marinara sauce does the trick.  I have these meatballs stocked in the freezer - just grass fed beef blended with Italian seasonings, bakes and frozen!

Saturday - out

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Strawberry Coconut Muffins

Having a son with wheat and egg allergies means I have to get really creative with breakfast and snacks.  I am always playing around with muffin recipes because they are such a great breakfast option paired with some breakfast sausage or a roll up of turkey/am and some fruit.  Gluten free/egg free muffins can be tricky, sometimes they can end of being very dry and dense.

The recipe I came up with below is anything but that!  Fluffy and moist, these strawberry coconut muffins will please everyone in your family.  You can sub in any berry and these will turn out delicious.  They would be wonderful as part of a brunch spread, as well!

Strawberry Coconut Muffins (makes 10-12 muffins)

2 cups gluten free baking flour mix (I use Bob's Red Mill)
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar (I use sucanat aka whole can sugar)
1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut (can be found in baking aisle or bulk aisle)
1 chia egg*
1/3 cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup milk or dairy free milk (use your favorite, I used Good Karma Unsweetened Vanilla Flax Milk from Whole Foods)
1 cup diced fresh organic strawberries (you choose your favorite berry!)

*Chia egg = 1 tbsp chia seeds mixed with 3 tbsp warm water, mix and let stand for 5-10 minutes until gelled

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix flour, baking powder, salt, sugar and coconut together.  Add wet ingredients to the bowl and mix thoroughly.  Fold in berries.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.  Remove from muffin tin and place on cooling rack.  \

Once cool, store in airtight container or freeze and defrost as needed!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Wholesome, Kid-Friendly Breakfast Foods!

I have seen many posts recently about breakfast cereal.  Bottom line is, it just isn't good for our kids, no matter how we slice or dice it.  I will be the first to admit that I allow some organic, gluten free rice krispies and Enjoy Life chia flax cereal into our home for quick breakfasts here and there (no artificial colors or sweeteners and very low sugar - always sprinkled on top of coconut yogurt) but these are still very processed and do not hold my three year old over for very long... he is hungry again well before snack time!

For many of us, especially those of us who are working moms, we need breakfast to be quick and easy.  So, how do we accomplish this in a way that is healthy, wholesome and nourishing for our kids?  First off, we need to be planful.  The three recipes below will need to be prepared ahead of time.  But make a double or triple batch of any of these recipes, stick them in the freezer and defrost as needed and you are good to go for a great breakfast that your kiddos will love.

1.  "Chia Crunch Bars"

I have been working to find more easy, allergy free, grain free snack and breakfast options lately.  This is a new favorite in our house.  I keep these in the freezer at all times now!  You can eat them directly from the freezer - chewy and sweet.  They do not require any baking - they are raw and grain free!  My three year old loves them.  On mornings when we need to be out the door at 7:30, I make him a green smoothie and give him one of these to nibble on and he leaves the house for school ready to take on his busy morning at school!  This is also a great post workout snack or on the go breakfast for you busy moms and dads out there!

I double this recipe and press it into an 8x8 baking pan.  Stick it in the freezer for 20 minutes, pull it out and cut into squares.  Put the squares in a container or Ziploc bag in the freezer (they will not stick together as long as you keep them frozen). 

I add 1/2 cup of shredded coconut and about 1/8 cup (give or take) Enjoy Life mini chocolate chips to this recipe.

Click here for the recipe!

2.  I am blessed to live down the street from a very like-minded mama who is also always coming up with wonderful new breakfast and snack ideas while living with dietary restrictions similar to ours.  It is so nice to be able to exchange food and recipes.  Thanks to her, I have come to love this new breakfast/snack recipe.  They taste like oatmeal cookies but are totally guilt free.  You can easily play with this recipe and add your favorite dried or fresh fruit or seeds to this recipe.

Use an ice cream scoop to make pack a tight, round scoop of the mixture

Oatmeal Bakes
1/3 cup coconut oil
3 mashed bananas
1 cup dried cranberries
Oatmeal Bakes
1 tsp vanilla
1 tablespoon honey
2 cups rolled oats

Mash bananas in bowl. Then add all other ingredients. Mix and let sit for about 15 minutes. Place onto cookie sheet (greased or use silpat or parchment paper) and bake 20-24 minutes or so, until golden brown. Let cool. Makes about 25.

Optional add ins:
Chocolate chips
Diced apples
Sunflower seeds
Pumpkin seeds

If I add an optional add in I take out some of the cranberries.

3.  Quinoa Banana Muffins

I just discovered this recipe (omit nuts if nut free).  It is one of the best allergy free muffin recipes that I have made thus far.  You can do add ins with this one too - raisins, dried cranberries, mini chocolate chips, etc.  Makes 15 muffins.  These are great served with a ham or turkey lunch meat roll-up and a little fresh fruit.  I sometimes add a little sunflower seed butter to the top for an extra filling breakfast!

Quinoa Banana Muffins

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

I'm back!

I am finally back to blogging!  It has been a long but necessary hiatus with the birth of our baby girl!  It has been an extremely busy few months.  I am looking forward to getting back to sharing my meal plans, recipes and wellness ideas with you!

With two children in the house, a part time job and all of the other normal household responsibilities on my plate, my menu plan strategies have shifted a bit.  A dear friend of mine and I have decided to focus more energy on freezer meals - I did this before the birth of my baby (see my last blog post) and they saved me during my maternity leave!  If all else failed, I could defrost one and pop it in the crock pot.  Preparing them is simple - you add the meat and veggies raw and freeze it, then defrost overnight and pop it in the crock pot for a wholesome meal at dinnertime.  All working parents should invest some time in this.  I made 3 recipes and my friend made 3 - we doubled them so each of us had 6 ziploc bags with the meals inside and swapped so that we each had 6 different meals.  It took me a total of two hours to prepare 3 recipes (6 meals).  So in 4 hours, you could have 12 meals (6 different recipes) to use throughout the month!

So, I will be dedicating some of my blog posts to freezer meals (both for the crock pot and for the stove/oven) and I will add them to my recipes page.  Have any of you made freezer meals for the crock pot or otherwise?  What works for you?  I'd love more ideas!

Freezer meals for this month (I am missing one recipe and will post soon)!

Cilantro Lime Chicken

Italian Beef (last recipe in link, other freezer meals posted here too!)

Cranberry Pork Roast (I made this with homemade cranberry sauce and less than half the sugar called for in this recipe - I used sucanat)

Cajun Roasted Turkey Breast

Marmalade Curry Chicken