Cauliflower Rice + Quinoa Chicken Friend Rice

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My husband is always begging me to make chicken fried rice.  I wanted to try to make a healthier version, without all the extra post-meal guilt and calories and I also wanted to boost the nutritional value a bit.  

I decided to swap out the white rice for a mixture of cauliflower rice and quinoa and let me tell you, this turned out SO good.  In fact, I have made it three times since and it’s been polished off completely by the family each time.

While I like the taste of frozen veggie mixtures in fried rice, they aren’t exactly through the roof on the nutritional charts, you guys.  So adding cauliflower and broccoli made it a complete meal for us and truthfully, I didn’t really miss the “real deal” one bit.

While the adults in the house enjoy casseroles and other mixtures such as this, my little guy sometimes has a hard time with them. That doesn’t mean I just stop offering them completely.

Here are a few tips when offering a meal such as this to your kiddos:

  • If you’re offering a casserole or something like this dish with lots of different foods and textures mixed together, try offering a “no thank you” plate where they can remove the items they have tried and don’t like. This helps them feel more in control of what’s going into their bodies and helps not feel threaten or afraid to try. (My son basically removed all the mushrooms before he was even willing to try a bite)
  • You can also deconstruct the meal a bit by placing veggies in one tray, chicken and eggs in another.  OR you can place the child’s preferred foods on top so that it’s the first thing they 👀 see. (I arranged the chicken on the top, since my son loves chicken)
  • REMEMBER, between the ages of 2 1/2 - 4 years old (but ESPECIALLY at the age of 3) ALL kids go through a “picky eating phase” and this is considered C O M P L E T E L Y N O R M A L.
  • Try to talk them THROUGH the meal instead of talking them INTO the meal. Talk about all the sensory components of the foods like textures, colors and shapes of different veggies (how they look, feel and taste).
  • Allow THEM to decide what kinds of foods they like and don’t like but never stop offering a certain foods just because your child initially rejected it (it can take around 15 exposures before a new food is accepted, yes 15!)
  • It’s hard, you’re doing a great job, way better than you think!!

So if you’re like me and craving take-out style chicken fried rice but also trying to offer a nutritional family meal, give it a try and let me know what you think you guys!

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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup organic frozen vegetable mixture
1 1/2 cup organic cauliflower rice
1/2 cup quinoa (cooked) 
4-5 chicken thighs
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp coconut aminos
1 1/2 tsp grassfed butter or ghee
1 medium yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, diced
1 pack sliced mushrooms, roughly chopped
1 tsp onion powder
sesame seeds
salt and pepper to taste
coconut oil or EVOO

Instructions: 

  1. First, cook the chicken.  I boiled some water and added the thighs, lowered the heat a bit and cooked them for about 15 or until cooked through.
  2.  Next dice the onion, garlic and roughly chop the mushrooms.
  3. Add butter or ghee to pan on medium high heat and sauté the onions, garlic and mushrooms (add onions and garlic first, once they’re soft add the mushrooms)
  4. Next, add mixed veggies and stir for about 5 minutes.
  5. Add additional coconut oil or ghee to pan.
  6. Add the cauliflower rice, quinoa, sesame oil and coconut aminos (or soy sauce) and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  7. Make an open spot in the pan to scramble the eggs and mix into the mixture. 
  8. Fork shred the chicken and add to pan. 
  9. Add onion powder and s + p to taste. 
  10. Serve with broccoli and sesame seeds. Enjoy!
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 -Ashley 

Best Steak Marinade + DIY Buddha Bowls

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You guys, I have been SO excited to share my household favorite, DIY Buddha Bowls + my favorite recipe for marinating steak. It is so so good!

I can’t even describe the level of deliciousness going on here.  To give you an idea as to how delicious, I will say, I would rather eat these steak bowls at home while my kids fling food all over the walls than go out to eat at a fancy restaurant. That’s how good!! 

So marinating does takes a little prep work,  but it is worth it in the end.  You can do it on a Sunday afternoon or if you have a few minutes during nap time and it makes cooking dinner a breeze! 

Honestly, I don’t know how anyone eats healthy without a little meal prepping.  Whether it’s marinating steaks, putting foil over some sweet potatoes and popping them in the oven or pre- chopping some veggies, on any given day it’s the only way I get a healthy, quick family dinner on the table.

Anyways, I digress. 

The awesome thing about buddah bowls is you can add any combination of veggies you like.  I almost always use broccoli, steak and avocado but this time I decided to try sweet potatoes crisps instead.  My husband and I love mushrooms but my son hates them so I let him pick what veggie combination he wants in his own bowl. 

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So here’s the deal.  

  1. Buy some grass fed skirt steak (I buy about 1 lb to 1 + 1/2 lbs)
  2. Cut the strips into four.  
  3. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper.
  4. Use a knife to make some small inscisions down each side (to help Marinade penetrate more deeply) Run along with the striations in the Steak.
  5. Marinate these in a zip-lock bag overnight or for a full day or two.

 For marinade:

3 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp something acidic (vinegar or a red wine)
1 tbsp coconut aminos (or soy sauce)
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp Worcester sauce
1 + 1/2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt & pepper
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp onion powder
1 tbsp honey or agave
salt + pepper   

 

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 For the Buddha Bowls 

  • 1 to 1 + 1/2 lb grass-fed skirt steak
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 bunch organic broccoli
  • avocados, mushrooms, sweet potatoes (depending on preference of veggies)
  • sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp organic butter (optional)
  • organic mayo + sriracha (optional)

Instructions: 

  1. Prepare rice.  (Boil 2 cups water.  Add 1 cup rice.  Cover on low heat for 20 minutes.)
  2. Boil some water in another pot and add broccoli.  Lower heat to a medium high setting and  cook for about 5-6 minutes.  
  3. Prepare and cut any other veggies you would like.  Slice avocados, brown some mushrooms, boil some eggs, etc. I put sliced sweet potatoes in the toaster oven for about 10 minutes each side to make these sweet potato crisps. 
  4. While rice is still cooking on low, make the steak.
  5. Add EVOO to pan over medium high heat.  Add strips of steak and lower heat down to a 3 and cook on each side for about 7-8 minutes.  You'll know its ready when it is just a tiny bit pink inside.
  6. Cut steak into strips or cubes (matter of preference)
  7. Place them in individual bowls over rice.  
  8. When broccoli is finished, you can add a little butter and salt for seasoning.
  9. Assemble all your veggies
  10. Sprinkle sesame seeds + sriracha mayo if you like it spicy!** I mix organic mayo + sriracha to make it.
  11. Enjoy!

-Ashley

 

Weekend Detox Broccoli Caulifower Soup (Dairy-free)

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I know I can’t be alone about feeling the need to detox after a long weekend.  Broccoli soup just seems like the perfect remedy for negating weekend eats.

My mom used to make the best broccoli soup when I was growing up.  I remember devouring it and always wanting seconds.  There is something about the broccoli combined with the onions and garlic and the creamy texture of the heavy cream that really makes the perfect flavor combination.

I wanted to make something resembling my mom's broccoli soup but without the dairy and some added cauliflower for a more creamy texture.  I was surprised it turned out so delicious!  

To be honest, I made mine a little on the spicy side (I added a LOT of garlic) so my kids didn't really like it.  Next time, I'll try to tame down the garlic and see what happens.

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Here’s how to make it.. 

Ingredients:

  • 2 heads organic broccoli, roughly chopped and stems removed
  • 1 head organic cauliflower, roughly chopped and stems removed
  • 1 + 1/2 yellow onions
  • 3-5 garlic cloves (depending on the amount of spice you want)
  • 1 carton organic chicken or vegetable broth (for vegan option)
  • 1 can organic full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, stems removed and chopped
  • EVOO
  • 1 sardine (optional)
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
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Instructions:

  1. Add a few swirls of EVOO to pan over medium heat.  Add chopped onions and stir until soft.  Add sardine (adds flavor) and garlic and mix together.  
  2. Once onions have softened a bit, add broccoli, cauliflower, parsley, broth and the creamy top of the coconut milk can (save the rest of the milk for another time.) Add spices and salt and pepper.
  3. Bring to a soft boil, then cover and turn to low heat and let it simmer for 45 minutes to an hour.  
  4. Once soup is soft and ready, use a hand blender to blend it into a creamy blended texture.
  5. Serve hot and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Cilantro Tacos - Gluten Free

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Taco night happens on the regular in our house and I love enjoying a real deal tortilla-style taco just as much as anyone.  In fact, I think tortillas might be one of the most delicious things I have ever tasted.  Not exactly low-carb, new year diet friendly though.  For the most part, I try to avoid gluten and processed grains like bread, pasta and tortillas but my kids enjoy them more frequently than I'd like to admit.

So I decided on a whim to bake up some sweet potatoes, scoop out the centers, and make my taco with one of these guys and call it a day.  

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I'm so glad I did too, because it was so delicious and satisfying (and guilt free) that I don't think I'll be going back to the norm anytime soon. 

I used a scoop of sugar free plain organic yogurt, some cilantro and all the yummy taco toppings to make it even better.  They would be great with a huge scoop of guacamole or some melted cheese too!

Sweet potatoes are so versatile!  You can add them in as a substitute for any meal in my book, really!  Sweet potato pizzas are one of my favorite gluten-free dinners.  

Not only are they versatile, they are just the right amount of sweet for kicking sugar cravings to the curb AND they are full of vitamins and nutrients!  If I am really craving carbs and sugar, I like to bake a sweet potato and serve it with grass-fed butter and agave.  It really does work like a charm.

Here are some reasons why sweet potatoes are awesome:

  • they are packed with vitamin A, C, manganese and several other vitamins and minerals
  • good substitute for breads + processed grains
  • great for kicking a sugar craving to the curb
  • high in fiber
  • high in beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant
  • help stabilize blood sugar + low glycemic index
  • high vitamin A levels help to boost immunity and strengthen the eyes
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So, try it out!  Swap out bread for a sweet potato in any of your favorite dishes and see what happens! Disclaimer: I haven't tried these with the kids yet, but maybe in the future!  Since they aren't really trying to cut back on the calories (hello daily growth spurts!) I don't really have an issue with giving them an occasional organic grain.

Here's how I made these Sweet Potato Cilantro Tacos: 

Time: 45-60 mins
Serves: Serves 4-5

Ingredients:

  • 2 organic sweet potatoes
  • 1 lb organic grass-fed ground beef
  • trader joe's taco seasoning (I use half the packet to cut down on sodium)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced finely
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 cup full fat organic greek yogurt (optional for dairy free)
  • 1 can diced olives
  • 1/2 cup sliced tomatoes for topping

Instructions:

  1. Bake sweet potatoes by wrapping them in foil and placing them in the oven at 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes.
  2. Cut the potatoes in half and scoop out centers. Place them on a baking sheet for later.
  3. Begin taco meat.  Add olive oil in pan over medium high heat and add finely diced onion for 5-6 minutes or until they soften.
  4. Add ground beef and mix with onion, stirring and chopping as it cooks. 
  5. Add 1/2 packet of taco seasoning and combine well until meat is cooked.
  6. When ready, mix sweet potato (that had been scooped out) with taco meat and add a generous portion of the mixture to the center of the sweet potatoes.  Place back in the oven on 350 degrees to heat up for 5-10 minutes.