Thursday, May 30, 2013

Chiopolte Just Gets It

Before I start this post, I just have to say that Chipolte is not reimbursing me in any way for my comments (although I would take a free burrito bowl if anyone is offering!). I just love this place and wanted to share :)

So anyway, I just LOVE Chipolte! They just get it...they understand what the consumer wants and how food (even fast food!) is meant to be. I love that their menu is so simple, yet you have lots of options to customize the handful of main choices. I love that the food is (mostly) healthy. I love that you can make responsible food choices and splurge a bit (hello guacamole and lime tortilla chips!). I love that everything is freshly made, organic and all-natural. I love that the meat comes from responsible farmers. And, I just love the taste!!!

Ok, end to my ode to Chipolte because it's just making me hungry :)

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Derby Pie Bars

This past weekend I made dessert for our Small Group and needless to say, it was a hit! They were so good in fact, I totally forgot to take a picture until the pan was half eaten, so sorry for the not-so-glamorous pic! In honor of the recent Kentucky Derby (someday I want to go just so I can wear an awesome hat!), I tried Derby Pie Bars. I am not a big pie fan unless it's chocolate, peanut butter or a derby pie, so I was excited to see how derby pie would taste in brownie form. With 1 1/2 cups of sugar, if you're watching your sugar, this dessert is not for you! But, as I like to say, everything in moderation, so making these every once in awhile won't kill anyone ;) Overall, this was a pretty easy recipe to follow and prep time was only 10-15 minutes. If you need anymore proof that these are delicious, here is my son practically licking the pan clean and enjoying every last morsel:

Derby Pie Bars
From The SoHo

For the shortbread crust:
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cubed

For the filling:
12 tablespoons (1 + 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons bourbon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350° F. To make the crust, combine the powdered sugar, flour and salt in a food processor. Add cubes of butter and pulse until it resembles coarse cornmeal. (You can also use your fingers or a pastry cutter to incorporate the butter.) Firmly pat the mixture into the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish. Bake the crust for about 20 minutes until just lightly golden. To make the filling, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, flour, salt and bourbon vanilla and continue to mix until well combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and pecans. Pour batter over partially baked crust. Bake until filling is set and the top is light golden brown, 30 - 35 minutes. Allow bars to cool for at least 30 minutes before cutting into squares. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Diagornos Frozen Pizza

We tried another all-natural frozen pizza this weekend. This one was a DiGiorno Pizzaria! (the exclamation point really makes it appealing ;) supreme  pizza. The crust had no preservatives and the sauce, cheese and toppings were all-natural. I decided to try it because it was on sale at Kroger for $5.99 and with my $1.50 off coupon, it was only $4.50. I'm so glad I decided to try it because it was awesome! The crust baked up nice and crispy, the sauce was subtle and there were lots of great toppings. The amount of cheese was lacking, but I just added some extra shredded mozzarella. I thought it was better than the Newman's Own pizza we tried a few weeks back. (Sorry for the sideways picture...I cannot get it to load correctly!) It's nice to see companies coming out with more and more all-natural convenience products! Makes my life easier ;)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Homemade Cooking Spray

When we started eating clean, I attempted to give up the Pam cooking spray and just use Crisco, spread with a paper towel. After a horrible experience with mini quiche where I almost ended up throwing out the mini muffin tins afterward, I decided I needed cooking spray, preservatives be darned! Thank you Pinterest for allowing me to find homemade cooking spray! :)

Homemade Cooking Spray 
1 part oil (vegetable, canola, whatever you have on hand)
5 parts water
1 spray bottle (misting type)

Combine oil and water in spray bottle and mix well. 

No more throwing out pans or sticking food ;)

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Hello Summer! 

I didn't try anything new tonight, but we did officially usher in summer with our meal. Grilled sausage (not totally clean but yummy!), sauteed peppers and onions and grilled sweet corn, all enjoyed outside on the patio. Ahhhh...hello summer! :)

Monday, May 20, 2013

Strawberry Banana Oatmeal Smoothie

Tried this breakfast smoothie this morning and it was pretty good and very filling! I could only drink half of it. Next time, I would add in some peanut butter and some spinach to make it more of a green monster smoothie and add in even more nutrients.

Strawberry Oatmeal Breakfast Smoothie
1/2 cup almond milk
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 banana, broken into chunks

4 large strawberries, cut into chunks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons white sugar (I used Stevia)

In a blender, combine soy milk, oats, banana and strawberries. Add vanilla and sugar if desired. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Risotto With Chicken and Arugula

Several months ago, the hubby and I went to super nice restaurant and I had risotto for the first time. It was so creamy and delicious! I decided to get brave and try a risotto recipe at home, even though I had heard that risotto is time-consuming and high maintenance. The recipe came with some Kroger coupons, so I figured it couldn't be too bad and I was right. It was a little more time-consuming than I am used to, but it was worth it! The risotto came out great!! On a money-saving note, I was also skeptical to try it because many of the ingredients are a little expensive (risotto, arugula, organic/all-natural chicken broth, rotisserie chicken) but it ended up making enough for two full meals for our family of four. So, it was delicious and budget-savvy :)

Risotto With Chicken and Arugula
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups Arborio (risotto) rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth (I used organic, all-natural)

2 cups arugula
2 cups rotisserie chicken, shredded
1 cup grated Parmesan

salt and black pepper
Melt the butter in a large saucepan (use the biggest one you have...when the risotto cook ups, it really expands!) over medium heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring frequently, until the liquid is absorbed.
Add the broth ½ cup at a time, stirring occasionally and waiting until it’s absorbed before adding more. It should take about 30 minutes for all of it to be absorbed.
Just before removing the risotto from the stove, stir in the arugula and chicken. Cook, stirring, until heated through, about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Spoon into bowls.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Crock Pot Honey Parmesan Pork Roast

Sorry for the lack of posts this week! I've found I'll get on a nice streak where I'll try something new several nights in a row, and then I have weeks like this one, where I just make pasta and leftover meals from the freezer :) Tonight, I made Crock Pot Honey Parmesan Pork Roast and served it with homemade mac and cheese and another of my Grandma Stiles' faves, tomato, cucumber and onion salad. The pork was excellent and the house smelled great all day!

Crock Pot Honey Parmesan Pork Roast

From Six Sisters' Stuff
1 (2-3 pound) boneless pork roast
2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp dried basil
2 Tbsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup cold water

Spray slow cooker with non-stick cooking spray. Place roast in slow cooker. In a small bowl, combine the cheese, honey, soy sauce, basil, garlic, oil and salt; pour over pork. Cover and cook on low for 6-7 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 160°. Remove meat to a serving platter; keep warm. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Slice roast; serve with gravy.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Honey Mustard Mozzarella Chicken

Honey Mustard Mozzarella Chicken

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3/4 cup honey
1/2 cup prepared mustard (I used spicy mustard)
lemon pepper to taste
4 slices bacon, cut in half
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
2. Place the chicken breast halves in a baking dish, and drizzle evenly with honey and mustard. Sprinkle with lemon pepper.
3. Bake chicken 25 minutes in the preheated oven. Top each breast half with 2 bacon slice halves, and sprinkle evenly with cheese. Continue baking 10 minutes, or until chicken juices run clear, bacon is crisp, and cheese is bubbly.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Beef Brisket and Homemade Cole Slaw

Last night for Mother's Day, we had dinner at my in-laws, and my MIL made a wonderful beef brisket in the crock pot and I made my homemade coleslaw. We also had steamed green beans with Parmesan and pretzel rolls. It was a delicious meal and nearly 100% clean!! 
Crock Pot Beef Brisket
Line crock pot with aluminum foil and put beef brisket on top. Add in 1/2 cup of liquid smoke (which is all-natural, surprisingly!) and equal parts celery salt, garlic powder and onion powder (about 1-1 1/2 teaspoons of each). You could also add in a sliced onion. Cook on low for 8-10 hours and serve. That's it! Super easy and super yummy!

Homemade Coleslaw
This is my Grandma Stiles' recipe, and it's not really a recipe as much as a suggestion :) Take a bag of pre-cut coleslaw mix and add in about 3/4 to 1 cup of Helman's mayo. Add a couple splashes (about 1/4 cup) of red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar and a pinch or two of sugar. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Adjust the mayo and vinegar amounts based on how wet you want your slaw. 

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Breakfast for Dinner

Even though it takes a lot of work and a lot of pans, we love doing breakfast for dinner. Tonight we tried a new homemade waffle recipe that was delicious!! Topped with my aunt and uncle's real maple syrup, the waffles were amazing. We also had loaded scrambled eggs with onions, peppers, cheese and turkey bacon. So yummy and totally worth doing the extra dishes :)

Belgium Waffles
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 eggs, separated
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 1 cup butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • In a bowl, combine flour, sugar and baking powder. In another bowl, lightly beat egg yolks. Add milk, butter and vanilla; mix well. Stir into dry ingredients just until combined. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter.
  • Bake in a preheated waffle iron according to manufacturer's directions until golden brown. Serve with strawberries or syrup. Yield: 10 waffles (about 4-1/2 inches).

Thursday, May 9, 2013


With all the media attention on it lately, I thought I would put in my two-cents on GMO foods.

First of all, what is a GMO? According to the Non-GMO Project, "GMOs are plants or animals that have been genetically engineered with DNA from bacteria, viruses or other plants and animals. These experimental combinations of genes from different species cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding." 

Honestly, I don't really know what do think. The science and research behind GMOs is relatively new. Both sides make valid arguments, in my opinion. The pro-GMOers talk about how GMOs allow farmers to produce more crops for lower prices. The non-GMOers point out the potential health risks of eating GMO food products.

Along with debating on whether GMOs should be allowed at all, the other big debate is over whether or not a company should be forced to label their products as GMO or non-GMO. Again, both sides make good arguments. Since GMOs have a negative connotation, companies are afraid people won't buy the food if they see that GMO label, even if the food is perfectly safe. On the flip side, people want to know what they're putting in their bodies, and labeling helps them make that decision.

I guess for me it just comes down to taking responsibility for yourself. Do your own research, don't rely on the media to make the decision for you. Decide what's right for you and your family and do it!

Here are some resources that I have found helpful. They include both sides, pro and anti-GMO,so you can make the decision for yourself.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Homemade Sloppy Joes

I've been making this recipe since we first got married. I am excited its all-natural because we love these sloppy joes.

Super Sloppy Joes
Adapted from Rachel Ray

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan
1 1/4 pounds ground beef sirloin
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add oil and meat to the pan. Spread the meat around the pan and begin to break it up. Add brown sugar to the skillet and combine. When the meat has browned, add onion and red peppers to the skillet. Reduce heat to medium and cook onions, peppers, red wine vinegar and Worcestershire sauce with meat for 5 minutes. Add tomato sauce and paste to pan. Stir to combine. Reduce heat to simmer and cook Sloppy Joe mixture 5 minutes longer. 

Read more at:

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Crock Pot Salt-Crusted Pork

I think I've mentioned before that I am not a huge fan of pork, but my hubby is, so I am always on the lookout for new pork recipes. Tonight I tried Crock Pot Salt-Crusted Pork and it was AMAZING! So juicy and tender and it had wonderful flavor.

Slowcooker Salt-Crusted Pork Roast
From Pocket Change Gourmet

2-3 pound Pork Sirloin Roast
Seasoning Blend
1 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dry sweet basil (I just used regular dry basil)
1 teaspoon ground sage (I left this out b/c I didn't have it)

Mix the seasoning blend together in a small bowl. Pat dry the roast and rub seasoning blend into meat, coating well. Brown the roast on the stove top over medium heat, 2-3 minutes on all sides until you get a nice carmelization. Cook in a slow cooker for 8 hours on the keep warm setting until internal temperature is 145 F. Remove from cooker and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing. (I was running low on time this morning, so I actually skipped the browning part and just put the seasoned pork roast right into the crockpot and it still turned out great!)

Monday, May 6, 2013

Skinny Ham and Potato Casserole

Skinny Ham and Potato Casserole
Adapted from The Spotted Lamb

1 (32oz) bag frozen shredded hash browns
1 1/2 cups plain Greek yogurt
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk

1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup Shredded Cheese (of your choice...but be sure it is NOT low-fat)

1 - 1 1/2 pounds cubed ham

Preheat Oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients into a large bowl. Grease a 9 X 13 glass or ceramic (no metal!) baking pan with cooking spray. Pour potato mixture into baking pan and spread evenly. Bake uncovered for 55 min.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Happy Cinco de Mayo!


Tonight, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, we had guacamole burgers (homemade guac over our regular old hamburgers). I also had a Bud Light Straw-ber-Rita to keep it really authentic ;) We also tried Alexia's all-natural frozen waffle fries...excellent! I was shocked when I went to buy frozen french fries for the first time after we went all-natural and discovered all kinds of preservatives, so I was happy to find the Alexia's brand. We don't eat french fries often, but it's nice to have an all-natural choice. Hope your Cinco de Mayo was festive! Ole!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Gratin

Sorry I don't have any pictures of this! I made it for small group last Friday night and we devoured it before I thought about taking any pics :) It was excellent!! I can't wait to make this dish this summer with zucchini and yellow squash from my garden. I left out the Panko to make it a little bit more low-carb friendly and used regular white onions instead of shallots because that's what I had on hand.

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Gratin 
2 tablespoons butter
2 medium zucchini (about 7 ounces each), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
2 medium yellow squash (about 7 ounces each), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
2 shallots, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup panko
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat; add zucchini, yellow squash, shallots, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until zucchini and squash are crisp-tender, 4 to 6 minutes.

Add cream, and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; stir in 1/2 cup panko and cup Parmesan.
Spoon mixture into a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle with remaining panko and Parmesan; season with salt and pepper. Bake until top is golden, 8 to 10 minutes.