This guide takes the guess work outof how to pack a healthy school lunch for your kiddos this year.
Tag Archives | healthy
Healthy On-the-Go Snacks
Finding healthy food on-the-go can be tricky. Here are our favorite non-perishable and durable healthy snacks for travel, picnics or emergency car snacks.
Five Dinners You Can Make in Under 15 Minutes
I meal plan. It’s kind of an obsession/ritual. I also try to keep my meals simple. I don’t want a huge pile of dishes to do after I’m done, plus I don’t want to spend hours in the kitchen. I generally spend 30 minutes cooking dinner and limit myself to 1-2 dishes that have to […]
Healthy Disneyland “Dole Whip”
We’re those people who would rather take a vacation to Disneyland than anywhere else. Sure I’d like to spend a week at a beach house someday, but at the expense of a Disneyland vacation?? It’s not going to happen.
We have a lot of Disneyland traditions. We have to ride Pirates of the Caribbean every day we’re there, we always ride Big Thunder at night during the fireworks, and we get one treat a day. I’m all about balance so that treat can range from a gluten-free, vegan treat, to a sugar-filled cookie.
One of our favorite treats is a Dole Whip from the Tiki Room. This may be the only treat we can all agree on in Disneyland. And while they’re full of sugar and probably several ingredients I can’t pronounce, they are gluten, dairy and egg free!! That makes me happy since it makes the indulgence less rough on my body.
If you haven’t had a Dole Whip, it’s a pineapple ice cream served soft-serve style. That’s it. It’s simple but so tasty!! You even have the option of a “Dole Whip Float” which includes putting the pineapple soft serve in pineapple juice. Also amazing!
That said, when we come back to the real world and actually care about what we eat, we still want the delicious Dole Whip. After several experiments, we’ve come up with the perfect recipe!
Depending on your food sensitivities, you can make these totally vegan or with dairy. We prefer to use a full-fat, low-sugar, grass-fed yogurt because it’s so thick, but feel free to use coconut, almond or cashew yogurt instead. We like Siggi’s Vanilla yogurt because it’s super low in sugar, extra creamy and adds the perfect vanilla flavor. Sadly, I can’t eat dairy so I use So Delicious Coconut yogurt when I plan to eat one.
We’ve experimented with freezing these as popsicles, scooping the mixture into bowls, and pouring it into freezer pop molds. My kids prefer the freezer pops, as do I to cut down on the mess. But any way you make them , they are delicious!
Whenever we use freezer molds, we put them upright in glasses or jars to freeze them. That keeps the liquid level as it freezes. Ones they’re frozen, it’s fine to stack them on their sides in the freezer.
Now if we could just figure out a way to bring our favorite rides into our home, we’d be set between vacations!!
Smoky BBQ Beef Stew
Do you have foods that are so reminiscent of childhood they almost make you cry? I totally do. Like chocolate cake with vanilla icing, cherry pie, Belgium waffles, chicken legs and beef stew. Those were staples in our house. While I no longer eat chocolate cake regularly (but I do still have it because… balance), beef stew is a staple in our house. There is just something about the tender meat, creamy tomato sauce and soft potatoes and carrots that just make me happy. It’s one of my all-time favorites.
This recipe is a fun twist on traditional beef stew. I came up with it because I think my family was getting sick of traditional beef stew. Maybe it’s because we were having it once a week and consuming the leftovers throughout the week. Who knows? I personally was totally fine with that. Either way, I knew I needed to come up with something new.
This recipe was it! When my daughter said “What’s for dinner?” I said “BBQ beef stew.” She groaned “not again!” but when I explained it was completely different, she was willing to have another bowl of beef stew. She loved it! What really sold her was the rice. She’ll eat just about anything as long as it’s on a bed of rice.
I love rice, but when I’m trying to watch my carbs, I just swap out the rice for a bed of leafy greens. This is one of my favorite ways to get in more veggies and keep my blood sugar regulated.
This stew is grain-free and uses spices like turmeric, cinnamon and ginger so it’s also anti-inflammatory and gives you extra help to regulate blood sugar. Plus it tastes awesome. That’s my #1 priority when it comes to food. Why would I waste time chewing something that doesn’t bring me joy? That seems ridiculous.
Thai Cauliflower Fried Rice
My husband travels a lot for work. While I miss him a lot, there are some things I take advantage of. I watch movies like “Pride and Prejudice.” I don’t have to worry about us waking each other up at night. But my favorite part is the food. I can make food he refuses to eat. And I do. Last week he was out of town and I made this delicious cauliflower fried rice. My husband thinks cauliflower is a horrible addition to any meal, so I usually save it for snacks and lunch, or serve it on the side.
This dish did not disappoint. It was full of both flavor and nutrients. While I’d still rather have him home, this definitely softened the blow.
The key to this dish is to dice all the veggies small and cook it in stages. Start with the heartier veggies and work your way up to the softer ones so everything cooks evenly.
And can I talk about this sauce. It’s so amazing. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m on a candida cleanse and can’t have anything fermented. That means no coconut aminos or gluten free soy sauce. That has been really hard but this sauce is a great substitute. You can definitely use 1/4 C coconut aminos instead of the water to up the flavor, but it was still incredible with the water.
This is also versatile based on what you have/like. We used leftover pork chops for the protein but this would be great with chicken, ham, steak or any ground meat. We just always got ham fried rice growing up, so fried rice and pork seem to be the perfect combination to me.
Sadly, my husband has a few more trips coming up before summer. The good news is, this dish will get to make more appearances as I plan to have it every time he leaves town.
Creamy Pork Hock Soup
This is my 36th winter living in a cold, snowy place. You’d think after 36 winters, I’d be used to it. I’m not. After a childhood in Wyoming, college in Idaho and adult years in Utah and Colorado, I still vow every winter will be my last in a cold place. Last week it was -17 degrees F. That’ not okay. But since my husband has decided he loves Colorado and won’t live anywhere else, I’ll probably spend many more winters here since I do actually like my husband. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Colorado. We have a ton of sunshine, beautiful mountains, hiking trails and lakes. But it’s hard to remember that when I’m in the school parking lot turned ice rink trying to drop the kids off in the morning.
That said, one thing that saves me every winter is soup (and many mugs of hot chocolate). We have soup at least once a week in the winter. Last week we were getting to the end of our meat supply from our local rancher. Toward the end we always have a ton of beef steaks, beef liver and a strange cut I put in the back of my freezer for the year; the pork hock. I actually had to watch a few YouTube videos to see what this sucker was. Basically it’s a pig leg. Yep. And as far as I can tell, It’s different from a ham hock in that the ham hock is smoked while the pork hock is raw.
You guys, I now have a new favorite cut of meat. Pork has always been my favorite but the pork hock… AMAZING! It’s tender, juicy and cooks so easily in soup. I was a little confused about how to cook it but decided to just throw it in the slow cooker and see what happened. Yep. I just stuck that big ole’ leg on top of my other ingredients and pressed start. It worked perfectly. This is the best soup I’ve had in a long time. I made double planning to freeze half but I ended up eating the rest over the next few days. I also hid the jar in the back of the fridge so no one else would find it. I do that sometimes.
So… I initially tried to remove the skin from the hock with it raw but quickly realized that would earn me a trip to the ER to get a finger sewn back on. Thankfully it didn’t work because cooking it with the skin and fat on kept the moisture in the meat. Plus, it was really simple to remove both the skin and the fat once it was cooked. No limbs were in danger.
I was so tempted to just start gnawing the meat right off the bone (I had the visual in my head of Prince Phillip’s Father in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty eating the turkey leg. Anyone else? Apparently even as a small child I was easily tempted by juicy meat).
I pureed this soup because I love creamy soups. It’s also a great way to get my kids to eat veggies. My daughter loves veggies raw or roasted but isn’t a huge fan of veggies in soup. Pureeing them solves this problem.
I guess I can handle Colorado winters if it means I get to keep having soup. And hot chocolate…. and long leggings with pockets and over-sized sweatshirts. Apparently there actually are things about winter I love.
Healthy Remake: No-Bake Cookies (Vegan, No Sugar)
When I was a kid, I was basically a professional at making no-bake cookies. This was kind of awesome because my mom (who is a great cook) could not make them. Since she loved them so much, I got to make them a lot. My BFF and I still reminisce about how we used to come home from school and make no-bake cookies in my mauve and mint Formica-clad kitchen. Awe the 90’s.
Fast forward a couple of decades. I’m still a big fan of no-bake cookies. There are few better treats in my opinion. The problem is, the butter and milk are a problem for me. I cannot do dairy unless I want to spend the next week covered in rashes and acne. Since I don’t think it’s fair to have acne and gray hair, I try to avoid dairy (and I don’t really like scratching all day).
But being the amazingly caring wife I am, I told my husband I’d make him ANYTHING he wanted for his birthday dessert. His answer: no bake cookies. I looked at him for a moment like he’d just kicked my childhood puppy. How could he do this to me??? I couldn’t even lick the pan! I decided to put my wants aside and make him his treat… sort of.
Yes, I made him a batch of standard no-bake cookies full of butter, milk and sugar. They were fabulous, of course, but I knew my self control would get the better of me. I got out a smaller saucepan and made some dairy-free no-bake cookies at the same time. The success had me almost in tears. I licked the pan, I ate the cookies and I was even able to keep them all to myself because they all wanted Daddy’s cookies. It was pretty awesome.
Since I was making my own batch and since sugar doesn’t exactly make me feel awesome either, I used Lakanto sugar substitute (monk-fruit/erythritol combination). You could use plain cane sugar instead, but I was very satisfied with the substitute.
The thing I really love about these cookies is that they are stable at room temperature. So often when I make a “substitute” it has to be kept in the fridge or freezer or it will just turn into a puddle. These stored fine at room temperature in a glass container. Not that they were around long…
This recipe is gluten-free and vegan so it’s versatile enough to take to events or share with friends. Now my husband can ask for no-bake cookies anytime and I can still be an awesome wife without sulking.
Homemade Roasted Red Pepper Cauliflower Hummus
I love hummus! I eat it on veggies, on wraps, on hot dogs (way better than ketchup) and on a well-rounded spoon. I decided I wanted to make my own, but I also wanted to up my veggie consumption. Since vegetables are amazing and we all need more, I’m always trying to find a way to get more in my diet. So I decided to replace the beans with roasted cauliflower and see how that worked out for me.
My life will never be the same. It’s DELICIOUS! If you’re not a big fan of cauliflower, give it a try and see what you think. The addition of tahini and the red peppers, plus the smoky flavors from the cumin and paprika cover any cauliflower taste and make this amazing! I mostly use this as a vegetable dip for broccoli and carrots, upping my veggie intake even more. This is also delicious with crackers or plantain chips. If you’re sensitive to tahini, cashew butter works as well, but the tahini gives it a bit more flavor. If I use cashew butter, I sometimes add a bit more cumin and paprika.
I’m also willing to make this homemade “hummus” because it’s super easy to make, freezes well, and lasts longer in the fridge than traditional hummus. Because I line my sheet pan with parchment paper, the only big dish I have to clean is the food processor bowl.
I just throw it all in together to mix, so there is no order to the ingredients. The only part that takes effort (if you can even call it effort) is scraping down the sides of the food processor bowl between blending. If you don’t have a food processor, feel free to use a blender. Just make sure to continue to scrape down the sides.
I’m so happy with the results, I plan to change up the flavors and see what else I can come up with. Stay tuned!
How to Dye Easter Eggs Naturally
We work really hard to avoid artificial ingredients in our home, including artificial coloring. So when it comes to Easter, I feel awful taking our beautiful eggs and smothering them in red 40. We decided to try a natural approach. Not only did it work but it was way more fun than dropping pellets in […]