Thursday, October 31, 2013

Happy Halloween!

You know how I always talk about the 80/20 rule? Well, today is one of those days were I fit firmly in the 20 percent :) I cannot say no to a Reese's Peanut Butter cup (or several!). I hope you all enjoy your Halloween and get lots of yummy treats. Then it's back to eating clean tomorrow!

Happy Halloween from Doc McStuffins and her dragon, Stuffy!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Flat Belly Diet - Grilled Oregano Chicken

Pretty good dish except the chicken was hard to grill because of the olive oil and vinegar. It really flared up and got kind of burnt. Still good flavor though!
Right before I started cooking, I realized I didn't have oregano on hand like I thought I did. Crap, it's the main ingredient of the dish and recipe namesake. A quick Google search led me to this great chart that gives you substitutes for different herbs and spices. I substituted thyme and I think it turned out just fine!
Grilled Oregano (or Thyme!) Chicken
Adapted from

6 small boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (about 2 1/4 pounds)
1 cup coarsely chopped fresh oregano leaves (if you're using dried, use half the amount)
4 scallions, trimmed and thinly sliced
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt

Place the chicken breast halves between 2 sheets of plastic wrap. Using a mallet or heavy pan, pound to 3/4" thickness.
In a plastic resealable food storage bag, combine the oregano, scallions, vinegar, oil, pepper, and salt. Add the chicken, seal, and turn to coat. Chill for 2 hours.
Lightly coat a grill rack with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat the grill to medium for indirect heat. (If using a charcoal grill, position the coals on one half of the grill. If using a gas grill, heat one side to high, the other to low.)
Remove the chicken from the marinade. Place the chicken on the hottest section of the grill. Cook for 6 minutes, turning once. Move the chicken to the cooler section of the grill and cook for 6 minutes more, turning once, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 165°F.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Healthy Recipe Substitutions

I recently ran across this list of 83 Healthy Recipe Substitutions and I thought it was a great guide to get started in clean and healthy eating. The list features some great swapping ideas that would be easy to implement and your family would probably never know ;)

Here's a couple that I've already done:

Unsweetened applesauce for oil or butter 
Works great in breads, muffins and cake mixes. If you're not sure about it, just try swapping half the oil (so a recipe using 1 cup of oil would use 1/2 cup oil and 1/2 cup applesauce).

Whole wheat flour for white flour 
Good for any baked goods. Because whole wheat flour is more dense, use 7/8 cup of whole-wheat flour for every cup of white flour. 

Evaporated skim milk for cream
Easy swap (1 cup cream for 1 cup evaporated milk), same consistency, half the fat!

Rolled oats for breadcrumbs
Rolled oats give you more whole grain in the recipe.

Two egg whites for one whole egg
Cut the cholesterol and double the protein!

Greek yogurt for mayo (in tuna/chicken salad)
When you add in seasoning, you can't taste the difference and you'll save calories and fat, plus add protein. 

Do you have any healthy recipe swaps you use?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Transforming Old Windows

I love love love the look of old windows reused for other purposes. I had found a cheap window at a junk sale for $15. I wanted to add one of our wedding pics behind it and use it as artwork for the wall behind our bed in our bedroom. 
For the photo, I measured the inside of the window and then uploaded and ordered a custom size large print. I think mine ended up being almost 16x20 and I found that at that time, Walgreens had the best prices on large custom prints (the 16x20 was around $5 with coupons). Do a quick Google search before you order to find any coupon codes or photo deals. 
Just take the photo and secure to the back of the window frame. Add frame hangers so you can hang up on the wall. Voila! Old window into new artwork!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Have a Seat - Updating Two Chairs

The hubs and I recently took on two different DIY chair projects.

I had found an old antique bankers chair at a garage sale for $10. We sanded it down and repainted it a glossy black to give it an updated, Pottery Barn look. We're planning on reselling it and hopefully making a pretty hefty profit. Pottery Barn sells theirs for over $200, so we're hoping just to get $100 and make a $90 profit. Not bad for a couple hours' work!
For the second project, I had been wanting an armchair for our bedroom. My mom found me a cheap, old and ugly chair that had great bones, and we repainted and reupholstered it in a much better color and pattern :) We ended up doing the chair for about $50...$35 for the chair, $10 for the fabric and $5 for the paint.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Flat Belly Diet - Ginger Soy Chicken

This was another good recipe that was easy to do. You just have to be sure to plan ahead for the marinade. It's pretty easy to adapt to what you have on hand too, as you can see from the recipe changes I made. I didn't do it this time, but the next time I make this, I think I'll double the marinade and set half of it aside to stir-fry some veggies in to go along with the chicken. 

Ginger Soy Chicken
Adapted from
1/4 C reduced sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp miso paste (I left this out because I didn't have it on hand)
1 tbsp minced garlic
2 tsp toasted sesame oil (I used EVOO)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
8 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (3-4 lb) (I used chicken breast and leg pieces)
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Combine soy sauce, ginger, honey, miso, garlic, oil, and red pepper flakes in shallow baking dish or large resealable plastic bag. Add chicken, turn to coat, cover, and chill at least 2 hours.
Heat grill to medium for indirect heat. If using charcoal grill, position coals on one half of grill. If using gas grill, heat one side to high, the other to low. Lightly oil grill grates.
Remove chicken from marinade. Discard marinade. Season chicken with salt.
Grill chicken 10 minutes over hottest section of grill, turning once. Move to cooler section of grill and cook 10 minutes longer or until thermometer inserted into thickest part registers 165°F

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Flat Belly Diet - Lime Chicken with Avocado Salsa

Another super easy and super yummy meal. The salsa, which I adapted a bit, reminded me a lot of the Almost Guacamole I made earlier in the year (check it out here!). While Liesl picked out the onions, both kids cleaned their plates, so I call that a successful dinner :) The MUFA in this meal is the avocado.

Lime-Marinated Chicken with Salsa
Adapted from Prevention Magazine 

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp kosher salt
3 med tomatoes, chopped
1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and chopped
1/2 C chopped sweet onion, such as vidalia (I used a red onion because it's what I had on hand and I like the bite of the red onion)
1/2 C chopped cilantro

Put chicken into large zip top plastic bag.
In small bowl, whisk lime juice, oil, cumin, and salt. Transfer 2 tablespoons of lime marinade to medium glass bowl for the salsa, and cover with plastic wrap. Pour remaining marinade over chicken and squeeze bag to coat. Let chicken marinate in refrigerator at least 1 hour.
Coat grill rack or broiler pan with cooking spray. Preheat grill (to medium high) or broiler. Grill or broil marinated chicken 6 1/2 minutes on each side or until a thermometer inserted into thickest portion registers 160ºF and juices run clear.
While chicken cooks, add tomatoes, avocado, onion and cilantro to bowl with reserved marinade. Gently toss to mix, and season to taste with salt.
To serve, place chicken onto 4 plates and top each with 3/4 cup salsa.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Eating My Way Through Athens

The hubs and I took a trip back in time last weekend and returned to Ohio University, our alma mater, for Homecoming. Besides having an amazing time reminiscing and being with our best friends, we ate ourselves silly, indulging in some of our campus favorites. Albeit, this wasn't the best weekend for eating clean, but it was sooo worth it!

Some of the highlights:

Goodfella's Pizza--at $2 a slice, it's the perfect snack food and tastes even better the later at night it is, especially after a "few" drinks :)


Bagel Street Deli--best sandwich ever IMHO. My favorite is the Chixadelic, which is chix salad, provolone, cukes, sprouts and honey mustard on an everything bagel, toasted in a paninni press until ooey-gooey perfection. 

Insomnia cookies--new to campus, so I never had the chance to enjoy this goodness. And they were.pure.goodness.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Flat Belly Diet - Guilt-Free Fries

Guilt-Free Fries

1 large sweet potato and 1 large russet baking potato (1 1/2 pounds total), peeled and sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 450°F.
In a bowl, toss together the potatoes, oil, chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Halfway through, turn the fries over and continue baking.
Remove the fries from the oven and place them on several layers of paper towels. Sprinkle with the salt.

Flat Belly Diet - Balsamic Flank Steak

Now this is what a "diet" should taste like! This meal was sooooo yummy! The recipe calls for the meat to marinade for a minimum of one hour, but I highly recommend marinading it at least overnight, if not 24 hours. Flank steak is a tougher cut of the meet and the longer you can let it sit in the marinade, the more tender and better flavored it will turn out. I served the steak with guilt-free fries (see tomorrow's post for that recipe!) and a simple ranch chopped salad from Dole.
Basic Balsamic Flank Steak
1 whole flank steak (1 1/2 pounds)
2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil

Poke the meat with a fork to help the marinade penetrate. Mix the remaining ingredients in a large resealable bag. Drop the steak into the bag, seal, and refrigerate for 1 hour or up to 24 hours. 

Preheat a grill to medium for direct heat. Remove the meat from the bag, reserving the marinade. Grill the meat for 6 to 8 minutes per side or until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 145°F for medium rare. In a small saucepan, boil the reserved marinade for 5 minutes. 

Slice the meat diagonally across the grain in thin slices and drizzle with the marinade. Divide evenly onto 4 plates.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Flat Belly Diet - Chicken Roulade

This is another recipe from the Flat Belly Diet that was delish! The kids even chowed down! It would also make a great dinner party dish. It looks pretty plated up, yet is so easy! One serving equals under 400 calories, so it not only looks good and tastes good, it's good for you!

Chicken Roulade
Adapted from

1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
1 tablespoon water
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped tomatoes

1 package frozen spinach
4 chicken breasts (about 4 ounces each), trimmed 

In a medium nonstick skillet, combine the tomato, onion, 1 teaspoon oil, garlic, red-pepper flakes, and 1 tablespoon water. Turn the heat to medium. Cook for about 2 minutes, or until the onion sizzles. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook, stirring once, for about 3 minutes, or until softened. Add in spinach and parm cheese and let simmer on low.
While you prepare the spinach mixture, grill the chicken until done. Serve the grilled chicken breasts with the spinach mixture on top, sprinkled with more parm cheese if you like.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Flat-Belly Diet - Cheesy Spinach Ziti

As I've mentioned before, the hubs and I did the Flat-Belly Diet 4-day cleanse several weeks ago. And while I'm not diving into the diet hardcore, I've picked out several recipes from the Flat-Belly Diet book to try and share with you. The basic gist of the diet is to eat four 400-calorie meals and include at least one MUFA (monounsaturated fat) in each meal. For example, the MUFA for this meal is the EVOO. I like the idea of incorporating a MUFA in each meal, which we do for most meals anyway!

Anyway, the cheesy spinach ziti was just okay. It came out a little dry but still had good flavor.

Cheesy Spinach Ziti
1/4 cup whole wheat penne
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup nonfat ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons shredded italian four-cheese blend
1/2 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons onions, sliced
1/2 cup newman's own marinara pasta sauce (I left out the marinara but prob should have used it to make the dish less dry)

Cook the pasta according to package directions, then toss with all remaining ingredients.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Like Me Please!

I'm moving on up in the social media world and now have my own Facebook page. 
Like me please and tell all your friends :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Saving Green Birthday Parties

For my kiddos birthday parties, I utilized some awesome decor ideas I had found on Pinterest and online that saved me some green. 
I used inexpensive cardstock, scrapbook paper and ribbon and twine to make birthday banners. I printed out the letters on my computer and cut them out to save even more money, but you could find cheap chip letters at Michaels or Hobby Lobby. Check out the tutorial here.

For Liesl's party, I created a pretty, girly background with three plastic tablecloths. (Here's that tutorial) I also made my own tissue paper pom poms. (Tutorial here
For the table and other decor, I ended up choosing themes where I had a lot of the toys/props I could use. For Gavin's barnyard party, I used all his tractors, farm animals, etc. For Liesl's My Little Pony party, we pulled out all her ponies to use as table decor. 
 All in all, both parties turned out great. Clean food and green saving decor made for happy guests, very happy birthday boy and girl and a happy Momma :)

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Birthday Party Eating Clean-Style

My kiddos birthdays are less than a month apart, so this year, to make it easier on our out-of-town family and friends, I decided to hold both parties on the same day, back-to-back. By the end of the weekend, I was totally exhausted, but it ended up being a great day! In keeping with the clean eating lifestyle we've adapted, I decided to make both parties as clean as possible.

For Gavin's bday party, I did a barnyard theme and served Hen House Chicken Sandwiches, Dairy Barn Mac and Cheese, Garden Patch Veggies and Animal Feed Chips and Pretzels. Clever names huh? :) For dessert, we had clean cupcakes with all-natural frosting. (Check out the recipe here. They were the same cupcakes I made for the mine and the hubby's birthdays) Minus the pretzels and slider buns, everything was all-natural, clean and delicious :) Check out all the recipes below:

Chicken Sandwiches
4 large cans of chunk chicken (double check the ingredients to make sure it's just chicken and water, with no preservatives)
Equivalent of 2 cans of cream of chicken (see recipe here)
1 sleeve of crackers (saltine, tollhouse, etc) adding more if too runny

Mix everything together in crockpot and cook on low for 1-2 hours before serving.
Mac and Cheese
Adapted from Kitchen Treaty

8 oz. (1/2 pound or about 1¾ cups) macaroni or other medium tubular pasta (like penne or conchiglie) (I found that Trader Joe's has the best prices on organic, all-natural pasta...$1 for a pound!)

3 tablespoons butter
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon dry mustard
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2½ cups 2% milk
3 cups grated medium cheddar cheese or whatever cheese you have on hand

Boil the pasta until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking, and return to the pan you boiled it in. Set aside. (Mix in a little butter to keep the noodles from sticking if it’s going to be awhile before you make the sauce)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Over medium heat, melt the butter.
Add the flour, salt, dry mustard, pepper, and ⅛ teaspoon smoked paprika. Stir constantly over medium heat for about three minutes.
Stir in the milk.
Keeping on medium heat, whisk constantly for about 10 minutes, until the sauce thickens.
Remove from heat, and stir in 2 cups of the cheese, stirring until melted.
Pour the cheese sauce over the noodles and toss gently until all noodles are covered.
Add half the noodles to a two quart casserole dish.
Sprinkle on half the cheese.
Add the rest of the noodles.
Sprinkle on the rest of the cheese, and dust lightly with the smoked paprika.
Bake for about 25-30 minutes, until it starts getting a slightly dry and a tiny bit brown on top. 

Veggie Tray
I just cut up fresh green and yellow peppers from our garden, carrots from our garden, celery and broccoli and served with hummus and all-natural ranch dressing. 

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Creamy Mustard Chicken

This recipe is an older one I've had in my collection for awhile. I only had to make a few adjustments to make it clean and all-natural. This would work great for a dinner party because it appeals to a lot of tastes, is easy to prepare and looks great when served. 

Creamy Mustard Chicken

Adapted From Eating Well

4 thin-sliced chicken breasts or cutlets (about 1 pound)
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, divided
1/4 cup all-purpose flour (use corn starch to make it gluten-free)

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 large shallot, finely chopped (I used a regular onion)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage, plus more for garnish

Sprinkle chicken with garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl and coat both sides of the chicken, shaking off any excess. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the chicken, turning once, until golden brown and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a clean plate. Reduce heat to medium and add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the pan. Add shallot and cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute. Remove from the heat; stir in mustard, 2 tablespoons sage and the remaining 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Thanksgiving Decor

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE Fall?? Another Pinterest inspired project and some more money saved! 

I love the look of the bunting-type banners, but they are pretty expensive if you buy them in Etsy. Instead, I made my own and it was super easy and super cheap. In Publisher (you could use Word too) pick a font you love, type out whatever words you want in about 200-250 size and print on colored paper. Cut around the letters in a triangle shape, paste on another colored sheet and cut around another larger triangle. Attach to a line of twine with wooden clothespins.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

No More Cream of Preservatives!

I've found so many awesome looking recipes that I've not tried because they call for cream of whatever soup, which is pretty much cream of preservative soup. Thankfully, I've found an awesome clean, all-natural and even gluten-free solution. It's so easy to put together, store in the pantry and throw together whenever you need a can of cream of chicken, mushroom or celery. 

Soup or Sauce (SOS) Mix
From One Good Thing By Jillee

2 cups powdered non-fat dry milk
3/4 cup cornstarch
1/4 cup instant chicken bouillon (regular or low sodium)
2 Tbsp dried onion flakes
2 tsp Italian seasoning (optional)

Combine all ingredients in a re-closeable plastic bag, mixing well. Equal to 9 (10.5 oz) cans of cream soup. Store in closed plastic bag or air-tight container until ready to use. It does not have to be refrigerated.

To substitute for 1 can of cream soup:
Combine 1/3 cup of dry mix with 1 1/4 cups of cold water. Whisk until well blended. Cook and stir on stove top or in microwave until thickened. Add thickened mixture to casseroles as you would a can of soup.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

More Pinterest Projects

Love the burlap rosettes
I love love love love it! I love decorating for Fall more than I love decorating for Christmas. The cooling temps, cozy sweaters, my favorite blue jeans, football (Go Ohio! Go Bengals!), pumpkin patches, hay rides, corn mazes...I just love all of it. 

My Fall wreath was looking a little tired and old, so I perused Pinterest looking for something else I could do. I came across a lot of burlap (I also love me some burlap!) and felt rosettes. I decided to come up with my own version. I think it turned out pretty stinkin' cute! I love the subtle Fall colors, the rusticness of the burlap and twigs and sweetness of the rosettes. You can find the tutorial on the rosettes here and how to make a burlap bow here.

The door from the garage into the house enters into my office. I was super sick of how disgusting the white door got from us going in and out all the time, so I decided to paint the door with chalkboard paint. Now the kids can draw all over it and it's also a metal door, so they can hang pictures and artwork up on it too. No more nasty fingerprints and black marks!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken Noodle Soup

Fall is in the air! YAY!! Time to break out the stick to your ribs, comfort food recipes :) Chicken noodle soup is a favorite comfort food of mine, so I was excited to find an easy recipe that looked really good. It turned out great!!! It was a super easy recipe and so good! It makes a ton, so you'll have the extras to freeze for lunches or another dinner. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
Adapted from

5 cups chicken broth (or bouillon) (use homemade to keep it clean)
2 cups carrots, sliced thin
1 cup celery, sliced thin
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp parsley flakes
1/2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp pepper
2-3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast (rotisserie chicken would be awesome in this!)
1 cup dry egg noodles (look for an all-natural egg noodles to keep it clean)

Mix all ingredients except the noodles into the crock pot. Keep chicken breast whole (or use pre-cooked, cut up or shredded chicken) and cut up or shred before adding in noodles during the last 30 minutes of cooking. Cook on high 4 hours, then turn to low until ready to serve.