Meal Plan

Over a year ago I decided to get tested for food allergies or intolerance’s after completing an elimination diet. I narrowed it down to a few items but wasn’t quite sure. I had my blood drawn and tested. The results were startling to say the least, I had MORE food intolerance’s than I knew about; wheat, eggs, animal milk, Parmesan cheese, which is my absolute favorite, etc. My food issues are not life threatening but over time my skin breaks out in rashes and my stomach is constantly upset. Once I knew what I needed to stay away from I had to figure out how to make meals and snacks that would work for me. We basically went with a paleo diet.

Unfortunately, I have fallen back into bad habits and terrible eating. Like I said none of the allergies are life threatening but my skin and stomach take the brunt of it. I am making a change TODAY. The biggest issue is not prepping my breakfast and lunch. Dinner is usually my focus but over time it has become apparent that breakfast and lunch are an after thought.

Sunday is usually my prep day. I struggle the most with…BREAKFAST! Heading out to work  or running out to the gym. On the menu is chia pudding, like this one,  and overnight gluten free oats. I found most of the recipes on pintrest. I have a pile of mason jars and loaded them all up, enough for a week.

Chia pudding with berry and nuts. It looks really gross but I have to say it is extremely delicious and filling.

INGREDIENTS
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Fresh berries for topping

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a glass and shake to combine. Refrigerate overnight. Stir quickly in the morning, top with berries, and enjoy! I mixed the berries and slivered almonds with a tablespoon of maple syrup, stir and placed the mixture on top. ( Most bags of chia seeds have the instructions but I have found they can ask for a tad too much liquid so trial and error.)

20160424_133744.jpg

20160424_133658.jpg

For lunch, in the past I have loaded mason jars up. However, I do not have enough space in my fridge right now so I made a run to Costco and bought a whole bunch of their pre-made salads and a rotisserie chicken. Lunch is done!  Also, I can make a quick chicken quesadila for Hudson’s lunch. WINNER!

I hope you try the chia pudding, it is so good and oh so good for you.

 

 

Advertisements

Pumpkin Party

This is a little late but I still wanted to share. We have started a family tradition, a Pumpkin Carving Party! It has proven to be so much fun. It is a very easy party to plan since it’s casual. Dinner, snacks, and all the tools needed for carving and B.Y.O.P, bring your own pumpkin.Since we had little ones coming  markers, stickers, and paint were provided so they could decorate a pumpkin too.

He lined them up himself

He lined them up himself

I usually serve a bowl of warm apple cider, snacks, and a main course that is  make your own so everyone is happy, like tacos or chili. People can make it the way they prefer spicy, mild, this or that.This year we opted for chili because it was  cold outside, delicious, and affordable to make a large amount. The chili recipe is my favorite from Rachael Ray, Espresso Black Bean Chili, its very meaty and has tons of flavor. (You have to try it.)  For the chili I set out all the mix-ins so everyone could choose what they wanted; pickled jalapenos, sour cream, tortilla chips, cheese, etc.

IMG_1701

For Drinks I had warm apple cider, a single signature drink, Apple Cider Sangria, and a fun drink for the kiddos. I ended up making mango juice mixed with plain pellagrino, bubbly juice. All of which are set up to self serve so I don’t have to spend the night playing bartender.  I also made the doughnut recipes from a previous post, the apple cider doughnuts and pumpkin spice latte. We had other sweet treats, a veggie tray, and bags of chips.

Once everyone filled up on dinner, snacks, and drinks we got started with the carving. Most of the little kids opted to paint and use stickers so the adults could carve. We rolled out a painters drop cloth so when the carving or painting was done we could just roll everything up and toss it into the trash. It worked perfectly!

IMG_1703 

 

IMG_1694

IMG_1734 

IMG_1718

IMG_1737

I hope you try to plan a fun carving party!

Apple Cider Donuts

I mentioned these little lovlies in a previous post. But after measuring all the ingredients and reading all the steps I had to find a different recipe….wait for dough to rise over night….um no mama needs her donuts today! I should have read all the instructions before measuring but my sous chef and I were so excited to get started. It took a little research to find donuts that I could bake. FINALLY! We found the one, it is as follows.

DONUTS

  • 1 and 1/4 cups  apple cider
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 2 Tablespoons  unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup packed light or dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup  granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

TOPPING

  • 3/4 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 60g) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup of apple cider

Directions:

  1. Simmer apple cider over low-medium heat in a small saucepan on the stove for 15-20 minutes. Add cinnamon sticks, spices, and/or orange slices for flavor if desired. In this step you are reducing the apple cider for a stronger flavor. You will need 1/2 cup from this reduced cider. Allow it to cool in the refrigerator as you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a mini muffin pan or donut pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  3. Toss the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, and salt together in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg, melted butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, and 1/2 cup of concentrated apple cider.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and very gently mix together with a whisk. Whisk until all ingredients are *just combined.* Some small lumps may remain, but not many.

Pour the batter into the mini muffin pan, filling 3/4 of the way full. Bake 9-10 minutes.

20151010_171555

It may seem like a lot but once we got started it was easy! The recipe wanted us to dip the donuts in a butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. The problem is the donuts didn’t have a strong apple cider flavor so I opted to make a different topping. I mixed melted butter and powered sugar until it was a glaze consistency, its all about trial and error. I added a splash of apple cider until it had good flavor. Then I dipped the donuts in the glaze, it was delicious! The only recommendation I have is put the glaze on the day you plan on eating them. Any sooner at the donuts get very soggy.

Make ahead tip: Prepared donuts freeze well up to 2-3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator and heat up in the microwave if desired.

Enjoy Lovies!

I will be posting about the pumpkin spice donut results soon. The apple cider donuts will be making there debut for our pumpkin carving party in a few days!

Back to School

For some of you the kiddos have already went back to school, we have not. Hudson is not heading off to kindergarten..quite yet…thank goodness, I am not ready for that. My absolute favorite part of the year is fall and back to school. I love the supplies and the change in the weather. To get into the spirit of the season I came across this gem of a recipe.

Almond Butter and Jelly Mini Muffins

Ingredients
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup crunchy almond butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup strawberry jam or jelly

1.Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line 24 mini-muffin cups with paper liners.
2.Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder in a medium bowl to blend. Whisk together the almond butter, sugar, oil, vanilla and eggs in a large bowl to blend. Add the dry ingredients in 2 batches and stir just until blended.
3.Fill each muffin cup half-full with batter. Spoon 1/2 teaspoon of the jam on top of each muffin cup, and then spoon the remaining batter on top to cover the jam. Bake until the tops are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Transfer to a rack and cool.
4.Spoon 1/2 teaspoon more of the jam on top of each muffin in the center.

IMG_20150827_150204509

IMG_20150827_150158446_HDR
IMG_20150827_154259733IMG_20150827_154423408

They were kind of a pain and I would recommend spraying your tins A LOT, all of mine got stuck. High Five to me! In the end after all the effort they were delicious and so worth it!

Enjoy Friends

Meal Prep

I have said it once and I will say it again…The ONLY way I can stay on track with eating well is meal prep. I struggle with having breakfast and lunch items on hand for myself. I always have healthy food for Hudson but  in the morning I am scrambling to find something on the way out the door while combing crazy bed head. Lunch is the same….I forget to eat until after I finally slow down during nap time and realize my stomach is growling. I have been trying to prep those two meals for the whole week on Sunday. I bribe my mom to come help me so we can get the chopping done quickly and my sisters can entertain Hudson for me.

First up is Chia pudding with berry and nuts. It looks really gross but I have to say it was extremely delicious and filling.

INGREDIENTS
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Fresh berries for topping

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a glass and shake to combine. Refrigerate overnight. Stir quickly in the morning, top with berries, and enjoy! I mixed the berries and slivered almonds with a tablespoon of maple syrup, stir and placed the mixture on top.

IMG_20150827_154534

The second is oats. The first go round I made a giant pot of quick oats and placed a serving size in glass storage bowls. In the morning I can warm them up, toss in some fruit and cinnamon. But I have found a TON of overnight oats ideas on pintrest. Next week I will be trying those like this one or this.  Either one would be easy to prep and delicious!

Lastly, we purchased all the produce at Costco. It is the best value and there are a lot of organic options, I stick to the dirty dozen which keep costs down My mom started chopping on the veggies and I grilled up all the chicken with a little salt and pepper. I would recommend using the 16 oz wide mouth mason jars. They fit a large salad and the wide mouth makes it easy to eat directly from the container or to dump out in a bowl. After the chicken cooled we got to work. The first layer is your protein and dressing. Then cucumbers, broccoli, or tomatoes, etc. The last layer is the romaine lettuce or spinach. I omitted cheese but you could add that in, on top of the protein. By keeping the lettuce separate from the dressing it stay crunchy until you are ready to eat.

IMG_20150827_154651

IMG_20150827_154709

I have made a ton of different types of mason jar salads. I like to keep it interesting especially when I am trying to eat healthy which can sometimes get a little boring.

Caesar Salad: Caesar dressing, chicken, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, croutons and lettuce. (in that order)

Cobb Salad: ranch or vinaigrette, chicken, bacon, tomatoes, hard boiled egg, avocado, bleu cheese crumble and lettuce.

Santa Fe Salad: Habanero ranch (found at Target), chicken, black beans (rinsed), corn, pickled jalapeno, cheddar jack cheese, tortilla strips, and lettuce…This one is my absolute favorite.

Greek Salad: chicken, Greek vinaigrette, red onion, cherry tomatoes, feta and romaine lettuce.

I hope you try one of them out. I have found meal prep to be the most important thing I can do for my health and wellness. I usually add a cup of soup along side my salad for a well rounded and filling meal.

What do you do to make your days easier as a Mama?

Onto Paleo…

During the chaos and emotional roller-coaster of my grandma passing, I wanted comfort food or chocolate. Food was the only thing that made me feel better. It could be because my grandma taught me so many recipes…it was my way of clinging to her. But it took a toll on my skin and digestive system.

Awhile back I posted about my struggle with my skin and stomach, adventures in elimination. For my whole life I have had eczema, some times it was manageable other times it was a full flown problem. Last year, I had had enough. I found a doctor who recommended I do an elimination diet; no caffeine, wheat, soy, milk, and corn. It is a long list of NO NOs but after only 5 days I felt like a different person. The month went by quickly, I switched to tea and was mindful of what I was putting in my shopping cart.

After a month I began to reintroduce the “problem” foods. Within three days my face broke out in sores, they began as dry patches but quickly looked like acne with clear fluid seeping out, GROSS I know. With a little research I found that its known as “weeping eczema.” Basically, after clearing my system of problem foods it freaked out when I brought them back in too quickly. It was awful, they itched and looked gross I couldn’t put make-up on. Based on that reaction I figured my issues were milk, wheat or eggs. I met with my doctor to go over my findings. Even though I had narrowed it down, I still requested allergy testing so I could learn ALL of my food sensitivities. It took a few weeks to get the results back but it was worth the wait. I found out that I had sensitivities  to eggs, every type of animal milk, gluten, corn and wheat, among many other things. I met with my doctor again to go over the results, she recommended a paleo life style. Like I said before I slowly slipped back into old habits, then everything with my grandma began I got way off track.

I am determined to make the change for the good. I am sick of my skin issues and constant creams or ointments to get by when I know what is causing the problem. I am committing here and now to bettering my food choices! And I will share my recipes and pitfalls along the way!

KidsPaleoLunches

Resources:

Practical Paleo, Against All Grain, & Meals Made Simple 

St. Patrick’s Day Treat

I had grand plans to make St. Patty’s themed breakfast. But with a 6am wake up call, thank you Mr.Hudson, I was not motivated to do so. I was going to make pancakes with whipped cream and Lucky charms sprinkled on top but we opted for toast. BORING, I know I know.

Not much of a surprise Hudson was ready for a nap a little earlier than usual, cant imagine why. I couldn’t let him wake up without SOME kind of Holiday treat so I decided to use the lucky charms in a different way.

IMG_20150319_152754

LUCKY CHARM BARS

6 cups of Lucky Charms cereal

1 10oz bag of mini marshmellows

4 Tbsp Butter

1 brick of White chocolate Almond bark.

1. Grease 9x13in baking pan. or line with parchment paper. Whichever you prefer.

2. Place butter and marshmallows in large saucepan. Stir until all marshmallows are melted and creamy.

3. Mix melted marshmallow and cereal until evenly distributed. I sprayed my spatula with non-stick cooking spray to make mixing easier.

4. Press mixture into baking pan. I placed mine in the freezer to make the treats set up quicker

5. Melt 4 cubes of almond bark on low heat, stir constantly. Almond bark need to be watched it can seize up very quickly. Once the chocolate is smooth remove from the heat.

6. Pour over cereal mixture in the baking pan. Place back into the freezer. Once hardened cut and serve.

IMG_20150319_152655

ENJOY!!! They are basically a cavity in a bar!

Cooking for Days…Round 2

Hey friends here is my round two recipes for nap-time bulk cooking! I am able to get most of the cooking and prep done during Hudson’s nap. He usually sleeps for 2+ hours which is more than enough time to brown meat or boil soup, let cool and place in freezer bags.

The first is classic comfort food for any Montana girl, Beef Stew with Potatoes and Carrots. This is one of my all time favorite meals, Husby too. I LOVE it as a make ahead frozen meal, its hearty and so perfect for cold winter night.

Beef Stew

1.5 lbs of beef stew

1 box of Pacific beef broth

1 yellow onion, quartered

4 russet potatoes, cubed

1 qt of  cremini mushrooms, quartered

4-5 carrots, peeled and cut to preferred size

1 packet beef stew seasoning

2 sprigs of fresh Thyme

  1. Brown stew meat, salt and pepper to taste
  2. Add uncooked onions, potatoes, carrots, and mushrooms to the freezer bag.
  3. Pour half the beef broth into the bag with the seasoning packet
  4. Add cooled, cooked meat to the bag, seal and freeze flat

IMG_20141210_155101

 IMG_20141210_155140

If you are going to eat one batch the day of prep a quick gravy from the drippings would be heaven. A gravy is possible later but only if there is enough liquid in the crock pot. If so add a little flour and butter to a pan, make a quick roux and add the liquid from the crock pot to the roux. Stir continually until smooth and thickened. Cook all ingredients until potatoes and carrots are fork tender.

IMG_20141210_155204

Make sure to write thawing and cooking instructions on the bag. Also, I make enough for Jordan to take back to work with him. The instructions ensure he knows how to make it without calling or texting me a billion time. I also like to double bag any freezer meal,  just in case there is a rip or tear in the bag I can’t see right away.

IMG_20141210_155227

Second is, chicken tortilla soup, it is really inexpensive to double and freeze for a later date.  I really enjoy it for lunch, with all the mix-ins it’s very filling. Also, since it is not a cream based soup its a healthy lunch choice. Just be careful how many tortilla chips you use….half a bag is a bit too much…..speaking from experience. 

Chicken Tortilla Soup

1 rotisserie or leftover chicken

½ White onion, chopped

1  32 oz box of Organic Low sodium Chicken stock

1 one can of diced tomatoes

1 can of black beans, rinsed

1 can of diced green chilies

½ bag of frozen organic sweet corn

1 packet of taco seasoning

3 cloves of garlic , minced or pressed

1 bunch of  fresh cilantro

2 ripe avocados, sliced

  1. Shred chicken, avoid using the skin. Place in a heavy bottomed pot, add chopped onions, seasoning pack and garlic. Cook on medium heat, until onions and garlic are caramelized.
  2. Add half  the box of chicken stock, all three cans of tomatoes, black beans and green chilies.
  3. Add additional chicken stock if more juice is desired.
  4. Add half the bag of frozen corn. Bring soup to a boil for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally.
  5. Serve hot with sour cream, cheese, chopped cilantro, slices of avocados and tortilla chips.

What are your favorite make ahead meals?

Happy Cooking Friends!

Cooking for Days…

I don’t know about you but I know I struggle on a regular basis to have lunch or dinners ready or on hand. Dinner time rolls around and I am scrambling to find something to make. I have found it easiest to do one day of bulk cooking. I make a giant pot of soup, refrigerate part of it and freeze the rest for a later date. It makes life much easier. I do meal plan, some days are fresh quick meals and on days we are busy I use my back up freezer meals.  They are really helpful when Hudson is STARVING...and latched to my leg in the kitchen, I  can pull out an on hand meal.

I have also found freezer meals handy when Hudson is sick or I don’t feel like cooking while Jordan is home. Most of the time I can get one or two done during a nap time which is great. It doesn’t always work out nicely but Hudson likes to help stir or just sit on the counter while I finish up. I have also done 12 meals it took most of a day but was so worth it later. On those days I enlist my sisters or mom to help with Hudson.

Yesterday I was able to make two soups for lunch or dinner. If you use them for dinner I would add a sandwich or salad to be more filling. During the winter months soups are my go-to for lunch but sometimes dinner. The first was from my FAVORITE morning show and second is my own recipe.

Tomato and Roasted Vegetable Soup, it was super easy and all the vegetables are so tasty after roasting. I would recommend vegetable stock instead of chicken stock to thin the soup out. I only had chicken stock so I used it but the soup tastes more like chicken then vegetables which was kind of a bummer.

IMG_20141204_215505

In addition to the tomato soup I made my Spicy sausage, kale and butternut squash soup. This one is so EASY!

Sausage, Kale Butternut Squash soup 

1 container of store bought plain Butternut Squash soup, I use the organic boxed brand Pacific
1 lb of breakfast sausage pork or turkey, I use spicy pork sausage.
1 bunch of Kale, shopped
4 leaves of fresh Sage, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon of dry sage
1 package Parmesan cheese
1 box chicken stock, Low Sodium Pacific brand too.
Salt and pepper each step. I use more pepper than salt.
1. Chop Kale let it marinate in a cup or two of chicken stock while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. I would recommend about 20-30 mins of marinating but not necessary.
2. Pour soup into saucepan and warm
3. Brown sausage on low to medium heat,Add chopped kale. cook until it begins to wilt, add a splash of chicken stock, the steam will help it wilt faster.
4. Stir in dry sage, minced garlic and fresh sage. Until you can start to smell them slightly. Garlic should be golden brown and sage should be slightly browned.
5. Drain sausage, add to the warmed soup. Bring the heat up until the soup begins to boil slightly.
6. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Serve with a side salad.
If you browned the sausage, you could toss everything in the slow cooker for the flavor to marinate all day. You could double everything and freeze one in a gallon freezer bag. Let it cool completely before putting in the bag, lay flat to freeze to save space.
IMG_20141204_215413
I have more recipes of bulk nap time cooking. I will share in a couple days once I get the measurements and recipes perfected. I hope these recipes can help you stay sane during your busy week!
Happy Cooking Friends!

 

Thanksgiving Day

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I know I am posting a little late but I completely unplugged over the holiday. Hudson turned 2 on Thanksgiving this year. So we started our day off with something a little silly but festive.

Turkey

Pretty Cute HUH?! I baked store bought cinnamon rolls,cooked up peppered bacon, (350 degrees for about 12 minutes..or longer depending on how crispy you like it…changed my life), and cut berries. I quartered the strawberries and halved the blueberries. Hudson ate every single bit! Of course he did not appreciate my art skills but what do you expect from a toddler….

I am thankful for family, friends and our health. Hudson is growing like crazy and I am soaking up every single second of it. My family is the greatest and I am so happy they are all mine. Jordan and I are happy and healthy which is all we could really ask for. What are you thankful for?

Be thankful Friends!