Veggie & Beef Soup

Do you know the difference between a soup and a stew?  I never thought much about what sets them apart until creating this recipe.  I figured the only difference was the amount of water and cooking time, but I really wasn’t sure.  After a quick google search my guess was confirmed by Wikipedia: “Generally, stews have less liquid than soups, are much thicker and require longer cooking over low heat.”

soup4

I’ve decided to call this recipe a soup, although the cooking time perhaps resembles that of a stew and it’s made with stew meat.  BUT, there is quite a bit of liquid and the cooking time can be cut short.  (Maybe I should just name this a stoup?  Haha!)  I usually prefer stews over soups because I like less liquid.  Typically, I’ll soak up the broth in soups by adding rice, quinoa or lentils but since this is a Whole 30 approved recipe, all those options were out.

This Veggie & Beef Soup has a robust flavor with fresh herbs, vegetables and grass fed beef for some protein, giving it a wonderful taste and aroma.  I tend to make a lot of meals like this during the winter months.  When it’s cold out, there’s just something so comforting about a warm bowl of soup (or stew) and I’m always down for a meal that requires little effort 😉  After all, all you need to do is prep a bunch of veggies, cook a bit of meat and then throw them in a giant pot of water with spices to cook.

soup6 Read More

Advertisements

Rosemary Squash Fries

I sometimes feel intimidated by squash.  It’s like choosing a melon – it can have a gorgeous outer skin, feel heavy and have the perfect “thump” when you tap it, but every now and then you still get a bad one – one that tastes bland or is starting to rot on the inside.  With the price being per pound, it can be an expensive mistake.  However,  this year I’ve been fairly lucky with my squash picks.  I’ve also learned to not fret about the waste when I pick one that isn’t up to par and I have to toss it.  It happens, I’m over it, I’ll try again.  Because, when you are successful (which, to be honest, is most of the time) it makes up for the few “bad” ones.  A good squash is a great squash, especially if you know how to cook it.

IMG_3895

My favorite squash types are delicata and kombocha, but butternut is close behind.  Butternut squash is much easier to find in stores than any other variety, except perhaps acorn and spaghetti squash (my two least favorites) and I also like that it isn’t hollow the entire way through.  This means making “fries”, cutting unique shapes and spiralizing it are easier to do than with any other variety.  So, all this chatter brings me to today’s Whole 30 inspired recipe: Rosemary Squash Fries.  After all, I’m doing a Whole 30 for the month of January and getting creative with savory recipes was one of my intentions when taking on this protocol.

IMG_3921

These fries can be made using any squash, but butternut works best for getting that fry shape.  This recipe is not only Whole 30 compliant, but Paleo, Vegan and allergy-friendly as well. Read More

Quinoa Crackers

My kids aren’t in school yet, but I know when that day comes I will be sending them to school with a healthy, wholesome and delicious lunch that will keep them sustained through the day.  I dread the thought of my children wanting to eat “hot lunch”.  I’ve seen what schools deem “healthy” and cringe at the processed, cheap and convenient foods that they serve.

Before I had kids, I spent some time at an elementary school with pre-school aged children.  I walked them through the cafeteria to get lunch and just the smell alone made me nauseous.  The food really hasn’t change much since I was a kid.  I know my taste buds have evolved since my elementary school days, but I still cannot believe I ate that junk (and liked it)!  Haha…

IMG_1200

I can’t change the past, but I can change the now and the future – and for me, that means making sure I have wholesome eats for my children.  Now, don’t get me wrong – I’m all for indulging and allowing “unhealthy” foods from time to time, but I do not wish my children to eat it daily.  Will I give in and let them take a Lunchables to school when ALL of their friends do?  Ugh, I honestly cannot answer that right now.  But I will allow my kids to have gluten and refined sugar-filled cupcakes at a class birthday party.  I will let them eat pizza for a class celebration or on a field trip.  After all, unless they have an allergy, partaking in meals like that can actually be healthy; perhaps not physically, but the social part is what makes it healthy.

IMG_1194

These Quinoa Crackers are an example of something I would make over the weekend and send to school in my children’s lunches.  They are made with nutritious ingredients, don’t contain any preservatives or added sugars.  These crackers are gluten-free and Vegan.  Perhaps Quinoa Crackers with a few slices of grass-fed cheese and pasture-raised beef jerky would suffice in place of a Lunchables?  (Haha, wishful thinking?)

IMG_1192_2 Read More

My Whole 30

Happy New Year!!! It’s no secret that I’m taking part in the Whole 30 for the month of January.  If you don’t know what it is, the Whole 30 is basically where you commit to eating REAL food for a month (or 30 days).  You cut out grains, dairy, legumes, sugar, alcohol, and additives (like carrageenan, MSG and sulfites).  And the hardest part (for me) is that you don’t make or consume any treats or baked goods, no matter how healthy, even if they only include approved ingredients.  Meaning, I cannot make pancakes or muffins even if they only consist of “acceptable” ingredients. Read More

A Look Back at 2017

2017 was a good year and I’m still in shock that it is coming to a close.  The year really flew by and I think a large part is due to the fact that I had another baby, making life busier than ever.  But I’m not complaining – I think 2018 is going to be even better!

For today’s post, I want to do a little round-up of my most popular Blog and Instagram posts.  It’s always fun for me to look back and see what my readers (you) are enjoying or what I happened to post at the just right time for something to gain traction. Read More

Coconut Waffles

I don’t think I’ve ever purchased a frozen waffle.  Yes, my parents purchased them when I was a child, but I have never personally bought them.  In fact, I tend to steer clear of pre-packaged frozen foods unless I’m really not in the mood to cook or make a stop at the Whole Foods hot bar (which pretty much only happens when I’m sick or pregnant).  I find making my own waffles at home so stink’n easy and fun!  I have tried TONS of waffle combinations from sweet to savory, chocolate, vanilla, grain-free, Paleo and Vegan.  Some of them are amazing, where others lack in either taste or texture or they just plain make a mess of the waffle iron (hey, not all recipes are a success).

IMG_2454

I enjoy creating new flavor combinations and mixing up the gluten-free flours I use, especially since waffles have become a staple for my son’s breakfast each morning.  I like that I can limit the sugar content in homemade waffles and eliminate any ingredients that my son may have a hard time digesting (like eggs and dairy).  Homemade waffles are one of my favorite breakfast staples, so if you haven’t made them before then I urge you to try them for yourself!  So much better than any packaged, frozen thing you’re going to find in store 😉

IMG_2449

These Coconut Waffles are Paleo friendly, soft and fluffy in texture and have a rich coconut-vanilla flavor.  Now on to the recipe!… Read More

Protein Snowball Cookies

I fondly remember Christmas-time as a child with the excuse to eat my body weight in sugar.  My mom baked an obscene variety of cookies every December; from homemade caramel to 7-Layer bars to Special K bars, our home was filled with sweet treats.  And you bet I had my fair share!

IMG_3308

Well, I suppose I’m no different with all the treats I’ve been making and creating this year.  I’ve found myself a slave to the kitchen, prepping cookies and treats during any spare moment I have.  Baking is a hobby, a passion of mine, I truly do love it, but lately I’ve been feeling a bit of a sugar overload.  I’m contemplating doing the Whole 30 for the month of January.  But that’s a discussion for another day, as I am going to continue fully enjoying the month of December and all the delicious home-made treats like these Protein Snowball Cookies.

IMG_3316

To make these cookies a bit healthier, I added Organifi Vanilla Protein.  There is still plenty of sugar, but these cookies are sweetened with Medjool dates and protein powder rather than refined sugar and corn syrup (which are present in many popular Christmas cookies).  And even better, these Protein Snowball Cookies taste just like the Russian Tea Cakes my mom used to make, although slightly different in texture.

These cookies are gluten free, soy free, refined sugar free, Vegan friendly and only contain 5 simple ingredients.  They can also be made Paleo by substituting with a different protein powder. Read More

Paleo Hot Chocolate

Nothing sounds cozier on a cold, snowy day than a mug of hot chocolate.  Am I right?  Okay, so perhaps you’re a tea or coffee person…I typically am too, but sometimes I want something a little more decadent: insert hot cocoa.  Thick, rich, with a creamy base and frothy top and perhaps decked out with a few marshmallows.  Yep, nothing like a warm mug of hot chocolate to remove the chill, calm the nerves and relive a few childhood memories.

IMG_3166

This Paleo Hot Chocolate contains very little sugar, unlike conventional hot cocoa, and even contains the healing benefits of collagen.  So, you can drink your hot chocolate AND still be healthy at the same time 😉 #winning

IMG_3178

I have a couple brands of collagen that I use, but my favorite at the moment is Vital Proteins.  Not too long ago, Vital Proteins came out with collagen coffee creamers.  I have tried the coconut (the vanilla is next on my list) and it’s changed my life.  Okay, slight exaggeration…but it HAS changed my mornings.  I use the coconut collagen creamer every morning in my coffee, along with a little almond milk and sometimes a dash of vanilla extract.  I whip it up with my milk frother, creating a fluffy, frothy cream on top and then sit down to enjoy my coffee.  It makes me feel like I’m drinking something special and “fancy”, haha!  Plus, I love the taste!

IMG_3170

There are many benefits of adding collagen into your diet.  Not only is it a good source of protein, but collagen can improve the health of your joints, cartilage, tendons, skin, hair, gut, digestion and sleep.  I find it SO easy to add a tablespoon here and there to my diet.  I consume collagen in smoothies, coffee, add it to soups, baked goods, yogurt… It can basically be added to anything, especially since many brands carry unflavored versions as well.

IMG_3173

But back to this Paleo Hot Chocolate.  This quick, simple recipe is just what you need to wind down after a long day or warm up after a chilly outdoor walk.  Without further ado… Read More