Five Minute Guacamole

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As we walk into this month of gratitude and thanksgiving, I am trying to incorporate some new and fun ways to cultivate gratitude in our home and even though they’re young, my kids totally understand thanksgiving! Its so sweet to hear the things they’re thankful for that it makes me even more thankful!

Mostly, it’s the little things I thank God for, like happy kids and year round guacamole! But we have SO much to be thankful here in the United States, for safety and freedom and more than enough food and water (even if we may have to filter it thoroughly to remove all the nasty chemicals)

Did you know that verbally expressing gratitude and thanksgiving can cultivate physiological mental and physical health changes and essentially RE-WIRE your brain for wellness?! That blows me away! If you don’t believe me, watch some lectures on YouTube by neuroscientist Dr. Caroline Leaf!

Dr Caroline Leaf: Bringing Toxic Thoughts Into Captivity

It just reminds me of how awesome God is and how he designed us for thanksgiving and wellness and our bodies are truly such a masterpiece of artwork

What little things are you thankful for walking into this month of Thanksgiving? Let me know in the comments below!

Anyway, here is mine and my kids FAVORITE Five Minute Guacamole that we use on the daily around here. It’s so tasty with a bag of tortilla chips, a great party dish or just for enticing kids to try new veggies with (as a dip!)

Ingredients:

2 ripe hass avocados
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/8 of a medium onion diced finely
a squeeze of lime juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp cumin
Salt and pepper to taste
Optional: 1 tbsp dairy free sour cream

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Directions:

  1. Smash 2 ripe avocados with a fork

  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and combine with the fork until you reach your desired consistency. I like to leave some big chunks here and there!

    Enjoy!





-Ashley

One Pot Cauliflower Rice Egg Roll in a Bowl - Gluten-free, Paleo, Whole-30, Kid Friendly

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I am a big fan of one pot meals, like really really big fan. Hence why I’m constantly posting about my life-long passion for soups. The main reason is that I make way less of a mess dirtying multiple pans but the other reason is because mixing everything together in one big pot just gives me more reason to add in as many veggies as possible.

I mean, I guess I don’t really even need to explain much further about the beauty of one pot meals. You weren’t born yesterday. You get it. If you’re a busy mom like me, you get it fo sho.

I’m also a big fan of egg rolls except for I don’t eat them anymore. Why? Because they’re made with flour (gluten) that I don’t eat, SOY (which has been linked to breast cancer), probably deep fried in canola oil and packed with MSG.

I might be exaggerating a tad on how bad fast food egg rolls are but you get the point. There’s always a way to make something delicious that you LOVE but can no longer eat anymore, healthy.

This One Pot Cauliflower Rice Egg Roll in a Bowl is SO good you guys. I promise you will feel like you’re eating old-school Chinese takeout and feel victorious since you knew it was all wholesome healthy foods for your body and brain.

And you’ll feel even more victorious when you realize you don’t even have to clean more than one pan.

To make this recipe even easier I use riced cauliflower that I buy in the frozen section of Whole Foods, because who has time for dicing up cauliflower anyways? Truthfully, its really not that difficult it just makes a bit of a mess in my experience.

It is SO SO easy to make too!

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Here’s how I made this scrumptious Chinese-wanna be delight.

Serves: 4-5

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time:  20-30 minutes

Ingredients:

1 bag of riced cauliflower (frozen section)
4 medium carrots (shredded)
1 medium onion
3 chives
2 cloves garlic
1 lb grass fed ground beef
2 large eggs
1 tbsp coconut aminos
1 tsp ghee
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp fresh ginger (grated or you can use the spiced version)
1 tsp onion powder
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Chop onion and garlic.  Grate the carrots (or us a food processor).

  2. Heat the two oils in a pan over medium heat on the stove-top.  Once heated, add the onions for about 5 minutes or until they begin to soften. 

  3. Add the garlic, cauliflower rice, carrots and chives (save a few to season on top) and stir.  Cook for about 3 minutes.

  4. Add the ground beef and begin to break it apart with a spatula into the mixture as it begins to cook.

  5. Stir in the ginger and coconut aminos with the beef.

  6. As it cooks, season the mixture with salt, pepper and onion powder and stir.

  7. From here, cook on medium-low heat for about 10 minutes or until beef is cooked and veggies are all semi softened.

  8. Open up a spot with your spatula inside the pan mixture for the eggs.  Scramble the two eggs right inside the same pan (in its own space) until cooked.  Then mix the egg into the mixture.

  9. Add the remaining chives to season on top.

  10. If the mix needs a little more seasoning, just add more coconut aminos right on top or to individual bowls. 
    **You could definitely add some rice or quinoa into this mixture to add a bit more bulk to it and you could always eliminate the eggs if you are egg-free!

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-Ashley

Healthier Chicken Soup (Gluten-fee, Dairy-free, Paleo, Gaps Friendly, Kid Friendly)

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You guys, I have been wanting to update my chicken soup recipe for some time now. I wanted to bring this lovely healthy comfort food to a whole new level of healthy by adding in some of my favorite superfoods. I was a little nervous it might change the flavor too much and be a turn off to my kids, but it was a huge hit with them too. In fact, my son told me it was the “best chicken soup he ever had.” I can’t promise I didn’t tear up a bit. It’s not too often this mama get’s much love and appreciation around here.

So what super-foods did I add to this already delectable meal, you might ask? I added a huge bunch of kale, some turmeric root, parsley and lots of garlic!

Myself and every other health conscious person has probably blabbed your ear off already about the anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, gut healing and immune boosting benefits of collagen in bone broth. But if you have been living under a rock or avoiding Whole Foods at all costs, you can check out all the reasons I love bone broth here.

But seriously, if you are struggling with any gut-health issues, I strongly encourage you to see if adding some homemade bone broth to your regular daily routine would be beneficial for you!

Sure, you can make this recipe with store bought bone broth to save time and there are some really good options out there these days. But I’m telling you, friend, you will be missing out on that homemade feel-good comforting flavor if you do. And plus, its super cheap and easy to make! To make the broth, if you want to skip many ingredients to save time, you can do that too and it will still be better than store bought! Just slow cook some organic bones for 12-24 hours with some onion, salt and pepper and a dash of apple cider vinegar (for nutrient extraction) and viola!

Just one more note - I used ghee and coconut oil instead of olive oil due to all I’ve been reading about how extra virgin olive oil is an unstable oil and how heat can destroy the healthy Omega-3 content of it.

Okay, you’ve waited long enough! Thanks for your patience, friends. Here it is!

Ingredients:

  • Organic + Grass-fed bones **1 whole organic chicken carcass and bones will do but the more bones, the higher gelatin yield.  Chicken feet and beef leg bones typically yield the most gelatin

  • 1 lb shredded chicken

  • 1 large yellow onion, diced finely

  • 4 stalks celery, chopped

  • 4 carrots, chopped into small 1/2 inch squares

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar - I use Bragg's

  • 1/3 of 32 fl oz container chicken or turkey bone broth - I use Pacifico

  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley

  • 1-2 turmeric roots (peeled and chopped)

  • 1 handful of lachianato kale, de-stemmed and chopped

  • 2 tsp onion powder

  • 2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 bay leaf

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa or rice

  • 1 tablespoon organic grass-fed ghee or butter

  • 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil

Instructions:

  1. Place the carcass (chicken removed) and all the bones into a large crockpot with a lid.  Cover with water, add apple cider vinegar and bay leaf and cover.  Cook on low for 12-24 hours, adding water if necessary. Water should only slightly cover the top of the contents.

  2. After 12-24 hours, strain and remove bones and carcass for delicious homemade bone broth. Season if preferred.

  3. In a large pot, heat the ghee and coconut oil over medium heat.  Add onions for about 4 minutes until they begin to soften, then add garlic, celery, carrots and turmeric root and cook for about 4 minutes or until they begin to soften.

  4. Once veggies began to soften, add the parsley, the chicken broth (plus 1/3 of the store bought container), the chicken and fresh parsley.

  5. Add all the seasonings and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes.

  6. Add the chopped kale in the last 3 minutes of cooking time.

  7. Add a few remaining sprigs of fresh parsley on top and season with salt and pepper to your taste.

  8. Add a tablespoon or 2 of cooked quinoa or rice to a bowl and then pour the soup over top to serve.

  9. Enjoy!

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-Ashley

Veggie-Loaded Meat Sauce (Gluten-free, Paleo, Kid-friendly)

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This Loaded Veggie Meat Sauce is the R E A L
D E A L, you guys!
I can’t even explain to you how it has changed my life. It is so delicious and so ridiculously loaded with nutrition that you will be wanting to keep it in the meal rotation for every week. The greatest part is your kids wont even think anything differently about it, they will just see noodles and sing a shout of praise.

No, I’m not saying you should necessarily hide whats in the sauce from them. Actually, I feel quite the opposite. Sneaking veggies into foods without your kids’ knowledge has been known to only further distrust and anxiety around the dinner table with picky eaters. I’m just saying that they won’t be able to really taste the difference and sooner or later this will just be what comes to mind when they think of spaghetti.

My kids sometimes like to help me throw the veggies into the food processor and watch them be ground up for going into the sauce. Cooking with kids prepares them for the smells and sights of the meal to come.

If only it was easy and mess free!

Okay, back to the awesome sauce. So I call this Loaded Veggie Meat Sauce because it is literally LOADED with veggies. S I X veggies and T W O powerful superfoods! It has onions, garlic, kale, celery, carrots and tomatoes. It also includes fresh basil and turmeric, both potent super foods packed with nutritional value. It is also packed with iron and tons of healthy fats.

You may be thinking, great for you, but my kids would NEVER EAT THAT! Here’s why I think you should at least try:

  • The veggies are all tender and ground up into tiny pieces which is usually a win for picky eaters

  • The noodles (and optional Parmesan cheese) is placed strategically on top to lure them into the plate (kids are typically very visual beings and if they spy their favorites on top, they’re more likely to try it)

  • Um, did I mention NOODLES?!

Ok enough yapping, here’s how to make it!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion

  • 4 cloves garlic

  • 4 carrots

  • 10 leafs of lacianato kale (stems removed)

  • 4-5 stems of celery

  • 1 root fresh turmeric (skin removed)

  • handful of fresh basil, chopped

  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef

  • 2 tablespoons ghee

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • a drizzle of EVOO

  • 1 24 oz jar of organic tomato sauce + 1/3 of another 24 oz jar

  • 3 tsp himalayan sea salt

  • 3 tsp onion powder

  • 1-2 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp powdered turmeric (optional)

  • 1 tsp paprika

  • black pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Rinse and dry all the veggies.

  2. Add the onion and garlic to the food processor and process until finely minced. Meanwhile, heat the ghee and coconut oil mixed in a large pot over medium heat.

  3. Add the minced onions and garlic to the oils and let cook for a minute or too until soft while you puree the other veggies.

  4. Add the carrots to the food processor and finely mince. Add to the pot and mix into the onion mix.

  5. Do the same with the kale, celery and turmeric root and add the minced veggies into the pot and stir.

  6. Drizzle a few drizzles of EVOO over the top of the veggies and cook on medium low heat for about 5-6 minutes until they begin to soften.

  7. Add the spices and salt and pepper.

  8. Add the ground beef and chop it with a spatula while it browns. Stir it in well and make sure to break up any large chunks. Cook the beef and veggies together for about 7 minutes or until meat is almost all browned.

  9. Add the tomato sauce. Turn the heat back to about medium heat or until it simmers and leave it this way for about 5 minutes.

  10. After 5 minutes of simmering, turn the heat down to low and cover to simmer for 30 minutes. When its finished, throw in the fresh basil while its still hot and stir in to combine.

  11. Serve this meat sauce over gluten-free quinoa spaghetti noodles or plain quinoa. Make sure to place a few noodles on top (and maybe even a little Parmesan cheese) for all those visual picky eaters.

Enjoy!


-Ashley







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.