Staying healthy during such a busy time can be tricky. One of my suggestions is to eat more veggies. That can sometimes be tricky though, especially with kids. Here are five ways we get in more veggies that are easy, and won’t make you feel like a cow grazing on grass all day. These fit […]
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Aw College. The days of staying up too late, listening to music way too loud, and of course, eating junk every day. Life changed forever when my roommates and I discovered the 1-1-1 peanut butter cookie recipe. The 1 cup sugar, 1 cup peanut butter and 1 egg cookies we made 2-3 times a week about about 11 p.m. We’d eat about half the dough and bake the other half to eat while we watched movies about Julie Roberts finding the love of her life… again. It was magical.
For some strange reason, I can no longer get a way with that lifestyle. If I’m being honest, it didn’t work out too well at the time, but since there are much worse things I could have done being on my own for the first time, I won’t feel too guilty about it. The point is, I love cookies. Even though I eat tons of veggies, drink green smoothies, eat grass-fed meat, and work out daily, I STILL WANT COOKIES! I don’t believe in a life that doesn’t involve treats. But I have to be careful with my treats. I’m so sensitive to sugar and right now eggs and I aren’t friends. So I knew I couldn’t use my old, go-to pb cookie recipe. I needed to re-vamp. I’m very happy with the results.
I decided to go with tahini instead of peanut butter for a more neutral taste, but feel free to use any nut or seed butter. Almond butter, peanut butter or sunflower seed butter would work just as well. Since all nut butters have a different fat content, the texture will vary a bit, but you’ll still end up with a delicious cookie.
These are only low-carb if you use a sugar alternative. The only sugar alternatives I’m a fan of are stevia, monk fruit and erithrytol. This Lakanto sugar substitute is my favorite! And now they sell it at Costco!! I also use Lily’s Chocolate Chips instead of regular. They are sweetened with stevia and are SO YUMMY! Be careful though. If you are sensitive to milk, the only diary free ones are the dark chocolate chips. We also love Enjoy Life chocolate chips for regular (not sugar free) baking. So if you don’t care about the carbs and just want a whole-foods cookie, feel free to use coconut sugar or raw cane sugar; and the Enjoy Life chocoalte chips.
I store these in the freezer because I know myself well. If they are on the counter, I’ll go back to my college days and eat the entire pan. Now I have a cookie in the freezer to celebrate moments like birthdays, holidays, or making it through the day without my head exploding. What do you celebrate with cookies?
Okay everyone. This is one of those recipes I’m embarassed to call a recipe because it’s SO EASY! As soon as I made it I thought, “Where have you been all my life?” and “Why didn’t I do this before? It’s so easy!” But because it was so refreshing and amazing, I decided it needed its own post, even if it is the easiest recipe ever.
When I was a kid, we ate at Olive Garden a lot. We didn’t have one in my small Wyoming town of 18,000 people, but we went to Salt Lake City, UT often to visit family and watch the Jazz (Stockton to Malone!!! Yep. I’m old). While we were there, we always ate at Olive Garden. I always got the same thing: Ministrone soup, spaghetti with meat sauce and strawberry lemonade. Not the healthiest dinner, but it was delicious. The thing that made Olive Garden’s strawberry lemonade so good was that it tasted real! You could actually feel the fruit in your mouth. I’m not sure if it was made of actual strawberries and lemons, or just some syrup-like substance, but it was the best lemonade in the world.
Today my daughter and I came home from a bike ride exhausted and thristy (It hit 97 degrees here today!!!). I started craving Olive Garden strawberry lemonade. Then it hit me! I had lemonade; I had strawberries and math taught me, that equals strawberry lemonade (Thank you first grade math teacher!). I was set.
So the two ingredients that make up this decedant, delicious, restaurant-quality beverage… (drumroll)… VitaminWater Zero Lemonade, and frozen strawberries. Seriously! That’s it! It’s so simple I’m sad I didn’t try it sooner. Make sure you use the “Zero” lemonade. The other stuff is loaded with sugar. You can tell the difference because the “Zero” flavors have the white part of the label on top and the sugar-licious flavors have the colored part of the label on top. You’re welcome.
I love when I can recreate childhood treats without all the junky ingredients. This one was a winner! I’m not sure I can have plain lemonade again! Next time, we may experiement with blackberries, blueberries or raspberries.
And that sounds so good, “next time” may be in five minutes. I hope this delicous, frosty beverage gets you through the rest of the heat of the summer!!
We love to have people over for dessert, but I often feel guilty serving them something that fits into our family’s food sensitivities. It’s hard to make something that tastes like Grandma’s cooking when it has to be gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, and egg-free. Luckily, food is a big enough part of my life, we figure it out. I’m not okay living in a world that doesn’t allow me to have treats…regularly.
A few weeks ago, I wanted chocolate cupcakes with chocolaty, fudgy frosting. I’d always loved ganache back in the day, so I wanted to make a replica of my favorite ganache frosting using ingredients that won’t wreck me.
This frosting did not disappoint! My kids referred to our cupcakes as “magic cupcakes.” Pretty much I felt like the most awesome mom ever.
I was confident enough in these to serve them to guests, and didn’t even have to lead with a disclaimer. We baked a basic paleo-style cupcake but like all cakes, the frosting made the dish. I consider all cake a vessel for frosting. I always double the frosting on my birthday cake because… it’s my birthday.
If you don’t want to make frosting out of this chocolate goodness, you can skip the whipping part and roll it into balls to make truffles. Or you can just call it pudding and eat it with a spoon. All of the above are a perfectly acceptable way to eat this mixture that may resemble chocolate unicorn tears.
We used Lily’s chocolate chips to keep it sugar-free. These chips are sweetened with stevia and erythritol, neither of which bother me in reasonable amounts (I know this because I’ve eating unreasonable amounts and the result “cleared the room” if you know what I’m saying…).
You can use a dark chocolate or your favorite semi-sweet chocolate as well. We love Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips and Nestlee Simply Delicious Chocolate Chips. Both are made with minimal ingredients and dairy-free.
If you’ve ever made ganache, you know how easy it is. Just add hot milk (coconut milk in this case) to chocolate…
Once it’s melted, whisk it together…
Let it set up in the fridge…
And whip it. Whip it good! (I’m so sorry. I had to. And do you see my finger mark in the frosting? No apologies here)…
So easy and yummy!! We actually had to add a bit more coconut milk as we were whipping to get our perfect texture. If you need to add more coconut milk, do it 1 Tbsp at a time until it seems perfect to you.
So if you’re planning a birthday party, a BBQ to have friends over for dinner or if you just want something that goes well with a spoon, you can make this frosting and be proud!
A few months ago, I taught a health class to a group of ladies. I talked about how to give up sugar and they asked what I do for a treat. They were shocked when I admitted I eat squares of 100% chocolate. It’s true! I love it! While it’s a bit of an aquired taste, it’s totally doable. I generally suggest people start with something like 80% and work their way up, but it’s possible to transition.
I have to admit though, I get bored of my 100% chocolate. I occasionally want something with more flavor and texture that feels like a treat. That’s why I came up with these candies. They are so delicious! They taste sweet from the addition of orange, cinnamon and vanilla; but have no sugar. Plus adding nuts gives them a few different textures in each bite.
I genuinely feel like I’m eating an indulgent treat with these, but they have nothing in them I wouldn’t add to a breakfast smoothie!
If you aren’t up to the 100% yet, feel free to make these using a little bit sweeter chocolate. Again, I wouldn’t go lower than 80%. I really recommend trying these as written though.
Also, if you’re doing the 21 Day Sugar Detox these are totally approved!! If you’re curious about trying the 21 Day Sugar Detox, check out this post I wrote about my experience here.
I’m a big fan of gardening. Now before you start to picture me Joanna Gaines style, know this: I’ve killed way more than I’ve grown. I’ve planted a garden faithfully every summer for eight years. It’s only been in the last two that we feel like things are really going well. That said, I still kill things. Though since we had a 5-month-old puppy last summer who thought the garden was his personal sandbox, I’m not taking all the blame. Now that he’s older, I have a lot of hope for this summer.
One thing I’ve always struggled with is basil. I love basil! Everyone says it’s easy to grow, yet basil and I… we have a strained relationship. But there are many aphids who thank me for my willingness to keep trying. Last summer I planted our basil right next to the tomatoes. It worked! We had so much basil! I was overjoyed.
My very favorite thing to do with basil is make pesto. I used to think pesto was fancy and that only Food Network stars should make it and use it as a fancy schmear on plates of perfectly braised meat. The truth is, pesto is extremely easy and fast to make.
That’s good news, because I can’t find a high-quality, diary-free pesto that fits in my budget. I love pesto with dairy but sadly, my gut and skin do not. Because I want to make those two things happy, I steer clear of dairy.
This means I have to make my own pesto and I’m happy to say, the cheese does not make the pesto. It’s still AMAZING without the cheese. My cheese-loving, pesto-fanatic husband doesn’t even notice the difference.
This pesto is a part of my weekly meal prep. I always have some on hand. It comes together with just six ingredients (one of which is salt) and only dirties one dish; the food processor. So you don’t even have to chop anything. I love the 21st century.
So hopefully I’ve sold you on this pesto. Now what do you do with it? Everything! My favorite way is to coat my spaghetti squash in it. YUM! We also use it over chicken and steak, and as a salad dressing.
Adding a few spoonfuls to an Italian soup is also incredible like I do in my Italian Sausage Soup (click here for recipe). You can also toss this with some cucumbers and cherry tomatoes for a yummy side dish.
So if you have a garden, go out and plant some basil and give me all your gardening tips!
I have a confession. When I was young, I did not like avocados. Saying that now makes me want to shake the shoulders of my younger self, but it’s true. I still remember the day I tried avocado again. I was at a pizzaria in Idaho and for some reason I decided to order the pizza with avocado. I wasn’t even pregnant, so the random compulsion to eat an avocado was completely out of the blue. I was hooked! I’m not sure why I didn’t like avocados before. It may have been my form of childhood rebellion (my parents are so lucky). Who knows? But I’m thankful I tried an avocado that day.
Now I eat avocados in every way possible. I make them into pudding and frosting, puree them in smoothies, eat them on toast, make them into guacamole and now this perfect sauce.
I call this an “everything” sauce because it fits to well with everything. We’ve used it as a spread for a sandwich, a salad dressing, a chip dip, on top of a burger, and a meatball dip. It’s so versatile! It’s like the little black dress of sauces.
This weekend we went to a restaurant and I sneaked in a jar so I didn’t have to deal with restaurant dressings loaded with unhealthy fats and sugars. Yes, I’m that woman who carries sauces in her purse. I used to make fun of my mom for bringing her no-calorie spray salad dressing to restaurants. Remember those dressings?! I’m so glad we’ve moved beyond that.
Let’s talk about juicing limes for a bit. I love lime juice but limes are often stubborn and don’t want to give up their juice. Here’s the secret. First, warm up your limes. I usually stick them in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Once they’re warm, roll them on the counter with your hand to loosen them up a bit. This is the only way I get limes to give me their juice.
However you decide to use this sauce, I’m sure it deserves a place in your fridge.
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.
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.